Body Image: Feeling Like You're Never Enough - A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Body Image: Feeling Like You’re Never Enough

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Let’s start here:

Sociologist Beth Eck did a series of interviews attempting to tap into what it felt like for men and women to look at male and female nudes.  Her findings were pretty fascinating.

First, she asked men and women to look at naked images of women, including this one of Cindy Crawford:

Women viewing images of female nudes almost inevitably compared themselves to the figure and felt inadequate.   Said one women:

…the portrayal of these thin models and I just get depressed… I’m very hard on myself, wanting to be that way.

Women ended up feeling bad whether the model conformed to conventional norms of attractiveness or not.  When looking at a heavy set woman, they often responded like this:

I am disgusted by it because she is fat, but I’m also… I need to lose about 10 pounds.

I don’t necessarily find her body that attractive… Her stomach looks like mine.

[source]

Now, while I could do some serious feminist theory right now… I’m not gonna. Instead, what I’m gonna do is focus in on the part of this study where, no matter what the women were looking at – a woman they deemed more attractive than themselves or a woman they deemed as less attractive than themselves (as evidenced by their willingness to call said women “disgusting”) – the women still never felt that they were enough.

Do you see how strange that is? A picture of a woman whose body “disgusts” you makes you feel like you need to lose ten pounds? Not to imply by any means that these feelings are “acceptable (?),” but you’d think that looking at the body of someone who disgusts you would make you feel glad to be you… not make you feel even more inadequate.

I mean, really. “I don’t necessarily find her body that attractive… her stomach looks like mine.” You know how the rest of that sentence goes? “I don’t necessarily find her body that attractive… her stomach looks like mine… therefore, I don’t find myself that attractive.”

I could even take it a step further: “I don’t necessarily find her body that attractive… her stomach looks like mine… therefore, I don’t find myself that attractive… unless I’ve bought these products/changed myself these ways/done something else that’d require me to purchase a product, because clearly I couldn’t be beautiful on my own.”

And just to prove that I’m not oblivious to the fact that Cindy Crawford doesn’t necessarily pique the interests of my readership in its entirety? What if I posted this? (Not safe for work.) Feelings of inadequacy can start to surface… that is, if you don’t have a sound sense of body image.

Whenever I write about body image, it’s always crickets. Crickets, as in, that’s all I hear. There’s no loud cacaphony of women willing and able to declare how strong (heh) or how sound their understanding of themselves is. There are no women with suggestions of how women can better accept themselves.

Is it because we don’t know? We don’t have those answers? Perhaps. Perhaps it is.

Self-acceptance isn’t about saying “this is me, and I don’t need to change.” That wouldn’t be true. Self-acceptance is about being happy with who you are now and giving yourself space to grow… because you need to grow. I can love my fat ass and say “I’ll work on it,” without thinking that because my ass is fat, I’m somehow less of a woman or I’m “disgusting.” I can “self-accept” the fact that I have a terrible temper… because I’m still growing away from it. I “self-accept” these things and allow myself to still feel and be beautiful in spite of them. Images and visions of other women don’t make me automatically question myself as a woman.

How does this fit in on a website with weight loss in the title? Simple — a lot of women seek out weight loss because they think it’ll cure whatever inadequacies they think they have… but if your inadequacies don’t even come from a real session of assessing yourself and accepting who you are? Your “inadequacies” will never be addressed. They probably don’t even exist. Might’ve just been something fed to you – “Here, let me show you how perfect you will never be unless you buy my ab roller/hair dye/makeup/other stupid unecessary product.”

I can’t say this enough. Don’t buy into it

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

35 Comments

  1. Curlstar

    March 28, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I’ll be the first to say AMEN and THANK YOU!

  2. LisaM

    March 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Only now at 37, am I no longer affected by media images, celeberties and the like. Its taken years for me to appreciate my body; the fullness of my breasts, the roundness of my backside and everything inbetween. So my goals are no longer to achieve what I see but to applaud what I feel: strength, wellbeing and every breath I take as I get more fit. What brought me to this place?? Alot of soul searching, understanding where my body issues come from and really seeing how my choices, judgements and insecurites effect my own daughters.
    Thank you Erica for helping us THINK about what we ofter chose to IGNORE.

