I was asked to talk about being body positive and ways to deal with body image issues. Let me give you full disclosure here, I have had body image issues my whole life, and right now is no different. I don’t have the answers here, but I do have some things I have done that help me accept myself more.
Why I’m Choosing to Celebrate My Stomach
I’ve decided to celebrate my stomach as a way of accepting my body. You see- when I was growing up, I was not thin overall, but my waistline was 29 inches. It was the one thing that I really liked about my body, but 3 kids later….
It was very sad for me to see that the one area of my body that I had really loved, became something that I hate to look at.
This year, I decided that I am going to celebrate my stomach so that I can enjoy the way it looks once again. It is a work in progress for me and there will be days when I am ok with how I look. Then there will be days when I don’t like the way I look.
Ways I’m Accepting My Belly
Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not doing a million and half sit-ups trying to get a toned stomach. I’m working out, but it doesn’t matter what I do, I’ll never have a flat belly. Forget about the six pack abs.
Instead of trying to change the way I look, I’ve decided I want to accept my belly the way it is. If I can’t be happy with what it looks like today, there is no way I’ll ever be happy with it.
Here are the things I’m doing to accept myself.
Look in the mirror-
Everyday, I get in front of the mirror and look at my stomach. I’ve decided that in order to accept the way I look, I need to see what I look like. Instead of avoiding it, I’m going to look right at it.
I’m going to stare right at those stretch marks. I’m going to look at how it pouches out over my pants. Instead of avoiding it, I’m going to own it.
Stop hiding it-
I’m not going to hide my stomach anymore. I usually try to find clothes that will keep my stomach from poking out so much. Instead of trying to pretend like it doesn’t exist, I’m going to be ok if it is noticeable.
When it comes to my husband, I’m going to show him this area of my body. I’m going to find ways to accentuate my belly for those times when we are sexually intimate. Again, instead of trying to hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist, I’m going to make a bigger deal of it.
Change my idea of beautiful-
The world wants us to think that there is only one kind of stomach that looks beautiful…and that is a flat stomach with abs. I’m not ever going to have a flat stomach or abs that can be seen. Instead of being narrow minded in what I think is beautiful, I’m going to widen my view and make sure I include my own body in it.
While I’m at it, I’m going to make sure my idea of beauty isn’t tied solely to the way my belly looks. I’m going to remember that this is where my three boys were created. My body nourished them in a magnificent way, and that my friends- is simply beautiful.
Let my spouse relish in my body-
Since my stomach is my focus area, I’m going to let my husband relish in it. I will invite him to show me how much he likes this part of my body in his own way. Then, I will believe him when he tells me that he loves my stomach.
There was a time that I would down play his compliments of the way I look. That put a wall between us and kept me from being as intimate with him. I have worked to accept his point of view and encourage him to feel excited about the way I am.
Sure, if you work hard and lose weight, you will feel better about the way you look, but believe me, it is only temporary. Eventually, you’ll start nitpicking something about your body.
Take me, for example. Two and a half years ago, I lost 30 pounds. I now weigh the same amount as I did when I was a teenager. Guess what? I felt better about my body for all of 5 seconds, and then I started fussing over something else I didn’t like about the way I looked.
First, I didn’t like how my butt sagged. So…I started doing squats a few times a day. Then, I realized that I had so much cellulite and stretch marks. I did a ton of natural things to rid my body of those things.
I finally had to understand something, if I couldn’t accept myself exactly as I am right here- right now, I wasn’t ever going to accept myself.
For the sake of sexual intimacy with your spouse, I hope you will accept your body as beautiful or attractive. How can you give yourself freely to your lover if you hate the way you look?
You are beautiful as you are- but you can’t see it. You are not alone. Everyone out there has body image issues. No one has the perfect body, including models. Look…if models had the perfect body, then they wouldn’t have to be air brushed.
I encourage you to change your mindset and see yourself as the attractive person that you are. You are more than just a body, you are a whole person. There is so much about you that makes you incredible and absolutely delightful.
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.