I know I haven’t been traveling a whole lot over the past couple years — at least not internationally.
But I have been on a different journey.
A journey of body acceptance.
Okay, go ahead, roll your eyes. I know that sounded super cheesy. But it’s true.
I feel like in the past couple years I’ve been able to accept my body the way it is.
And not the way it would be if I lost thirty pounds/got laser surgery to get rid of my face splotches/spent more than two minutes doing my hair every morning/had visible ankles.
It hasn’t been easy. It’s taken me a super long time. And I wouldn’t say that I’m completely and totally cured of all my body insecurities.
But I feel like I’m better. I’m good. I’m happy for the most part.
And here are my tips on how to get happy with the body you’ve got:
How To Be Happy With The Body You Have
1. Go on a diet.
Eat nothing but rice cakes and Tic Tacs for three months. Be super miserable. Lose weight.
Stop the diet. Eat like a normal human being with a normal human stomach again. Be happy. Gain all the weight you lost on your rice-cake-and-Tic-Tac diet.
Repeat this over and over and over again for about fifteen to twenty years until you realize that life is too short to be miserable and living off of rice cakes and Tic Tacs is not living.
2. Live in a foreign country for about three to five years.
Look absolutely nothing like any of the local people. Bonus points if you happen to weigh twice as much as the average local person.
Get really used to people staring at you all the time.
Do a whole bunch of things in that country that you would have never done in your own country because you would have been too self-conscious. Like run a marathon and hang out naked in public baths.
Because, whatever, everyone’s staring, you might as well give them a show!
3. Have a close friend/coworker/classmate/cousin get cancer.
Appreciate the fact that your body is healthy.
I mean, who cares if you have cankles? At least you don’t have cancer.
(For now. Because, seriously, you guys, cancer is some really horrible shit, and that shit could happen to anyone at any time.)
4. Buy clothes that you look super cute in right now.
Not clothes that you might look super cute in if you just lost five pounds and your second chin.
Also essential: lots of mirror selfies.
5. Look at a whole bunch of photos of yourself from about four or five years ago.
Photos you never, ever shared on the Internet because you were convinced you were a horrible, blotchy-faced, massive-thighed monster.
Realize that you were actually pretty smoking hot.
6. Read blogs or books or other stuff by people who are happy with their bodies.
I suggest this.
(Just whatever you do, don’t read the comments.)
Likewise, refuse to read anything by anybody telling you that you shouldn’t be happy with your body the way it is. This includes any articles in girly magazines telling you how to lose inches off your thighs or how to make your nose look smaller by applying five layers of foundation in contrasting colors.
And anytime you see an ad on Facebook for a product that promises to banish your belly fat or fix your embarrassingly thin eyelashes, block it and report it as “offensive.”
This may seem harsh, but I think shaming people for the state of their eyelashes is much harsher.
7. Work with women who are older than you by ten, twenty, thirty years.
Women who have gotten advanced degrees and built careers. Women who have lived overseas and raised families on their own. Women who have dealt with dying partners and ailing parents. Intelligent, creative, resourceful, strong, beautiful women.
Listen to these women gripe about the same things you’ve spent the last ten, twenty, thirty years griping about: like the size of their thighs and unsightliness of their upper-arms.
Decide that you would really rather not spend the next ten, twenty, thirty years griping about those same things.
8. Work out because it makes you feel happy and strong and let’s you blast Taylor Swift music. And not because “you should.”
Also, get off the treadmill or elliptical trainer or whatever and actually go somewhere. Walk through your neighborhood or run through the park or hike up a mountain.
Be grateful that your body can take you places. Because there are a whole bunch of people out there who don’t have that luxury.
9. Don’t say anything bad about your body out loud — not even to yourself.
Go ahead and think the bad thoughts in your head.
But I’ve found that once you stop giving those little meanie thoughts an outside voice, they start to lose their inside voice, too.
10. Think about all the amazing things your body does.
Like, actually, really think about it.
I mean, you’ve got this heart that’s pumping blood everywhere. And a digestive tract that’s converting food into nutrients. And a brain that’s firing off synapses all the time. And a gall bladder that’s doing whatever gall bladders do.
And your body does all those things for you all the freaking time.
And all you do is complain about your skimpy eyelashes or your blotchy skin or your cankley ankles?
That’s doesn’t really seem fair, now does it?
How about instead of giving your body a hard time for not being perfect, give it a good time for being pretty darn awesome?
Take it out, treat it right, maybe buy it something pretty.
And say, “Thank you, body. Thank you for everything you do for me. Even you, gall bladder, even you.”
Have advice/tips/stories to share about your own body acceptance journey? (Yeah, yeah, I said “journey” again. Go ahead, roll your eyes.)