Why You Should Love Your Body Even When You Don’t Like It

You’re scrolling through social media and what do you see but a multitude of incredibly fit women showing off their hard-earned bodies. You look at your own body and wonder why you can’t look like them. After seeing them for so long you decide you will. You start eating healthy and working out, never feeling full and always dreading the gym. A few weeks go by and you see a little progress, but summer is quickly approaching and you are nowhere near your dream bod. You get tired, frustrated, and negative. You stop eating healthy, stop working out, and start self-loathing and put the weight you lost right back on. You get back on social media, make yourself feel horrible by looking at fitness models, and eventually begin the process over again to no avail.

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This was me, and I’m sure many others. For over a year I’ve been absolutely obsessed with my body image. We’re talking borderline unhealthy. Calorie counting, workout classes and programs, overloading cheat days, fad diets, and even—don’t judge me—a waist trainer. You might be thinking, “Oh, that doesn’t sound too bad,” but believe me, it was. I felt obsessed with progress. I’d make a little, get discouraged and gain it back, lose some more, and gain it back—a never ending cycle.  I always was left in the same place of hopelessness and self-hatred. There have been a hundred ups and downs, varying from priding myself on only eating 800 calories a day to quitting dieting and working out altogether.

I am done with that now, or at least trying to be. This year has been a rough one for me personally regarding body image among other things, but I have learned a lot from it. Loving my body is the best decision I’ve made. I feel healthier and happier than ever. I am not—and never will be—defined by the number on the scale. My value and worth do not change with that number; it means nothing. I’ve come to learn that what matters is how I feel about myself, not how I look. I’ve completely changed my outlook on dieting and exercising. Like everyone says, and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it, it’s a lifestyle.  You can never just workout 7 days a week and starve yourself for 6-12 weeks and expect a life-long difference.

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Now I work out and eat healthy because I love my body, not because I hate it. I’ve changed my mindset to doing it for myself, not in spite of myself. You can’t expect to succeed if you have a hatred for what you’re doing or even what you’re doing it for—you may desperately want that bikini body but if you hate the body you’re in now you’re never going to be satisfied. My body doesn’t (and might not ever) look like those Instagram fitness models, but that’s okay. As long as I take care of myself and love myself then that is all I really need. It is so much easier said than done, and I still struggle with it now, but loving yourself makes all of the difference.