Accepting My Body: What I've Learned
We all have those days. Some of us more often than others.
Those days when your jeans feel uncomfortably tight, nothing in your closet seems to fit, your skin is breaking out, and your hair doesn't want to cooperate. You frantically wish you had someone else’s body. Or, at least a part of someone else’s body.
Now, let’s take a step back for a moment. That’s a pretty desperate thought, isn’t it? You tell yourself, “______ always looks flawless on Instagram. Why can’t I look just like her?” And suddenly, with the help of your social-media-infused imagination, you find yourself in a high school popularity contest, comparing yourself to the prom queen.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: comparison is the thief of joy. And Instagram is full of comparison traps.
So, this is your Friday reminder that Instagram is a curated highlight reel. Between filters and makeup and stylizing and lighting and angles, there’s an exorbitant amount of content that masks the bigger picture. It’s not always authentic. And much of what’s portrayed is a facade. Remember that. Without intentional boundaries, it can be incredibly triggering — eat like her, dress like her, workout like her, etc. It’s exhausting.
Anyway, these comparison traps have been on my mind lately. I truly believe they curtail self-confidence. And we all need self-confidence in order to live our fullest lives.
However, it's not about soaring with self-confidence every day. It’s not about feeling comfortable in your skin all of the time. In fact, that would be near impossible.
Rather, it’s about feeling comfortable in your skin more often than not. For me, it’s about finding a happy medium. To do so, I like to remind myself that the longest relationship I will ever have is with myself. I might as well nurture it. And I know, deep down, that I have the ability to harness positive energy and talk to myself in a compassionate way. And you do too. It’s just a matter of tapping into that ability. In turn, I’ve found that kindness breeds more kindness. When I talk kindly to myself, I feel that much more comfortable in my skin.
Along those lines, I believe in eating balanced, wholesome meals most of the time. My relationship with food is no longer black and white. I'm not dogmatic about what I eat. Long gone are the days when I wouldn’t touch cheese, butter, sugar, or anything fried. I eat all of those things now. Life would be incredibly tasteless without them. However, I also crave things like colorful veggies and fruits, plant-based sources of protein, and refreshing, nutrient-dense smoothies. I feel my best when I load up on foods that give me sustained energy, support my hormones, and don’t cause digestive issues. In essence, I my relationship with food is much like my relationship with my body — it’s not perfect, but it’s not supposed to be.
Here’s my main point: I want you to appreciate your body and feel grateful for it, but I also want you to give yourself some wiggle room — embrace feeling insecure. It’s normal. Feeling body-positive 100% of the time isn’t the goal. Again, a happy medium, is. For that matter, I’d be hard pressed to believe that anyone loves their body all day, every day. But, I’m going to guess that you have the capacity to love your body more than you already do. I say that because I have personally experienced moving from a place of fighting against mine, to loving it more than I ever thought possible.
I’ve learned a few things in my journey to body acceptance (spoiler: it's a life-long experience). Here are some of my thoughts and helpful mantras:
1. When I experience poor body image, I remind myself of how far I’ve come. It’s as simple as, “Self, you’ve made a lot of progress. You’ve put in a lot of work. You’re not perfect, but you’re not meant to be perfect. You’re evolving, after all. And trusting the evolution is most important.” I remember when I was far too lean for my body type, living a life of deprivation and rigidity. But now? I’m so much happier. SO MUCH HAPPIER. l will never go back to my old ways — the grass is greener on the other side.
2. I surround myself with people who don’t body shame. Honestly, if there’s one thing you remember from this post, it’s that there’s no point in spending precious time with people who constantly talk negatively about their bodies. I have zero tolerance for that. Even something as simple as unfollowing people on Instagram who don’t serve your wellbeing will help tremendously. On that note, while there are wonderful, body-positive people on Instagram, the magic lies elsewhere. The magic of body acceptance lies in spending quality moments with people who build you up — in spending face-to-face time with people of all different body types, who are also accepting of all different body types. It’ll remind you that beauty is boundless. I can help too.
3. I let myself feel my insecurities. By that, I mean that I’m not ashamed of my poor body image days. I talk about them on Instagram. I write about them. Instead of sweeping these feelings under the rug, I surface them. There is something incredibly cathartic about writing down my emotions. I encourage you to try it. I also talk about my emotions with people I trust. You can do the same thing. Feeling insecure is part of the human experience, but remember that it’s not the entirety. You have the power to choose the human experience that will serve you best.
Last but not least, I wanted to include a few of my favorite books and articles for encouraging positive self-talk. I hope you find them helpful. Feel free to leave me a comment, send me an email if this post resonates with you, or sign up for a free, 20-minute consultation with me! The journey to body acceptance doesn’t have to be lonely or individual — it can be collective and supportive. Don’t forget that.
Lots of love,