Learning To Love Your Body: Part 1

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on January 28, 2009

Good eeeeeevening! [muahahauha]

There has been a question that I received a little while back that I admit I have been putting off. I apologize Mariposa. I really do.

It’s just that, well, your question sort of threw me off guard.

It is one of those questions that you know someone is eventually going to ask, and you will then have to actually sit down and have one of those deep thoughtful and reflective moments. I admit, something that I have not had much time for as of late.

But tonight seemed like one of those nights. Ever since I gave my two weeks notice at work, I have sort of been in a reflective mood. Reflection over the past year, the huge ups and the huge downs. Sort of like my year in review posts from a couple weeks back.

Only this reflection will be precisely on my growth in the area of self-acceptance. I admit, it is not something that I often reflect upon unless asked. Life is usually too busy for that, but I think that it is entirely necessary for continued growth. So Mariposa, I thank you for this wonderful question (and your patience):

“Angela, I’m fairly happy at my current weight although I struggle all the time with my body image and self-acceptance. It’s not so much the food with me, it is looking in the mirror and liking what is there staring back at me. How does that change? Does anyone know? How do you get to the point where you are really loving yourself?”

So you can see why I was a bit nervous responding to this question. See, the truth is, if I said to you that I was always happy with what I see in the mirror that would be a complete lie. I don’t know many people who are happy with what they see all the time.

What I can tell you is that I am happy with what I see in the mirror more days than not. Which is huge for me because it used to be the other way around. In the past, the norm for me was to not like what I see in the mirror. I have realized that happiness comes and happiness goes, but contentment is something that is more stable and consistent. I would not say that I look in the mirror and I am happy with my body everyday, but I would say that I am content with what I see. Am I loosing you here?

Something that has always stuck with me is what I read in Tal Ben-Shahar’s book called “Happier“. I wrote a post about it a while back. He says that as humans, we focus way more on the negative than the positive. He gives an example of the psychological literature and this is a fact: For every 1 article on happiness there are 21 articles on depression in the psychological literature. How is that for unbalanced thinking?

As a society, we are taught to find flaws and fix them. We have medical issues and we fix them, we have mental issues and we fix them, we have physical issues and we fix them. Is it any wonder that when we look in the mirror all we see are flaws to fix?

And let me just say that learning to love your body doesn’t suddenly happen when you lose weight or get to your goal weight. For a long time, even at a low weight, I didn’t have self-acceptance and I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror. I have been thinner than I am now and miserable with what I saw and much more critical. It was because I didn’t have my health.

All I had was a number on the scale.

And if that is all you have starring back at you each morning, you are in for a long and lonely haul.

So no, the self-acceptance doesn’t come when you lose the weight. It is such an illusion. I used to say to myself ‘if only I were ‘x’ weight, I would be happy with my body’, but that just isn’t true. If we spent as much time working on loving ourselves rather than calorie counting or dieting, we would likely be much father ahead in the game. At least, that is what I have found for myself.

So how do we stop the self-loathing?

Well, here is a start. Write down all the things you typically say to yourself when you look in the mirror. We all have what I call ‘trigger put-downs’ that we have been telling ourselves since we were young. After a while these trigger put-downs become a habit, which is why so many people feel like they have all aspects of health except for the self-acceptance.

So did you write them down? I did.

Now look in the mirror and counter each trigger put-down. If you said ‘my butt is huge and ugly’, say something like I’ve got a sexy giggle that make all the boys quiver. lol. Ok, it doesn’t have to be as silly as that, but make sure whatever it is, it makes you smile. Because when you smile you are beautiful. Did you say something like ‘my stomach has rolls and stretch marks….yuk!! How will I ever wear a bikini?’ counter it with something like I have a soft feminine stomach with lovely and goddess like curves.

Also try giving practical reasons for your self-love:

  • Damn, that is one sexy ticker I’ve got inside me!
  • I have two arms and not one, therefore I can get twice as much accomplished! I am a multi tasker!
  • I don’t have any white spots on my nails. Mom would be proud.
  • My long & beautiful eyelashes keep dust and dirt from entering my lovely peepers!
  • My belly button is a fantastic decoration for my stomach. Useless but fantastic.
  • Look at those pearly whites! I brush them twice a day. Mom would be proud. So many teeth to chomp all this delicious and healthy food!!

Did I make you smile? I hope so. Because this is exactly what you should be doing in front of the mirror until it becomes a habit.

So go on, don’t be shy. Follow these easy pieces of advice. Get silly. Make yourself laugh. Then come back and leave a comment sharing what you said and how you made yourself smile.


