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Love your body, even fat - how would you respond?

By April 25, 2008 - 5:42pm
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I was visiting a messageboard on a popular health and fitness site where I read someone's admonishment to the membership to love your body and the way you look, regardless. That may have been well intended, but it was in response to someone's post about how she felt depressed about her weight and body shape.

I think it's okay to believe you can love the way you look. But, I also think it could be a cop-out for someone trying to convince herself that it's okay to be overweight. It's okay to be a few pounds heavier than you were in your 20's, even 40's; but, when it's a matter of excessive weight, I think we need to draw our lines in the sand about what we will accept for ourselves.

My reaction was to say hang on, I'm not happy with being 20 lbs overweight and the extra tire around my waistline that came with age and menopause. I'm not going to give up trying to get this under control, and I won't accept the notion of loving my body the way it is - because I simply think it's not only unattractive and uncomfortable, but unhealthy.

How would you respond if someone told you to love your body, even if overweight?

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P.S. I found this Forbes report on the 20 "fattest" cities in America. Sadly, the state I live in has a few of them:



April 28, 2008 - 8:58pm

and let's not mistake this for a "hang up."

This is a concern for one's health and well-being. The bottom line: "self" is the key word in our perceptions of ourselves. We will never see ourselves the way other people do. That's not my concern.

No, I will not love this body the way it is. What advice can I give others who are also dealing with similar issues? How would I know, when I'm trying to deal with it, myself? All I know is that, whatever I'm doing, it is very slowly working and that I'm probably one of the most fit overweight women I know.

However, being fit is one thing. Seeing the reflection in the mirror is another, particularly when that reflection really can be a lot improved. I'm not trying to be the waif of my twenties, again; only what I know I should - and can - be, which is trimmed down from current state. Self image is a totally personal issue and can be nothing more or less.

Mine is a work in progress, LOL!

What one of your own wrote:


April 28, 2008 - 8:19pm

What wonderful discussion about such an important topic to Women. Unfortunately, I can talk to this topic with great experience. I have battled my weight my entire life. When I was in my early 20's I was only 20 to 30 pounds over my goal weight but it might as well of been 200 pounds as I let it affect my confidence and self image. I looked in the mirror and saw some one who was much more overweight mentally than I really was. I think this was due to my own pyschie beating myself up mentally every day. I was allowing this 20 pounds to overshadow every part of my life, and career-it was really debilitating. In my mid 20's I started to read many books on the subject of self-esteem which literally changed my life. I don't even remember the titles of the books now but they had a profound effect on the rest of my life. It was the most liberating and empowering moment in my life. To finally understand those 20 or 30 pounds were just that, extra weight,and that it should not detract from who I was as a person. It's just weight which is just a small part of the total person. I think we are far too focused on weight and appearance. I think equally important are things like, a positive outlook, good sense humor,intelligence,compassion,flexibility and learning to be truly happy. To illustrate this I think back on instances when I have encountered a really beautiful women or man who never smiled, was very negative, had no sense of humor and thinking good god I would hate to spend too much time with this person. Conversely I think about people who I have encountered who are overweight, average looking but expressed a zest for life, made me laugh, had interesting things to say and I wanted to be around them vs. the latter. Come the end of the day we should not put all of our energy into worrying only about our weight but instead work on our self-image as we are because it typically effects so much in our lives:how we project our selves and how people truly perceive us.

April 27, 2008 - 12:22pm
HERWriter Guide

I have said this before but I compare our bodies to cars.

If we didn't change our oil, filters, have regular maintenance, engine and break checks and good gasoline, we would not be remotely surprised that our cars break down!

Yet many of us do no maintenance on our bodies, we use and abuse them and wonder why we end up in the doctor's office with medical problems that could be contained if only we looked after ourselves more!

I like my body - even more now that I have had three children because, like Alison, I see what my body can do and am in awe of it.

However, loving your body means taking care of it. Having fat stores is good for us! We need it to sustain our babies and to help us through menopause. Fat is not a dirty word.

However, large amounts of fat can contribute to myriad of problems including certain cancers, joint problems, heart problems and respiratory concerns.

