I Want to Love My Body, But How?

love-tummyOne of the most common questions that I get is “I want to love my body/myself, but how do I do it?”  I’m going to give some ideas but I’m really hoping that people reading this will leave their own ideas in the comments.

There are some things I want to acknowledge before I get too far into this.  First, it’s totally cool if people aren’t interested in the concept of loving their body. As always my goal is to provide options, not obligations.  I also want to be clear that we live in an environment that is absolutely toxic when it comes to loving our bodies – convincing us to hate ourselves has become incredibly profitable for industries including the diet industry, the beauty industry, plastic surgery etc. so people who are gifted at crafting persuasive messages get paid tons of money to convince us to see ourselves as flawed.  Because we are constantly bombarded with this messaging, at least from my perspective, loving ourselves is an ongoing process.

Finally, with any of these ideas your mileage may vary. I can only speak to my own experience which includes a lot of privileges – white, currently able-bodied and neurotypical, queer with passing privilege, cisgendered, and good fatty privilege because of the activities that I enjoy, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.  Each of us comes to this with our own areas of privilege and oppression, and our own histories so I think it’s about trying different stuff and seeing what works.

My own process started with four realizations.

The first was that I had no problem with the bodies of other fat women – in fact I could find beauty in every body but mine –  and that was my first inkling that, if I didn’t hate their bodies, maybe I didn’t have to hate my body either.

The second realization was that I was the only person who could decide how I felt about my body (this also ties into the privilege of neurotypicality). That was a powerful realization for me because it meant that I could change the way that I felt about myself.  Again, I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a strong believe that it was possible.

The third realization was that I treated my friends way better than I treated myself.  This led me to shift my perspective to thinking of my body as somewhat separate – as a friend and partner.  It was easy for me to make good decisions for my body when I thought of it as a friend

The fourth realization was that I had spent so many years hating my body for not looking like a stereotype of beauty that I hadn’t had even a minute’s worth of appreciation for everything that my body did for me.  That was the realization that shocked me into action.  I went home and took out a notebook and started writing down everything that I could think of that my body did for me and that I liked about my body (I got granular – breathing, blinking, heartbeat, my curly hair, my eyes that change color) it was a pretty long list.  Then I worked to notice negative thoughts I had about my body and when I noticed them I would interrupt them and replace them with gratitude for something (anything!) on the list. It took about three months but at the end fo that time I had profoundly changed my relationship with my body.

At the same time I made a point of noticing something beautiful about every body that I saw.  When something about someone caught my eye because it was outside the stereotype of beauty, I focused on what was amazing about it.  When I had negative thoughts I reminded myself that I had been spoon-fed these ideas by industries that profit from my thinking them; and that if they didn’t serve me or didn’t feel authentic, then I was free to replace those thoughts with thoughts that I came up with on my own that did serve me and felt authentic.

I went on the only successful “diet” of my life – I went on a strict “no negative body talk” diet.  I stopped engaging in body snarking of any kind, and I either interrupted it or walked away when other people did it around me.  I stopped clicking on “best and worst bodies” and “who wore it better” articles, I stopped looking at magazines that had content or advertising that was likely to be body negative.  I created a nifty mantra to think immediately when I saw a commercial or ad or billboard or anything that had negative body talk – the mantra was “That’s Bullshit!”  I know, it’s really subtle – you may want to choose something more direct!

I realized how completely bombarded I had been with pictures of a single type of body and I actively sought out pictures of diverse bodies.  Some places I can recommend for this are:

Fat People of Color  (check out the great posts and help three of the members get the Detroit to present at the Allied Media Conference.)

The Adipositivity Project (NSFW unless your W is extra awesome)

Full Figure Entertainment Gallery

The Fit Fatties Forum Photo Gallery

The Visible Belly Outline Tumbler

Know others?  Put ’em in the comments!

And I had a lot of compassion for myself.  Changing thoughts and patterns that are ingrained and reinforced by the culture is really hard work.  It took time, there were often backslides and mistakes, and I found that the best ways to NOT succeed was not having compassion for myself in the learning process, not having patience, and trying to rush it along.  Patience, persistence, and belief that I would get there were the keys to my success.

