I have had such body image problems and for as long as I could remember, have defined my level of worth and loveability by my body :( Ouch, I spent years in pain. I am working through it, learning, transitioning, taking steps along the way...
My one concern is that I am learning to love myself as I am losing weight, and it seems like the more I lose, the easier it will be to mix up feeling good about myself because I love myself and love my body versus loving the idea of having a skinny body. I want to love myself unconditionally and that includes my body... but I feel like this might be so much easier to do when I am at my "goal weight" for example, than it is now.. so how will I know that I actually love myself unconditionally and I would love myself all the same even if I was 100 lbs heavier again? After all, no one (most people?) don't like being overweight, regardless how much self-esteem and self-love they have. Being overweight just doesn't feel good, so I imagine I'll feel better being at a healthy weight than I do at my current weight not to mention feeling successful in having lost weight. But this might get all mixed in there with loving my body.. and maybe I'll think I love my body and myself but I truly don't?
And how do you love your body when you obviously truly don't like the way it looks? And I truly do have a lot of fat on my body... so I very much dislike the way it looks. I am grateful for what I can do because of my physical health, I know there is more to our bodies than our appearances, but I feel like my acquaintance with my body is mostly physical and appearance oriented... maybe that's one of the problems?
I want to love my body.. but I'm still not sure how to do that exactly..
I know that's a little roundabout.. but can anyone relate or have any thoughts? It's something I've been thinking about for a while..
11-05-2006, 03:49 AM
I can relate to a lot of what you said. I am very fickle about loving my body.
One thing I try to do is think of all the things that my body can do for me. My increasing strength amazes me. Simply being able to enjoy the feeling of a good stretch...
As I lose weight, of course I do love seeing the smaller sizes, the more appealing lines of my form.
But I am sometimes astounded at the fact that I can feed myself the right amount of good food, be more active, and my body RESPONDS! I treat my body well, do what I know should make me lose weight, and my body sheds fat.
I am not trying to paint an unrealistic or overly rosy picture. Of course there are weeks when I have worked and not seen results. I guess what I am trying to express is that this process has really just helped me get more in touch with my body. I look forward to learning even more!
11-05-2006, 03:53 AM
Back in high school, I was thin but still felt fat (because I had flab, not muscle, but I didn't realize it because I was young and dumb) and didn't like my body. Five years and 30 pounds later, I realized that I should've just been satisfied and tried to maintain through exercise instead of dieting my way up the scale. But the funny thing is, during those five years I gained knowledge and with it confidence and ended up loving myself more even though I weighed more. Maybe it's just a part of growing up.
11-05-2006, 05:31 AM
First of all, CONGRATS on losing over 20 lbs! That is a great achievement :D. You are on your way to goal! But I understand how you feel (I'm sure many of us do :) ). It is great to think of what we are going to look like once we reach the end, but like many of us, it is still a long way to go (I may have 30 more lbs to lose, but it sure is taking forever :lol:). Not saying you can't think about it, but suggesting you draw your focus more on how far you have got and think of things about your body that excite you now! For me, I'm enjoying those last days my 'puppies' will ever be a C cup :rofl:. I know, silly, but it keeps me on toe...
I do, also agree with the others (great examples ;) )
What I look forward to is the slowly deflating tummy and everything else. It excites me that I am actually losing it, and soon enough it will be gone :P. At times I do have those 'down' days but comparing myself now to how I was before changes my perception.
Maybe you can take pictures occasionally, or at every 5-10lbs down, it could help :).
I hope I have been of some help, and I hope you will feel better :hug:
You are not alone :carrot:
11-05-2006, 05:40 AM
I have been through the same thought process. As I am getting smaller I am becoming more confident, but I still dont like what I look like at the moment. To me I look in the mirror and I am the same as what I was 42lbs ago. The only way I can really tell is by the fact that most of the trousers I wore then now come off without me having to undo them.
It is a whole confidence thing, and learning to love ourselves is going to be difficult. What makes it even harder is the fact that people do love you no matte what size you are. For example boyfriends and husbands. My boyfriends has always told me that I am not fat, and now he thinks I look ill from the side view!
I guess ultimately it is a case of doing what we do to make ourselves, and no one else, happy. I know i will be happier when I am at my goal weight (14lbs more to go!), I hope you guys are too.
