You Are Allowed To Not Love Your Body

I understand the pain you feel. I understand the longing for a skinnier leg, a more angled face, a taller body. I understand the hardship of looking different from what commercial TV shows portray as beautiful. Yes, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and everybody is beautiful, etc. (as all the cliches say). But that is hard to believe when you cannot stand looking at yourself in a shop window or a bathroom mirror, when you are tied to the scale just waiting for kilograms to decrease or increase. It’s hard to believe you are beautiful when all the stores “every girl” goes to do not sell clothing in your size. It’s even harder to believe you are beautiful when your family might encourage you to “lose a few pounds” or to “just eat more”.

However, me understanding it will not help you look at it differently. I never had a good relationship with food. I was not allowed sweets or “unhealthy” things when I was younger—mostly, I believe, due to health problems. That, combined with looking at the female figures in my family disrespecting their bodies and always striving to be a bit skinnier, led me down a spiral I hope no little child will go through. Sadly, media flourishes on these spirals. And the most influenceable group of people is children, who are bombarded with tons of information at all times.

Truly, food is not “good” or “bad”. Food is food—it gives you energy and it keeps you connected with others. All foods can be enjoyed if you do not give some of them more power over you than you give others. Exercising is great and can make you feel amazing, but it can also be a punishment, depending on why you choose to exercise. Our bodies do need to move, run, and jump, but not as a free pass to have that candy bar or to add extra cheese to a sandwich.

Being thinner is not worth the pain, the mental turmoil, the anxiety. Clothes don’t make a person—you can be gorgeous in whatever size you are wearing right now. It is not okay to have a panic attack over an extra 100g on the scale. Our bodies are forever changing, and there is so much more than what’s on your plate that plays a role in the way we look and feel. You cannot harm yourself under the excuse of “trying to be healthier”. Indeed, our bodies need nourishment, as much as our minds need to be at peace with having a burger and a side of fries. That is real heath—having both your mind and body at peace.

And if you struggle with loving your body, let me tell you something: You don’t have to. It’s okay to not love your body. Try being neutral about it. It is a body—its purpose is to carry you around and help you do tasks. You can hug those you love and can go on crazy adventures with the help of it. It is just a thing you have in your life. Loving it will come with time as you learn what gives you confidence and power. And trust me, it’s rarely kale chips and fat free yogurt.

You are allowed to tell people that discussing your weight is not something you are willing to do. You are allowed to distance yourself from negative comments disguised as positive advice. You are allowed to unfollow all the influencers that seem to have a perfect life with perfect green smoothies and perfect gym workouts. You are allowed to not love your body, but try to listen to what it says it needs without forcing external beliefs on it. There are so many experiences out there that you need to show up for exactly as you are. You are enough exactly as you are.

About the author
I make a mean tiramisu. I also make bird noises when I'm uncomfortable Follow Mara on Instagram or read more articles from Mara on Thought Catalog.

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