  3. Joy

    March 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    I feel you on this one. If you are in a body that has gotten you around all of your life, you are doing well. This has been my lesson. That’s not to say that you cannot become healthier, most of us struggle with that, but stressing about what you are not only leads you into a path of greater destruction. That path is one where you always look outside of yourself to satisfy a hunger that almost never has anything to do with food. Furthermore, you have to know that no one looks like these women do in magazines. It’s not reality, it’s someone else’s fantasy. Don’t be held hostage by someone else’s vision of perfection.

  4. Savannah

    March 28, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I want to echo the above sentiments and also say ‘Thank you’ Erika. At 31 it’s sometimes hard to get away from the media assault of what I should look like. I have always struggled with my weight and body image but am now no longer trying to look like a video vixen or the latest ‘It’ girl. I know that I will never be them. I want my body to be defined by what it does and what it can do. I think sometimes self acceptance is hard for women because often times we get trapped into thinking about what is lacking rather than applauding what have accomplished.

  5. KIKI WHITE

    March 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    *Crickets*

    I wish I had an answer, because, if I did, I’d certainly feel better about myself. However, I’m working on it. As my therapist, says “progress not perfection.”

  6. Streetz

    March 28, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    I defintiely agree with this!

    I used to hate my body as a chile, because it was hard seeing other more “athletically looking” guys running around while I was chubby. Once I grew into my body, then i thought I was too skinny! I then realized that I needed to work out and work hard in order to get the body I wanted, and I still loved myself, while knowing that I had room to improve.

    Loving yourself is the hardest part. Dont hate yourself, hate the hours you will have to put in to do better, lol, and use that as motivation to reach your goal.

    Good one E!

  7. Sara

    March 28, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    You are on the money right here Erika (as with everything here) I’ve always looked at another woman’s body and checked her out and said ok..nice butt i could work with that…or i wish i had her legs. Then i would look at myself and feel sooo ugly, even tho i know i’m a pretty girl inside and outside…i still think that i could be better “if only” i had her legs, or butt or hair or boobs. Now i’m aware of my worth and i know how to look like Sara should look…i work out now 5 days a week, i still struggle with making it in the gym..and eating right but now i know who i’m doing it for.

    Thank you Erika for sharing with us…We love you much!!! ;-)

    Sara

  8. Daphne

    March 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Self-acceptance isn’t about saying “this is me, and I don’t need to change.” That wouldn’t be true. Self-acceptance is about being happy with who you are now and giving yourself space to grow… because you need to grow. I can love my fat ass and say “I’ll work on it,” without thinking that because my ass is fat, I’m somehow less of a woman or I’m “disgusting.”

    I agree with this. I have a LOT of weight to lose, and have been a big girl most of my life – but I’ve never been one for self-loathing. But then, I don’t really relate to emotional eating, either, so I sometimes feel like I’m an outsider with regard to body image perceptions. Honestly? I think often times, misery loves company, and women don’t like to be challenged in that way. As in, “What? Why you not tryin’ to complain about your thighs, stomach, hips, waist, etc?” Don’t get me wrong, I see the cellulite and fat. I’m working on it. I just don’t understand how a mentality of “I’m disgusting” or “Girl, I’ll never be a Halle Berry” will aid my efforts.

    In addition, I don’t know HOW to tell a woman to better accept themselves. Do I say, “Ignore the hype? Women in magazines and TV/film are usually airbrushed within an inch of their lives, so it’s not real? There are all kinds of body types, so just deal with yours? Health is more important than body size?” I mean……don’t most women know this? Isn’t it a matter of actually absorbing these concepts and making them meaningful and practical? ‘Cause it seems to be that a lot of women keep such ideas external to themselves in order to cling to the self-loathing. Or maybe it’s that pesky thin = healthy ideal that permeates, so if it comes from me – it’s not credible? I battle with this because it teeters on the edge of unsympathetic, so I feel it’s better to keep quiet (unless someone directly asks my opinion).

    The other thing, I think as it relates to black women specifically, is there are women who may indeed like their bigger bodies, but errbody and their grandma is telling them they are delusional and they need to get with the program (i.e. hit the gym). When perhaps, the messaging should be similar to, “It’s great that you like who you are, but is your quality of life where you want it to be? Is your health?”

