How to fall in love with your body

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LAST week I wrote a piece on body image and the importance of being mindful about the way you speak about your body.

The response was amazing (thank you everyone!) and it really seemed to strike a chord.

The comments came thick and fast (I still haven’t had a chance to get around to replying to them all yet) and sadly it seems that when it comes to body image, us women still have a long way to go until we reach a healthier level of acceptance about how we look.

And so this week I’ve been really thinking about my body image.

Now, as a younger woman and as a teen. And as I’ve thought back over my 35 years, it really struck me, that somehow I’ve always been able – on most occasions anyway – to rather like how my body looks, regardless of what the media says or personal comments that have been made.

Make no mistake, like all of us, I’ve come across some challenges. At school, for example, one of the lads in my form, loved to call me ‘ironing board’.

For some reason he seemed to find real offence with the fact that I didn’t have the largest of breasts (no doubt comparing me to page 3 models – big cheers to The Sun for keeping going with this sexist daily occurance ey?) and yet here’s the funny thing.

My lack of boobage has never bothered me. Not then. And sure as hell, not now.

Sure his comments stung a little bit but even as a developing teen I would look in the mirror, see my small but shapely breasts and think they were just fine thank you very much! And years later, I still do.

But how have I managed to be happy with the way I look?  Well, my friends, I’ve wracked my brains and done my best to sum it up.

I’m certainly no expert on body image but here’s how I’ve managed to love my body most of the time. This is what has worked for me.

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1) I try not to compare

One of my best friends at college had the most amazing legs. The kind of legs you’d see in a magazine. Gorgeous they were and no doubt still are. My legs are one of my best features (or so I’ve been told) but hers totally ‘knocked mine out of the park’.

Did I mind? No. I still loved my legs, even though hers were much more beautiful.

Why? Because I’ve got my beauty and she’s got hers.

My lovely Dad once said to me: “It doesn’t matter who you are, there will always be someone richer, prettier, smarter or thinner than you.”

And he’s right. If you continually measure yourself against others you can only fail. You’ve got to concentrate on YOU.

Every woman I know and have ever met has something beautiful about her. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Perhaps you’ve got the most sensational skin or eyes that can melt the toughest of hearts. Maybe you hate your tummy but you’ve got the most magnificent waist.  Whatever your beauty is, you have to find it and love it and leave the comparing alone.

 

2) I try to appreciate it

I did everything to avoid stretch marks when I was pregnant so was rather dismayed when they started to pop up from nowhere in my last trimester.

Admittedly I wasn’t too keen on them at first but now, a couple years on, I often forget they’re even there. It’s only when my naked body catches a certain light that I can see them.

Those silvery streaks may not be perfect but they are beautiful. They’re a reminder of carrying Elsie after all.

You have to learn to appreciate your body. As I said last week, it does a brilliant job of keeping us alive.

 

3) I focus on the positive

Some women will do anything not to see themselves naked. But if you’re one of them, I urge you to try and change your perception.

After giving birth, my body looked like nothing I’d ever seen before. My tummy was still there, huge but now saggy. My breasts were massive (oh if my school buddy could have seen them then!) and swollen and sore. But I still looked in the mirror naked. I still tried my best to like what I saw.

I tried to marvel at the changes my body had undergone and to accept that my body was forever altered. And crucially, I was kind to myself.  We are our own worst critics about our bodies but we have to stop and be much kinder to ourselves.

Next time you see yourself in the mirror naked, stop, look hard at your reflection and find something positive to say. I guarantee you’ll start to feel a damn sight happier about how you look if you change your perception.

 

4) I listen to those who love me

My husband has always been and continues to be my body’s greatest fan. :) Never once has he said anything negative about my body. He’s loved me for over 14 years and continues to marvel at my womanly curves. I know how lucky I am to be saying that. I also know how fortunate I am to be with a man who only sees my beauty.

The people who love you, love you for who you are so listen to them when they say kind things!

When your husband tells you that you are beautiful, believe it! When your best friend tells you, that you have the most sensational figure, believe her!

We have a tendency to tune out the good stuff people say about us and only focus on the bad. But if you pay attention and learn how to enjoy a compliment, it can really help the way you feel about yourself.

 

5) I don’t buy or read crap women-hating magazines

You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones who slate celebrities. The ones who zoom in on women’s bodies and publish the most unflattering images known to man.

They are not nice. They won’t make you feel good about yourself. And they promote hate. Ditch ’em and you’ll feel much better.

