Body Acceptance at Any Size

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I’ll admit that I’ve always been somewhat critical of my body. The older I get, the more I try to embrace my flaws instead of always fighting them or being unhappy that I don’t look like a model on the cover of a magazine. I look different than I did in my 20’s, before having three kids, and before sleepless nights with newborns have left me looking more tired than anything else. As long as I’m healthy and fit, that’s what matters most. But I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have those days like anyone else where my imperfections start to bug me and I wish I could change things about my body. 
After having a baby, I always go through a period of time where I don’t feel very comfortable in my own skin. I’m kind of in that phase now, with my body still changing a few months after giving birth. I’m anxious to get back to that pre-baby state, where my body isn’t perfect, but at least it’s familiar. 
Growing up, my mom was always trying to lose weight through one diet program or another. I remember her weight being a source of frustration, because she’d see some success, only to “fall off the wagon” and gain the weight back again. That cycle continued through my childhood, and still continues today as I’ve become an adult. The funny thing about my mom is that she’s never really had issues with her self-esteem. No matter what her size, she’s a confident and happy person. Up to this point she hasn’t had any significant health problems as a result of the excess weight (which could be why she’s never felt compelled to lose it and keep it off). 
I wondered why it’s hard for me to accept my body and my flaws, without a lot of excess weight to lose, while my mom is very accepting of her body, despite having a lot to lose in order to be considered healthy. Why are we so different, and why can’t I be more like her?
When I asked why she wants to lose weight (and if it’s okay to blog about it), she laughed and said she wants to be able to fit into a lot of the clothes in her closet that she hasn’t worn in a long time. She said that when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t see herself as she really is. She joked that she has a distorted body image, but it’s the opposite problem most people have: she sees someone who is thinner (and about 30 years younger) than she actually is. She wants to lose the weight so that her actual self reflects what she sees in the mirror every day. She doesn’t dwell on how she looks.  In fact, she’s able to look at the bigger picture of her life, seeing all of the things she has to be thankful for and all of the things that she does like about herself (physical or otherwise.)    
This conversation with my mom made me realize that accepting your body isn’t about being a certain size or seeing a certain number on the scale. It’s about learning to be happy with who you are. Whether you have 20 or 200 pounds to lose, I’d bet there are things you could say you like about your body. Focusing on the good during your weight loss journey can make the experience much more positive and enjoyable. Just because you haven’t reached your goal weight, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace things about who you are and what you look like.
What do you think? What is one thing you can say you love about your body?

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EVIE4NOW 7/19/2020
Very good blog. The thing I really don't like is my height. I would love to be 2 or 3 (or more) inches taller. Nothing I can do about it tho. At least I'm never expected to change a light bulb. Report
ATEAMSIS08 1/1/2020
Although I am happy with my body, I am not happy with my thighs getting bigger. My size has in clothes has become smaller, but my thighs are not getting small like they used to. Report
I am working on accepting where I am right now, but it is NOT my healthiest weight or fitness level and at times I get frustrated, and bewildered. Report
I'm living my best life at the age of 49 and like the way I look I just like to continue to live as healthy as I can when I can. I have felt sexy at almost every size I've been but also felt like blah on a few sizes I've been. I know that only I can do what I need to do to feel & be happy at the size I am and desire to be. You can do it too be encouraged everyday. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Hmmm. I'm of two minds after reading this article. I know I should be more grateful for my incredibly good health; I am NEVER sick, found it easy to get back into shape, have maintained a 65-70 lb. weight loss for a year, and suffer only minimal aches and pains. I admit that I often take my good health for granted.

