August 4, 2009

on body image (the good and the bad)...

I remember the exact moment I first had any insecurity about my body.

I was in fifth grade, sitting at my desk, and I happened to look down at my legs. I was wearing some sort of floral bike shorts (I swear they were in style back then) and sitting in my uncomfortable desk chair had caused my thighs to flatten out significantly against the cool metal. For some reason, I'd never noticed it before, but it caught me completely off guard. I remember immediately feeling my face flush and thinking, "Oh, my gosh! My legs look huge! How gross! I can't believe I never noticed that before!"

I remember that from then on, whenever I was sitting somewhere, I was always trying to lift my legs a little to make them look thinner. Which is a completely ridiculous thing for a pocket-sized ten year old to think. And what's even more ridiculous, is that I didn't tell anyone about my new-found self consciousness. I kept it to myself. As many girls do, I suppose.

But I guess that's where it began.

Body image is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I've been thinking back to every insecurity I had when I was growing up, and the things I've worried about more recently. I'm thankful that, for the most part, I've learned to accept myself and the way I am. It certainly helped that I had such encouraging parents who never made me feel less than beautiful - even through (as my sisters and I refer to them as) "the awkward years". But even now, there is still that ache...the one that makes me think, "Well, if I could just change this one thing..."

To be honest, there are certain things I've grown to love about myself. I'm okay with my fair skin - even though I definitely appreciate the glow I get this time of the year. I used to think I was too short, but now 5' 4" seems just right - the perfect size for hugging my husband. I used to absolutely hate my nose and thought my profile was horrible, but now I quite like it - I'm even entertaining the idea of getting it pierced. And the list goes on and on, really. I think that most of the things I used to be insecure about I've rather grown out of disliking. Especially now that I'm old enough to appreciate the things about people that make them different - all the little quirks and inconsistencies that make people more beautiful - and real.

(For the record, I was one of the people who was horribly disappointed when Ashlee Simpson had the surgery to change her nose. I'm still a little depressed about it, actually.)

Anyway, this is all to say one thing: I'm torn. Between truly accepting myself, and wanting to "fix" things. And sometimes I wonder if I will ever, ever truly be happy with myself. It's so difficult for a female to truly embrace herself in this culture. We are told, "Love yourself! You are perfect the way you are! Embrace your imperfections!" And yet, in the same breath they're whispering, "Do this to make yourself look better! Wear this makeup to be prettier! Lose that weight and then maybe people will find you attractive! There is always something for you to work on!" It's sickening. I recently read an excellent post by The Demoiselles, where they point out just how negative advertising can be - and I urge everyone to read it. They point out a serious issue - incredibly eloquently, at that. And you know what? All this advertising and other crap in the media? This is the exact reason we never feel good enough.

It's almost as though we aren't allowed to.

I have days where I feel like a goddess and realize how healthy I really am. I remember that I'm still down 10 lbs. from where I was post-honeymoon, which is a good thing. I realize that I eat out maybe twice a week, pack my lunches for work, and make sure my diet includes a lot of water and fruit and whole grains. I realize that in the last couple years, I've discovered a side of me that I never knew existed - the side of me that can run a few miles without slipping into a coma of exhaustion. I realize that I really do love my hair, my smile, the shape of my legs, the way my eyes get all squinty when I laugh.

However, there's the other side of me that thinks I need to lose more weight. The side of me that thinks, "No, you can't be happy with yourself yet. There is still more you could work on. You aren't perfect yet." The side that is acutely aware of the tummy rolls when I'm slouched over on the couch, and sometimes makes me feel disgusted. The side that makes me feel guilty for silly things - like putting mayonnaise on my sandwich instead of mustard, or having a soda when I'm at a restaurant instead of water, or putting ranch instead of vinaigrette on my salad. The side that makes me feel like that little girl who needs to hide the things she thinks aren't perfect - her thighs, her freckles, her wavy hair.

I'm constantly battling thoughts of how I need to do more, need to look a little better - even though I'm probably the healthiest I've been in the last five years. Why can't I just be happy?

