Today I wanted to talk about something that I have been thinking about for a while: body shaming. I’ve mentioned this a little bit in other posts, but I do think it’s an important issue that deserves its own post.
While we as a society do need to work on being kinder to each other and need to stop judging each other for what we look like, more and more it seems like people are protesting body shaming.
I know that I personally find it appalling when I read a nasty comment about someone’s weight or hear people on TV making fun of someone just for being plus-sized. I don’t think there’s any need for any of that. We’ve definitely been conditioned by society to focus on appearances, but I try as hard as I can to be nice to everyone and not make a judgement based on what they look like.
That being said, I can’t say that I treat myself the same way. I would never call someone fat or make fun of them for gaining weight. Yet, I have no problem calling myself fat and putting pressure on myself to look good. I am the worst offender of body shaming myself, and it’s something that I still work on every day.
Take this photo for instance. This photo was taken by photographers at the first 5K I ever participated in. Even though I walked, I was extremely proud of myself for finishing it in an hour, and getting the chance to spend time with my family.
But when the photo appeared on the official race Facebook page, I was a little horrified by what I saw. I couldn’t help but notice all of the little flaws about myself, and wonder when I gained all that weight. Then I wondered what everyone else thought of me. I was embarrassed and a little ashamed of what I looked like.
I completely missed the greatness of this photo. Like I mentioned above, this photo was taken at my first 5K ever. I had never pushed myself in fitness this much before. Right before the race, I was feeling a little tired and unconfident, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it. But I did. I was able to finish my first 5K, and I was even smiling in the photo! When I looked at the photo, I should have focused on how happy I was in that moment and seen the smile on my face. I shouldn’t have been so focused on what I looked like.
That’s just one photo. I have plenty of others of myself that I have looked at and judged over the years. In the past, I let myself think these negative thoughts and make these horrible judgements about myself and my body. I’m not going to lie, it is a difficult habit to break. For a long time, I had low self-esteem and had trouble finding confidence in myself. It was so easy to fall into that trap of saying bad things about myself and really believing the lies I was telling myself.
Interestingly enough, my way of thinking has slowly changed as I started my weight loss journey. And I don’t feel better about myself just because I’ve been losing weight either. Seeing how much strength I have gained over these last few months has really helped me to see myself differently. Now that I am finally taking care of myself with healthy eating and fitness, I see more worth in myself.
I try to be more aware of my damaging thoughts about myself and stop them in their tracks when I think them. I have come all this way and fought so many battles on my weight loss journey, and I’m not going to let a few little thoughts about myself stand in my way.
That’s not to say I’m perfect either. Self-confidence isn’t a switch that you can turn on and off so easily. I still find myself thinking bad things about my body from time to time, but I try not to dwell on it as much. I’m the worst when it comes to self-deprecating humor, but I’ve been making an effort lately to be more positive about myself. I’m sure that I will be working on that for a long time, but I get better every day.
So, I will end my post today by encouraging everyone who reads this to be kinder to themselves. It is so easy to look at our own bodies and wish we could be thinner or fitter, but it doesn’t do any good to focus on negativity. Stop body shaming yourselves and focus on the amazing things that you are doing. We are so much more than what we look like, and we need to remember that.