Love, Self

How I Learned To Love My Fat Body JUST The Way It Is

Photo: WeHeartIt
Gorgeous Woman

The latest thing right now is #selfcare, which has been brought to light with the help of Wentworth Miller who was fat-shamed and rose above it with dignity and honesty about himself. Since then, he has started encouraging people to care for themselves every day.

That’s a beautiful thing, but is it enough? Self-care is incredibly important — but we can’t just casually care for ourselves and expect to find peace. We need to learn to ACTUALLY love ourselves.

“You have to love yourself before someone else can love you.”

If you don’t love yourself, how can someone else love you?”

“Love yourself first and then everything else falls in line.”

We’ve all either heard these things at one point or another (or maybe even said them ourselves), but these tired “sayings” can sound so flippant sometimes. It’s not that easy. We wake up and look in the mirror — or avoid the mirror all together — and hide because we have been TAUGHT to hate ourselves. We’ve been taught that if we don’t look a certain way that we simply aren’t good enough.

For me, personally, I was fortunate to grow up with a lot of unconditional love, so that got me off to a great start.
But, I am 48 now and when I need to learn to LOVE myself more, the things that help me are the following:

1. Spend time with your close family and friends.

Seeing the love you give to your family and friends reflected back to you can change your perspective and make you realize how much you're REALLY worth.

2. Spend time near things that are much larger than you. 

Redwood trees, mountains, animals – whatever makes you happy. It may sound silly or outlandish, but it really does help to put things about your OWN body into perspective (It does for me).

3. Allow yourself to do things that make you feel REALLY good. 

For me, that is things like hugs (don’t judge me — hugs are amazing and proven to help relieve stress), cuddles, sex, volunteering, etc. Writing blogs like these that might touch even one other human who needs it. Doing things that make me feel good; that helps me to feel proud of myself and love myself.

4. Pay careful attention of the wonders of the world.

Appreciate how everyone’s process is so unique. Pay attention to how bodies are so quirky and weird and wonderful.

This last suggestion got me thinking about actionable ideas for how you can begin to love yourself in the exact body you have right NOW (in my case, it’s my fat body). I wanted to have a discussion to share ideas about how you can learn to love yourself (even if “yourself” is *GASP* fat — it’s not actually a bad word).

With that intention in mind, I decided to ask my followers on Facebook to see how they began the process of falling in love with themselves:

1. "I smile at myself in the mirror & say, 'Hey gorgeous!!!'" — Elena

2. "I started by following plus size models and activists … seeing people of my size who I thought were beautiful really helped me to see myself without thinking I was ugly because I was fat. Also, when I was having bad days, I'd point out things I LOVE about me until I drowned out the hate" — Rachel

3. "Don’t shy away from full length mirrors. Stand there and look at yourself from every angle. For every mean thing you say to/about yourself say two NICE things. Eventually the nice will come easier than the mean. Also look at lots of pictures online of fierce fat beautiful women." — Rachel

4. "I started by catching myself thinking negative thoughts about myself that I would NEVER think about others. Starting changing the way I talk to myself (out loud if needed) ... even if it is a full out argument between 'Self Doubt Stacy' and 'Fabulously Sassy Stacy' … the sassy one started getting louder over time." — Stacy

5. "Positive affirmations. I noticed I felt worthwhile when people told me I was worthy. So I eventually started telling myself. Now not a day goes by that I don’t tell myself at least ONCE that I’m beautiful, smart, and worthy." — Kathy

6. "It took until this past year to start loving myself — so 39 years. My advice ... silence that voice that says you’re never good enough." — Marisa

7. "Hug your belly. When laying in bed, before you go to sleep at night, give your belly a big ol’ hug. Touch it. Feel it. That belly holds you together  literally." — Tina

8. "I go to the hairdresser, I’ve got my manicure and pedicure done time to time, I also take beauty treatments for my legs and tummy, etc. I always bought nice clothes and perfumes. I’m not rich but I always save money to invest in ME." — Marian

9. "First I decided to start sleeping alone in the nude. Once I was comfortable doing that, then I started to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself what I loved about my body, until I got to my belly. When I got there, I kept telling myself that it’s part of my body and I have to accept it 'as is'. I started to believe ... and my confidence shot through the roof! ... Also, I tell myself that in MY world, I’m perfect!" — Julianna

10. "In the beginning, I would pick one thing about my body that I liked and complement that part of me for a week. Not only did that boost my self esteem, but I learned so much about my body that I never knew. It’s a work in progress!" — Patricia

11. "I had my husband take a few nude photos of myself. I then used tracing paper and traced myself a few times. I used the outlines to doodle in and color. It is relaxing and makes me see my nude self in a completely different way." — Kitty

12. "I spent a bunch of time at nudist camps and beaches. It helped me realize that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and they are all beautiful and quirky. It also helped me become more comfortable in my own skin." — Beth

13. "Compliment other women. Notice their beauty. Don’t judge others. We tend to assume others think the way we do — so if we start thinking well of others, we start to assume that’s what they are thinking of us." — Stacy

14. "The first step was realizing that the only opinion of me that matters is my OWN." — Ellen

15. "Start by finding a part of you that you like. I love my big blue eyes and my smile  they make me love my face, then my hair, etc. — and a reason for each part of you. Then realize it's all part of your big BEAUTIFUL self!" — Patti Jean

16. "The start of my journey was LOTS of selfies! I had power of taking pictures of myself where I was in control and could feel pretty. I’m kind of obsessed with making sure I have pictures of me in outfits that make me feel pretty  even with my chubby arms and chubby legs on display. I was nervous about being a chubby Wonder Woman … but I did it! NO regrets!" — Heather

17. "I’m a licensed funeral director and embalmer, so I’ve buried a lot of people in my day … the majority of them were THIN. Do you get my point?? If you feel good … you are FINE! Enjoy your life, enjoy your body because it’s the only one you have and it’s beautiful. Clothing stores like Curvy Girl Lingerie, Lane Bryant and other plus size stores are the places that make me smile because I know I can look like everyone else." — Barbara

18. "Several years ago Italian Vogue had plus size models in a beautiful spread. Since then, I take time to put on make-up, adorn myself with gorgeous jewelry, and dress well (and of course, have my days off in sweats!) I also take belly dancing with a beautiful, curvaceous teacher, and I make sure I am in nature every day, moving my body. I may be round, but I aim for good health and making my body-temple into art!" — Amy

19. "I found that when I do something nice for myself like buying a sexy piece of lingerie  I am able to feel more beautiful. Women of other sizes get to go to any Victoria Secret and come out feeling more attractive; I think that the rest of the population needs places like that too. Seeing myself in something lacy and pretty helps my trips to the mirror SO much, I don’t want to avoid it anymore." — Asherlee​

Is it just me, or are a lot of us just plain AMAZING? Some of these suggestions blew me away because I know that they came from a place of such hopelessness and shame, yet beauty and love for ourselves emerged from that. I am sure there are more.

Please add to this if you can think of other ideas about how you LOVE you and your story. How did you come to love you? How do you #loveyourself?