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Wellness

Learning to Love Your Body is a Gradual Process

Content Warning: Body dysmorphia

#BodyPositivity is trending, and more and more people are starting to embrace their own body type. We see fashion brands start a whole campaign inviting plus-size and racially diverse models to wear their clothes; we see celebrities speaking about loving your own body and working actively against diet culture. We see body positivity so much lately that we learn not to criticize other people’s body type. Right?


woman in blazer and graphic t-shirt
Photo by Jens Holm from Unsplash

While we see less and less of people openly shaming other people’s body type, the idea of having to look thicc and skinny at the same time is still perpetuating our society. Instagram influencers promoting diet gummy bears, TikTokers starting the body hourglass challenge, and models on shopping websites are still predominantly skinny tall girls. It’s all these subtle things that still dig deep into our subconscious thought and make us question ourselves every day we look in the mirror: am I pretty enough?

It just seems that these days there is no win. You want to have a flat stomach while also having a full chest; you want to wear makeup but you can’t put on too much makeup or else you look “fake”; you want to wear crop tops but you’re scared people will point and judge. The things you want and the things you can have, seems so far out of reach and impossible to accomplish. It feels like there will never be a day when we’re 100% satisfied with how we look. 


body of woman with stomach rolls
Photo by Monika Kozub from Unsplash

Loving your body is not easy, especially in this day and age where there’s so much information about what the perfect body should look like that you get overwhelmed just trying to keep up with one. Even when someone tells us that we look great just the way we are, we have a hard time accepting that because we are the harshest judges of ourselves, and we constantly try to compare ourselves with everything and everyone around us.


different body types in black leotards
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

I am also someone who struggles with liking my own body. Growing up, diet culture and talking about weight loss or weight gain was extremely normalized. Conversations about how to lose weight are always brought up; guilt accompanied with eating a fancy meal; constant comparison with any stranger you see on the streets–everything drains you out slowly. It wasn’t until college that I started to realize how toxic these types of behaviors were. I started to criticize my body less and form a more positive relationship with my self-image. I stopped weighing myself every day and soon enough the numbers stopped bothering me as much as it did before. I stopped worrying about the calories in the meals I’m having and learned to enjoy each meal and be grateful for the food I’m eating. I stopped obsessing over how celebrities looked on social media or magazine covers and recognize that I am happy with just being me. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfectly proud of how I look now; there are still so many things on the internet or in daily life that trigger negative thoughts about my body. That’s why I say that loving your body is a gradual process. It’s the little steps you take in life that can help you like yourself a little more each day. It’s impossible to just wake up one day and be perfectly content with your body, and that’s totally fine. Because honestly speaking, even the people you see on the internet with those gorgeous bodies and perfect noses, might not  be happy with how they look. Everyone struggles with portraying the best version of themselves and everyone is just trying their best. Just remember to be kind with yourself and take little steps each day towards loving yourself more. 
 

Teresa Yen

Wisconsin '21

Teresa graduated from UW-Madison and enjoys dancing, listening to podcasts, and biking around Madison!
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