Body Image


At some point in my life within the last year or two I had an amazing transition. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment or everything that led me to it- I wish I would have documented everything in my life so I would know. So what was this amazing transition you ask? I went from body shaming myself, always comparing myself to others, and not feeling comfortable in my own skin to LOVING MY BODY FOR WHAT IT IS, RIGHT NOW.

Some background: my weight has gone up and down since high school. I was thinner in high school, gained some weight in the beginning of college, lost a lot of weight, gained some muscle, gained some more weight but still gaining muscle. BUT I love my body more now than I did when I was at my skinniest- because even then I was constantly comparing myself and not thinking I was good enough. 

Anyways, I don’t know exactly everything that led me to this transition or when it exactly happened but here’s some things that helped me along the way and can hopefully help you learn how to be comfortable in your own skin:

Surround yourself with positive people
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ON THE JOURNEY TO LOVING YOUR BODY!! Have you ever been told that you tend to act or have similar personalities to the people you spend your time with? You’re probably not going to hang around a bunch of bikers who drink and smoke if you’re not like that at all. Sure opposites attract but the people you spend most of your time with are going to be similar to you. If your friend is constantly complaining about how fat she is, it’s going to make you think twice about how you look. This applies for guys too- if your bro is saying how weak they look when really they have bigger bi’s than you, you’ll probably feel some type of way. Your parents play a key role in this too. My mom would complain about her weight a lot and not living with her anymore most likely was one of the main reasons I was able to stop using “fat talk”. (Sorry mom, love ya!) Although, there are moments of doubt in my new found positive ways when my dad says something about my weight. Guys suck when it comes to this!! One last thing- the hardest part is when you can’t control who you spend your time with. You have class with the same people everyday, spend more time with your coworkers than you do anyone else. Although you can’t really control what they say or do, you can control the situation by not feeding into it.Ignore it, respond with something positive, or simply explain that their negative words are affecting those around them as well as hurting themselves. A big part of my transition was also joining/starting a club on campus that focuses on positive body image. I can’t promote it if I don’t display it myself. In the end though, the only person you can truly blame is yourself because you control your life-but it makes it a lot easier when you surround yourself with people who love their body. 

Stop dieting
I can’t say I’ve completely escaped this concept but it’s definitely not as extreme as it was before. When I first lost a lot of weight, I was on Herbalife where  two of my meals were replaced with shakes. YOUR BODY NEEDS FOOD, real food. I still track macros sometimes but that’s just creating a caloric deficit- I can still eat what I want within reason when I do that. Right now with the summer I’ve decided to eat generally healthy but not worry about macros and eat what I want. I know when I eat a lot of crap, I feel like crap and when I eat well, I’m properly fueled for my daily activities. So what does not dieting have to do with feeling comfortable in your skin? When you go on crazy diets it’s probably because you’re not happy with your body. You see an ad that says something like DROP TEN POUNDS FAST or LOSE BELLY FAT NOW. First of all, these ads make you feel like you need to look a certain way and the people who are drawn to them are those who aren’t comfortable in their own skin. Instead of dieting- which doesn’t last, make a lifestyle change to eat generally clean and healthy but still enjoy life.  

Control what you seePut down the Victoria’s Secret magazine unless you can look at it simply just for the bathing suits. If you’re wishing you looked like the girls in the magazine, take a step back and realize 1. They don’t eat enough. 2. This picture was airbrushed and fixed. 3. Those girls are not you. Don’t follow things on Instagram that make you feel sad. Put positive quotes around your mirror. Yes, the media is crazy and theirs images are everywhere of what the world thinks we should look like- you can’t avoid seeing them but if you shift your mindset, you can view it and not be put down.

Know your worth
What do you have to offer the world? I’m sure if you were to answer that question the answer wouldn’t be your body (or at least I hope not). Chances are your answer would probably be something you’re good at- like teaching, helping others, serving in the military. Whatever it may be- your best features are inside of you. So I challenge you- every time you say something negative about yourself or another person, follow it up with three positive things. My thighs are soooo fat. I have a wonderful smile. I’m a friendly person. I make a really good grilled cheese. 

So am I perfect now? No. Do I still have flaws? Of course. There’s days where I can’t fit in anything and start to feel upset but I never have break downs like I did before. I can look in the mirror and see things I may not be completely happy with and know I want to make positive changes but I still love the body I’m currently looking at.I’m sure there were some other things that have helped me with my transition and I’m sure there are things that have or may work for YOU. If you have any- share them below in comments. AND if you’re struggling with your body image and need some advice or someone to talk to- I’m here. Fill out the contact me page or comment below. I also have a page just on body image- check it out here.

Morgan Holben
Author: Morgan Holben

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