How to start loving your body

How to style a bodysuit: Plus size blogger Meagan Kerr wears Sonsee Bodysuit, Society+ Kate Midington Skirt and EziBuy Sara Velvet Blazer

Right now, you might not love your body. You might not know how to love your body, or you might wish your body was in some way different. That’s okay, we’ve all got to start somewhere right? I know that learning to love and appreciate our physical selves can be really hard, especially if your body is not the kind of body that’s seen and celebrated by the media. If, like me, you have a body that you’ve been told isn’t acceptable, a body that you’ve been taught is wrong. So where do you start? Here are three tips to help you start loving your body.

1. Make the decision to start loving your body

I realise that this might be easier said than done, but making that definitive decision to work at loving your body, loving your self as you are – that’s a powerful one. If you are determined that you can’t love yourself, or you think that you don’t deserve self love until your body is different, then I’m sorry but this isn’t going to work. You can’t hate yourself into self love. If you’re not ready for this yet then that is totally okay – you can come back at any time when you do feel ready. And if you’re feeling on the fence about it and you’re not sure, then read my posts this month anyway (yep, I’m going to be talking about self love for a whole month because I think it’s that important). It might be that one of them will spark something that helps things click for you. Remember that you can always come back and read them at any time.

I can actually pinpoint the moment that I made the decision to start loving my body. I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, but looking back now I can see it pretty clearly. I was at my family’s home in Gisborne and before I left to come back to Auckland they wanted to take a family photo while we were all together. I thought I looked horrible, my body was disgusting, I would just ruin the photo. I got really upset at the prospect of being in front of the camera (something I’m sure will surprise some of you who are new followers who see me standing there so easily now), and we didn’t end up taking the picture because I point blank refused. On our drive back to Auckland, after I’d calmed the fuck down, I realised that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I couldn’t go on hating myself, treating myself so badly. It was exhausting, it meant that my family was missing out on things because of me, and that wasn’t fair on me or them. I decided then that I deserved better, that my whanau deserved better, and that I needed to do something about it.

2. Stop being mean to yourself

The saying about us being our own harshest critics is so true. I am harsher on myself, have higher expectations of myself and bigger doubts about myself and my abilities than I do of anyone else. And I can be mean to myself too – the things I’ve said about myself, that I’ve thought to myself, I’d never say those things to someone else. And I wouldn’t put up with someone else saying them to me, either.

I’m going to talk more about this in my next post so I don’t really want to go in to it too much yet (one thing at a time okay?), but we need to stop talking to ourselves negatively. We need to stop putting ourselves down. Once again, I know this is easier said than done, especially if we’ve always done it or the people around us say awful things about us to. For now, just try to catch those thoughts when you have them and recognise how mean and nasty they are. Acknowledge those thoughts. When you become more aware of them, it’s easier to change the way you talk to yourself.

3. Find the good

You might think that loving your body is hard, is out of your reach and just not attainable. I completely understand. You can’t just do one thing and expect to magically change your whole relationship with your body, with yourself – that’s not how things work. So start small. Think of one thing about yourself that you do like. It could be your hands, it could be your bum, heck it could even be your eyelashes. Just find one thing. Write it down, in case you forget. And write down any more as they come to you. That list will get longer. It might take a long time, but it’s a start.

If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear one thing you like about yourself
Let me know in the comments below!

11 Comments

  1. Shirley
    February 3, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    I turned 39 last month and I think I’m finally starting to love and respect myself. Gosh it has taken me so long. One thing I have learnt – and especially from reading your blog, is to invest in yourself because that is a really important part of self love. I used to think “Nah, I won’t buy that pretty dress or that leather jacket at my size because maybe some day I will be thin and I will have wasted that money.” I don’t do that anymore – I buy the beautiful clothes because it makes me feel good – and I am not a waste! Love and invest in yourself no matter what your size – buy the beautiful clothes, get your nails and your hair done. Keep moving forward.

  2. February 3, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    What a great post Meagan! It’s taken me a long time and quite a journey but I finally feel fine with my body and am comfortable in my skin. My body is by no means ‘perfect’ but what even is that, if I accept it and love it does that make it so? I’m going to be following this months posts with great interest xxx

  3. Joni Holmes
    February 2, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    I love my hair. It is my prettiest feature to myself.

