Usually I try to keep these blogs posts (and my social media, in general) fairly light. I think a lot of other people do that too—keep it positive, keep it light. But that can lead to the presentation of a false image. People might look at my social media I post and think everything is sunshine and rainbows all of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very happy person. Most days I’m extremely satisfied with my life, my career, and my relationships. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of self-doubt. One of the biggest thing I’ve battled with over the years is body image. It’s really only been in the last few years that I’ve actually had success in creating a more positive space in my head for how I view my body.
I know this a little different to what you’re used to seeing on this blog, but it’s something I feel is important and that people might be able to relate to. Today, I want to share some of the things that I’ve done to get closer being comfortable in my own skin.
I buy myself nice lingerie
For a long time I skipped out on buying pretty, lacy under things. I’d think ‘I’ll do that when I lost weight’ (that statement has plagued me my whole teenage and adult life) and of course I’m a normal person, my weight has gone up and down. I went years without buying anything but functional underwear, despite really wanting the frilly versions.
It was a form of punishment really, because I felt like my body didn’t deserve pretty things. Now I treat myself, because goddammit I like lacy things.
I surround myself with diverse, positive images
I have definitely have fallen prey to the recalibration of “what’s normal” (for lack of a better word) by reading too many fashion magazines. These day we have more control of the images we consume because we can choose what profiles we follow. So I’ve filled my Instagram and Facebook feeds with more body positive accounts. That way I’m seeing bodies of all types rather than just the ‘ideal’. I Heart My Body on Facebook is just one example.
I threw out my ‘skinny’ clothes
I had almost a suitcase full of stuff that doesn’t fit. Some of it was really old. But I brought that crap to Canada with me and it’s been this horrible ghost haunting my wardrobe ever since. Every time I had to go into the suitcase to pack for a holiday I felt bad about myself. I felt like a failure. So I ditched it I figure, if I do lose weight in the future I’ll treat my
|One of my veggie-filled dinners|
I focus on what to eat instead of what not to eat
For a long time, I focused on restriction and what to avoid. Guess what, that only makes you crave a bunch of stuff that’s supposedly off-limits. Now I try to focus on what’s good for me and trying to incorporate as much of that as possible. I think about how to eat as many different types of veggies as possible, I think about which fruit I’m going to have with my afternoon tea. I focus on nutrients instead of restriction.
I’d love to hear what you do to love yourself? Do you take bubbles baths, go for walks or indulge in nice body products? Let’s get some self-love happening in the comments.
That is a great post and probably timely for me I left work a couple of years ago now gave up smoking then joined weight watchers I wanted to feel better in myself I needed to get healthy so far I have lost 27kg but since some minor surgery and then a trip to Adelaide and more surgery coming up in a couple of weeks getting back on track has been hard but I try not to be too hard on myself because I have done well and I do eat a lot better than I did and I normally go for a walk everyday and listen to an audio book while doing so.
We all have to think of what makes us happy not what other people think and be happy with ourselves first good on you :)
And for me what I do is sit back and read or these days go for a walk :)
Yes, I totally agree. We as a society definitely worry far too much about what other people thing.Delete
Congratulations on giving up the smoking and working on your health! I'll be thinking good thoughts for you for the upcoming surgery. I hope it all goes well xx
Hi Stefanie, I think you're amazing! You're real and honest and uber talented and always look fabulous. But I totally understand where you're coming from; suffice to say most of us have an image in our heads of what we'll look like 'one day...when I've lost weight etc etc etc...' and we don't take time to appreciate how amazing we are right now.ReplyDelete
Ways I love myself: laugh with my kids, buy dresses (don't even go there....) and do zumba. I may not love the way my body looks, but I certainly love how it feels after an hour of dancing to loud music- it doesn't feel like exercise at all, just fun. Oh- and I'm really looking forward to seeing a documentary called 'Embrace' which is coming out soon and is about redefining beauty and loving your body.