As an epilogue, after I learned to love my body I faced challenges when I had injuries or illnesses so I’ll add a fifth realization – that in my experience the best way to handle this is to see it as me and my body against a problem rather than me against my body.

The bottom line for me is that my body is amazing, it does so many things for me and I believe that my body deserves nothing less than my full-throated support – whether it’s asking for an armless chair so that my butt can be comfortable, demanding good evidence-based healthcare, or standing up to societal stigma and bullying.  To me a big part of loving my body is making sure that I give my body the treatment it deserves.

So that’s me, I absolutely encourage other ideas in the comments – again, there is no “right” or “wrong” and this isn’t about convincing people that there is, it’s all about giving each other ideas and options!

Like the blog?  Consider becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.

What do member fees support?  I get hundreds of requests a day (not including hatemail) from academic to deeply personal. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (and let me just give a huge THANK YOU to my members, I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Here’s more cool stuff:

Are you looking for a way to do some fun movement this summer (and get prizes for it?)  Consider a Fit Fatty Virtual Summer Vacation!

My Book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for detail

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post

Published in: on May 30, 2014 at 9:55 am  Comments (41)  

41 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am currently in the middle of a HUGE bout of a depression (attempted suicide a few weeks ago) so not loving myself that well now…but some things that helped me.

    First we discovered a few years ago that our 9yo had an eating disorder when we found her weighing herself and rejoicing at losing weight. It didn’t last long and she is fit and healthy and happy now. First thing we did was toss the scales and changed all the language we used about our bodies in the house.

    Then I gave up dieting entirely. I reminded myself I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (which helped me stop binging because the shops were across the road and if I wanted a cheesecake I could go get it anytime). This changed my frame of mind and I ended up mostly eating well and listening to my body – ok too much cheesecake the last few days I really really feel like a huge bowl of steamed vege. While I know this is about how I changed my eating behaviors no longer weighing my food or constantly trying to lose weight meant I stopped thinking about losing weight. Which just left me generally happier…but also less body hating.

    But the thing that has had the most impact is selfies on instagram. At first I thought I would be ostracised or teased and I was never happy with the pictures. But the more I looked at myself the more I liked the way I looked. The wonderful comments helped too, but it was mainly an activity of beautiful vanity.

    I also try to remember all the awesome things my body has done for me. Ok I have stretch marks and post baby pouch 10 years on from my last child but my body made 4 people. Actual people (and the last pregnancy made two people…who it grew to full size – biggest babies born in the hospital that week). Who are now growing up and wanting to change the world. My eldest wants to volunteer for everything. My 12yo wants to do civil engineering in the army (going and building hospitals and schools) and my twins…well they just make the world better by being ridiculously happy and refusing to even acknowledge any social norms. I made those people with this body. And my saggy boobs – well they continued to grow actual people once they came out of me. I mean my body does other cool things like breathe and move me around ect….but it made people. Awesome people.

    Surprisingly (sarcasm) loving my body more has led to me looking after it more.

    sorry for the long comment. Hope it helps someone.

    (ps – see that not one of those reasons is because someone else decided my body was worthy of love. My husband has loved my body longer than me. But like anything, I believe that someone else loving your body won’t actually help all that much – just my thoughts)

    • Those are some beautiful thoughts, Miss Fairchild. And I, for one, and profoundly grateful the suicide attempt was unsuccessful.

    • Great comments. I hope the positive self-talk helps with your depression.

    • I go through suicide ideation many days out of the month as my situation is far from ideal. I have type 2 bipolar disorder, which compounds the depression and discouragement. I sympathize with the depths of despair that people like us can feel.
      I’m glad that you were able to catch your nine year old’s eating disorder in time.
      Take care.