 

6) I try to eat well and exercise a bit

I do neither of these two things as much as I should but I do know this. When I eat healthier foods and move around a bit more, I look and feel better.

I don’t do diets nor do I believe in excessive working out but I do believe in looking after yourself.

Wanting to tone up, wanting to lose some weight, wanting to improve your diet are all brilliant things. And there’s no doubt about it, they make you look and feel heaps better if you’re not so happy with yourself currently.

 

7) I’m realistic

I would love to be as shapely as Jennifer Lopez but that ain’t ever gonna happen my friends! Why? Because my figure just isn’t designed that way.

So what do I do? I accept I’ll never have a booty to rival J-Lo and I focus on what I have got.

I wear clothes that flatter my shape. I show off my legs. I do ballet exercises because they suit my lean shape. I look to how French women dress because most of them seem to have a similar shape to me. I know that my perfect size is a 10. 

We are not all designed to be the same size or the same shape! Some of us look better smaller. Others look better bigger. You have to find what works for you and see your body as it is. When it comes to body image, you have to keep it real.

 

8) I ditch the haters

There’s always someone who will put a pin in your balloon. You know the kind of person I mean. They mock instead of compliment. They compete instead of appreciate. They drain you and make you feel rubbish.

If you take away only one thing from this post, please take this. Ditch anyone in your life who makes you feel awful, says horrible things about how you look or who only ever criticises you.

You deserve better. And so does your beautiful body. Let the haters hate and just shake, shake, shake ’em off.

——–

 

Phew! That’s it. That was quite some list I know but I really hope it helps.

Learning to love our bodies  is a long term project and certainly doesn’t happen overnight but in my experience, lots of kindness, a dash of acceptance and bit of self love goes a very long way.

With love,

Kate

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38 Discussions on
“How to fall in love with your body”
  • Funnily enough I was speaking to a couple of friends about this, this morning. I was angry with them because they were calling themselves fat (they’re both size 10-12). They were complaining about the mummy tummy, saying they wouldn’t dare wear a bikini on holiday. Well I told them they were crazy and should embrace their bodies. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone thinking that. My tummy is covered in wide, dark stretch marks but I refuse to wear a one-piece on holiday. I prefer bikinis, so what if I have a tummy? That tummy is the remnants of having two children grow inside my body. I am proud of what I have. Yes we all like to lose a little weight or try to be healthier but I think no matter what your size you really need to love yourself first. Brilliant post. xx

  • Oh yes Katie another fabulous post. Couldn’t agree more that comparison is so detrimental to developing a positive image. We need to try to be happy with what we’ve got. At 5’2″, I longed to be tall, but it ain’t going to happen! I also don’t read women’s magazines – I realised a while ago that the fashion pages in particular bear no relevance to me or to my life.

    I’ll admit it’s taken me most of my life to get to this point, to accept my shape. I am curvy, with big boobs – and that’s fine. I know how to dress my curves and for my height. I also try to eat well, and to exercise – exercise in particular makes me feel so much better. So what if the BMI chart tells me I’m ‘obese’ – I can run 5km, I kick ass, and these curves are toned! xxx

  • This isn’t a blog post it’s a mantra for all women that should be printed out and stuck on the bathroom mirror! Love all these tips and especially the one about comparing yourself with others. Roosevelt is credited with saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and I SO agree with that! Thank you for another inspirational post lovely xx

  • Another absolutely awesome post you gorgeous lady! Learning to love what we’ve got and not comparing ourselves to others is such a must! As is ditching the negative, toxic influences. Huge hugs xxx

    • Thank you Renee! I’m very passionate about the whole body image thing. Women are so destructive towards their bodies, in actions and words, we really do need to show them a lot more love. X

  • Not that I’m claiming to a. love my body or b. be some kind of style icon but, if I could give one piece of advice to my younger self it would echo your sentiment: “Don’t compare”‘ I got it so wrong when I was younger in terms of how I viewed myself and the choices I made when it came to eating and clothes because I was comparing myself to people who looked NOTHING like me and to people who I would NEVER resemble even if I were to lose 4 stone and wear an identical outfit.