    • Karla

      March 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      “Don’t get me wrong, I see the cellulite and fat. I’m working on it. I just don’t understand how a mentality of ‘I’m disgusting’ or ‘Girl, I’ll never be a Halle Berry’ will aid my efforts.”

      Truer words were never spoken! My co-workers are constantly grouching about needing to get to the gym or some post-baby belly they want to get rid of. Once in a while, there’s the “I’m so fat!” wail. Never mind the insensitivity of the comment to begin with, considering the fact that I’m almost twice the size of any of them. The negative self-talk will not help them, and they can’t seem to see that.

  9. Sonya

    March 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    I recently read the book of one the “icons” whose body millions have admired or I’m sure did the comparsion game to her. Turns she didn’t accept herself either. I’m now 42 and while I have areas of improvement, I dont allow anyone to tell Im less than based on image that isnt real. I dont even allow it from me. Spent way too many tears and time with that foolishness. If I can make a healthy change then that’s what I will do but in the end the most important muscle for me to exercise and improve is my brain. Nice piece, soror.

  10. NaturalBlackOne

    March 28, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Hi Erika,

    I love this article, and I can relate to alot of it. As a Black woman, I didn’t look at the Cindy Crawfords and say, “I wish I could look like her…” but would look at the beautiful Black woman on the mens magazine covers and felt that I couldn’t even touch her in terms of femininity. I wouldn’t dream of wearing a bikini, nor can I walk properly in high heels. LOL… So I felt even worse about myself, how I’m not “woman” enough… And while I’m not saying men weren’t interested in me throughout the years, I certainly didn’t get the looks the “sexy” body girls got. Especially in being a plus sized woman. This led to years of depression (certainly not the only cause, but it didn’t help matters any) that I’m still trying to get over to this day.

    Funny though, as I’ve gotten older (I’m now 34) I have learned to better accept myself. There really isn’t a way to help a woman feel better about herself. This all comes from within. It takes time. And though one can offer great suggestions, you will always get mostly “crickets” because it’s something most of us struggle with.

    I just want to get to a place where I can feel good about my body. For now, when going out, I dress myself up nicely, match up the makeup (LOL) and make sure my hair is good (real or fake, LOL) and in that way, I feel like I’ve done everything possible to not let myself go. I also try much harder to eat healthier, and less “emotional baggage eating”. it has definitely helped!

    So… Thanks again for this! :)

  11. Erin

    March 30, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Agree! That’s the whole thing in my opinion. It’s all I focus on with my clients (rather they know it or not) and it’s 80% of my posts. My masthead is: “You can’t hate yourself healthy; You can hate yourself fat. You can hate yourself thin. But healthy is a place you have to get to with love.” I think that this self hating business makes it difficult for women to have positive relationships with other women, why we cut eyes at each other in public, why our daughters grow up dieting and not liking their bodies (our Mothers are our primary role models – not magazines), why we settle for less that we deserve with men and in general AND why it’s so hard to lose weight. When you are trying to lose weight to “fix” yourself it’s so much harder to be successful. You can’t be objective about it. i.e. I ate unhealthy things today which may effect my weight loss efforts so the next thing I put in my mouth should be healthy. It sounds more like; I ate like crap now I’m a failure and I’ll never be good enough. I was only able to lose my weight when I finally turned that corner, (and for me it was after the birth of my daughter and wanting to give her a shot at a positive self esteem by role modeling high self esteem and healthy habits instead of preaching them) deciding that I was just fine how I was. That I was a good person and that if I wanted to be healthier I could do that. When I stopped freaking out about being a bad fat person then I was able to open my mind up to learn about healthy eating and exercise and pick up new habits. It wasn’t fast (took about a year to lose almost 100lbs) but I felt better every step of the way. And that was the point. To FEEL good, because I deserved it. And when I would “slip up” I didn’t bash myself for failure, I just kept moving and loving me enough to believe I deserved to be healthy.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      March 30, 2011 at 10:46 AM

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Shermy

        March 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!! Co-sign 1000%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LINDA

      September 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      I wish I could hug this comment, gift wrap it and give it to my friends!!! MESSAGE!!!