It's horrible, because no matter how much I want to simply accept myself, I don't know if it will ever happen. I'm worried that I'll always compare myself to other girls, I'll always wish I could go back to the size zero I was when I was seventeen, I'll always wish I was someone who lived for going to the gym, I'll always hate that my stomach is never perfectly flat. But hopefully, I'll continue to love myself the best way I can - after all, I've been given so much, and truly don't have the right to be so incredibly hard on myself. This body I've been blessed with is just that...a blessing. What right do I have to complain?

What I would like to see happen, is some sort of a revolution. I'd like for us to really challenge the excuses of those celebrities who have their ribs showing, who claim to simply be "naturally tiny". I'd like for more companies to truly represent women in their advertising - not just the cookie-cutter ideal. I'd like for magazines to stop oohing and ahhing over the new moms who are back to their size 2 jeans, just weeks after giving birth (shouldn't we instead be applauding them for their parenting?). I'm not really sure how to make any of these things happen, but I know that it's only a matter of time before my head explodes from all the mixed messages we receive.

However, I do find encouragement in a lot of ways. Simple things, usually. A sweet compliment from a stranger, an extra sweet word and snuggle from my husband, finding someone else who understands exactly what I struggle with - those sorts of things. I received this in my email last month, and I wanted to share it with you because it's something I think each of us should have taped to our bathroom mirrors:


The time will come when you'll see that pretty much
everything was better than you thought.
That life was more beautiful, people were kinder,
greens were greener, and the water was cleaner.
But most of all, you'll see...that you were simply stunning,
every day of your life.

Happily, I've always known the truth,
The Universe

59 comments :

  1. I have been recently battling lingering body issues which is ridiculous since I never had them before. I remember the exact moment I decided I was "too fat" was about 2 years ago I noticed I had "back fat". Similar to your leg story, I had never noticed it before but I immediately went on a back-fat-reducing diet. The sad thing is I weigh 10lbs less now than I did then and yet I scrutinize myself more. Some days I feel like I look amazing, others I mentally reprimand myself for being a glutton. It's a never ending cycle.

    I may take your advice and hang that quote somewhere in my house.

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  2. Our first memories of feeling gross are almost identical - I was also ten but I was on the bus when I looked down at my huge (or so I thought) thighs smooched down on the seat.

    From that day on, I always leaned back and propped my knees up against the seat in front of me.

    We definitely live in a culture that honors the skinny (and I deliberately use "skinny" in the derrogative way) but you know what? I actually do think this is changing.

    Dove commercials aside, I do feel like there is more and more acceptance out there for what real women look like. True, since I turned 30 I've noticed these new role models a lot more than the old ones I used to look to.

    Then again, hmm... maybe that's the trick?

    You don't need me to tell you this but I'm going to say it anyway: you're beautiful.

    Today I read something on Twitter that really touched me: "Bless the people you feel envious of."

    I sort of take it to say, everyone's envious of everyone else, in a way. By blessing, we spread the love around. For instance, I'm envious that you are so eloquent and lovely and honest... so there you go.

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  3. I totally understand what you mean. The entire time I was playing college basketball, spending three hours a day in the gym I thought there were so many things I needed to fix. Now that I literally don't have time to work out more than three times per week, I look back and go "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!"

    I'm trying to learn to be happy with my body as is. I weigh the same, my clothes still fit and my husband loves me. I try and let these things drown out the negative voices.

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  4. I was also around that age. I remember that I kept getting taller, and my sisters stayed short and petite and I felt like a giant.

    These days I'm a little better, to stop myself thinking bad things about my body before it gets out of hand and rather focus on the small things I DO like.

    But there are time, like when J holds me around the waist at night and I'm mortified that what he feels isn't a completely flat stomach. My upper arms that will never be stick thin.

    I know all about bad body image, and I'm trying to change that. I think being concious about it if a step in the right direction.

    Thanks for writing this, such an awesome post that really hits home.

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  5. I've been having body issues for as long as I can remember, I remember all those crazy unhealthy diets and a night or two in the hospital for passing out. It's not right. This is such a good post, we all just need that healthy balance for ourselves

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  6. I completely related to this post. I've struggled with body issues for half my life (since I was eleven). I wish I could say I'm growing out of them, but one step forward is met by two steps back. According to charts I'm "underweight" but yet I still feel big and, personally, would like to weight 10 pounds less. It's horrible the way we can over scrutinize our bodies.

