The Battle of Body Image

Most of my life I’ve battled with the size of my body, the pant size I’m wearing or the numbers on the bathroom scale. I’m not alone with this. I think every woman on this planet has something about her body she’s not happy with.

Thankfully when I took on a very healthy diet and gave up the empty calories in alcohol, and included exercise and movement in my life my battle with the bulge went away as I was able to maintain my “happy” weight with little effort. This has been the case for the past 10 years.

I’m still eating healthy, not drinking alcohol, still exercising and moving as much as my Multiple Sclerosis will permit but I’m definitely WAY more sedentary than I’ve ever been. I am not burning the calories I once did as a very active person. Because of this MS related fatigue and the inability to do fat burning cardio exercises, weight lifting and general day to day walking….it’s getting harder for my body to burn the calories I take in. I’m trying to be careful with my intake on one hand….on the other hand I’m giving myself permission to enjoy life. And with “permission to enjoy” comes a little bit of good dark chocolate, the odd bowl of cashew ice cream, ghee drizzled popcorn etc. I always choose my “guilty pleasures” to include good nutrition in some way.

Back to the topic of this post…..Body Image.

As the famous Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn said “To be beautiful is to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself”.

To me, that means love yourself no matter how many giggly bits you have. It’s your life, your journey, your health, your choice. Be true to who you are inside….the number on the scale does not define you.

We have all been brainwashed to try and be like the beautiful size 2 model on television with flawless skin and silky long golden locks of hair cascading over her toned arms. It’s not reality folks. But it’s how many of us define ourselves and others. Along with our issues with body image of our own, judgement is a sin of our society. We quietly judge others and ourselves by what is seen on the surface. We are more than our outer surface.

Our bodies are amazing machines no matter what size, shape, colour, muscle tone etc. We are all beautiful…no matter what.

Billions of dollars are spent around the world trying to achieve an illusion of perfection through plastic surgery, lifts and tucks, implants etc. It’s become an obsession.

We all have the choice…..to love and accept our bodies as they are and live in a happy place OR beat ourselves up with negative feedback which affects us in more ways than we know.

Acceptance of who we are is the way to live. It’s liberating. Just because you are carrying more weight around your waist than you would like does not change “WHO YOU ARE”. Skinny, fat, short, tall, thick, thin….these measures are not the things that matter.

Let’s strive to be healthy…job one….but stop berating ourselves because of the number on the scale or the inches around the mid-section where the measuring tape meets.

I just want to tell everyone to be GRATEFUL for a body that is working hard for you. You’ve heard the saying “without your health, you have nothing”. Well I can tell you, now that I’m living with a disability, I realize that I wasted so much time in my youth, worrying about my weight and not being thankful for my body as a whole. I did not even think about what good things were going on inside my body to keep me functioning….and that is what really matters.

Be kind to your body, nourishing it with the best fuel you can. Get rest, stretch, get outdoors in the natural sunlight, nurture your mind with love and kindness.

Self-confidence comes from having a strong sense of self, turning off the noise from media and others. Loving yourself without the need for everyone else’s approval.

You are beautiful….inside and out!


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