Body Image

Body image is something that we, as women, seem destined to always struggle with. No matter what is going on in society any given year, comments on a woman’s body are always a thing. To me, the worst part about body image is that over the years what is seen as the ideal body type or size changes. If you look back through history, the women who are celebrated in art never look the same. Right now we are stuck in this space where the ideal body size for a woman is tiny.

Probably like any of you women reading this, I have struggled for as long as I can remember. My parents made fun of my “bubble butt” growing up. My mom told me I was going to be big-boned and always be a bigger girl. I was the heaviest of the three of us girls and looking back now, I wasn’t anywhere close to the heavy that my mom kept commenting on. A lot of our body image issues come from our mother’s from as early as we can start looking to them for guidance. Anytime they talk about feeling fat or needing to lose weight, we absorb that. Anytime they comment on our stature, we absorb it. As kids we aren’t only absorbing what is on TV or in the media, we are listening to the women in our lives. We start to develop a complex around our body image from a very early age and if our parents aren’t aware of it, they might be causing a negative body image.

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Weight

Why do we care so much?

Why do we berate ourselves about it?

Why do we develop eating disorders to battle it?

Why do we feel less than if we aren’t a specific weight?

Society. Social media. Movies. Hollywood. Modeling. Media.

Everything we created as a society to put people front and center in our lives. That is why we care so much. Our society has created this ideal body for men and women and if you don’t have it, you aren’t good enough.

The pressure to be a specific size isn’t just for adults. It starts in elementary schools. That’s where it started for me. I was called fat all through school. My parents loved to call me by their beloved nickname for me: bubble-butt. I was the heaviest of the three of us kids. My parents always told me I was big-boned and would never be skinny.

For most of us, this weight complex is introduced to us when we are young. Then it is engrained in our way of thinking and living. It is everywhere we turn. Some of the areas that I’ve encountered the stigma in just the past year or so include: extended family who is smaller than me saying how fat they are making me feel like a heifer; social media glamorizing the skinniest models; the celebration of “plus-size” models; friends yo-yo dieting; exercise programs only talking about working out for the weight loss benefits; people who truly battle weight with their health; my lack of movement and other health issues causing 20 pounds of weight gain; clothes not fitting; friends talking about how fat they are.

The talk and thought of weight is so prevalent that I doubt each of us can go a day without hearing about who’s fat or who needs to eat more. I’m tired of it.

A few years ago I became a Beachbody coach because I liked the product and saw a future business. After a couple years doing that, getting down to a pretty skinny state, and focusing on weight with everything I did, I still felt fat. I was nit-picking at specific areas on my body that were soooo fat.

It wasn’t until after my back surgery, after being unable to workout for 10 months, after battling hormonal changes with IVF, after finding the “plus-size” models in Instagram to follow, and after doing some serious work on my emotional state, that I have finally come to a point that I don’t feel fat.

I have fat. My pant size is no longer a 2. My shirts are no longer extra small. I had to buy a new winter coat because my old one couldn’t close over my ass. My arms are flabby. So are my thighs. I have a gut.

I am fat by societal standards.

To me, I am healthy. My body is healing and I’m eating healthy. I have started to love my body where it is at. I still have my days that I look at a part and want to hate it. I interrupt that thought and then find a reason to love it.

I’m tired of hating my body. I’m tired of feeling less than just because of the size of my clothes.

When I talk about the walking I’m doing, it isn’t about walking to lose weight. I’m walking because it feels good to move my body. I am more energized and focused when I can move. Someday when I get back to working out, it will be to become stronger. Not to lose weight.

I have stopped caring what society says about women’s bodies. I have to care about and for myself. That is what is important. Eat to be healthy, not to shed mass quantities of pounds. Move your body to feel good, not to beat your body up for the number on the scale or the donut you had.

Weight is something all of us will battle most, if not all of our lives. We need to do the emotional work to love ourselves. We need to love our bodies. We have to break the cycle of weight defining us.