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  7. I too, have had these issues for most of my life. Part of this has come from the fact that I was very over-wieght(I'm 5'10", and was a size 26, which is a US 22), and during that time, nasty comments got to me alot. I'm still not small, I'm a 16-18, which is a 12-14 to you, but at my height, I carry it fairly well. I realised how bad my body image actually was a few weeks ago, when I saw a photo of myself and realised that in reality, I am alot thinner than the person I see in the mirror. Now, I look at that photo(or one of my wedding ones) when I am having a bad day.

    I have to say, Kerri, that I think you look lovely as you are. You are slim, but not too slim, and you have lovely hair and a pretty face. Maybes you should find a photo you love too!

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  8. I think I was about 9 when I first had mine. Incidently, I was also wearing flowery bike shorts. Mine were purple, and I was in the back seat of my parents car, I looked down and was not just shocked, but MORTIFIED. That was the day I swapped my bike shorts for three sizes too big cotton shorts.

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  9. I think we all go through phases. I wrote a post a while back about struggling with acceptance, and I know Ev`Yan (from apricot-tea) wrote a post a while back about the messages media sends (I think her post was mostly about how awful American Apparels' Advertising it, but I think she raised some good points).

    And in truth, I honestly don't think theres an end till you decide there's an end for yourself. Acceptance is tricky, and the problem I had/have was that I didn't WANT to accept how I was, I wanted to be BETTER. Its just at what point are you satisfied?

    And hurrah for piercings! I've been thinking about getting my noise pierced too! :)

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  10. Not sure how much of a consolation this is, but you certainly are not alone in this. I think most, if not all, women have issues with their body - whether they openly admit them or not.

    I wish I had the magical answer to boost everyone's confidence and make the concerns (however unfounded they may be) go away, but we know that's not the way life works. I suppose our body issues need to be tackled like everything else - with baby steps, one at a time.

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  11. Kerri,

    You ARE simply stunning. I think we all, as women, struggle with this every single day. It's hard not picking yourself apart. I'm a size 6, and two years ago... i was a 13. I'm in great shape, but i'm just not genetically built to be a size two... it's just not possible. (WHY GOD, WHYYYY?! Kidding. Ahem)

    You're gorgeous, inside and out girl... really.

    xo

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  12. Hallelujah

    I remember that same experience in elementary school.

    I've really had a rough time lately with body acceptance. Partially it's because I know I'm at a higher weight than I should be. I know where my healthy, comfort zone is. I know where I want to be and it's not where I am.
    What's even worse is that when The Boy argues with me and assures me that I'm perfect I get mad. I want him to see agree with me, because I feel like his 'you're sexy how you are!" opinion enables me to continue drinking that extra glass of wine or taking that second helping.

    I get so frustrated with myself I don't know what to do.

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  13. I never had issues with my weight until college and I'm struggling every day with the weight I've gained but I'm not just sitting around. I've been actively trying to exercise more and eat better.

    But there are things about myself that I hate. My hands for one are tiny, wrinkly, and my fingers are short and stubby.

    My teeth are just eww. I had braces and even then that didn't make them straight. I have a fake tooth in place of one that didn't come in and it's completely obvious.

    Those two things I struggle with a lot because they are just so ugly.

    I'm not sure how to ever be completely happy with myself and I envy the women who really feel like that.

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  14. Wow. I feel the. same. way. And actually, Jess (duwaxloolu.blogspot.com) wrote about a similar topic today which got me thinking about my own body image. It's always been something I've struggled with (I had the same experience with my "huge" legs in 2nd grade. 2nd!) so now I'm finally really trying to become okay with it and love myself despite my imperfections. All of this to say, thanks for such a beautiful post. It's encouraging to know that others are struggling with the same battle. :)

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  15. I think we all battle these issues. In college I suffered some major obsession with weight, eating and body image. It was horrible and I was miserable. I'm still the same size, if not a few pounds more, but I've accepted my body. I can't say I'm totally happy, but I'm not obsessing on it anymore. I'm just focused on eating healthy and exercising. I do relapse to those bad times with the eating part. In fact, I'm in the process of at least losing what I gained in my latest relapse.

    but you? are absolutely gorgeous. you are totally the girl I wish I looked like. and running? I'm lucky if I can run two blocks- I need to work on my endurance.

    thanks for this post :)

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  16. Your post made me think of this poem by Maya Angelou... so naturally, I had to share it.