  4. February 2, 2018 / 11:49 am

    For me, it was more about the end of hating my body. At age 21, in an attempt to make myself “acceptable” to a woman I strongly desired, I put myself through eight months of self-starvation. I lost 50 pounds. But the hunger was just *too* severe, and I rapidly regained 70. The extra 20 stayed with me for more than three decades. The experience radicalized me. I decided NEVER AGAIN!

  5. Fiona
    February 2, 2018 / 7:17 am

    Thanks for that Meagan.
    I don’t know whether or not I do love myself. However, getting older, you tend to get to a stage in your life where, you just don’t sweat the little things anymore.
    Instead of worrying about what I look like(very self-conscious) and that I am very over weight etc, I have learnt to embrace the fact that I am what I am.
    I have lived with myself long enough to know that it isn’t easy to lose weight and exercise, I have a lower metabolism, I just don’t have the will to do exercise, and I have an eating disorder and a sweet tooth to boot.
    Although being over weight and getting older, is now affecting my body in lots of ways, I am having to learn to control certain things or I will suffer the pain and heart ache if I don’t.
    When I shop for clothes now, I know what I can wear and cannot wear for my own body, comfort and satisfaction.
    This has all basically hit me after I turned 45 or so.
    Today is easier for a bigger person to be more accepted, than it was when I was in my late teens. I wasn’t anywhere near the size I am now, but I was still considered a big person being a size 16 to 18. I felt so self-conscious and shy back then, it was hard to find 16 to 18 sized clothes then, but now that size is standard in most places.
    I have been big all my life, big baby, child and adult, also big boned as well.
    So as I have said, I have learnt not worry about it so much, as long as I can cover up the fat/ flab/rolls, then I feel comfortable to go out in public.
    I hate other people taking my pictures and I cannot bring myself to doing walking exercise around the blocks for some reason though.
    When I talk to my work colleagues or friends, I am up-front and honest about my weight. Making jokes about myself and my weight all the time, to me that is just being open and honest.
    So basically I don’t know if I love myself, but I accept myself for who and what I am.

    • February 2, 2018 / 9:09 am

      Hi Fiona, thanks for sharing your thoughts – I think that recognising your body for what/how it is, and accepting that, is really important too! I think that can be a crucial step for some people. One thing that really struck me about what you wrote was that you said you make jokes about yourself and your weight all the time – maybe have a think about why you do this. I used to do it as well, but I’ve realised that actually I was putting myself down a lot with the jokes I was making (which falls under my second tip in this post). Please be kind to yourself!

  6. February 2, 2018 / 6:51 am

    Excellent advice! One thing I would add is to believe others who think you are beautiful. As an FA, I find it kind of depressing when someone I think is beautiful doesn’t believe me and thinks that, in spite of my opinion, that they are unattractive. Always remember: it’s not just you who thinks you are beautiful. A lot of other people do as well!

    • February 2, 2018 / 8:58 am

      This isn’t about how attractive you find someone, or even about beauty. What other people think of you shouldn’t matter one iota (especially in the context of self love), and it is not about beauty or being beautiful. People who are not beautiful, or don’t feel beautiful, they deserve to love themselves and have peace with their bodies as much as anyone else.

      • February 3, 2018 / 12:31 am

        Is self-love really about isolation? Other people’s negative opinions should indeed not matter one iota. But positive messages of support should be embraced, not rejected. This is not to suggest that people should seek positive reinforcement, which is not needed, but rather that if someone cannot accept positivity from another, then that is a pretty strong sign that they do not truly love themselves yet.

        • February 3, 2018 / 12:35 am

          Now I have that old song about “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative” stuck in my head! (It is a pretty good reflection of my philosophy in life.)

        • February 3, 2018 / 1:29 pm

          It’s not that at all, but other people’s opinions (negative or positive) aren’t what we should base our opinions of ourself on, which is what we’re talking about here. Not to mention, I’m talking about being at the beginning of that journey of self love, so for people who are in that place they might be nowhere near ready to hear or believe positive commentary from other people.

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