Embracing Beautiful You

by 26Health Staff

Once in a while, someone asks me how I developed body confidence and overall self-confidence.

I’m not a small person.

I am what society calls overweight, even fat, and society shames those of us who look like me. Thinking that we don’t deserve to be confident, feel beautiful, or be seen until we “get healthy” or lose weight.

The Long, Hard Road to Self-Acceptance

I spent the majority of my life coming to terms with my body type and failed miserably. Rarely did I feel attractive, or felt I had self-confidence. I felt the need to be invisible because I offended people with my body simply by existing.

Even when I was at my lowest weight, it wasn’t enough. I still didn’t fit in the clothes from the stores my friends shopped. I always had to shop at plus-size stores or be relegated to the plus-size section. This usually meant matching pants and sweater sets that did not fit in with my age or my style.

Then there were the ways that I would shame myself. Whenever I would eat out, I’d go through a litany of reasons as to why it was okay to order what I wanted. Regardless of what other people were “clearly” thinking about an overweight woman ordering a double cheeseburger, I didn’t care.

Measuring Self-Acceptance

My self-acceptance would be measured by comparing myself to my friends. They were always smaller than me and therefore more worthy, desirable, and attractive than I could ever be. When I shopped with them, I imagined the employees in the stores looking at me and thinking, “She doesn’t belong here, nothing will fit.”

I even made excuses for the people I dated regarding how they treated me or what I should expect from them. They were “compromising” by being with an overweight person who no one could possibly want simply because they were awesome.

I don’t feel that way anymore.

I’m not sure when the switch flipped or if there was a defining moment when I came into my newly found self-confidence. I know several things for certain now:

– I’m beautiful. Not beautiful “for a fat person”, just beautiful. Period.
– I can order whatever food I damn well please. If someone thinks about it, they have the problem, not me.
– I am worthy of the same love as everyone else.

My body is not a compromise. My body may not be everyone’s type, but not everyone is my type either. That’s okay. I have an amazing husband who loves every curve, squishy part, and fat roll that I have, unequivocally.

Loving and Accepting Myself

My self-confidence comes from somewhere deeper. It didn’t come from anyone else telling me how worthy or beautiful I am. It came from me recognizing all of the awesome things about myself that have nothing to do with my weight. My confidence comes from knowing I am a good person. I treat others the way I want to be treated, don’t judge people, and have dedicated my life to helping people heal and grow. I know I’m smart.

Being resourceful, intelligent, and driven is what keeps me learning every day of my life. I’m a good friend, daughter, sister, and wife. I’m the most beautiful woman in the world to the one person whose opinion actually matters to me: my husband.

I’ve learned to appreciate my body in ways I never have before, by figuring out my own sense of style, what works for me and what doesn’t, and what makes me feel good and comfortable and stylish. I’ve learned to accept not being perfect and not aspiring to be, and that no one else is perfect either. Everyone has insecurities, no matter how they may look to the outside world. And I’ve learned to operate by this principle: “What other people think of you (if they’re even thinking of you at all) is none of your business!”