    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I'm telling lies.
    I say,
    It's in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It's the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can't touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can't see.
    I say,
    It's in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I'm a woman

    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head's not bowed.
    I don't shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It's in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    'Cause I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

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  17. One of the best things one of my friends did for me was demand that I name 10 things I loved about myself in front of a mirror when I was going through a rough time with my body image. It was a really shock that I couldn't think of any, and I worked on it until I could- and now I don't even have a shadow of the problems with my body image like I used to.

    When your inner voice isn't loud enough to make you believe you're beautiful, use your real voice. It's so simple, but it helps immeasurably.

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  18. Kerri -
    I totally relate to this post. I think you stated it perfectly. I am not sure why I beat myself up so much about my weight and looks, but I sure think about it a lot. I truly hope I can get to a point where I am not nitpicking at my thighs or stomach, but I'm not if I will. I just do the best I can each day with eating the right foods (and yes, I mess up a lot) and exercising. You are beautiful though! Remember that! And yes, size 2 celebrities should NOT bring us down. :)

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  19. Amen.

    Lately I've been struggling with body issues and it's pretty exhausting. I feel so guilty when I don't exercise one day or eat french fries. I need to remember that life is too short to worry over these things. Thanks for your post.

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  20. thanks for such an honest post. You're right, there is so much encouragement that comes from knowing other women struggle in the same ways I do. You're also right in speaking out against the mixed messages we receive on an almost hourly basis. I'm struggling right now to truly embrace who I am, but I think the most difficult thing of all is that it feels truly overwhelming to think of a lifetime of insecurities that have the potential to hinder me so dramatically. Truly loving yourself takes some serious work, and I love reading about your journey because it inspires me to work on mine.

    Thanks!

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  21. I just want to hug little 10 year old Kerri right now!

    I can relate to this post in SO many ways, it's not even funny. Back in the 8th grade is when I started feeling insecure about my weight... I was a measly 100 pounds (MAYBE), but I thought I was an absolute beast.

    There is such a huge pressure on us to look perfect at every waking moment, and I'll admit I fall prey to it way too often. I watched that video you posted yesterday and my jaw nearly dropped! It's amazing how the media truly expects us to feel like a fat, hideous piece of crap.

    I loved that quote so much, I already printed it out and taped it up at my desk.

    I love you and thank you so much for this! I think we all needed a reminder.

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  22. This was an excellent post, Kerri. & I too cringed when Ashlee Simpson had all that plastic surgery to correct her face. I was so angry, because there are so many young girls who look at her with admiration. & she's showing them that if you don't love something about yourself, just go to a doctor & he'll fix it for you. It's so discouraging.

    At the end of this post, you said that you'd like to see advertising change & celebrities less glorified for losing all of their baby weight (which, by the way, they often have personal trainers training them for 24 hours a day to make their bodies look that way). Unfortunately, as much as it's nice to wish for better times, I don't think it'll be any better. If anything, it's getting worse. Starting a revolution is what we need to fend off these terrible images & contradictory messages in our heads. I know that is possible. We should all hold each other accountable.

    You're a rockstar for writing this.<3

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  23. I could write a line-by-line nod of agreement with everything you wrote here, but suffice to say I GET THIS POST. I remember my moment of change... I was 18. My high school boyfriend broke up with me for some one skinner. Ever since then I don't believe comments I'm given, I never think I'm skinny enough, even when I'm back at my high school weight (which was 8 years ago and an inch shorter). I struggle with media, with accepting myself, with being happy just being me, knowing that I do workout and watch what I eat but always wonder if that's enough.

    For the record, I think you have a lovely nose, beautiful face and spectacular profile. You are gorgeous, inside and out.

    xoxo

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  24. I have struggled with lots of these things, but now that I really think about it...as much as things about my body do and have bothered me, they aren't really on the forefront of my worries, which I guess is a good thing in a way. Although my weight has always been up and down, right now I'm kind of in the middle of what I have been on the big and small side. I think I just get so busy with other things that maybe my mind doesn't think about it that much. There are other things I don't like about myself either, but I suppose I have come to semi-accepting things as time goes on. You are a very pretty lady so I hope that it becomes less of an issue for you. Whatever it may be, it's all about being happy and loving yourself so I hope you find that :)

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  25. How sweet! Every one of us DOES need to tape that to our mirror - to remind us how beautiful life is...

