Have you ever skipped out going to a class reunion or suffered in long pants and long sleeved shirts in the middle of summer because you felt self-conscious about your body? If you’ve ever felt that way, you are not alone. According to a 2016 Dove Global Beauty & Confidence report, a staggering 85% of women have skipped life events because they believed they don’t look good enough. How incredibly sad that so many of us miss out on fully living our lives.
As many of you know, I made the decision to get healthy in early 2018. What some of you won’t know, is that as I lost weight and built muscle, I decided to enter a bikini competition. Not the best decision for someone who is really good at playing the comparison game.
I competed in May 2019 and placed in the top 5. That’s something I should have been pretty proud of right? But do you know what I saw when I looked at the pictures? Instead of seeing progress, I saw that my butt had too much fat as compared to others in the field. I saw stretch marks on my tummy and cellulite on my legs. I didn’t see the strong back, lean waist, shapely shoulders and calves.
It was at that point that I realized that getting healthy, being truly well, was about so much more than physical health. It was also about loving the body we are in – which was a good thing, because that super lean body is no more, but that is a story for another day!
The sad reality is that, until we learn to love our body and to appreciate all that it does for us, we’ll never be thin enough or strong enough. There will always be someone we compare ourselves unfavorably too. There will always be another unrealistic expectation that we buy into and try to achieve. Being truly well means loving our bodies, regardless of shape and size, and sometimes that is the most challenging part of the wellness journey.
When you choose to love your body – and I hope that is what you choose to do – it doesn’t mean all those moments of feeling “less than” will automatically go away. They won’t. Many of us have practiced negativity and comparison for years and it takes time, patience, curiosity and a willingness to challenge and to change that narrative.
As you travel that path, grant yourself grace and understanding. When negative thoughts pop into your mind, take a moment to reflect on the parts of yourself you genuinely love, acknowledging your body’s strength, adaptability, and endurance.
Remember, learning to love your body is a journey. It’s okay not to be there yet, but the crucial step is to choose love. Celebrate the unique things your body does for you each day, be it the way it heals, moves, or simply carries you through life. By appreciating what your body can do, you pave the way to a deeper sense of self-love and acceptance.
I’m holding a free virtual masterclass on Tuesday, November 7th called “Beyond Diets: A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss”, which includes information on the importance of self-love. If you’re interested in learning more, register here .