A few days ago I was browsing the Black Hole of Self Doubt (aka Pinterest) for some summer fashion ideas. I know, why even.
What can I say, I like to dress to feel like a sexy beast, but I have zero ounces of fashion creativity.
Anyways, I came across a very chambray article on a huge blog, a blog that has absolutely nothing to do with health or fitness (it’s a style and design blog).
The entire fucking list of clothes was a recount of how every piece of clothing can hide your body’s “problem areas”, how it can cover up parts that “might be a problem” and how it has a “slimming effect”.
What. The. Fuck.
AND WE DON’T EVEN COMPLAIN ABOUT IT!!!!!
Because it has become so normal for us to think of our body in problem areas and parts we have to fix, and of clothes as a means to cover up said parts or change the way our bodies are perceived.
But have I got news for you:
Your body does not have any problem areas. You do not have to fix anything on it. It’s your body just the way it is right now, and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with it.
Not with your thighs, not with your calves, not with your stomach, not with your back (I didn’t even know this could be a “””””problem””””, but apparently I was wrong), not with your arms, not with your neck, not with your feet, not with your butt.
Nothing is a problem, it’s all just your beautiful, gorgeous body.
Let me repeat this: You don’t have any problem areas. You don’t have to fix anything.
You just have a perception problem.
I know it’s hard. I still struggle with a positive body image when my hormones are raging wild from the time I ovulate to the time my period says see ya later, alligator.
And for years and years I asked myself why my upper arms are so big, why my boobs are so tiny, why my butt is flat, why my calves are so huge, why my thighs only look good from one exact angle.
And I stood in front of the mirror clawing back parts of my body, thinking… If only I could fix these PROBLEMS.
I spent the better part of my teenage years worrying about my double hips. You know, I’m rounded where my actual hip bones are and then it bends slightly inward and is rounded outward again where some bones in my outer legs are.
I looked at myself from front and back, crying because it didn’t look like the girl in the magazine, looked up what body shape it could be, looked up exercises to “fix” this “problem area” and finally decided the only way was to become so thin that every curve would be eliminated.
It was successful in the sense that the curviness diminished, but the price I paid was awful darkness. Most of those years I felt like I was sitting at the bottom of a pitch-black hole without any way of getting out.
Hey, at least I was fixing my problem areas? /irony off
But they aren’t really problems!
They are only problems if you let them become problems in your mind, and I can tell you one thing for sure: It is all in your head.
I bet you will not sit in your rocking chair on your porch when you’re 80, thinking back “wow I’m so glad I spent so much time worrying about my thighs”.
You will not, because it just doesn’t matter that much.
What matters is loving yourself, your friends, your family, experiencing life the way you want to experience it, pursuing wellness (and not thinness or “perfection”) and being kind to yourself and the universe.
And if you learn to live with love and kindness towards everything and most of all yourself and your body, you will start noticing that every single individual trait of your personality and your body makes you more lovable to others.
No really, it’s true.
Where would we be if we were all exactly the same? That would be so damn boring.
Every curve you don’t like and every shape you detest about your body makes you more unique, more beautiful, more YOU.
You don’t need any clothes that can hide you, because there is nothing to be hidden.
Your body does not have any problem areas, there is nothing you need to fix about it, and there is nothing you need to hide behind vertical stripes.
You don’t need to diet to change your body, you don’t need to punish yourself with exercise to change your body, you just need to show yourself deep and profound love, and let your body be the way it is.
If I look at my young daughters, I see something so beautiful:
They move because they’re having fun. They eat because they want something (if we let them!! my kids are super awesome at stopping when they’ve had enough dessert and eating salad because they want to, and it blows my mind every single day). They rest because they’re tired.
They are so intuitive and free from external pressure, and their bodies take the best care of themselves by communicating hunger cues and so on and so forth.
I can tell when they are going to grow in length, because their bodies prepare by upping hunger and filling out a bit to have energy and strength for the growth spurt. What if my kids decided to diet during those times because the scale suddenly tipped upward? They would directly interfere with a natural process their bodies are going through.
Instead they don’t even care.
They eat more and go on about their days, and once their growth spurt is over they go back to eating less because that’s where their hunger is leading them.
They don’t obsess over problem areas arising.
They don’t obsess about an extra pound.
They don’t obsess about “feeling fat”.
They don’t obsess about “taking control” and “fixing the problem”.
Just like you shouldn’t, either.
Because your body knows what it’s doing. It doesn’t do things to annoy you, it does things with a purpose. Even if it means gaining a few pounds, you have no idea why your body needs those pounds right then and there, but it probably does.
And by the way, your beauty is not tied to a number on a scale, or a number on a measuring tape or a number on a BMI scale.
You are beautiful, no matter what.
Don’t exercise to punish or change yourself. Exercise because it makes you feel relaxed or strong or empowered. Don’t obsess over “targeting problem areas” or “burning calories”. Just move in a way that makes you feel good. Or flex out on the couch because you’re too tired without any shame or guilt.
Don’t diet to fix your “problem areas”, it’s just going to backfire because your body is doing its thing, and you’re suddenly telling it there’s a food scarcity.
Your body doesn’t know you want to fix your butt, it just knows it’s not getting enough food.
As always I want to stress that this doesn’t mean you’ll just stop caring and live off burgers and cheesecake for the rest of your life. It means you’ll care so damn much about your gorgeous self that you will let your body take care of itself, feed it when it wants to be fed and follow your natural hunger cues.
I think it is absolutely OK if this initially means living off frozen pizza and fried cheese sticks (it did mean that for me), but after a while of doing this my appetite started to change and I started craving meat and vegetables.
And it’s still that way – if I eat a lot of indulgent foods for a while, I start craving fresh salads and meat and I let myself have that because it’s what my body is hungry for.
Now repeat after me:
My body doesn’t have any problem areas. I don’t need to fix anything. I just need to be kind to myself and embrace who I am, with all my little differentiations.
Oh by the way: That double hip I wasted so much of my life worrying about? My husband is head over heels for it.
BEAUTY STANDARDS ARE A LIE!
Now go and show yourself all the love you have in your heart. You deserve it! ♡