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  26. great post, i can relate completely.

    have you heard about operation beautiful? (www.operationbeautiful.com) a pretty neat concept!

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  27. A lot of us have these moments. I can say as a reader of yours, your photos are always beautiful and I think to myself "wow, she is really small. how does she stay so tiny?" I think the point here is that the things we are disgusted with from time to time, often don't matter to anyone but ourselves. In fact, no one else sees those tiny things we call flaws. I see a lot of those tiny flaws in myself, so i'm constantly reminding myself that "hey, things are really not that bad. some jiggle in your thighs is only noticed by you."

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  28. As Ev'Yan said, we need to change this. But I ask what Kerri asks...how? How do we do this authentically with that complex, ambivalent perspective so many of us have. I love my body...now, but I can't claim the same affection towards it if I gained even 10 of the 40 lbs I lost in the last 2 years.

    We're so hard on ourselves, to get to that point of satisfaction, that seems to be so illusory as it can fade easily.

    But we do need to stop buying the garbage in the messages and stop subjecting ourselves and others to them. There are so many ways in which we teach that it's okay to not love and accept ourselves. Those messages are passed from mother to daughter, woman to woman, woman to girl, girl to woman...this is even before you put men into the mix.

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  29. 1) one of my early "complexes" was due to the flattened thigh on desk in school.

    2) i think your previous blog is another perfect note to have on our bathroom mirrors.

    3) you are fabulous - inside & out. i'm all for FEELING our best but know that you are already extremely GREAT.

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  30. I'm struggling a lot with this right now. I have lost 40 lbs since April 1, 2008 but I still feel that I'm not perfect yet. It's a battle that I'm having each day but I'm trying to get better at it. I'm trying to remember that its progress not perfection.

    I love that quote and I'm going to hang it in my bathroom.

    Thank you for the wonderful post. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one struggling and criticizing herself over "imperfections". You are beautiful Kerri!

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  31. Oh goodness. The fact that so many of us remember the first time we noticed an 'issue' with our bodies is awful. I've been an athlete all my life, and am naturally pretty thin, but my first 'negative body image' thought actually came out of a compliment. While I was wearing shorts and a sports bra in the locker room, teammates began discussing their envy for my abs. I was around 15, and had never given much of a care to what my body looked like - as long as I could skate the fastest, I was happy. I went home that night with a mentality of needing to be better. They like my abs now? But I'm not even trying. I can do better! And my legs? I'll work on those too! It turned into a horrible cycle of striving for perfection. Hoping I'd receive compliments that would validate my hard work, but also give me something MORE to work on.

    I've come a LONG way. I don't know that I'll ever be absolutely content with my body, mostly because of way the media portrays what an ideal female body SHOULD look like. Some days I can get past that and be over the moon with what I see in the mirror. Other days aren't as good, of course. I don't like discussing jealousy over a friend's body (or a celebrity's, for that matter). I know the feelings that it brought out of me when I was the point of envy (BE EVEN BETTER!) so I try to avoid it at all costs. Dropping sweet, sincere compliments is the route I try to take - complimenting someone on their hair, legs, or smile feels goooood.

    Also, I love the last quote, so thank you for sharing it.

    And lastly, you are absolutely beautiful.

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  32. I recently stumbled onto your blog and have enjoyed reading it.

    Thank you for being so honest about those "issues" we all worry about. I agree with the note on the bathroom

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  33. Oh, I am so glad you posted this. I am always happy to read someone's feelings that I can relate to. And boy, can I relate to this (as I'm sure all of us girls can)! It's so hard to accept ourselves, especially because of the freaking media. It's never enough, and I hate it. But you're absolutely right: we need to accept ourselves and divert attention from all the body obsession.

    By the way, I AM printing out that quote and taping it to my mirror. :)

    Thank you.