  2. Everything you said was also a part of my journey.

    The first step was a feminist/political analysis of what the world does to women — and a decision not to participate in that any longer.
    Over the years, practicing self-compassion has been the most important way to stay steadfast in that ongoing journey of self-love and body-love. I’m surprised to realize as I write this that even after decades of working on this and making it my career to help other women work on this.. It still isn’t easy to say “I love my body”. Somedays I love a great deal about it. I certainly don’t loathe it or starve it or take it for granted or ignore it’s needs anymore. I have made peace with my body. I accept the body I have and when I have twinges of disappointment in my body (foot issues that hold me back from something I want to do, a shifting shape as I age, disappointment when I pull out last summer’s clothes and a favourite pair of paints won’t do up) then I see that as an opportunity to practice self-compassion.

  3. I found it very helpful to engage in small acts of rebellion against the system I know is oppressing me…. for example, when I’m in the grocery store check out line and there are all those awful magazines with terrible things about women’s bodies on the cover, I turn them over. Both so that I don’t have to look at them and so that the next woman and little girl don’t have to either. I also found it helpful to make my views public in small ways that were comfortable for me, like sharing articles (like from this blog!) on Facebook. I also found it extremely helpful to have my own blog where I journaled all my navel gazing insights. This was both helpful for me personally but I also think it was helpful in that it allowed my friends and family to see what I was doing and know that I was not going to engage in the body hate towards myself or them, I think it can help in stopping those conversations before they start. That was my experience anyway.

    • my subconscious got into the small acts of rebellion bandwagon last night — I dreamed I was at my chiropractor when my doctor came in just as I was saying how much I hated my doctor. They started talking about how I needed to lose weight and I started YELLING so everyone could hear about how a diet industry that takes in as much money as it does would have cured ohmygoddeathfat if they had a cure for it. I turned to my friend, in the dream, and congratulated myself on my outspokenness. …. now for the real world!😎

    • “…when I’m in the grocery store check out line and there are all those awful magazines with terrible things about women’s bodies on the cover, I turn them over. Both so that I don’t have to look at them and so that the next woman and little girl don’t have to either.”

      I am so doing that from now on.

    • I like reblogging these posts on my own blog. My blog is a crappy little P.O.S. that hardly anyone reads, but if I can get the word out to anyone at all, so much the better.

  4. I found admitting that I have a body helped a lot. Sounds weird I know, but I spent years thinking that the ‘me’ I thought of was my brain and the body was just this vehicle I used to get around in. So I started looking at myself in the mirror (ok I had to get a mirror first…..) and then graduated to looking at myself naked in the mirror and pointing out to my brain that actually what was in the mirror was me as well. And it was horrible and uncomfortable but since I’d never identified as someone who was thin – or even thought of thinness as something that was achievable for me! – I got more used to it.

    I spent time rubbing lotion into my dry skin. I took care of my hair (which is pretty damn awesome, particularly today after a cut/restyle). I started buying clothes I wanted to wear, that felt comfortable and instituting a complete ban on all clothes that would leave deep red gouges in my skin (aside from sports bras – have yet to find one that support while not leaving deep red gouges…..)

    And I read a lot on how there are all sorts of different bodies and basically diversity works.

    • Re: sports bra – there are a few I have found that aren’t too painful and that actually do support well. I needed to get a proper fitting to make sure that I had the right band size (which keeps pressure off the shoulders/straps). Glamorise 1006 (biggerbras.com) is my favorite. ALSO: I hear you on the basic-ness of admitting to having a body. I’ve been cut off at the chin for decades…very necessary to acknowledge my corpor-realities….

  5. The next step could be that you learn to laugh at these things rather than avoid them…………

  6. Weirdly enough, one of the things that I found most helpful in my journey to self-love was fashion.

    Since I was a child, I’ve had a strong interest in fashion history and the myriad ways people adorn themselves. I’ve got a massive library on the subject that I’ve been collecting for nearly forty years.

    And here’s the bit that helped me: the best of those books include photographs/portraits of actual human beings, not just idealized sketches. So even as a child I saw that there were always a wide variety of body types in the world. I saw truly fat women in the English Renaissance, right down to the ‘Stout Women’s’ section in the 1927 Sears Roebuck catalogue, to what I witnessed in my own mirror. I read diary entries where women complained about being too thin for the fashion of their day. Best of all, I saw a series of sculptures an artist did of what women would look like if they were actually built like the ideal fashionable lines of all the major fashion trends of the Victorian era. That one really opened my eyes.

