Loving our bodies is one of the most difficult things to do especially when we’re bombarded with all those fake social media photos, people who have cosmetic procedures done, toxic family members and emotional vampires (bf/gf or shit friends). Now I’m not judging anyone who has a cosmetic procedure done, it’s your body and your choice. I’m talking about the fact that a lot of us have unrealistic expectations is because our bodies aren’t built a certain way and we tend to look for those qualities in others. Today I am writing this blog to guide you and help you to start accepting AND loving your body.
As someone suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) I understand how difficult it is to love your body and not let it get to you. I have had mornings where I woke up refusing to get out of bed because I felt like shit about myself. I had days last year where I felt so down that I would cancel an outing or not go to the university lecture. Whenever I was invited to an outing or an event, my first thought would be “oh fuck.. what can I wear to hide the bigger parts of my body?” or “I won’t be able to wear that dress/skirt because of how ‘big’ I will look.” The thing is about body dysmorphia (will write a blog about it and how I deal with it) is that a) You obsess over every ”flaw” in your face/hair/body and b) You see those ”flaws” 3x worse. So I could literally lose 10 kg and barely see any difference, even when others tell me shit like “you look smaller yay congrats!” That’s how fucked up BDD can be. So when I tell you I get how painful it can be to even look at yourself in the mirror, I fucking mean it.
Until earlier this year, I struggled a lot with loving myself and my body to the point that I saw a therapist for 3-4 months. That is when I was diagnosed with BDD, social anxiety and anxiety. #NOSHAME Mental illness is very much real, but that is a whole other topic. I know what it’s like to be the meanest person TO YOURSELF to the point that you make yourself cry because you think you’re “unattractive.” I know what it’s like to just want to get out of your body or wake up in a different body because you hate it sooo much. I know what it is like to be angry at yourself for the body your in, especially that I have PCOS [Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome] so my weight is constantly changing no matter what.
So it REALLY SUCKED that I felt like I am not in control of my body and I barely opened up to anyone about my struggles. Now I understand that it might seem inappropriate for an average sized person to talk about weight struggles and body image problems as I’m aware there are people out there with actual obesity issues. So let me clarify this by saying that I CANNOT and will NOT speak for anyone with actual, real obesity problems. I am sharing my journey and how I deal with it. Lack of confidence can come in all shapes and sizes, and really a bully can body shame you regardless of how much you weight. I lost a good amount of weight this year and someone literally told me “But your boobs look smaller now..ugh” none of your business. My boobs are fantastic 😛
So, How Did You Start Loving Your Body?
- Finding The Source – I say this a lot and I will say it again, we aren’t born with these insecurities, we are TOLD to be and feel insecure about certain parts of ourselves. So really, how did you develop that body image problem if you weren’t born with it? In order to solve ANY problem you HAVE TO go back to the source and find out what caused it in the first place. I didn’t discover this in one sitting obviously, so I kept self-assessing myself and asking myself by going back and trying to remember how it started. It started when I passed puberty and my body was changing quickly and I was around people smaller than me who talked about wanting to lose weight and sharing their diet plans. I promise you that when you find the source, you WILL call yourself out every time you get a bad body image thought. This is what I tell myself “hey, these aren’t YOUR thoughts. That is what you have been hearing.” You gotta call yourself out and remind yourself that you’re telling yourself what others are saying. I came to realise that the source is always one or more of the following:
– Social media
– Fake, photoshopped magazines
– Friends AKA Shitty Emotional Vampires
– Toxic family members
– Shitty Ex/Current BF/GF
- Let It All Out – Most of the time, we as human beings tend to hold back and tell ourselves to just get over it and that it will pass. What really happens is that you push those thoughts aside and then they come back later and hit you hard. What I discovered was tough but helpful, is to say out loud EVERYTHING I hated about my body until I don’t have anything else left to say. I say it all out loud until my mind is clear of those thoughts. I know you’re probably thinking “well wtf? I’ll just make myself feel like shit.” Well maybe in that moment, yes, but that is PART of the self-love process. You can’t get better until it’s all out. Let it all out, then move to the NEXT step. DON’T STOP AND QUIT HERE. You can do this with someone you trust and feel like you can be vulnerable with, or you can do it alone.