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  34. Aw I can relate to your thoughts and feelings so much that your blog nearly made me cry :(

    Have you read 'Captivating' by John and Stasi Eldredge? Because they write about striving for perfection and how to get out of that cycle of 'there is always something to be improved'. It was a really inspirational book and I would recommend it.

    Take care,
    Liz xxx

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  35. i love this post...i just wrote a post yesterday about how i recently lost fifteen pounds because i made a measly little comment in a post last week and ladies were all over me asking what i did...and while i too would love to change more about myself i wrote about how recently i will linger about after a shower before getting dressed because i am "enjoying the view" haha...i have not felt this great since having my first daughter seven years ago and i am enjoying every minute of my new slimmer self even if it isn't celebrity thin it is just right for me!

    again...i love this post...love it!

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  36. "I'm constantly battling thoughts of how I need to do more, need to look a little better - even though I'm probably the healthiest I've been in the last five years. Why can't I just be happy?"

    This is exactly how I feel. In the last two years I've gained 20 lbs. I wouldn't mind it, because I know I've needed to gain weight my whole life, but I've gained it as layers of fat instead of toned muscle. People keep telling me how I look so good, I look so healthy, but all I see when I look at myself is the extra skin under my chin, or the way my shirts don't fit me anymore.

    Sometimes I feel good about how I look. My boyfriend thinks I'm beautiful, and I finally have boobs now (which I was totally lacking in before), but I'm very self conscious about my stomach now. I always feel like everyone can see it, like everyone is looking at it. But at the same time I never do anything about it.

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  37. I struggle with this all the time--I constantly compare myself to others. I finally started exercising for ME, and it's made such a difference!

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  38. I love you. Thank you. I come from a family of body and image obsessed women, and I struggle everyday against that. I struggle to not hate myself because I know that I am not near perfect... and I struggle everyday to be OK.

    Again, I love you, and thank you.

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  39. I have my good days and my bad days. Most days are good - but the bad days really, really suck. I've had body issues for as long as I remember and sometimes I think it's just part of being a woman, or even a person for that matter, in our messed-up society.

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  40. Wow, you could not have said it better. It's like you are in my head and I don't even know you! Lol, ok that sounded weird. I have been in a HUGE funk latley with my image and how I feel others see me as well. Your post was really inspiring and comforting. Thanks. =)

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  41. I love notes from the Universe. So right on.

    This is a great post that speaks to so much of what I struggle with internally and what I am trying to overcome. Maybe it's being in my thirties. Maybe it's coming into self acceptance. Maybe it's just TIME. But I am grateful for finding likeminded people who are willing to be part of the solution.

    Thanks.

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  42. You summed up how I feel sometimes. I always thought I had a reasonably good body image but I know that I cave into it. I do also feel that the media doesn't help by telling us we need to look better yet they do keep saying we should be happy with ourselves. It's no wonder so many girls get confused.
    I love your genuine, honest approach to this topic and I think you are well on your way to being content with who you are.
    Thanks for the food for thought.

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  43. this post is wonderful and i really appreciated it. your blog is great!
    thank you thank you thank you.

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  44. ugh. this is something i struggle with so much and it's so frustrating. i can work out for a week straight and eat healthy and feel completely awesome about myself and then the next week i'm eating bags of potato chips, pop and not exercising and generally feeling crappy about myself. i just don't get it.

    by the way, i had a similar first insecurity moment to yours except i was in 4th grade (probably wearing the same shorts as you!) and i looked down at my legs and i thought they were so hairy and i was so embarrassed because my crush was sitting right next to me! now thinking back, i'm sure i had little hair and it was blonde so you couldn't see it anyways. oh, childhood....

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  45. I just found your blog and I love this post. I've been having so many negative body image thoughts recently so this came at a great time for me. Thank you!

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  46. Awww what a lovely post, and I think you should be happy with yourself - you are really gorgeous!

    I don't know if anyone will ever be truly happy with every little part of themselves, but you sound healthy and happy and that's what counts!

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  47. I have no words for this post other than it's dead on, and thank you. You are so not alone here---and this really affects me. I wish people understood how serious an issue it is for younger girls, too---I teach 8th grade and I'd venture to guess that 50%+ of my tiny, un-developed, little 8th grade girls wrote down "lose weight" as their personal goal this year, many of them who barely weigh 100 lbs. It's an epidemic. I swear.

