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Mondays Mean More: Body Confidence

Today at the gym, I got a little weepy watching How to Look Good Naked.

For those of you who don't know the show, a fabulously tall and warm-hearted Gok takes British women of all shapes and sizes who dislike their appearances, gives them a makeover and helps them learn to love their bodies. A big part of the process during each episode is a nude (but tasteful) photo shoot, and the opportunity to model (and potentially bare all) in front of hundreds of people.

Today's episode (the first of the current season) featured a 62 year-old and her 40 year-old daughter. It talked about the reality of teenage girls in Britain and their dissatisfaction with their bodies. Things we inherit in part from our parents, absorb from the media, and encourage in our peers.

As I'm running on the treadmill, watching these women learn to actually look at their bodies, I realize again how widespread this pandemic is.

This summer, I liked the way my clothes looked on me. I liked everything in my closet, for a change. The thought crossed my mind that I must have lost some weight. So I weighed myself, which I hadn't done in awhile. I hadn't lost any weight. I was perplexed.

Then it hit me. My body isn't changing. But my perception of it is.

I joined the gym in August because I knew I would be tempted to inactivity this winter. Because I want to be healthy. Because I want to prevent health problems later on in life. Because I want to be happy with myself and my body. Because, if I'm honest, I hoped I'd lose a little weight.

"Body confidence" is not something I've had much of in my life. But for the first time in my life, I like myself more than I dislike myself. And I want others to like themselves. I want my family, my housemates, my friends to like themselves. I want the next generation of girls to grow up hearing that they are beautiful. That they don't have to be thinner, taller, have bigger boobs or a smaller butt. I want to see real women in the media.

I am tired of comparing and competing. I am tired of fighting with myself to not look at the other, skinnier women, the women with diamonds, the women with babies, the women in powersuits and wonder, Maybe if I looked more like that...

I'm not always in that headspace. Most of the time, my trips to the gym really are about being healthy. I don't do classes, because it's harder to compete and compare when it's just me on a machine. I love the feeling of being active. I like my clothes and how I look far more regularly than when I was a student. My body confidence is growing. I want it to last. And I have hope that it's possible.


afro-chick said…
a) i really like that show. the dude has a fun accent, & i applaud his desire to encourage women to LOVE their bodies! b) this post was awesome. c) i'm glad you're feeling positively about your body (you ARE beautiful betharoo, JUST the way you are.)
Mindy said…
Amen, sistah, amen.
nadine said…
I'm nodding and sighing and applauding.


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