  12. Marion@affectionforfitness

    May 29, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    A few years ago,I saw a Tyra Banks show on girls who couldn’t get dates. What was obvious to me was NOT their figures or appearances at all. They were good looking enough, it was their persistently bad attitudes that killed it for the guys. Women invariably look good with a genuine smile and a gracious heart. We should not forget those examples of people we know who are ugly because of their attitude when we think about our own appearances.

    :-) Marion

  13. CarlaAnn

    September 19, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    My mother (the age of my friend’s grandparents) was not brown or honey colored, she was “high yellow”. My half sister (the age of my friend’s parents) is a reddish brown, her daughter (my elder by 5 years), slightly more brown, still light.
    I am lighter than my dad, the color of milk chocolate.
    In her sweeter moods, mom would call me her little chocolate drop. I loved it. In her nastier moods, little black monkey. Hated that. My half sister, filled with resentments toward me, which I had no control over (her dad wasn’t around very much, I did well in school), called me every derogatory name she could think of. Oddly (not really), the one that hurt the most was “YOU BLACK THING”. At the age of 5, my adult sister told me that I was so black that I was a thing. Not human.

    It feels as if I play devil’s advocate when I make comments on this site. I don’t mean to. Having attended predominately white, parochial schools in the 70’s and 80’s, I experienced a great deal of names calling, feeling excluded. However, I think most of my scars came from home. The names I was called by female family members who should have been my comfort, my role models gave credence to the less creative more traditionally ugly names I was called on the playground. My parents loved me, yet they let this happen.

    After spending time in the sun with white girls in my late teens and early 20’s, I noticed the sun made my skin beautiful. “Girl, stay out of the sun! Aren’t you black enough?” My mother would shout, not unkindly. But it became my rebellion. Now, I use Lubriderm w/spf 15 and I bike and hike and stay in the sun. I’ve convinced myself that black IS beautiful!
    My hair issues are another story…

    I suppose that what I want to get across is that it was my family, other BLACK WOMEN that compounded my color shame. Girl friends showed me pictures of Iman, Naomi Sims and Alek Wek. Mom, sis and niece would say “ew-they’re soooo black…”

    It is my premise that racist have it easy these days. They get to grab a beer, put their feet up and watch us kill ourselves.

    • Kathy

      August 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      This is amazing to me. I have honey colored skin and light brown eyes. I always wanted to be darker, with deep brown eyes. Don’t get me wrong–all women are beautiful. But I stay in the sun (with protection) running and at the pool, hoping that I’ll get chocolatey :)

  14. Nicole

    October 6, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    “How does this fit in on a website with weight loss in the title? Simple — a lot of women seek out weight loss because they think it’ll cure whatever inadequacies they think they have…”

    I actually didn’t really look into what was really on this site because it was called blackgirlsguidetoweightloss. I found you when trying to find writings on body image that spoke to ME.

    Unlike everyone who’s piped in here, I have felt inadequate when looking through magazines.. so I just stopped buying them (unless it’s Yoga Journal or the Economist). I’m reminded of many unfortunate events — being treated with open hostility in clothing stores and having them bark they “guess [they] have [my] size in the back” or that’s only in a ‘4’ when i even stop to look at a dress (I’m a dress size ‘6’ and have been for many years). When I see slender women in magazines, I think of the men in NY that catcalled at me “big girl” or BBW. I’m tall so things are too short, or the shoulders aren’t broad enough. The sales staff at many stores definitely took that time to launch an assault on my size. Imagine being in class and your teachers scoff at you for not being as slender as your peers or your peers comment that your lunch “just isn’t healthy” (mostly because I was eating in public, because I DEFINITELY don’t eat unhealthy things).

    I think body image is a real issue, and it’s seems harder to find a voice as a black woman. There was always the added element of racism added with the body shaming. “STRONG” black woman, big strong girl, “black woman’s body”, “plus-sized,” etc… Things have been much better since I’ve stopped working in fashion, stopped reading magazines, and basically, started making my own clothes, but I don’t feel it should have come to that. I would rather not believe that as a society, we can’t really progress without putting someone down or making them feel like they need to buy something to live a meaningful life, but it seems so many people buy into it. I think it’s sad that you’re not allowed to express that there’s definitely pressure to be so many things as a woman and it’s more difficult to put it out there when your feelings are rejected because you aren’t overweight or obese.