That said, I absolutely WON'T "embrace" my flaws! I intend to do all I can to eliminate or at least reduce them. I may one day come to "ACCEPT" things I can't change, but embrace them? Never. Report
I am always grateful but not amply satisfied but if that's the case I am here on SP. They help me to explore other options especially as I matured and age like fine wine. So if you are battling read blogs & articles it's not enough to be present here BUT change the mind AND eat healthier & move your body! Be encouraged! Report
I struggle with self acceptance everyday!!! I lost 45 pounds and got in the "healthy" range and now I've gained 15 back putting me, once again, in the "over weight" range. I can't accept that even though I know I am more muscle and healthier than I ever was. Report
Great read Report
GOOD REMINDER!!! My goal is to wake up every morning and SEE myself POSITIVELY and begin my day with Mindful Meditation. Report
I've always had a problem with weight. I have 5-7 lbs to lose now. Report
Happiness should not be based on circumstances. It is a choice you make. Report
Good read. Thanks. Report
AMEN!!! Report
I wish we all could be happy and grateful for our bodies. Having just found out that my oldest daughter has an eating disorder makes me look at weight in a totally different way. (By the way she is an athlete and is very muscular. Her BMI is in the low healthy range, but she sees herself as fat.) I think we all need to be healthy, but a lower weight isn't always the answer! Report
This was a good read. I must admit, I am not always comfortable in my own skin and I'm not always in love with my body. However, as I continue to work on my insecurities, I am enjoying the results of consistent exercise and the benefits of living a healther lifestyle. Report
I'm fighting this battle right now on a few fronts. Not only physical self image - but self value. But with the help of a few friends I hope to win this battle. I starting to learn how some of it got started, but not all. I'm learning how it got as bad as it is. But beginning to see the light. Having lost a bunch of weight has helped the self confidence which is another tool in the battle of liking myself. Report
I love this blog! I often find it hard to accept my body and this blog reminded me that I need to accept myself for the way I am. Report
Loving your body can still be difficult! But knowing that YOU ARE OK, and are WORKING on a HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE, makes ME enjoy the body that I am creating! Report
I love my legs so much because they work. I was in a wheelchair when I was kid. I want to say that I think I am hot, but I don't. But I am losing weight for health reasons. Report
It's funny. I know the model in that photo. We were roommates for 4 months. She's a great person. :) Report
This sounds silly, but I am always amazed at how perfectly timed everything one eats just amazes me. You have to chew a certain way after you've taken that bite and then the swallow has to be perfectly timed so you don't choke. Then your body has this amazing process of having the food travel through these intestines and it is processed through filters and absorbed in certain ways and places. Somehow the processing provides fuel in intricate ways so we have the energy to do what we need to do. If we exercise, we process the food more efficiently, so our bodies are intended to move and do just that. Everything is such an intricate amazes me! Crazy, but that's what I love about my body and the hman body in general-it's complex workings and efficiency! Report
That's a great story. Thanks for sharing it :) I see myself as fatter than I'd like and probably than I am. But I am very thankful I am where I am now instead of where I have been and I know it's all because I took the steps to be healthier and did it without much support. I'm very proud today even if I still can't love the way my body looks all the time (I have moments!) Report
I like me, especially my smile and eyes ... but photos sometimes surprise me. They give a different picture than the mirror does. Report
Your Mom is a lot like my Mom was, bless her heart! Mom never had to worry about her weight until after Dad died when she was in her 60s. Then the weight started to creep on, but it didn't bother her. She lived to be 100! Report
I love this blog. I have tried to feel comfortable in my own skin no matter my size, for the most part I am. I have those days I am just not happy! I love my legs. Report
Amen to this blog! I love your Mom's attitude. Report
I forgot to add my favorite part of my body, my legs from just under the knees down. Report
Never thought about it like this, but have always told my kids to always look for the positive in everything. No matter how small the positive is if you focus on it it will grow and the negative will shrink. Guess need to use this thinking with my journey. Thanks for sharing!!!! Report
That's a good attitude to have. Report
I too grew up with a mother that was always dieting. For much of my adult life I have always been on roller coaster of dieting. Now, I am continuing to work on my body image distortion. Trying to learn to accept my sagging belly and stretchmarks (from babies). However, after being ill for the past couple of years, I am happy that I can run and workout!! Report
I love that I have some muscles evident and I have bones that can be seen (collar bones--I am not bony!). This is a far cry from the last several years! Report
This is so true! Even if you DO make your goal weight, you can still have misguided perceptions of yourself (i.e. still see yourself as fat). Report
Love that I have a waistline now and I can see muscles on my stomach. Report
The one thing I love about my body is it's strength. I was hit by a car many years ago and told I'd never walk again, but I do and I run and I bike and I rock 6" heels too! Report
Now that I've toned up, I'd say my butt is looking pretty good to me anyway!! I like my figure a lot too, I have curves again, and definition. Mostly I love the way I feel, and I've changed quite a bit on the inside as well. I know I'm one of the few who isn't seeking to be a size 4. I was a very tight 22, now I'm a 16, my goal size. This is comfortable and feels good. I'm in maintenance now and I feel good in my skin. I will continue to work on toning and living my balanced, healthy lifestyle and see what next year brings.

Great blog, thanks! Report
I have struggled with body image all my life. I was heavy growing up and hit my top weight of 240lb at 5'7" at about the age of 17. I lost 60lbs over the next 4 or so years and have maintained around 180lbs since. (I'm now 28). I've since become a certified personal trainer and Zumba instructor. After adding strength training to my routine and eating more clean I've lost some body fat and added muscle while staying around 180lbs.

I'm starting to feel like 180lbs is just the weight my body is supposed to be at....but part of me feels like that is giving up. My skin never snapped back from my highest weight (I figure its due to genetics..I was young and lost the weight very slowly) so parts of my body is still very soft and flabby (especially the belly)

Ok so enough with the self pity - my point is that after years and years of obsessing over health and fitness and weight loss I'm FINALLY beginning to realize that I will only be truly happy once I accept my body, no matter the size. I don't hate my body, in fact I have some bodacious curves :) But I do beat up on myself for my belly and thighs. Well today, I say ENOUGH! I am beautiful and SO ARE YOU!!!