    Once I really delved into the history further back than my own century, and looked at places other than the US and popular bits of Europe, I couldn’t help noticing that there’s always a beauty ideal and that most people just plain don’t fit it naturally. This is universal.

    So I looked at the wide variety of what was out there and decided to adorn myself in the things that I liked best and felt good wearing, fashion and expectation be damned! After all, there was nothing wrong with my body. If someone else considered it too short, too fat, too oddly slung together… that was their problem, not mine.

    Another thing that has been tremendously helpful in the past few years is the DVR. I record all my programs to watch later and skip past the commercials designed to fill me with self-loathing to sell me shit I don’t need that won’t do what it claims it will.

    On the other hand, back when I was writing Manolo for the Brides I took on the task of parsing out popular mythology being sold to us in bridal reality programming. Really sitting down and parsing out the nonsense and toxic messages was oddly freeing. I could look at the script and see just how twisted it was. I walked straight through that looking glass and then wrote it all down to help other women find their way out, too.

    And then there is my mother. She’s long gone, but I know what she did as a fat woman in a world that didn’t respect either. I know what a strong, passionate, fierce crusader she was for education and kid’s welfare. I know how many people adored her. I know how much difference she made in the world. If I hated myself for being fat, then I would have to discount everything she did and hate her, too. That’s never going to happen.

    • Do you know if those statues of what women’s bodies would look like if they matched Victorian ideals are online? I’d really like to see them.

      • I honestly don’t know and I don’t remember who made them. What’s more, the book I found them in is currently residing in a box in a room I can’t physically access at the moment, so I can’t just go look up who made them.

        But if you look carefully at some old fashion plates and think about how women would look if their bustles, hoops, etc. were part of their bodies… it can really blow your mind.

        • All of that is really amazing. We got a book at our library and it’s English costume from about 900 to the 1970s. It’s got 4 female and 4 male figures for each time period. Some of them are 100 yrs, some 50, some 10 (like 900-1000, 1350-1400, 1960-1970). They really changed over time, from a drape like outfit, to multi-layered dresses, and now we have pants and skirts.

  7. In college, we analyzed advertisements and watched the film Killing Us Softly about how ads show all women’s bodies. After that, I’ve become much better at seeing how the media purposely wears down our self-esteem and self-image. Now it’s easier for me to call “bullshit” when I see these ads, which definitely gives me power to define how I feel about myself. Not to say that it’s easy to love myself now, but it definitely makes it easier to be able to pick apart the ads that are shoved down our throats everywhere we go.

    Your realization #1 also helped me. I think chubby/fat women are very attractive/beautiful, and applying that to my own body definitely helps me. Whenever I think a negative thought about my body, I just think how it wouldn’t matter to me at all if it were about someone else’s body, like a friend or a lover. It helps me treat myself at least as well as I do other people.

    Thank you for this, Ragen, and everyone else who shares their stories here. I love all of you❤

    • Oh gosh! I’d completely forgotten Killing Us Softly, but I saw it years ago and it was a big eye-opener. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Bravo!!!! You continue to amaze me. I too am working on replacing the negative thoughts. It is not easy but I am glad to see it’s possible by your success.

    Thanks for promoting West Coast Swing on a FB post that I saw. it is my passion too. xo

  9. Reblogged this on The Quirky Quaintrelle and commented:
    I needed to reblog this so I can always find it quickly!

  10. First of all, reading blogs like this one has been huge in my body love journey. It has helped me to see that loving myself exactly as I am is a viable option! I also started throwing any catalogues directly into the recycling bin without looking at them because they made me dislike my body and my life, and want to buy all the shit in said catalogues to try to attain some sort of idealized version of life. I realize this is the point of advertising but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me and I now call bullshit. I have also stopped looking at magazines focused on weight loss or trying to attain a certain standard of beauty, as well as stopped clicking on body-judging articles on the internet (that “body after baby” BS drives me nuts). I stopped weighing myself and I stopped looking at my naked body in the mirror, at least for now. I would love to get to the point of looking at my body and loving what I see, but it is still a huge trigger and invites a barrage of negative self-talk about my body, so I won’t do it until I can get to a healthier place.