How fun is Zumba!! I call it the 'fly swatting' class because that's what I feel like I'm doing for the whole hour haha Definitely a great way to get the blood pumping :)Delete
This blog couldn't have come at a more opportune time, Stefanie, with the release of my curvy chick book last week. I've been doing a lot of talking about body image and just how screwed up so many women are about their bodies - me included. Its been interesting seeing reviews come in so supportive of Harper and eye opening to see the odd ones that wish Harper didn't have such an issue with her body....ReplyDelete
The sad thing is I think most of us do have body issues - not just plus size women - and its sad and bloody exhausting!
Honestly....I struggle to be positive at all. I go for pragmatism more than anything but I love your buying lingerie tip. I'm going to take a leaf out of your book - thank you!
I really love that you tackle those kinds of topics in your books (It's why I loved Driving Her Crazy so much!!)Delete
I think you're right, so many women have issues with their bodies whether they talk about it or not. It's such a deeply ingrained behaviour that we don't even realise we're doing it half the time.
Glad you liked the lingerie tip, happy shopping :D
Stef, I loved this post. Good on you! And Amy, Harper and her curvy body are so welcome! My first book with Harlequin was about a heroine with major self image problems and it was fascinating how many readers responded to that. I've given up worrying about 'thin' clothes and go for ones that make me smile and are comfy. I particularly like bright colours and soft, swishy material. Though I've got a lot of buying to do to fill my wardrobe with that... :)ReplyDelete
It took me a long time to realise just how awesome it is to be comfortable (I know, crazy) but I was definitely of the 'beauty is pain' way of thinking. Not any more!Delete
Body image is such a huge issue. I don't have my photo taken, love my clothes and have lost 15k but I surround myself with the things I love. Camels, Middle Eastern items and books, lots and lots of books. I do have a special shop I go to when on sale because it is designer wear and buy nice clothes. Weight is an issue and can be depressing, but one thing I have learned you are perfect the way you are. Especially you my gorgeous girl. You are beautiful inside and out. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jan. I feel the same way about you! That's such a great idea to surround yourself with things that make you smile. I love seeing your camel pics on Facebook :DDelete
OMG Stefanie, you are absolutely gorgeous just the way you are! I watched one of your make-up videos the other day and just thought - what a gorgeous, talented women. And, you might be the only person to teach me how to put that black eye-liner on the top lid.ReplyDelete
I love the pretty lingerie idea. I used to buy lovely lingerie but haven't for a few years, must do so again!!
Thanks Jen *hugs* and yes, I am your eyeliner woman hahaDelete
The lingerie things is fun and nobody has to see it, so it's totally about making yourself feel good, which I think is so positive :)
Stefanie, you're a woman to my heart. We (I'm generalizing hugely now) women think we have to be thin and looking like the models in fashion magazines, tv and films. But we're real, we are not photoshopped or whatever. I like sexy lingerie too and I try to wear it, but I don't like the feeling of the polyester and all things unnatural. I just love natural materials on my skin and I'm having a hard time finding sexy lingerie made from natural materials.ReplyDelete
My motto is, when you wear lingerie and clothes in which you feel good, then you look good as well.
I agree, we look good when we feel good! I'm definitely trying to by clothes that make me smile and have nice-feeling fabrics. Glad you liked the post!! :)Delete
Thank you so much for writing this and for talking about something that is so important and that so many of us struggle with, but that we don't talk about nearly enough. I cannot tell you how many times the phrase "when I lose ten pounds" crosses my lips or my mind during the course of a day which is sad, but a product of years of body issues.ReplyDelete
I LOVED your advice about buying pretty under things because I really, really miss doing that and how good it felt to put something pretty on, even under my boring jeans and t-shirts. "goddammit I like lacy things" is going to be my new shopping battle cry, lol.
haha good! I think it's a perfect shopping battle cry :)Delete
So many of put our lives on hold while trying to lose weight and it makes me sad to think how much we miss out on. No reason we can't make healthier changes and keep living at the same time!