- Acceptance – Like I said earlier, sometimes we set ourselves UNREALISTIC expectations regarding our bodies. We were all built genetically a certain way, fat is distributed differently in every person’s body and we all have a different metabolic rate. Create a CAN DO and NOT IN MY CONTROL list. What can you actually change? Be more active? Reduce stress levels? And what is out of your control? Bone structure? Start to really understand the nature of your body more and love what’s not in your control because that is the ONLY body you will ever get. You can either spend the rest of your life hating it or celebrating your body for what it is. I was watching a live video recently of a social media influencer @MarysCupOfTea who said that your body is NOT an image, it’s an experience. The word ‘image’ started after social media and cameras became a big thing. DON’T let your body ‘image’ get in the way of your ‘experience.’
- Words of Expression – I have noticed that more times than none, we tend to use the wrong words of expression like “I feel fat” or “I feel too skinny.” ‘Fat’ and ‘Skinny’ are NOT FEELINGS. You feel uncomfortable, unsatisfied and hurt. THOSE ARE FEELINGS. Change your internal dialogue and start to use more effective communication with yourself. By understanding the core of your feelings, you know where the work needs to be done.
- Find A Healthy Balance – A lot of people think that body acceptance means being lazy and eating unhealthy. Your health is the reason why you are still alive, so I encourage you to start feeling healthy on the inside by finding a balance between body acceptance/self-love and a healthier lifestyle that you enjoy and fulfils you.
- Unfollow Anyone Who Makes You Self-conscious – All those fake filtered people on social media should be unfollowed THIS INSTANT. You are NOT helping yourself or your self-image when you’re constantly seeing all those photoshopped pictures on Instagram of people with ‘perfect’ skin and #bodygoals. Anyone who posts their diet plan should be unfollowed too unless they’re a health professional. Why? Things work differently with our bodies and that is exactly why there are over 15 diet plans out there. Surround yourself with diverse body images from skinny to average to fat to obese. I AM NOT PROMOTING OBESITY OR BEING UNDERWEIGHT as they come with a lot of health issues. This is about respecting and loving all body shapes and sizes.
- Shift Your Focus – Instead of focusing too much on what you like and don’t like about your face/body/hair/skin, maybe start admiring what you really like about yourself and your body. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend who tells you they are having a bad body image days.
- Quit The Labels – Stop labelling others, but most importantly STOP labelling yourself! Stop labelling yourself as too thin, fat, skinny, obese or average and start labelling yourself as strong, beautiful, loving, compassionate and badass! You are more than JUST a body. You are who you are because of the experiences that have shaped you, because of the past mistakes that have changed you and because of the better person you chose to be. Perfectionism DOES NOT EXIST. BE REALISTIC PLEASE.
- Stop Accepting Body Comments – I no longer accept “you lost weight” as a compliment as it just feeds into the idea that being smaller is sexier or prettier somehow. Small, average or big – they’re all beautiful! Lets reduce the focus on our bodies and caring about who lost or gained weight. Your body is a temple and it is YOURS ONLY. Don’t let anyone put you down about your size or shape from now on.
- Set YOUR Own Beauty Standards – We are all letting society set beauty standards for us. If you go a few years back being ‘too skinny’ was hot and now women want bigger boobs, thicker thighs and ass. So really who sets those standards? This is JUST a trend, trust me. Even I myself was approached by a skinny girl who said that she wished she had MY body because it’s more of an hourglass shape which is more ‘feminine’ somehow. This is bullshit you guys! We live in a world now where you can LITERALLY change your gender! So really your shape and size DOES NOT define your masculinity or femininity. Trust me, I myself used to say my figure is masculine because of my broad shoulders. Now I look at them and I think ‘Lord I LOOK like a badass fighter!’
I do have bad body image days from time to time which is a HUGE progress for me. I used to think about it almost every minute of every day. No one looks perfect all the time, so I will share some NO MAKEUP days down below 👇🏻