    Thank you, lovely one.

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  48. Oh the bike-pant thunder-thighs realisation ... I had one of those too. I can't believe my Mum let me wear those damn things. I also raised my legs so my thighs wouldn't flatten out when sitting. It takes a while to move on from that and it really does stay with you for a long time if you have a bad body image.

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  49. thank you so much for writing that! I went on my first diet in the 4th grade and have struggled with my weight most of my life. I feel the same conflicted emotions that you do. I am currently trying to get passed wanting to be "perfect" and "fix" things because I know I am physically hurtiny myself. It was so encouraging and refreshing to read your words and Know I am not alone!

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  50. I had the same realization when I was ten (and I think I may have also been wearing floral bike shorts). I look back at pictures of my lanky, beanpole, ten-year-old legs, and wish I could shake myself for being that ridiculous.

    I'm a new reader, and this was an excellent post. I love your site!

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  51. That's funny that you said that about the spread thighs thing when you were little. I was the SAME way when I was like 11. And it's funny, because when I look back now I think about I was a string bean & now my biggest insecurity is how I have chicken legs compared to the rest of my body! Go figure!

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  52. Body image with girls & women will be an ongoing problem to our society. It sucks that we all go through this. I blame most of it on the media. I've recently started watching "More to Love" like the Bachelor but with bigger women & a bigger man. Some of them actually look beautiful and curvy!

    It's frustrating for me because when I was young and skinny I didn't even think I was skinny at all. I always thought I was fat because I was tall. Now looking back, I wish I knew I was skinny because haha I'm not now. :P I'm losing weight and trying to learn how to love myself and how I look as I go and appreciate myself more.

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  53. I struggle all the time with my weight... it goes up and down and it's something I think about it at least twice a day. UGH... So I def. know where you're coming from!

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  54. Ohhh yes the thigh on the chair scenario. I am VERY familiar. I have been battling this a lot more recently because this is the first time in my life where I really struggle to fit exercise into my daily routine. I'm more concerned about that than my actual weight. I just always know I FEEL better when I'm working out. And sometimes feeling great just makes your body image improve automatically, whether or not your body has actually changed.

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  55. I don't remember my first body insecurity moment, because at a very early age (like, Kindergarten) my peers started making fun of me because I was short. I have been "the short one" my entire life, and it took me until I was almost out of high school to finally accept it and love it.

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  56. You did such an amazing job with this post... I think you'vce pretty much captured what 99% of women feel on a regular basis. Even if we're confident and love ourselves, we all still have those moments where we judge ourselves, question ourselves...

    I have a feeling the battle will never end, but hopefully we can all do our best to smile when we look in the mirror and to show our little girls what beauty really is.

    <3!!!

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  57. I think this is extremely rude, and I'm offended. You're not fat and you act as if you're breaking scales. I think the sublimidal message is poor. Whether you like it or not you're a role model and girls are going to think negatively about their own body image, especially after seeing pictures of your petite frame. I understand everyone has insecurities, I just don't think it's appropriate to put this post up.

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  58. Anonymous: I'm sorry that you felt offended by this post. However, I feel that you seem to have misunderstood the point I was trying to get across. Since posting my thoughts on body image, I've received some incredible feedback from so many young women who feel just as I do. In all shapes and sizes.

    The point I was trying to make was not that I think I'm "fat" - but that so much of it is mind over matter, and it's difficult to ever be happy with how you look in this day and age. I never said that it was a good thing. Instead, I was trying to get across my frustration with not always being happy with the body I've been blessed with - holding myself to such a high expectation is awful.

    I understand that I'm a role model (whether or not I choose for that to be the case) and I don't believe I've done the world a disservice in posting my experiences and feelings on negative body image. I think that if more people are open about their struggles, then we can all realize that we are truly all the same. From there, we can figure out where all the negativity comes from and hopefully fight it. That's what I'd like to see happen.

    If I were posting something specifically to "fish for compliments" then I can understand why someone would be offended. However, the way I presented myself was not in that way at all. If you have something specific you'd like to ask or that you don't agree with, please email me directly! I'd love to clear up any confusion you may have about what I was trying to say.

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