11-05-2006, 08:21 AM
I understand and can relate completely. The fact of the matter is is that I hate the way my body "LOOKS", of that there is no doubt. I am grossly overweight, how can it possibly look good? How can I possibly LOVE how I LOOK? Having said that I got to thinking about what you said. Hmm let's see. I know this might sound corny, but for the time being we CAN find things to love about our body. I love the fact that it functions, the heart and lungs and brain, etc. are incredible organs that keep us going day in and day out. And all those things have not failed me even though I have abused me body with food and that is definitely something to love. My body has not let me down yet. Incredbily so I don't have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol or anywhere near diabetes and my EKG was perfect and that's certainly something to be thankful for. I am absolutely loving the fact that my body is helping me to reverse the way it looks as I am treating it better with healthy foods and exercise. So for the time being let's try to love what our bodies do and how they function rather then how they "LOOK". And quite frankly if my body didn't "LOOK" so bad I probably wouldn't have the desire to lose all this weight. The weight is so unhealthy for us and if it didn't look so bad we wouldn't want to get rid of it. And we all know that the most important reason to get rid of the weight is not our looks, but our health. So the mind is smart - it's telling us we hate how we look, good do something, get rid of that extra weight, sure you'll love the way your body looks, but as an added bonus you'll be healthier.
You can not judge yourself by how your body looks. Just because my body right now is overweight doesn't mean that I am not a good person. I AM a good person and quite lovable. I can still be a great mother, wife, daughter, friend, worker, housekeeper, sister, community leader, etc., etc.in spite of all the extra weight. And I am. Although truthfully I am hoping all those things will improve as I gain more energy through weightloss.
Will I love the way my body looks MORE when I am done with my weight loss - oh yeah, who wouldn't? I think this is perfectly normal. I most probably will never love the way my body looks, there's gonna be extra skin and flab and I'll still only be 5 feet tall. But if I can lose all this weight, and I really think I can (hey you gotta be positive) that's a pretty amazing thing and you gotta love it.
11-05-2006, 10:22 AM
Well, if you didn't have your body, you'd be dead.
Seriously, life is a beautiful, precious thing and your body WORKS! And, it is changeable. When you change how you treat it, it changes how you look.
I had a body/mind split for many years. My defining characteristics were based on brains and intellect. THAT was who I was.
Except that I was more than that.
Our physical sides are important. My body grew and birthed and nourished my children. My arms hug, my hands prepare food, my mouth reads stories and tells them that I love them.
Embrace your physicality (is that a word??). You ARE your body, too, but that is a good thing! Your body shelters you and moves you. And thank goodness that we can change the amount of fat on our bodies. Other things we may not like can only be changed by surgery. But we can shrink our fat by taking charge of what we do.
Sorry for my early am ramblings. I hope I make sense a bit....
11-05-2006, 12:40 PM
Ditto midwife. I love that. You have great early am ramblings!
11-05-2006, 01:44 PM
Honestly, I don't think I could've lost the weight I have if I didn't learn to love myself. If you are filled with self loathing and hate for your body, then I believe you create a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will always have a body you hate.
My recommendations are the following:
1) Banish negative thoughts about yourself. If you start thinking negative, stop and say something positive about yourself.
2) Focus on the positive. Yes I have flab, fat and jiggle. I also have muscles, strong legs, strong arms and I have the ability to do a variety of things others can't do. I can climb stairs regularly, I can hike or walk for many miles. My body is becoming more flexible. I am beautiful. Some fat, jiggle and flab doesn't negate my beauty.
3) Do things that help you feel beautiful. Look for clothes that show off your assets but avoid clothes that don't flatter your figure. Get a manicure, get a pedicure (or do your own), get your hair cut/styled, wear a little makeup. Buy a special lotion/body wash that you know will help you feel good when you shower.
4) You are you and your body is the only body you have. You need to nourish your body and exercise your body so it can reach its full potential. Foster a loving environment with your body.
11-05-2006, 02:15 PM
Learning to love my body, was learning to take better care of it. To appreciate it for what it was. My life.
11-05-2006, 02:21 PM
My self help group always told me:
1) The best relationship you can have is the relationship with yourself.
2) you can't love anyone if you can't love yourself.
Everyone here pretty much said all I had in mind. I use to always match my happiness with how I looked. And one day it kinda clicked for me.
Why should I care about matching the standards of other people? Those people don't matter. Only I matter, I want to be healthy for me... not for them. if they have a problem with me looking like this....well tough cookies.