  11. 1. Knowledge helps me love myself.
    I understand now that dieting is bullshit. The only “diet” that ever worked for me was the year I was too busy to count calories, work out, and weigh myself. I lost 15 pounds that year. Not that weight loss matters or is good. But this was my first clue that dieting, like douching, wearing concealer, and using cotton swabs in your ears, is not only completely unnecessary, but possibly the very cause of the thing you’re trying to fix. I have zero respect for companies that manufacture problems–for women, mostly–and then ask for money to “fix” them. I refuse to be a part of it.

    2. I surround myself with people who love me.
    The level of self-esteem I have right now (which, for me, is high) is in no small part due to the people in my life. I’m privileged to be married to a guy who understands and supports fat activism. He tells me every day that I’m beautiful. Some day, I would like to be at a place where I don’t need to be told that I’m pretty to feel good about myself, but I’m not there yet, and I can’t stress how much, for me, it means to have someone in my life who thinks I look good and says so.

    3. I limited contact with toxic people.
    Until a few years ago, I had been living with people who hated their bodies. They were always on diets. They were always talking about how much weight they’d lost or how much they hated their bodies. It’s very hard to get away from that mentality when you’re surrounded by it. Of all the things I’ve done to love myself, moving away from that environment was the most effective. I love these people and I visit them often, and I’m glad to now be living in a place where I can think clearly and maybe, as a result, help these people some day.

    4. Reading helps me love myself.
    Every year I re-read Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size, the book that woke me up. Every morning I read Dances With Fat. It only takes a few minutes, and it keeps me in a good, strong frame of mind all day.

    5. I make fun of advertising.
    One thing my mom did when I was growing up, that I intend to do for my children, is make fun of commercials. “You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean? Two guesses where they pulled that information and slogan from.” Doing this dis-empowers advertisers and makes you love yourself more for being so clever. It’s also a great exercise for developing your kids’ critical thinking skills.

    6. I see pretty people.
    Ever since I read about it in this blog, I’ve been making an effort to find something beautiful about every person I interact with. And, you know, there are a ton of beautiful people in this world when you take the time to look. It’s hard to see all those good-looking men and women and not also recognize the ways that you’re like them.

  12. in addition to all of the above, i took a body love ecourse from golda poretsky. within the first 2 weeks i felt so much better about myself! now i feel confident and beautiful. some days are more challenging than others, of course. it is always a work in progress!

  13. i don’t love my body — not because it’s fat but because it has the wrong parts (i’m transsexual). but i’ve moved on from hating it because hating it never made me feel better; it was wasted emotion, and if anything, it was making me feel worse all the time, sapping my energy, without any results. you said “in my experience the best way to handle this is to see it as me and my body against a problem rather than me against my body” — yup, that has worked for me. this is the body i have, and i can’t trade it in. and while it doesn’t have the right parts in some regards, in others, namely all those that keep me alive. it does have the right parts, and it mostly does the right things (not so much with the depression and the heart problem, but that i can even sit here and complain about those is a testament to how many things my body does right).

    and that is worthy of celebrating. i can walk in the woods, i can swim in the ocean, i can read amazing fiction, i can learn how science works, i can think about complex issues, i can laugh at esoteric puns, i can communicate with other people, i can take care of a myriad of diverse things, none of which i could do if i didn’t have my body.

    another important thing i needed to learn was not to apply ridiculously high standards to myself. having high standards can be useful if they are reasonably achievable, if it makes me work harder to reach an important goal. when they’re out of reach, when they are standards about things that do actually not matter (like societally approved attractiveness), they’re damaging. i don’t apply ridiculously high standards to others — i love my partners regardless of their physical imperfections, i see the beauty in other people, so why was it even an issue that _i_ didn’t fit some impossible standard? twisted.

