Body Positivity

I was sitting on my couch, a glass of vino in hand, and told Mack I felt like my butt was flat and my arms are too big and my tummy was squishy. Literally just spewing out self hatred like I was recapping my day- and he looked at me, stunned, and just as easily told me all of that was not true, I have an amazing body, he can’t believe I think those things about myself. And I felt better.

Then I started thinking about that vicious cycle RIGHT THERE. We put ourselves down in front of loved ones, and hope they say a few words that silence our negativity for a night- or just a few hours. Why do we rely on others’ opinions of our bodies to silence the self hatred?! So, I got to thinking that if I do this and if I am challenging my loved ones to make me feel good about my body, I’m sure I’m not alone. Does everyone feel the same? Am I the only female that looks at myself in the mirror and immediately searches for something that’s not cute and needs improving?!

I decided I wanted to write a blog about this topic, but first, I needed real insight from anonymous girls who follow me on Instagram. I posted some very intrusive questions on my Instagram Stories and the responses I read a day later gave me chills. Thank you to everyone who responded honestly! Here are the questions I asked and some of the answers I received:

When you look in the mirror, what do you not like about your body?

Rib cage

My stomach

The cellulite on my legs

My hips

My butt and legs

Legs!!

How big my arms are!! Side view is UGG

My belly and thighs

My nose and my stomach :(

My stomach and my sides

Thighs

Not toned

My stomach. I just had WLS 3 months ago and I am losing weight fast but now I am toning my body up so that I won’t have too much excessive skin.

My broad shoulders

Lack of curves

Bumps on my arms, sun spots on my chest, & stomach not toned

My boobs

Weight! I’m not the same tiny [name] I once was

I’m super self conscious about my legs and stomach! I’m always trying to hide those areas

What would you change about your body if you could?

Bigger breasts. Flat stomach?

Stomach smaller, no stretch marks, smaller thighs

Bigger boobs would be nice

Get bigger boobs, skinnier stomach, and more toned legs

Smaller hips

Tone my legs and core

Become more toned.

Loose skin on my tummy from having 3 babies

Less body fat. Overall just be more toned.

My breasts

My nose and my weight

How I view it and being able to lose weight easier

Boob lift

My stomach and my back fat

I wouldn’t. I don’t think I would ever get cosmetic surgery, my body makes me- me

Tone everything up, get sun spots removed, & bumps on arms removed

Legs and stomach definitely

How do you feel overall (HONESTLY) when you see yourself naked?

Could improve the butt jiggle! More squats

Not great

Good, could just be more toned

I think “ehh, I can do better but I love food!”

Meh. Not super!! Could be better

Usually goes like this “ehhhhh” haha

Like I’ve let myself down

I feel strong

Aight. Not in love with it hahaha. Feel like I want to change to be more confident.

Ok

Bad, sad, discouraged

Sometimes confident, sometimes insecure

1-10, a 7

Some satisfaction and happiness now since I am losing weight

I feel good!!! Only because I’ve learned to appreciate myself and my health

Pretty good overall

Depends on the day. Overall I feel satisfied with myself but some days I can't stand to see

I don’t like looking in the mirror naked, or really being naked in general, even alone.

Starting to accept my body overall but I used to struggle a LOT with body image issues.

Finally- last question- what makes you happy about your body?

My smile. & My pudgy tummy my cat loves to sleep on

That my husband loves me

This sounds awful but I’m glad I’m naturally tiny vs being larger

Hmm… good question

I have pretty good boobs

Happy that I have a healthy body

Knowing I’ve birthed 2 children and still was able to get back to the weight that I used to be.

It’s strength and durability. Just know I need to take better care of it!

That regardless of how it looks I know how strong it is and I can depend on it

My hair!

