I have struggled with body acceptance my whole life.
Even as a kid, I looked at my body and thought of all the ways I would change it. I hated that I was so skinny and short. I hated that I had big calves and knees that stuck out.
This attitude carried on into my teen and young adult years when I developed a hate for my small chest and the fact that I couldn’t wear strapless tops or bikinis the same way the other girls could.
In my early twenties, I decided to work out hard. I hired a personal trainer, became disciplined in my eating and committed to regular workouts. I thought that by training for fitness competitions or modeling, I would automatically love my body more.
That didn’t happen.
Although I did have a different appreciation for what my body was capable of, I still loathed so many parts of me.
I spent years in a tug of war with my body. Wanting it to be different. I would fluctuate between size 0 and size 6 at times, meaning that I would join a gym and crash diet until I dropped back to size 0 and cycled through that throughout my early twenties.
When I got pregnant, I freed myself from my own harsh body criticism and ate anything I wanted without shame and guilt afterward. But once I had the baby, it was back to looking at my body and criticizing how my hips had widened, my stomach was flabby, how my feet had gotten wider, how my breasts changed after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
When 2019 rolled around, something finally clicked. I had a different perspective on my body.
I realized just how much my body does for me. It is my life’s vessel.
And how can I not love it in all of its beauty and imperfections?
I started with being aware of the things I said about my body to others and myself.
Then I started to make conscious food choices and have changed to eating mainly whole, clean foods and being aware of what I put into my body.
And I committed to a regular workout schedule that isn’t about how to shape my body to what I want. It’s about honoring my body for all it does and giving it the exercise I need.
As I learn to truly love and honor my body, I wanted to document the journey and have called it the Body Beautiful Challenge.
I feel that there is a lot of pressure from society about what makes a body beautiful or perfect. I want to shake that up and help people to see past that. To accept ourselves for who we are.