It can be really hard to love your body. It’s hard for me. The last few days have been especially hard- I’m not really sure why. I suppose it could be because I’m taking more steps now to take better care of my body, but in thinking about eating better, working out, e.t.c. I’ve become focused on the outcome and not the progress. Working out make me feel great- I feel alive and awake and happy, but if my focus is on things that make me unhappy (like being uncomfortable with my body, with my clothes not fitting the way I want, with not looking the way I think I should) then I’m probably doing as much mental harm as I am physical good.

I felt really cute and stylish today (as evident by that previous post), but after going to this assessment session for the wellness program and finding out how much I weigh (20 pounds more than I had been telling myself I weighed, and a number to which my other said “…wow”) I felt terrible. Even though everything else came out positive (my body fat percentage is in a healthy range for my age and sex, my blood pressure was at a healthy rate, my heart rate was good) I felt terrible about my self. All I could think about was how I had to go to the gym. After looking at the nutrition facts for the smoothie I was drinking all I could think about was how I shouldn’t eat anything else for lunch, and how I shouldn’t eat the pizza in my fridge. That is seriously scary stuff. That’s how eating disorders start. What’s even scarier is that even as I was thinking those things, I knew that they were hurtful and unproductive, but that only made me feel worse about my body because if I had a nice body I wouldn’t have to worry about those things.

What is a nice body anyway? 

The model in those photos- Tara Lynn- is beautiful. She’s also plus sized.

I would never wear most of those things because I would feel too uncomfortable. Buying a little black dress on a shopping outing with Belen was so difficult because everything I tried on I wanted to fold over and cover up to keep people from seeing me. I didn’t like the way my legs looked, how you could see the curve of my stomach because the dress was tight, how the design made me look. The things I was thinking about myself are things I’ve never really thought about anyone else. Belen has a different body shape than me, but she’s probably pretty comparable in size, and I always think she looks great– she’s confident; she loves who she is.

What really gets me is when I hear my mom or my sister say bad things about their bodies. This is hard for me not just because these are women that I love and think are beautiful, but because if they think they aren’t good enough- what must they think of me? The truth is that they probably don’t, really, but paranoia is clearly a built in part of this issue with body image.

How do I take care of my body, and keep my focus on taking care of my body rather than reaching some unattainable ideal of perfection?

Being thinner ,or “prettier,” or fitter, or even healthier, isn’t going to make people love me. Those things aren’t going to make me love me either. So I guess for now I take it one day a time, and practice loving the skin I’m in.

You cannot be a healthy person, let alone hope for healthy children, if you sigh and moan every time you encounter your own image, eat a cookie, or see an airbrushed model on a billboard.  Even if it amounts to wholesale pretending, go pretend.  Walk around pretending to be a woman who likes her body… Because every step toward self-love you take, and every inch of confidence you give someone’s daughter, makes the world a better place….

*photo and quote excerpted from O Magazine, quoted on healthyisthenewskinny.com

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