    I look so much better now that I’ve worked out what actually suits ME, and not everyone else at school, work, uni, in the street etc. etc..

    xx

    #sundaystars

    • Hooray! Exactly Betty! Exactly! It’s all about appreciating who we are and what we have to offer. Comparing ourselves unfavourably to others is ridiculous really as we’re all so different and who the hell wants to look the same? Much better to be happy with your lot and make the most of it X

  • Really good list – especially like the honesty of ‘eat kinda well and so a little bit of exercise’. Not killing ourselves attempting to achieve the impossible doesn’t mean we should just give up on trying to be a bit healthier. It’s so often presented as a choice between working out hardcore 6 days a week and sitting at home doing nothing and it so isn’t! xo

    • Exactly Rose! It’s about being healthy and happy. Self improvement is wonderful and I’m all for it. It’s the obsession I have a problem with. x

  • A fantastic inspiring post hun! I cannot look in the mirror, never have. Id rather imagine myself as a thin person than see the truth. I was bullied at school and I guess I will always have that baggage. You are lucky to have a loving husband and that you believe what he says. My husband tells me I am beautiful and that he loves my body yet deep down I know how he really feels- overweight people repulse him. He always told me in a jokey way that if I got fat he would roll me to the gym- well he best get rolling cos that day came a good few years ago!!

    • Thanks Katy. I think maybe you might just need to give your husband the benefit of the doubt. Please start believing him and look in the mirror one day. You ARE a beautiful woman (i’ve seen your pic!) but only you can believe it X

  • I love this! As a mother to 3 girls I worry about their self esteem and try and project a healthy body image and focus on health rather than numbers on a scale. It gets hard when my petite girls have to put up with grandma telling them every week “you need to eat more! You are too skinny!!” Good on you for ditching the haters and listening to those who love you.

  • You always make me feel inspired! How do you do it? Fantastic post – we are OBSESSED aren’t we as women with what’s bad about our bodies and terrible at knowing when its OK to be who we are? I have always been OK about my body and image until I had the twins and since then I have really struggled with my tummy. But you are right, who cares? It is normal and it’s just me now! Thanks for sharing yet another fabulous post on #sundaystars – you are fast becoming my blog crush!!!!!!! Jess x

    • Wow thank you Jess! Your wonderful comment has made my day!!! Really really pleased you’re managing to still like your body, even though it’s changed somewhat. X

  • It’s so important to focus on the people that love you rather than those who make you feel small. My perfect is now larger than it ws before the three girl but I’m happy with where I am. I like a good meal too much to be skinnier. This is my norm, this is me! #sundaystars

  • This is fab, just what every woman needs to hear! I think I’m managing to feel better about my body the older I get, I think having two kids and seeing myself go up and down in size has given me some better perspective! X

    • Thanks Julia! I just hope it might help a little. Truly delighted to hear you feel better about your body now you’re older (me too!). x

  • What lovely, confident words. I see lots of women in my job and many apologise for their bodies when I examine them. So sad. Celebrate your gorgeous womanly shapes and help your children to love theirs too.

    • Thank you so much for your kinds but oh my gosh Juliet, that’s dreadful :( We really have got a long way to go until women accept and celebrate their beautiful bodies x

  • I find number 5 a particularly helpful piece of advice. Women’s magazines are just there to make us feel inadequate and showcase what we don’t have. “Look! Rich and women more beautiful than you wearing things you can’t afford”

  • This is a really great post and great tips. I am very bad at comparing myself to others but I am trying to get better at not doing it. I hope I am getting better at all these things as I get older. xx #brillblogposts

  • Great post my darling!!! You are my inspiration for most things to do with being kind to myself so thank you once again. And perfect timing – January kind of sucks! So many resolutions and not enough time.

    Love you lady and all your lovely…erm, I’m going to sound like a perve so will leave it there!

    #TheList xx

  • Oh darling, wise, wise words and ones I need to remember when I’m tough on myself. Thank you as always you beautiful lady inside and out. Bloody lucky to know you! Mwah, thanks for linking up too x

  • This is such a brilliant post – thank you so much for writing it. Funnily enough, I think I am happier with my body more now I am a mum. It made a gorgeous little person. It grew her in my tummy for 9 months and then allowed me to go through the very physical process of giving birth. I know it will never be the same again but I am bloody proud of what it achieved. #brilliantblogposts Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • Hooray! That’s exactly how I feel too. I remember feeling like super woman when Elsie was born. Thanks so much for sharing x

  • I loved this post so much – it’s so important to have positive people around you, and to look and actively appreciate your positive points. We women are incredible creatures, eh?! Thanks so so much for linking up to #allaboutyou darling xxx

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