Body Image: It’s A Work In Progress

Photo credit Charlotte Astrid

Photo credit Charlotte Astrid

I struggle with body image issues. I’m not alone in this. It’s estimated that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. I think it’s also pretty well known that it’s a problem. We can acknowledge publicly that the media offers a skewed and problematic portrayal of what a would should look like but we still buy into the expectation. 

Women should be thin but also curvy enough to be feminine. Women should be fit and toned but not too muscular. Women should be about what 95% of us are not. That perfect body isn’t achievable for most women – let alone healthy. Us ladies need more body fat for making da babies.

I have been really working on trying to change my self image. I try to eat healthy and I try to work out pretty regularly but more so because it affects how I feel about myself rather than my looks. I don’t even own a scale at this point. Having said that, just this morning, I looked in the mirror and thought:

I look pretty good… except I could stand to lose about an inch off my belly and that weird fat pocket that sits above my knees. It wouldn’t hurt to smooth out some cellulite either.

Say what?!?! Stupid, stupid thoughts. What I meant to think was:

All those squats and deadlifts are starting to pay off, my butt looks GOOD! I look amazing in this outfit and I am perfect just the way I am.

Whew. Much better. It’s pretty easy to get stuck that negative thought cycle. It’s hard to put aside the message of perfection that gets blasted out in advertising, social media, and pop culture. I’m 5’7″, a size 8-10-12ish on any given day and I weigh somewhere between 165-175lbs. I am not the media’s favorite body although I am working on being my favorite body.

I have a little exercise I use when I start to get down on myself. It’s silly but effective. Whenever I insult my body, I have to give myself 3 compliments. I get so annoyed at having to compliment myself that I have curbed the vocal insults. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way but hey, it’s working.

I also try to surround myself with positive body messages. They aren’t as easy to find but they’re out there. Just a little body image inspiration for this evening:

  • Swimsuit Advertising by ModCloth
    I LOVE ModCloth. I pretty much give them my paycheck each month. Right after Sports Illustrated got a ton of praise for allowing a plus sized ad in their issue, ModCloth released advertising for swimsuits showing all sized bodies. These women were beautiful and bold and I was so inspired.
  • Curvy Girls Nailed Yoga Poses
    I found this on Facebook, saved it, liked it, shared it & then went to visit over and over again. I am a super inflexible person so I’m always impressed with people who can bend but seeing women who weren’t the stereotypical teeny, tiny, hippy yogi was inspiring. I didn’t pick up my mat or anything but I might have tried stretching a hamstring. Number 16 is my favorite. Get it girl!
  • Deleted Instagram gets an Apology
    I think it’s horrible that Instagram deleted her image but I love what she says: “she found strength in the body positivity movement online and soon was proudly posting pictures of herself.” I don’t have the guts to do that. Courage is beautiful
  • Real Women Advertising is in demand
    This has three “plus sized” models who are making waves. People know their names and they are in demand. I recognized almost all of these faces. Honestly, I’d rather see women who look closer to what I see every day in real life than another airbrushed stick figure (not that they don’t deserve love too)

Tonight I’m going to head back to my mirror and give myself 9 compliments for 3 insults I gave myself this morning. It’s going to be annoying but the awesome thing is it won’t be hard. There are more than 9 things about me that are good enough, beautiful enough and strong enough.

So take that! My butt, thighs and knees are awesome and I’m grateful to have such a kick ass body.

 

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