• clarestephenson11

My journey to body acceptance

Learning to love and have peace with your body is a necessity, but certainly not easy. Our bodies get us from A to B. They are the things that get us up in the morning and allow us to live our days. Without them, we won’t be able to create the memories that we do and build the experiences that we have. Our bodies are incredible things that do so much for us, so the least we can do is to be kind to it and accept it.

Growing up, I have always been self-conscious of my body. People have told me, for as long as I can remember, that I have long legs. But what most people don’t know is that it is one of my biggest insecurities. Yes, I have long legs, but because of that, I also have a short body. Another one of my insecurities. So, every time I get reminded that I have long legs, it digs down that insecurity further and further. Even though people tell me how nice my legs are and that I am lucky to have them, I still don’t listen. I never used to think about the way my body looked; however, with all the comments I was getting it got more and more ingrained into my thoughts that maybe what I look like does matter. And it matters to other people as they care enough to make a comment.

So, for me, my journey through my eating disorder was never to do with weight. Well, at least at the beginning. It was always about the insecurities I had in my body shape. I mastered the art of comparing my body to my friends and other girls I would see on nights out. I used restrictive eating as a form of compensation for the lack of confidence I had in my body shape. Through my recovery process I have identified a number of underlying reasons as to why my eating disorder developed and one that I have not acknowledged enough is my insecurity and lack of acceptance in my body shape. I restricted myself in so many ways thinking that if I did this, then just maybe my insecurities would go away. However, 2 years later and they are still there.

And seeing girls on social media with their tiny waists and peachy bums didn’t help me either. The important thing to remember about social media is how edited it is. People will not post a picture that they are not happy with. They will however post images of themselves and their bodies in their seemingly most ‘perfect’ light. They will not show you when they are feeling bloated or uncomfortable in their body. Recognising that not all you see is true has been a massive help in my recovery from anorexia. Following body positive influencers such as @nourishandeat and @ariellanyssa has helped me to understand that there are actually real people with real lives on social media who are actually influencing something important.

I am slowly beginning to accept that I will never be able to change my body. I need to learn that this is what I have got and that is good enough. My legs will always be long. I will always have wider hips. That is me. That is the way that my body is built and no matter how many times I skip breakfast or do squats in my bedroom, nothing will change that. I can remember standing in my bedroom mirror using my hands to cover my hips and using editing tools to see if I could make my legs appear bigger. I need to stop handling the parts of my body that I don’t like with hate and instead, touch them with kindness and acceptance.

I need to learn that people will always have something to say. Someone will always make a comment about your body that maybe you don’t want to hear. Yes, you may get knocked down from it, but what’s most important is knowing to ignore it and keep going. No one has the right to make a silly judgement or comment that affects the way that YOU feel about your body.

We spend, and will spend, every single day in the body that we own. It is our responsibility to be its best friend, not its harshest critic.

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