Today my new focus is HEALTH! Not the way I look. Thank you, Jen, for sharing and making me realize what is important. :-) Oh and tell you mom hi! Report
I guess my favorite body part is actually on the inside: it's my muscle structure. No matter what hormonal/insulin/thyroid disorders I've been faced with, no matter how much or how little fat was on my body, I have always been naturally strong with really good muscle definition. I know as I age that might change, but I always feel a real surge of pride whenever I can move a bookcase without my boyfriend's help :) Report
I love this write up because we do have to love ourselves no matter what our size and what "Society" pegs us as. It is a huge challenge to see the good when you are overweight and out of shape but there are definitely things that you can love about yourself. I myself love that I have curves! Report
Thanks to ur mom for giving out such a nice thought. To be honest, I would accept that I have complaints about most of my body. I don't even feel like going out in gatherings because I feel I would not look good into the clothes I like to wear. But as ur mom said, I should maybe now move on to the clothes that I would look good into and love the way I look !!!! I like wat ur mom thinks and feels :) Report
I love my curves, especially my hips. I am trying to focus on that rather than my chunky knees and jingly belly. I watch Biggest Loser and I saw even after losing 75lbs, Sunny still had chunky knees. But her "After" size she had really nice legs. So, some of us just gain weight in our knees! I just gotta stop focusing on that. Thanks Jen's mom! Report
Well as a teenager I was very self conscicenous about my legs I had slim legs in high school and was called names. I now know and recongize the hatters. I am heaier than I like now but I love me and have learned to except my body how it is. I love me just not the weight I have gained over the years. 51 years of life has taught me that no one is perfect in this life. Some may have issues with their bodies. I no longer believe the devils lies. God says that I am fearfully and wonderously made and God don't lie. Besides my skin is beautiful. I have never had more than 10 pimples on my face as a teenager unto my older years and my face is wrinkle free. Report
I was nevr really unhappy with my body. I was athletic and overweight. My peers were all trim, I fit in because i could do most of the athletic stuff. never could do pull ups or push ups, never nbothered me at all.
The day I was diagnosed Diabetic changed my attitude to my health not weightloss. I found Spark and wised uo on my health issues all of which are now in control, So Iam still happy with my body but I love being 3 sizes smaller, Pat in Maine. Report
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I never was unfit growing up (at least not overwieght) and working with A-holes that make snde comments does NOT help. Report
I guess I'm like your mom. I have always thought of myself as sexy and beautiful, I love me, myself, and I. That is the key to a healthy life. Add eathing healthy and keeping active and, like me, even a 200lb woman can see what I see in the mirror! Remember that giving all the love you can is important too because it will return to you X2! Report
Jen, it may have something to do with age as well. I am 54 and I really don't feel that age. In my mind I am about 25. I don't see mysefl as my age either. I have 8 grandchildren and I still don't accept that. Report
I can fully understand your mom...I am obese..but for the most part i love me...not the weight as i know it is not healthy...but i love who is inside that skin..and i allow that to shine...and the truth is most ppl see the real me...sometimes we allow our outer to define us and ppl don't ever see the real us...even though we lose weight..sometimes we are still unhappy with us...that is because we do not love us...i love me...i honestly do...sometimes i feel like just living and forget about the weight but i know i am cheating myself out of my best life and that alone is my reason for losing weight...not because i do not feel good about me... Report
Nice article and so true. I like my body more now then I ever have. I like the muscles I am building. I like the more toned me and I want to build more muscles. I do have a hard time accepting my body sometimes. Some times I feel so HUGH...Then I feel so silly when I realize I am a size 3. Report
Oh my gosh Jen, I felt the same way your Mom did...I did not see myself as heavy as I was even though I had to buy new clothes to wear cuz the old ones were too small.

It is about learning to be happy with who you are! THANKS for this great blog! Report
For years, I felt like I was a different person than I guess I really appeared. Sure, I carried a little extra weight, but it was never really a big issue. I still had my insecurities about my body, but all in all, I was happy in my skin, except of course when someone pulled out a camera. I've always been very harsh about pictures of me just after they've been taken, because I've never they never really show 'me'. Then I had my first baby and the extra poundage left in his wake was disturbing to me, so I sort of went into hyper drive with the fitness thing.

Actually, before I got pregnant with my second and was the absolute smallest I've been in my adult life and well probably on back to my pre-teens.... I found myself more insecure about how I looked and how NOT perfect I was despite all my healthy eating and exercise... it was bizarre. I can look back now on my progress pics from last spring and really appreciate exactly how much progress I'd made and just be in awe of some of the clothes I was able to wear so comfortably then after years of figuring I was just big boned (even though I didn't actually FEEL big-boned, just what "outsiders" might label me as I guess - I hope that makes sense).

What I see in my mirror will change over the next several months... but I feel much more accepting of my body now for whatever reason. I hope that acceptance will stick around after my 2nd baby is born.... Report