Big. Fat. Large. Thick. Chubby. Obese. Round. Stout. Plump. Portly.

Yup, I’m at it again. I’m going to write again (and again) about body image. Why? Because this is my blog, and it is one of my favorite topics.

Why do I feel the need to write more about this topic? 

Because it is everywhere all the time affecting everyone. There are some lovely things out there about body image. Like this, which spotlights females that are in the media that are doing great things to promote positive body image and self acceptance. There are some companies that are taking a stand to promote healthy, happy women and are doing a great job (The Dove Real Beauty Campaign is my favorite!). And today, The Onion poked fun at the idea of men seeing more of these real, unedited women popping up in ads… and while I am not one of those people that cannot recognize that The Onion is satirical, it still rubbed me in a funny way. So yes, some companies are doing a much better job at this. But there are still all the other messages of the world, shoving images of thin, “perfect”, fake women in our faces and making us feel like we are not enough.

I have five sisters, so our whole lives we have been compared and contrasted and assessed. I don’t know how it started, but it became common knowledge and a common phrase that “Gretchen has 2% more body fat than the rest of the girls.” I have always been a little “thicker” than my sisters, even when I was young and strong and in good shape.

This idea that I was bigger and different and not as good as them really took hold of me.

I wore a lot of layers. Part of it was that I grew up in Buffalo, NY where you need to bundle up. But even in the summer, I felt very self conscious if I wasn’t wearing at least two shirts, and never wore anything “form fitting” on the bottom. I remember when I was 12 I put on a pair of jeans and wasn’t wearing anything under them, and my sister said “Wow, you are skinny! I had no idea your legs looked like that.”

These words and ideas affected me; they wormed their way into my brain, they began forming my thoughts about myself, and shaping the way I looked in the mirror. And as I got older, those thoughts got louder, every year. I look back on some pictures of myself and am reminded me of those thoughts screaming at me, and I laugh now, in a body that would love to resemble that photo again. I remember the things I hated about myself in each specific picture.

But I’ve learned to get more comfortable and accept my body and my flaws.

I saw this wonderful post about body image, and I found the whole project very interesting and beautiful.

The women in the below picture all weigh the same amount of weight, 154 pounds.

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Look at all the different body types and sizes that are represented by 154 pounds.. This goes to prove that BMI doesn’t matter and that “ideal weight” does not exist, because look how different weight is and looks on people.

Because news flash: everybody is different, and every body is different.

 

So because all of our bodies look so different, I decided to make a flow chart to show how to tell if your body is beautiful.

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So there you have it. Maybe we can stop calling each other these names in the title – which includes the names you call yourself in your head.

 

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Part of the A to Z Challenge… A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

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