My strength, my curves, my ability to do what I want with it

Wow I really had to think about this. Which is sad, bc I don’t hate it… I guess my strength

The fact that I can workout now and the fact that I enjoy working out now

My smile, it’s big but it’s mine

It’s strong and supports me and helps me achieve my goals

I wouldn’t change anything about my face or hair

The fact that I know i’m healthy overall :)

WOW. It has taken me weeks to compose this blog post because I am having so much trouble figuring out how to say what I am trying to say about this topic. These women let me hear some dark thoughts and again, thank you for trusting me. I had ZERO judgements towards anyone, and I hope as you read this, you didn’t have any judgements either! I hope you are empathetic to the women who wrote these thoughts, just as I am. I can relate to many, and I can understand many others. But most importantly- it made me realize I am not alone. And neither are you.

Let’s take a trip to the beach, since it’s May. Now picture you, out on this beach, in the tiniest bikini you’ve ever seen. Now, add in hundreds of other women, all in the same exact bikini. What’s your immediate reaction in your mind about this scenario?

I will tell you mine. I want to do a dive into the water because I feel like other women will automatically be comparing my body to theirs and that makes me self conscious. Why do I feel like other women will be comparing my body to theirs? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I DO. And I’m betting that you compare yourself to other people too. It’s something so innate that you don’t even have to really think about it. Immediately- her hips are bigger than mine, her boobs are better than mine, my arms aren’t toned like hers, my thighs rub together and you can see straight through the gap in hers.

Companies can take out retouching models and preach about loving your body all they want to- but the only thing that can actually change the way women see other women, is changing how you view yourself. I was broken hearted reading the responses of women talking about how they feel seeing themselves naked, in the bodies that God created himself. I was saddened to read what people didn’t like about their bodies, and I was also saddened when some women couldn’t even think of one thing they liked about their bodies. Then there are some women who know exactly what they love about their bodies, and that made me smile.

Having body positivity takes practice. looking in the mirror and seeing yourself not hidden under any fancy clothes is a slap of reality. THIS is who you are. THIS is the body God sculpted himself, made perfect in his image. THIS is the body that keeps you alive, day after day, without you having to think about it. It allows you to eat, digest, breath, hug your spouse, maybe carry your children, maybe allows you to walk to wherever you want to go. If you are facing difficulties having children or you cannot walk, your body keeps you going day after day- another hormone treatment, another push of a wheelchair to make your impact on the world.

Go back to that beach, in that terribly little bikini. You’re feeling self-concious because ultimately, you know other women are looking at your rolls and judging you, and you want to be leaner or curvier. Here’s the part that most of us forget because we are so caught up in what we hate about ourselves: All the other women on that beach, in that same bikini? They are feeling the exact same way as you. They are immediately focusing on their least-liked parts of their bodies. They aren’t looking at your body, and they certainly aren’t judging it like you are judging it (and if they are, that’s an ugly soul, which is an entirely different subject).

It helped me to read everyone’s responses because I looked in the mirror and unconsciously started going down my list of things that aren’t to good to look at, and then I remembered this blog post. And I realized, what’s the point in hating my body? I want every other woman to know how beautiful they are, and I want everyone who answered my questions to love themselves. You are not alone, but why mull over the things about your physical body that you don’t necessarily love? What good does that do? If every other woman also doesn’t like her tummy or her thighs, then why can’t we all just come to a mutual understanding that no one woman is better than the woman standing next to her, because both of them have insecurities?

The whole point of this post is to try to spread awareness because I had a mini epiphany. Why do I look in the mirror and start hating on myself? Because I saw a girl on Instagram who looked so much better. She had a smaller waist than me. Her abs looked better than mine. Her hair is thicker and prettier than mine. But as soon as I step back and think about her looking in the mirror having the same thoughts about herself, I have empathy and I stop hating on myself, because I know she is going through the same struggles I am. If she is also looking in the mirror thinking about what she would change if she could, then why am I so worried about it?

I hope this blog post got my point across- it’s very complicated to put onto paper but seems so simple in my mind. I just want you to know if youre reading this, that you are so beautiful. But you are so much more than a body and some hair. You have a soul and you have the ability to touch the lives of others and make people smile every day of your life. In the end, all that will matter is that you are healthy, you took care of your body physically and mentally, and you made an impact on the people you crossed paths with.

Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be- that’s your life. That’s your late night pizza with your man, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favorite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those 5-10 pounds are your favorite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life.

Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your love.”

xoxo, jess