Friday, August 5, 2011

Body Image

I have made a decision. I am going to stop obsessing over being thinner and looking better, and instead put my energy into loving myself and how I look. I want to be comfortable inside of my own skin, and feel beautiful and healthy no matter what size of pants I wear. This is not an easy task in the society we live in, but I believe it to be worthwhile, and I hope to get to that place of acceptance eventually.

I want to avoid the trap of working out, eating well, losing weight and still feeling bad about myself. I've come to realize that how we look doesn't always correspond to how we feel. The goal for me is to accept myself at whatever weight I'm at. I don't want to work hard to lose weight and still be jealous of how someone else looks, and wish regularly that I was skinnier or more toned or had smaller shoulders and feet.

Comparing ourselves to others is a dead-end road. I know this in my mind, but my emotions are often slow to catch up here. I will hear that someone is losing weight and I will feel spurred to action in a kind of strange competition that the other woman isn't remotely aware of. I know this to be foolish but yet I do it anyway.

I want to stand firm on my own square of ground in this world. I don't want to refuse all desserts and I'm certainly not giving up my popcorn and root beer ritual. I know that the results of exercising regularly are good for me, and will help me to stay healthy and energetic as I get older. I don't want to become obsessive about exercise and diet, but I also hate being on edge about it, and personally affronted when other people make positive changes to their bodies.

Genuine acceptance is hard to come by. It's one step forward and a couple steps back, like most new things we try, and if I want it to go deep and take root in my soul I must be patient. It's not a linear process. It zigs and zags and forces us to look at beliefs we hold which are faulty and often uncomfortable. I know it's unhealthy to compare myself to others and set up bogus competitions where I either lord it over someone if I win or feel miserable if I lose.

Life is too short to worry about these things. I want to make the best choices I can when it comes to the food I put in my mouth, but also extend grace to myself for the occasional chocolate bar and Chunks Ahoy cookie. I want to continue exercising, even when I have to force myself to do it, and be reminded that it serves as an investment in my overall health. I am determined to come to terms with my body, and own it as mine, and love it the way I am trying to embrace and accept my individual personality.


  1. I understand how you feel. I have ALWAYS struggled with my self image. I constantly compare myself to others, and I NEVER feel good enough. I have recently come to realize that I will never have the *ideal* body. I do not have a petite frame, and being pregnant with triplets did things to my poor stomach that nothing short of surgery can correct. I want to feel comfortable with my body - in clothes - and be able to accept and embrace the scars I received bring my beautiful children into the world.

    I just finished reading a really good book - "Unbearable Lightness" by Portia de Rossi. It details her struggles with bulimia and anorexia - I highly recommend it! :)

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jenn! I did read Portia's book and thought it was heartbreakingly honest and brave. I think every woman alive can relate to many of her struggles and fears.

    I wonder if it ever gets easier to accept ourselves as we are? I have moments where I feel great about myself, but just as many where I stress and feel "less than". I'm hoping to tip the scales to feeling stronger and more confident more of the time.

    You are so right when you talk about our scars as moms and how our children are worth it. I should write that down and post it up where I can see it on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well written. My goal is to lose weight so my joints can last a little longer as they take a real beating with how I walk. But you are right, it's easy for it to become about vanity or about outdoing someone else.

    Now that I have a girl I am all that more determind to learn how to love myself...flaws, stretch marks, cellulite, and all and to also take care of myself the best I can because sadly much of the pressure that we feel is not just from society but passed down from generation to generation. I watched my mom struggle with her weight and diet after diet for my whole childhood. Once she was even on a only cabbage soup diet for a couple months..we must think of the messages these obsessions send to our children and especially our girls.

    Another good post.