    it’s probably not obvious why rejecting capitalism has also done wonders for my attitude, but realizing that the vast majority of people who work for the system do not have my best interest at heart, but will always privilege the bottom line, has made it much easier to reject the entirety of the messages the diet, fitness, food, and beauty industries throw at me every day. i don’t watch advertising anymore (no TV, and ad blocker in my browser), and i am so much happier now than i was ever before. and that’s interesting, because i was well aware of how manipulative those messages were before i stopped watching them, but apparently they still seeped in anyway. so let me heartily recommend that you don’t just throw out your scale and diet food, but seriously evaluate your consumption of consumer goods in general — everything that parades beautifully airbrushed people in front of us to sell us goods we do not actually need. because we are NOT defective.

    • You’re so right about how the messages creep in even when you know how toxic they are. After all, if you hear the same message repeated over and over and over again all day… even when you know it’s bullshit, you still hear it and a little piece of you remains indoctrinated. It’s insidious.

      Also, thanks for an alternate perspective. It’s interesting to hear from the horse’s mouth, as it were, about how this question plays out for someone who’s trans.

    • Yes, as if those goods are suddenly going to make us desirable. Just brush with Toothpaste X and wear Deodorant Y and you will be transformed into the ultimate specimen of desirability!
      I haven’t had television service in my house for three years now. I’m so glad I got rid of it. Sure, the same vile messages are still out there, but at least they aren’t constantly streaming into my home now.

  14. Seeking out and really looking at all kinds of bodies has been very instrumental in my loving my body.

    I have a lot of privilege in regards to being fat. While I weigh around 245-250, I am of the small waist/small face variety. I’m white and generally considered attractive. My health has always been quite good. But comparing myself to others doesn’t make me like myself more. It’s in seeing my uniqueness (along with everyone else’s) that allows the love in. I’m not supposed to be tall and thin and that’s okay. I’m just supposed to be me.

    This has also made taking care of myself easier. I don’t eat veggies and take a walk to lose weight. I do it because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good.

    Not every day is like this but I can catch myself much faster in the downward spiral if my pants are tight or my breathing becomes belabored after a couple of flights of stairs. That’s the best part. Dwelling on what I don’t like doesn’t last very long when I consciously switch my focus to what I do like about myself and my life.

    And reading this blog and others like it regularly to remind myself that it’s not just me, I’m not alone. Even supermodels have issues with their bodies and most likely it’s because of the culture we live in and not because there is anything wrong with any body.

  15. I’ve always had a hard time taking compliments because I had such a poor self-image. So I started by responding to every compliment with “thank you”. And I would smile. I would not argue with it, I would just take it in. (Even when they say a picture of me looks good, which is a compliment I have a very hard time accepting.) Eventually after just accepting compliments, you can begin to believe that the person complimenting you isn’t lying. And then later on you can begin to believe their compliments yourself.

    You can also start looking for the beauty in others, if you don’t do so already. Try not to judge people on their looks, and find something you like about everyone. Once you get good at that, you can begin to realize that you have beauty, too.

    For me, it’s amazing how much finding properly fitting clothing has helped. I found bras that fit my larger breasts, and I gave up on wearing blue jeans because they are just too painful. So now I have underwear that makes me feel good about myself, and I am experimenting with clothes that make me feel good about myself, instead of sticking with my “blue jeans and ill-fitting shirts” routine that just made me feel ugly. It’s awesome how nice it feels to replace my “I give up” underwear and clothing with pretty stuff that makes me feel good.

    • I can’t wear jeans either. The stiff material and the zipper bother my c-section scar. 24 years after the fact, this is still the case.
      I used to buy into the idea that I would somehow have triumphed when I could wear “pants with a waist” again. Now, I wear what’s comfortable. Admissibly, I prefer loose clothes. Part of the reason is because of the unwanted sexual harassment that I got when I was younger, and part of it is because I’ve been sexually assaulted. I don’t feel comfortable wearing clothes that fit tightly. But I do want them to look nice to me even though they are baggy.