    So in response, regardless of race, looking at models makes me feel too old (they’re usually in their teens, and being in my late 20s, I notice the attention men direct at underage girls and not women who are clearly legal), too “fat,” and on the outside — these women never look like or represent who I am and will become… they’re always white, or if they’re black, they look like white women dipped in chocolate. I’ve never minded looking at naked men (mostly because of all the life drawi, but it’s not something we’re taught to be comfortable with, so I can understand the apprehension.

    • Truly

      December 28, 2011 at 7:35 PM

      I’m also a black woman who feels inadequate when I look at images like that. I’ve NEVER related to those girls who feel like they can be big and beautiful because my dad picked on me so much about my weight when I was a kid. I don’t feel comfortable talking about my weight with black women because I’ve gotten crazy looks for my low self esteem, and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it with white women because most of them assume I’m big and proud of it lol.

      I started to gain weight when I was 10, and my dad would tell me how disgusting I was and how men didn’t like fat women and just look at me like I was gross when I would eat dinner. He would say that sort of thing all the time. My weight gain actually coincided with our move to an almost all white school, so you can probably imagine how it seemed to be true that everyone hated me because I was fat and thought I looked to gross to be friends with. Now I know it was more to do with my race (rural Texas), but it was a HUGE drop off in the level of human interaction.

      I honestly didn’t know how badly it had affected me until I was about 26 and decided to stop hating myself. I had just gotten a job at Lane Bryant, and I would come across all types of women who loved themselves at whatever weight, and I decided I wanted to be like them. I also realized what a bunch of lies I’d been told about men not liking big women lol (you just need to work at Lane Bryant for a week and see it for yourself if you believe that lie!).

      I can’t at the moment bring myself to love my body, but I could stop HATING it. Also, simply admitting to myself that I genuinely believed what I had been told was THE hardest thing that I’ve ever done. It had never occurred to me that I felt that way because I don’t care what other people look like, and I have never put a big emphasis on my appearance in general. It made me feel like a shallow person that the root cause of my depression was that I was obsessed with how other people thought I looked (and that I thought everyone was looking at me), but now I realize that it was something that was done to me, and not some aspect of my true self. My depression went away, and I have lost 58 pounds just because I no longer emotionally eat. No exercise so far, just from that.

      Not having those feelings anymore is a much bigger source of comfort than any actual weight loss, and I actually dropped that baggage off when I was at my highest weight. Like I said before, the self-love may never happen for me, but simply not hating myself was easy. The hard part was admitting that I really did hate my body.

    • Jan

      August 4, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      While I’ve never had major self-image/self-esteem issues, I really relate to having problems with clothes. Because my chest and hips are at least 1, often 2 sizes bigger than my waist I have to make alterations to everything I buy and always have had to. My mother (who was not nice) always insisted that I should keep shopping until I found something that fit without changing it, and having to do so until I left home made me feel like *I* was made wrong, not the clothes. She had a much smaller frame and much narrower hips than me (in fact to the extent than she could not give birth without a C-section, so it’s not like she didn’t know we were built differently), but always insisted.

      I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some complaint about the way clothes fit (too short/too long/too much room in the chest/not enough room in the chest/whatever), and I wish I’d known earlier that I’m so far from being alone in it. I know it’s a small thing compared to the magazines/photoshop issues, but I think talking about it when the subject arises helps people remember that it’s a normal experience that says nothing about the rightness or otherwise of ones body.

  15. Tracy

    December 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Sooooo needed to read this TODAY!

  16. Sita

    July 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Aargh, so hard not to buy into it! I’d better start trying, cuz I’m sick of feeling not good enough! I look in the mirror and love my pretty face, and pose and smile for my best angles, then catch a sight of my fat belly and feel bad. Always have. Yikes. Okay, will start doing mental exercises to try to think positively and that I am good enough right NOW! (then maybe I won’t reach for a muffin to make myself feel good.hm..)

  17. Kathy

    August 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    I think that for a lot of women (myself included), the journey to a healthy body image is a long one, if we’re being honest. The truth is that women are much harder on themselves and each other than men are for the most part, even though we tend to blame them for objectifying us (which they sometimes do).

    I probably wouldn’t feel they way I do about my body if I never looked at a magazine, music video, or movie. It takes real work to dig deep and love yourself exactly as you are. I lost 60 pounds to get healthier, and my primary goal is to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. I believe looking good and feeling good about myself are natural side effects of taking care of myself. So that is my focus.

  18. Kasie

    August 13, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I will never look like a cover model, but that does not mean I am not beautiful. I have cellulite and stretch marks, but that does not mean I am not healthy. I rock my bikini ANYWAY because hell–stretch marks and cellulite are found on the best bodies (hello, genetics). I will not let those things rob me of my happiness. Life is just too short to worry about anything.

  19. BeRed

    October 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve been struggling with my body image in a variety ways for years, at least since my early teens. I grew up being thin and active as a child (for which I was also teased), but upon hitting puberty I began to gain weight. Though I wasn’t fat by any means, I was still very active, the changes in my body resulted in hurtful comments from family members and uncomfortable amounts of attention from older men. This was compounded by the fact that I’m naturally a very shy, self conscious person and hate drawing any attention to myself. Over the years my insecurities have grown and my weight has increased. I’ve suffered from multiple bouts with depression and social anxiety. I constantly compare myself to other women both in person and on tv/magazines. I struggle to see encouraging representations of beautiful black women in the media, only to be disappointed time and again when it seems as if the world only wants to ignore, erase or degrade us for not fitting European ideals.

    Its gotten to the point where I’ve been seriously thinking of plastic surgery to get the breasts, nose, face etc that I feel will make me happy. I search for any product that will help me erase the fine lines, stretch marks, or dark spots that I see as impediments to being beautiful. I know that these feelings are just manifestations of deeper issues. I know that even if I were to have all of the changes I describe above, I still wouldn’t feel good enough. But the saddest thing is I know so many women in my life who have the same feelings and insecurities. I wish I, none of us, had to deal with the constant feelings of being inadequate but I dont know how to stop it for my sake or for anyone else.

    I’m now trying to focus on eating healthy and exercising because they make me feel good about myself and what my body can accomplish. I’m hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But in any case…As I sit here writing this on the brink of tears, I want to thank you for providing an safe outlet for women like me to express ourselves and find comfort.

  20. Briana Myricks

    November 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Funny, you wrote this on my 22nd birthday, when I was feeling inadequate and down. A month later, I still have feelings like this, so I guess I’m part of the crickets category. I know I’m not where I want to be, physically or mentally, but I know I want it and I’m willing to keep trying to find it within myself, rather than in a product or something. It’s going to take some time to recondition myself but I know it’ll be worth it.

  21. Naima

    November 24, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Wow Erika! What a profound post!! I am a “newbie” at this “self acceptance” thing but I’m walking into it and finding so much happiness in loving me exactly where I am. I used to think that self acceptance in some way inhibited you from growing and evolving but instead it makes that journey so much more enjoyable! I absolutley love your site and all the encouragement that comes from it! I recently began training for my 1st half marathon and I couldn’t feel better about myself as I train and do things I haven’t done in years! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  22. Laura

    December 10, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Erika, this article speaks to a particular issue that I’ve been struggling with for awhile. I have gone from a size 16/18 to a size 6/8, and my loved ones are constantly shocked at how much more I struggle with self-love than I did several pants sizes ago. There are a number of reasons for that, of course, but I have lately been contemplating my environments and circle of friends. For those of us that either work in certain “scenes” (e.g., bars/nightlife, fashion, etc.) or have significant others and friends who do (e.g., musicians who play out in clubs, stylists, etc.), limiting exposure to magazines, music videos, and other sources of “triggering” imagery aren’t enough to stop the flood of challenging inputs – one sees real, live women out and about emulating those images on a regular basis. In other posts, you have spoken to the potential need to control one’s environment by not allowing junk food in one’s cabinets, for example, but learning to adapt in restaurants over time. Does the same hold true for, say, going out to great clubs in a big city where everyone seems to have figured out how to look like [insert name of celebrity] except you? Obviously that’s a problem of perception – everyone does not literally look like [whomever] except for me – or at least, I don’t think so! LOL. But I’m hearing from other women on this thread that this self-love thing is a REALLY tough nut to crack… and I haven’t touched a fashion mag in years, yet I run into real-life triggers every day in my city! At any rate, curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      December 11, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      “Does the same hold true for, say, going out to great clubs in a big city where everyone seems to have figured out how to look like [insert name of celebrity] except you?”

      Sort of, but you also have to better manage your expectations – you won’t develop this mythical ability to “say no” overnight, and if that’s the case, then you’ve got to consider turning down those events. That might serve as more incentive to get it together.

      Besides, let’s be blunt about “those kinds of events” – even though the goodies and treats are there, it’s often considered tacky to reach out for them, because you’re expected to “know better.” It’s expected that you’re “a part of the scene” and do “those kinds of events often,” so to continuously eat the food, as delicious and bad-for-your-figure-as-it-may-be, results in people giving you the weird-eye. Strange, huh? LOL

  23. Regina

    December 22, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    I completely Agree the woman in my family Mom Myself and Little sister have always had this problem and I remember Asking my friends hwo do you just Love yourself tell me how!!! I want to know how!!!! there have been many times when my mother and myself will be out in Public and ask do I look Like her or am I that size? Isnt that Horrible?!?!? I have Vowed that I would not allow my daughter to feel that way and she was doing awesome until some Little girl called her out in the 2nd Grade and said she ate like a Pig in front of everyone since then I have been working on her self Love… its Horrible the sad things is Now Im 30 and I almost got it but she has watched me struggle with it …. needless to say its something we should strive on as Women because who is anyone to Say God didnt do a Good Job on Making me? I have been working on this battle for my whole life to loose this weight at least 15 years So I appreciate that you posted about this it is important within the weight loss struggle! Thank You!

  24. Janine

    December 22, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    While there is so much to say about this topic (and so much already said! You ladies are SMART!) what helps me be positive about my body image is thinking about the women I treasure in my life. Is my best friend any more valuable to me when she is five pounds lighter, or less when she is ten pounds heavier? Of course not! I value her because of her strength, intelligence, and sense of humor. I know that society might not always treat us with that same respect (in fact, it rarely does) but we have to be the change we want to see in the world. Treating others with compassion and respect is what I have found to have the best effect on MY treatment of myself… and whether it comes down to karma or just practice, I have no idea.

  25. Maija

    February 11, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    What a great post.

    I think it’s unfair towards women that media feeds us this idea that we are not enough. We should learn to love yourself and realize that the images the media and fashion industry are putting in to their magazines are not real. We have to realize that these women in the magazines are not perfect and their pictures have to be alteret to look perfect. We don’t have to be different or go under the knife to be accepted and to be loved. You can find my post about this subject in here http://theroadtounknown.blogspot.com/2013/02/why-we-are-not-good-enough.html if you are interested.

  26. Jessica

    May 29, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    What’s funny to me is that as soon as I looked at the pic, I was trying to figure out what photo shop mishap was going on lol. I am noticing them more and more ever since reading your article about them. I find myself comparing outfits between myself and other women more than my body. I am a work in progress, I’m 5’5″ and went from 175 to 164 in the last month by just eating clean. Because I can see the results of my hard work, when I see a woman with a nice body, booty, breasts, etc., I mention it. I usually mention it to my husband when we are out or my friends if I am out with them. I am not jealous because I know I can get to where I want to be. I try to keep that in mind and stay positive. I don’t care what the media has to say either. Half of the time the same people posting things about body image are not fit themselves or don’t have a clue about eating right but want to fork out what they believe works when they haven’t experimented with it at all for the long term. As women, we are beautiful in our skin. Everyone has improvements they can make whether it be inside or outside. We have to find a way to realize our worth and bask in that and be proud.

  27. Anne

    September 26, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Exactly! It is just this realization that lead me to this website. I got fed up with all of the advertisements trying to convince me to somehow augment my body. For the key to marketing is to create need. The easiest way to create need is to create FEAR. Of course the fear being, “you’re not good enough”!

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