Who wants to have a conversation about our bodies?
I know … ugh.
But I wrote a Facebook post complaining about my weight a couple days ago and your responses blew me away.
I always try to keep things light and happy around here and on my social media platforms, but the reality is I struggle with a lot of things. And one of them is my weight.
Lately I look in the mirror, or I look at current photos of me, and I’m disappointed with what I see. I want to be positive all the time, but that’s just not reality.
But I’m glad I spoke about it on Facebook, because I found out that so many people struggle with the same nonsense body issues that I do.
Here’s the original post:
Can we talk about body image for a second?
When I first saw this photo my eyes went right to my tummy area and I cringed. It’s no secret that I’ve put on a lot of weight in the last couple years due to a medication I was taking (which I’m off of now). But it’s really noticeable here.
I frequently go back and forth with accepting who I am and feeling content, and then I see a photo like this and I suddenly want to spend two hours on the treadmill and eat carrots for lunch.
But why? On my wedding day I weighed 40 pounds less than I do now and I still thought I was “fat” and wanted to lose 10 more pounds. So will I ever be completely happy and fully accepting of how I look? Probably not. I *want* to be that person who fully embraces the #effyourbeautystandards movement but I’d be lying if I didn’t have daily thoughts of “if I were skinnier I’d be happier.”
While I’m officially “plus size” according to size charts, I work out 30 minutes 5x a week and try to hit 10,000 steps every day. And while I love wine and pizza, I eat egg whites and kale for breakfast nearly every morning. I certainly could count my calories a little closer and double down on my cardio but I don’t feel like I’m an unhealthy person.
Oh, and this body (and mind) finished a marathon a few months ago, so obviously I’m doing okay.
I’m mostly curious if anyone else out there struggles with this mind game and how to overcome it? If there’s even a way.
I was so inspired by some of the thoughtful viewpoints you all had on body image, so I wanted to bring all of that positivity into an article and hopefully reach more people. I put together a few affirmations (inspired by your sweet comments!) that I hope will be helpful for anyone struggling with how they look, or how they THINK they should look.
Body Positivity: 5 Truths to Tell Yourself Every Day
1. The majority of women struggle with body image. Probably more than you know. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I made my post on Facebook but I was quickly overwhelmed with comments from women, of all ages and shapes and sizes, who struggled with the same mind games. Many of these women I’ve known for years, and never once have I thought anything negative towards the way they look. Some of these women are SKINNY, and finding out they struggle with body issues was really shocking to me.
I’m also reminded of an Instagram Story that Chrissy Teigen did a couple weeks back, where she talked about her “mom bod.” Of course, in reality she looks great. Amazing, even. A body I’d LOVE to have. But to her, it’s different than it used to be …. it’s all about perception and comparison.
It all just goes to show we are trained to believe that anything less than perfection is failure, and that’s just sad. Because it’s NOT true. Perfection is a myth.
2. No one scrutinizes you the way you do. This is something I KNOW deep down but still struggle with. When I see a picture like the one above, I assume everyone will see my tummy rolls and I know MOST people won’t even notice. They will see the bright colors in the photo or maybe my cute shirt (which I designed and you can purchase on Amazon … thank you), or they’ll see it and start dreaming of their next Disney trip.
I’ll never forget something my friend said to me several years ago when we were in the locker room of our company’s gym. I expressed concerned about stripping down in the changing room when other women were around and she looked right at me and said, “Nobody cares about you.” She continued, “When you’re changing in the gym, are you staring at other people? No, you’re not. You’re keeping to yourself and changing as quick as possible. Nobody is paying attention to you or what you look like.” This philosophy has stuck with me for several years, and I do my best to remind myself that nobody is paying attention to me on the level that I’m paying attention to me.
3. Numbers don’t matter. Gosh, this is a tough one, isn’t it? Every couple days I step on the scale and hold my breath while waiting for the numbers to come up, and I’m never happy with them. Some days I hate the numbers, and some days I think “oh, that’s not terrible” because maybe it’s down a couple pounds from last time. But any elation I feel is quickly squashed when I think, well, it will probably go back up next time.
Whyyyyyyyyyyy do we do this to ourselves?
Honestly, the numbers on the scale do. not. matter. But we are conditioned to think they do. When we get our medical check-up every year, what’s the first thing they check? Your weight. When you look at certain clothing charts, what’s on their? Yep, your weight and height. It’s a number that’s always staring you in the face.
And really, what should matter is not the numbers but how you feel, and how healthy you are. I know skinny people with crap cholesterol levels. I know “overweight” people with zero medical concerns. I go to RunDisney events and watch people of all shapes and sizes and ages zooming past me.
As long as you’re feeling healthy, no one should care about the numbers.
4. Being thin does not guarantee happiness. As I stated in my Facebook post, I can attest to this. I look back on my wedding pictures and wonder how I could have thought I was “fat.” And you know what? With my body frame, it would be nearly impossible for me to be truly “thin.” I’ve been a curvy gal since puberty, and even in high school I was “thin” but not happy. So this is a big fat giant myth. Don’t believe it.
5. Someone out there loves you JUST the way you are right now. It’s true. It’s probably the truest statement on this page. Recently I made a disparaging remark about the size of my waist and my sweet husband said, “Hey, no one’s allowed to talk about my wife like that.” So try to see yourself the way that others see yourself.
Obviously body positivity isn’t something we can all just instantly make happen, but I’m a big believer in affirmations. So if you can look in the mirror and practice saying just ONE nice thing about your naked self every day, it WILL start to make a difference in your mood. So, let’s all promise to try, together.