Let's be smart about our bodies. Accept what we cannot change and change what is changeable.

Loving ourselves means taking care of ourselves. Our bodies are miracles but they need maintenance and care, as well as preventative measures. They don't always heal themselves! We need to be more responsible. Weighing 300 lbs is not going to do us any favors, nor is smoking or other preventable and voluntary behaviors. If we need help in stopping these behaviors, then by all means we should get the help. We are all human - heaven knows I have been guilty of naughty habits myself!

But I believe we have an obligation to treat our bodies like we do our cars and homes. Surely we cannot be surprised when our bodies fail us. Because we are failing our bodies by not taking care of ourselves.

Many diseases and disorders are not preventable. We cannot help it.

But many are preventable. Let's own our behaviors and take personal responsibility for many aspects of our health.

'Loving' our bodies means respecting them and taking care of them.

April 27, 2008 - 7:33am
Expert HERWriter

You are right on with your comment. The fact that any women would bring this to the community and share how she feels with us is a huge step in the right direction.

We all have our hang ups. None of us our perfect. Is there such a thing as perfection in the human body? Even those that we view as being perfect. They do not view themselves that way. There comes a point where you have to say, I like me for who I am. It's not about anyone else. It's just about you. If you aren't comfortable...then you need to access and adjust accordingly.

Love your body, love yourself.....says it all.

Would make for a great book title.

Have you ever thought of writing a book? Clearly, you've got the talent and the creativity.

Best in health,


April 26, 2008 - 3:09pm

I think women should love their bodies, imperfections and all. A woman's depression or sadness from being overweight can be detrimental to other aspects of her life, as well as unmotivating; possibly inhibiting her desire, energy or ability to actively change her lifestyle, so that she is able to lose weight!

There is so much body dissatisfaction, poor body image... and this can too easily lead to poor SELF image. It is nearly impossible to separate how you feel about your body (and self) on the outside vs. how you feel about your body (and self) on the inside, that I believe life is too short to be depressed about how you look, overweight or not. Unhealthy or not. I agree with the above post: self-examination, self-improvement and self-acceptance are not mutually exclusive.

Besides...there is so much to love about your body! Only one aspect of it is "how it looks from the outside". How many things do you love about your body and how it looks? Why do women focus on the tire around the middle (which, by the way, helped birth children!) and not other aspects of their physical appearance that they like?

Lastly, I've been in awe of the human body, as the perfect working machine, by watching the physical development of my son. The physical progression is astonishing from birth to toddlerhood: from being able to lift his own head, use his facial muscles to smile, take his first steps, climb and run. His lungs, brain, heart and all are working well...it's amazing how AMAZING our bodies really are! With all of this going on, is it really worth it to be sad or depressed about extra weight around the middle, especially if we are aware of it and actively trying to change it, so that we are even healthier and able to do more with our amazing bodies?!

April 26, 2008 - 12:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Alison, I love what you said about being in awe of the human body as you watch your son's development. That is so true, and such a miracle to witness. Thinking of your body in that perspective rather than the distorted way female bodies are depicted in fashion magazines is so refreshing!! We all need to take a reality check like this from time to time.

Kristin Park

April 26, 2008 - 2:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

To me, taking care of your body falls under the umbrella of loving your body. Think that women practice self-admonishment way too much, but at the same time, we need to set standards for ourselves to get healthy and stay healthy.

I can see a line being straddled here, however. Maybe the issue here is the woman (in the forum) was defining herself by her perceived faults, imperfections, etc., rather than feeling good about (for example) turning to a community which could be a catalyst for change. Hard, cold self-examination and self acceptance don't need to be mutually exclusive.

April 26, 2008 - 7:28am
Expert HERWriter

It's such a difficult topic. Everyone women is different. Some women are very comfortable in their own skin. Others will never be comfortable. No matter what.

What are you doing to try to get your weight under control? I would love to know what advice you would give to other women who have put on those unwanted 20 pounds.

Have you had your hormones checked by a good doctor? That's the first thing I would do.

Let me know what you're doing to get that waistline down.

Best in health,


April 25, 2008 - 11:41pm
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