Then poof, I felt much better. It was so simple for me. I always worried about how my butt looked, or my stomach, but why?....why does it matter? I stopped being worried about the way I looked and started worrying about the way I felt. Do I feel healthy? Do I have good eating habbits? Should I lose 10 pounds just to see how much better I feel?
It's easy to love someone else, and very hard to love oneself. But I think that if we just learn to accept ourselves and start taking responsibility for our own happiness.. then things should be just fine. ^_^
Just my 2 cents.
11-05-2006, 03:54 PM
I guess what you have to ask yourself is, do you define yourself by your appearance, or is there more to you than that?
It's funny how when someone else defines us by our appearance we immediately label them "superficial," but then go ahead and do the same thing to ourselves.
I think the key is to love your whole self--everything that makes you "you"--then how your body looks diminishes in importance because it is only one component of that. What is it your friends like about you? What qualities do you want people to see and admire in you? Work on those, and the imperfections in your body won't seem so important.
11-06-2006, 08:43 AM
I still struggle with by body image. I have lost about 60 pounds now and my jeans are definitely on the lower end of the rack sizes now, but I still look in the mirror and see a fat body. My 8 year old still says I am large......but my 23 year old is trying to give me her jeans and pleading with me to quit trying to lose anymore weight (I haven't told her that her jeans are too big for me yet and she is small in my eyes,LOL) Its so strange how we perceive ourselves. I have my good days and my bad days and I think I will continue to struggle with self acceptance even if I get to the point where I am underweight. On the bright side, you have already lost 20 pounds!!! That is something to congratuate yourself on!!!! Way to go!!!
11-06-2006, 10:08 AM
My favorite quote from GoddessJessica:
Love yourself--hating yourself does not speed up your weight loss.
(Sorry GJ, I may have butchered it, but the general idea is there!)
11-06-2006, 10:21 AM
Thanks everyone, you've all given me things to think about. This is going to be a process for me, but I hope that one day I will love and accept myself entirely. Sakai.. you're totally right:
1) The best relationship you can have is the relationship with yourself.
2) you can't love anyone if you can't love yourself.
I love those two, especially the first one. I think it is strongly understated that we even have a relationship with ourselves versus oh well this is just me and I have relationships with x y z people. Maybe I should start here. I'm not sure how to build a better relationship with myself, though I really like Nelie's suggestions.
Fedup: And quite frankly if my body didn't "LOOK" so bad I probably wouldn't have the desire to lose all this weight. The weight is so unhealthy for us and if it didn't look so bad we wouldn't want to get rid of it. That's great insight! I've never thought about it that way. Almost like nature provides for itself!
Fiddler: You're totally right! We do react like that sometimes (well I do..). Someone once said that when a friend of hers stopped to examine her thought patterns, she realized that if she ever heard someone speak to her the way she was speaking to herself, she would say they were verbally and emotionally abusing her! But here she was... doing it to herself!
11-06-2006, 01:46 PM
I use to think that way. If I lost weight I would love myself more, but now that I am losing weight and getting closer to my goal I am finding other things such as my teeth are not white enough, my hair is to thin, my boobs are not big enough. I have come to the conclusion that it has nothing to do with apperance but self image. I am learning to love myself along the way but it has nothing to do with what size I am wearing.
11-06-2006, 03:45 PM
I guess I have a somewhat different perspective, since I've got depression. And the depression screws with my mind enough that, when I'm really down, I literally cannot see the good things about me. It's as if they don't exist.
I guess the most I can do is see the things my body is capable of, in addition to how it looks. I've known a great number of people with varying degrees of physical disability, and it gives you a new appreciation for how your own body works. I have both my legs and both my arms. They bend easily, like they're supposed to. I can breathe with relative ease, and my heartbeat is steady.
So I guess I just look at it like a laundry list - only this time, instead of looking at what I DON'T like - I've half-developed a double chin, I only have 2 prs of jeans I can wear without muffin-top issues, my thighs jiggle when I try to run - I look at what I DO like. My hands are beautiful. I love my eyes and my hair. I'm pleasingly leggy.
And another approach...if you're a religious or spiritual person, this might help. See yourself as a creation of Deity (however you see that as personified). A son or daughter of the Creator/Creatrix. You carry in that body the spark of divinity. You are, in your own way, Deity personified. That body you hate? It is what was given you by your God/dess. Quit being disparaging about a gift from Her/Him. It's rude. ;)