Women: It’s Time We Talk About Body Image

In honor of the backlash Nike has received after introducing plus-size mannequins. (Go Nike!)

Women of the world –

Aren’t you tired of being judged by your body? Aren’t you sick of not feeling good enough because you don’t look like Instagram models or girls in magazines? Just last week, I started to feel uncomfortable in my own body because I have recently gained 10 lbs. I’m at my heaviest weight I’ve been at, yet my body and mind feel healthier than ever. Despite this, there I was at work telling my boyfriend how big my legs felt and questioned him whether I still looked good. Rather than focusing my attention on my work, I was thinking about if others thought I looked fat. It dawned on me how sad it is that this is something that many women go through – questioning whether they look good enough or not. Women are constantly berated for being either “too fat” or “too skinny” and when a woman hits the weight she’d like to be at, that can falsely lead her to believe she can only look and be good if she is hitting that particular weight.

Men have been raised differently

Men are not told when the scale tips 5 lbs. that they are not good enough. They are praised less for their looks and more for their work ethic. They are not typically scrutinized in magazines for which man’s body is most beach ready. They don’t obsess at their work lunch meeting over which meal has the least amount of calories or feel bad for ordering the burger and fries; they are there to talk business. Things are changing in the right direction for women, but it is sad that still to this day many cultures value men more for their work and women more for their bodies. I say it’s due time that women and men alike lift each other up by supporting and encouraging women by commending them not just for their beauty, but for their strength and their talents.

You are always enough.

Some may argue that if we accept ourselves just as we are, then we won’t get better. Go back and re-read that sentence. Why are we constantly striving toward a “better” version of ourselves? I believe the version of ourselves that is here in this moment can be the best version of ourselves. There may be a healthier you in the future. There may be a more successful you in the future. True. But the person you are today can and should be valued and completely accepted rather than harshly criticized. The more I accept my body, the happier I am and the better I treat myself. But last week when I saw the number 136 on the scale, my old thinking patterns kicked into high gear. I immediately felt big and uncomfortable. Prior to stepping on the scale, I felt happy, beautiful and even sexy. But it’s etched in the back of my mind that the number on the scale determines my happiness (the reason I no longer keep a scale in my house). I decided right then and there I am done regarding my body as anything other than good, beautiful and useful. It’s not right that media has told us we need to keep a scale in the bathroom. It’s not right that people objectify and qualify women based on their shape. It’s not right that so many of us feel bad for gaining weight. It’s not right that we feel the need to assign morality to food by having “cheat” days or deeming certain foods “bad”.

In a perfect world…

I want to live in a world that embraces curves, lack of curves, overall health and more importantly embraces strength in all women. I want to live in a world where women aren’t targeted by the “wellness” industry and told they are not good enough unless they buy, try or eat like… (insert current health trend here). I think we are good enough as we are. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with trying out a new health trend, but we should do it to better our health and be stronger, not to make us a “better” person. If you’re feeling truly dissatisfied with how your body looks and you know you can be healthier, remember that change cannot happen until we accept ourselves exactly as we are.

Bye bye, body shame!

My body is amazing and now I love that I’ve reached a new height with my weight. I am still healthy both mentally and physically. I am still beautiful. And I am ultimately still me. I am done body shaming myself. My hope for you is that you feel this way too.

With love,

Diana

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