  16. I spent most of my life disconnected from my body, probably as a result of childhood sexual abuse. I lived in my head and didn’t really acknowledge the fact that I HAD a body. I love being barefoot year round but in the winter my feet would be absolutely freezing. Yet there was such a disconnect I could totally ignore it.

    Being a part of my body and my body being a part of me is still a work in progress. But these days I put on soft, warm, fuzzy socks when my feet are cold. I try to pay attention to the signals my body is sending me, and appreciate all it does for me.

    For me, it wasn’t about disliking my body so much as consciously dealing with the fact that I had a body. My thinking is still skewed in some areas. I can look at my naked body in a full length mirror and think hmmm, lots of rolls and large overall, but not repulsive in any way. Yet I despise seeing photographs of myself because then I think I look terrible. It’s like there are two different versions of the truth and I don’t know which one is real. But I’ve gotten better in the last couple of years in not running from the sight of a camera. I may not like the way I look in photos but I decided I wasn’t going to continue to hide. My 4 sisters still roll their eyes at how I insist on being in the back of any group pictures, but at least they no longer have to beg me to be in them. That’s progress, right?

  17. I watch a fair amount of movies and tv shows. I found that this can be dangerous because the most of the actors are a certain age, weight and size (and color). I found that British shows are less bad in this regard, so I sometimes watch those.

    When it gets too bad, I make myself stop watching TV for awhile.

    It also helps to just people watch. Everyday people do NOT look like the people on TV. Seriously. Go sit somewhere and just people watch and really take in all the different kinds of people.

  18. Thank you for your work in trying to help people to accept themselves whatever the size they are.
    Because I’ve got PCOS, my weight has always been an issue. 20kg above the ‘perfect’ weight was a standard. Now I lost some of it but I still have the mentality of an overweight person. No matter the size I see little difference. As far as I can remember it’s been like that.
    Your insights were helpful. I’ll have them in mind.

  19. I started out with baby steps…doing things people told me fat people should never do. Short haircut, horizontal stripes, polka dots, chunky belts. Once I realized I didn’t have to be constrained by what magazines (and my mom) told me fat girls had to do/not do, I started to figure out how much of what I was led to believe was–as others have said, bullshit.

    Also, try not to talk to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t talk to a sister, a co worker, or a close friend.

  20. Sigh. I left a couple of links in my comment per your request for other potential resources above, and it looks like it got my comment stuck in moderation with the spam. Sorry about that :(>

  21. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    Gonna be really straightforward with y’all here. I have learned to accept my body. I have learned to respect it. On good days, I’m even okay with it. I’ve gotten to the point where even on bad days I refuse to call myself the kinds of names that I used to.
    But love my body? I honestly don’t think that can ever happen in this lifetime.
    Sometimes a person might have to accept that better is better and quit kicking themselves for not being able to have a perfect attitude. This is something that I’ve had to learn.

  22. This is really helpful. I’ll be bringing this to the next Largely Positive support group meeting, thanks!

    • Hi Deborah,

      That totally makes my day. Have fun at the meeting!

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

  23. Great tips!

    I do a logical assessment of the situation every morning. Basically, in therapy I learned that my brain is lying to me that I am worthless etc.

    So I ask myself questions like: does it really matter what others think? Will their opinions of you make you happy? Does it matter for the core of the problems, your values and aspirations? I have better stuff to do such as enjoying jogging or hanging out with friends than staring at my not toned and flabby belly.
    I try to take off all the layers of prejudice and social constructs and just live my life.

    In the end, I have confidence in most areas of life except in the dating department which I am sure I’d be clumsy at no matter my size.

  24. This was inspiring & important, thank you. Also, http://www.about-face.org/ is a great organization that is a constant reminder of the harmful affects of the media/society & also reassures me I am not alone & it is not my fault if I do not love my body. I recommend checking it out!

  25. I can’t even get to your first realisation. But I hadn’t actually worked that out until I read this so I’m a step further down the line. Have written my thoughts at http://fightingforsanity2010.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/fat-and-horrible/


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