Stefanie, there's no avoiding all this body image crap. It's everywhere we turn and so destructive. I vacillate with thinking this is who I am and to hell with it, and thinking okay a few kilos less would make me look so much better. I'm fit and healthy and that is really what's important to me - until I walk past a shop window and see the reflection blinking out at me.ReplyDelete
I have always loved lacy underwear and not even bad self image has made me buy bod standard things. As my room mates at conference know all too well. It has always been my one indulgence, and maybe because no one else can see it and therefore can't laugh. And they make me feel soooo good.
Thanks for this blog. It is great.
That's fabulous that you've kept up with buying the things that make you happy. It's not worth giving up what makes us feel good!Delete
Yeah, I think that surprise at our reflection is a sad side effect of the images we're presented in the media. Our brains are tuned to accept an image of the 'blessed few' as the norm and it's very harmful.
Fab post, Stefanie! I've always been a lingerie freak although as my opinion of my body image has lessened over the years I've become less likely to search out pretty things in my size. It can be a little more challenging here in NZ to find really pretty affordable lingerie when you're full figured. I'm also one who avoids looking in the mirror these days. LOL! Silly really. I'm still me no matter what the image reflected in the mirror shows. As to clothing, I've begun to learn to buy what suits me rather than what's fashionable. My daughter is a designer and makes me some lovely things and she occassionally does casual work pattern making at a fashion house that specialises in clothing for fuller figured women and their factory shop has become my go to place for things that make me feel fabulous when I wear them.ReplyDelete
I guess my regular indulgence is fine fragrance. I figure it doesn't matter how awful the clothes I'm wearing on any given day. If I'm wearing one of my favourite fragrances I feel fantastic.
I am so with you on fine fragrance! I wear perfume every day, even around the house because I love it so much. It's like the finishing touch to getting ready :)Delete
Totally agree about finding the clothes that work for your instead of chasing trends. I think that's also a great way to shop to avoid spending crazy amounts of money too!
Great article Stefanie. I love how you advise to concentrate on what you can have/do have rather than the opposite. I'm also a great believer in throwing out/decluttering things that hold us back like 'skinny clothes'. You always look fabulous :)ReplyDelete
Awww thank you <3 Yeah, funny how the shift in focus makes you feel so much better. I started doing it at the gym too - focusing on how much weight I can lift instead of how much weight I wanted to lose. Makes for a much better workout :)Delete
Stef, I love this post. I'm going to throw out some of my skinny clothes this weekend now. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I'm glad the post is inspiring. You're beautiful, Rach, inside and out <3Delete
Fab post, Stef! Ah, body-image issues...they're hard to avoid, aren't they?ReplyDelete
For me, yoga has helped. I refuse to focus on what I look like in workout clothes (I am a great lover of the baggy Tee for exercise, but yoga teachers want to be able to see the alignment of your body in the poses, apparently) and focus instead on how much stronger and more flexible my body is.
I haven't bought pretty lingerie in an age -- I have to admit to a fondness for cotton, but I might explore that option further. And like Yvonne I'm a sucker for a gorgeous French perfume -- it's an extravagance that always makes me feel fabulous.
Oh yes, that reminds me of my ballet days. Baggy t-shirts were forbidden. Yoga is great, especially for those of us who sit all day for work! I'm trying to get more regular with my practice, but it's all baby steps.Delete
Michelle, ditto with the yoga.Delete
I absolutely agree on how much better - ie stronger - I feel by doing yoga. It's like a natural 'Wonder Woman' pose (which should totally be a yoga pose, I reckon) :).
Thanks for writing this post. As you know, I've had similar struggles in my life. I love all the ideas you mentioned and in particular, I think it's time for some nice lingerie :)ReplyDelete
Absolutely. Doesn't matter that it's hidden all day, you'll know it's there ;)Delete
We've talked about this many times, I know. Not an easy thing to overcome but I came to the realisation that ti wouldn't happen unless I make some very conscious changes as I know you've done too. We can inspire each other x