It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.
~Norman Vincent Peale

PS- 1 day til the Oh She Glows Contest #3 closes!!! Submit those entries! I cannot wait to show you all the wonderful slideshow I have put together!!!!! weeeeeeee :D

Let me just say that I have never thought of afternoon powersnacks the way I do now after seeing all your fantastic ideas! WOW!


Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Previous Posts

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa January 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Great post. You are brave to tackle such big questions, and with such honesty!

PS, per earlier posts, you make a mean sandwich girl.


jenngirl January 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Really beautiful post, Angela. Certainly something I can always benefit from hearing. And also, as a psych major, I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about how we as humans are programmed to “fix” things. It’s true. We constantly search for ways to occupy our time in productive ways, we are rarely just content.

Thank you for your honesty and thoughtfulness. Have a wonderful evening!


sweetandnatural January 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Wonderful post Angela. Very insightful and thought-provoking. Another fun thing to do to make you smile is thinking of all the funny and quirky things your body can do – like curl your tongue into a clover or wiggle your ears!


Jen January 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Amazingly beautifully said!!! :) :)


Bree January 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm

very well said… :-)


danser81 January 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

What an inspiring post, I love your outlook!

Michelle – http://pinque.wordpress.com/


HangryPants January 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

What a great post. I can see how that would take some time and thought to write! You know, when I moved to New Jersey right before the New Year I left my scale behind! I have to admit, I am much happier. :D


carolinebee January 29, 2009 at 12:22 am

Thanks so much for this :D I try to work on my self-affirmation and loove as much as possible..but i always have those moments, or days…and every reminder helps. It’s so funny how I can compliment another woman and find so much beauty in a person, yet I have to make a conscious effort to do so with myself!? Thanks for the reminder :)


Emily January 29, 2009 at 3:48 am

Beautiful post Angela! Thank you so much for sharing. I had an awful day in the office, and your upbeat, positive attitude is really refreshing : )
One thing I do when looking in the mirror is to find something I do like for something I don’t. Such as “I wish I had a flatter stomach, but I’ll get there. My skin is looking really clear these days.” It may not be perfect, but I’m finding every change I want to make comes gradually!


Colleen January 29, 2009 at 8:09 am

You have THE BEST BLOG! Everything I love is always on this site…cooking, recipes, exercise, self-love, celebrities, makeup etc. etc. etc. Thank you for all your hard work Angela! You are stunningly beautiful inside and out!


Betsy in Pittsburgh January 29, 2009 at 9:19 am

I remember when I was in junior/high school and Extreme Makeover started coming on tv. I would think about all the thing I would change if I had all the money and resources… perfectly white teeth, no cellulite, perfect hair…. it can be really detrimental when you start listing things like that. Thanks for your reminders about staying positive.


brandi January 29, 2009 at 10:20 am

What a great post!

I love the “healthy ticker” – that’s what I’m working on right now!


Deb January 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

Very nice post !!


acceptmeasiam February 25, 2009 at 5:26 pm


I ran accross your blog and thought you might be interested in joining us online.

I would like to invite you to a new social network I created called Accept Me As I Am


It’s a social network where we share our journeys to self-acceptance to inspire others. I hope you consider joining. You are an inspiration!


Annette L. Moore aka Crowned Regal


Mo October 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I just re-read this post and wanted to say that I find it inspiring (you must get tired of hearing that from us!). I really, really, really want to try to finally put this type of advice into action. How horrible to go through life not liking your body, your skin, etc, etc. We get one shot at life and some of us spend it obsessing over all of our flaws. I think that getting past this way of thinking and an overall acceptance of and happiness with oneself is the main reason that I read your blog everyday. I can actually hear what you are saying and it makes sense, and seems like somthing that I can do! Thank you for taking the time and sharing your ideas and stories with us!


Judy March 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

What a great entry and website. Your thoughts on body image and weight are refreshing and very beneficial. Thanks for sharing.:)


Jayne May 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I find your blog really inspiring! I too struggle with body woes and have eating problems. But reading through your recipes and blogs about the vibrancy of healthy foods in daily life makes it possible to stop hating food, and make the right decisions to love it!


Linda May 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Wow. I just spent the morning reviewing your site. Amazing. Love your outlook.

I started my own blog a few months back after the birth of my first child. I hit 30 (gasp!) and had just had a baby so body wise…things started changing..a lot:). You are so right about having to have fun with the workouts. I can’t do the gym day in and day out. Looking forward to a hike, a new running route or a long walk is much better.

Keep up the great work!


Kat February 27, 2015 at 9:57 am

I love reading these old posts, your honesty and openness is wonderful and I always come away feeling every so slightly more positive and capable. So thank you! And I loved the line about white spots on your nails, I heard that everyday from my mom when I was younger -‘that’s a zinc deficiency, I’m telling you!’ lol! X


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: