Body Image DOES Matter

Yes yes, we keep saying that we shouldn't care about body image, that anyone of any size is fine and we should stop body shaming. We should be confident with the way we look and not care about what others think and just accept the way we are. We should ignore the media and just accept and enjoy life. Ha - easier said than done.

Technically, I believe that, too. However, all these "should" and "should nots" can make me go crazy sometimes! This is a battle I have been fighting since I was a teenager when I started caring about the way I looked. I started caring because everyone else was caring about MY body and made fun of me. Unfortunately, instead of owning up to it, I reacted by body shaming myself and hitting my own fingers whenever I grabbed food, trying to resist the temptation but failing ever so badly. Seven years later and I am talking about positivity and self acceptance, and this is still the biggest challenge I struggle with. Whereas I am much happier with the way I look, there are a couple of days each week where I catch myself staring in the mirror, judging. In fact, it is pretty much every morning if I am being honest already. And I can't stand it. First I tell myself off for having some flab around my tummy, and then I tell myself off for telling myself off and on the cycle goes. As soon as breakfast comes around, I ask myself 10 times what I should eat, instead of what I want to eat. 

So as much as we want body image not to matter, it still matters enormously. Whereas it doesn't really matter what everyone else thinks about you; I feel like most people don't mind that too much, it matters extremely what we think of our own bodies. And this is not something you can wave a magic wand with and hokey pokey you like yourself in the mirror. No, for most people, including me, it has been and still is a life long process. It is a daily struggle, and the media, ads and fitness frenzy are not helping. 

So what's the solution? To be honest, I haven't found a definite one yet. For me, the more I do what I love every day - which is dancing - and stay true to who I am, the more I have the genuine urge to be healthier and eat more consciously. Sweets and carbs are less appealing to me, because I want to feel at the top of my game, and I only feel that way with a balanced diet. So when I wake up with a flat tummy, I automatically feel better about myself. Of course, I don't want that to be the deciding factor for the way I feel, but I am working on it. I do believe that once you truly accept yourself for the way you are, this gets better. 

After all, we are all human beings, made of flesh and bone. We all have a soul, which I am sure we can agree on, is the most important of all. And some people are simply skinny, while others are curvy. Every body is so different, that I don't understand why we have come to the point where we say that a "perfect body" even exists. Then we'd have to kick 90% of the population off the planet. Plus, where would the fun be if everyone looked the same? 


So let's just do what feels good. Observe whether your body really needs as much food as you're giving it, whether you crave to do some sports, and how you feel after specific meals. Tailor your lifestyle according to your personal feelings and emotions. If you don't like to have breakfast, then don't. If you like chocolate, then just eat it. I absolutely love chocolate, and when I try to go with out it, there are times I go crazy. Yes, my skin gets clearer and I know the sugar is "bad" for me, but why torment myself? The difference lies in the fact that instead of uncontrollably eating a whole chocolate bar, just to eat a little every so and then, when I truly feel like having it. When we stay true to our inner feelings, and not our brain chemicals (which stimulate addictive behaviour), that piece of chocolate can even have a positive effect on our body. 

Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Life is here to enjoy, to have fun. Occasional challenges are exciting, too, but a daily dose of putting yourself down first thing in the morning is not necessary. Note that I am speaking to myself too here. So I get you - easier said than done. Yet I do believe that if we work on it step by step every day, one day, we will get there. 

I wrote "You are beautiful" on my mirror with my lipstick, and seeing that brings a smile to my face every morning. So that's the first step I took. 

What are you going to do?