-Nicole-

Loving Our Bodies, Loving Ourselves

48 posts in this topic

Hope this isn't a re-run, or in the wrong forum...

I felt the need to start this thread because I have horrible self-image. I suffer from an eating disorder and my mother's body issues have influenced this heavily. Being of average build, and also being a ballet dancer, my body has been under constant scrutiny. I want more than anything to love my body. I want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit and more importantly I want to feel comfortable enough around my husband to be naked and allow him to touch me without feeling horribly self conscious. I generally don't feel attractive at all and I want to feel beautiful.

I started this thread to share our positive ideas about how to love our bodies and love ourselves. Part of this was inspired by my friend, Michelle (violets8) who has always given me and the members here great advice about how to love yourself, I am inspired by her.

Some things I have tried:

~ Looking at myself in the mirror naked and finding at least one good thing about it

~ Reminding myself that my body is amazing, it has done so much for me and healed me when I needed it

~ Treating myself to healthy comforting things such as massage, a relaxing facial mask, or just a cup of green tea

~ Putting a nice lotion all over the body after a shower, unbelieveable how luxurious this feels - makes you feel lovely!

What are yours?

Nicole :throb:

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What a great thread Nicole!

I have recently made the decision to love myself more...

I know I have huge issues around this, and so I've decided to work 'from the outside in'. It was all triggered on my return from France and the thought that I didn't want to let my tan fade! So I decided that no matter what, I would use body lotion every day. And you know what I realised? I have so many unused bottles of body lotion and oils, some of which were presents and are of very good quality, but I just hadn't been using them. I guess it's so easy to think "I'll use that on a special occasion". Yet in truth, every day should be a special occasion. And it feels great! My skin is looking better than it has in years, and yesterday a guy I met was absolutely astounded when I told him my age. The best bit though, is when I rub body lotion into my old SI scars. Nurturing that part of me - the part that was so hurt and sore - is an unbelievable feeling.

I've also been trying to exercise more. I run around a lot as it is, am out with my boys all the time, and of course have my yoga. But I've added some jogging into the mix. This often seems like such a chore, but I'm reminded of when I gave up smoking - telling myself that I was giving myself something, rather than taking something away. Eventually I would like to run the London Marathon, and to do it for a survivor charity. That would be such an empowering way to feel good about myself!

Additionally, I think something is shifting within me. I've noticed it more and more the closer I get to thirty (only three months away now!) It's a sense of being much more settled with myself, and is hard to describe. I'm pretty tall - 5'10", and for years it slayed me that I would hear shorter people talk about their weight, and know that I was heavier than them. But I'm getting to the point now where I recognise that for me, their weight would be unhealthy. I am within the BMI 'normal' zone, and while I could do with losing a few pounds (15-20 maximum), I am not going to kill myself to get there.

Before I went away to France I bought myself a cheap and cheeky little black sundress to throw over my tankini. It's the kind of thing I would usually steer clear of, as it has fine spaghetti straps and is relatively short. But you know, I wore that sundress more than anything while I was away, and I'm still wearing it over jeans now that I'm back. And you know, I actually felt sexy in it.

Anyway, I have rambled on quite long enough! Which is all a bit cheeky as right now I am sitting in my baggy old (albeit Egyptian Cotton :wink: ) PJs!

:hug::wub: Ruthie

P.S. Nicole, Green Tea is the absolute best 'feel good about yourself' hit, isn't it?! :P

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I am really, really bad about taking care of myself as well. I think it stems from the fact that there are times when I really don't like myself and don't deem myself worthy of being taken care of. It's something that my therapist is always trying to help me with and that I realize I need to do better on.

One of the things that I do do for myself is long bubble baths. When I am feeling particularly sad or anxious, a bubble bath really helps me. It gives me time alone to think and to clear my head. And this is a shameless plug, too, for Lindy's soaps, her oatmeal soap and orange creamsicle soap is something I've been treating myself to, lately. The oatmeal soap makes my skin incredibly soft.

Other things I do for myself (sometimes) is going for a walk or a jog. Being outside and breathing the fresh air is always uplifting to me. I find a strange comfort in the rhythmic sound of my own footsteps when I'm jogging, and breathing in time to them and counting.

Also I find lighting candles and listening to music very soothing as well. I don't do that as often as I want to, but it is soothing to me.

Something else that I do, that maybe isn't altogether healthy, is I change my sheets every day. I love the smell of clean sheets and it is just very comforting to me to know that they are clean and that my bed is clean when I climb into it at night. It's probably a little on the obsessive-compulsive side, but it comforts me.

Great idea for a thread. :greet: I look forward to reading everyone else's ideas.

Edited by August

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Lipgloss!! - I just thought of that one. Not even anything fancy, I have these Blistex SPA chapsticks that I got in my goody bag from SOAR SPA, and they are just delightful. Lipgloss makes me feel wonderful and beautiful!

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I think we all have some issues surrounding our bodies. I know I am sometimes unhappy w/ the way I look and feel. Here are some things I try to do to love myself:

I go for a run! I never in all my wildest dreams think I would enjoy running. I used to hate in high school when I had to do it for sports. But over the last 3-4 years it has helped me to burn off negative energy that builds during the day and allows me to clear my head. It also has helped me to keep in fairly decent shape, which I think is very important for my body.

I get lost in a good book! Sometimes reading a good fictional book allows me to escape the chaos of my own world and enter somewhere else.

Getting a massage. I don't think I need to explain that as it totally speaks for itself if you have ever had one. I only wish I could afford one weekly!

I take some "me" time.

Excellent thread, Nicole!

Edited by Iron Butterfly

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this may sound strange, but for me, i take a shower. I turn the water up to warm, but not too warm. The shower is a place where I am forced to be naked and look at myself as i genuinely avoid looking naked in the mirror, or looking in the mirror generally, but yeah. It helps me to get to know my body's bits, wether I like them or not right now, if i know they are there, I can work towards acceptance of them.

Self-esteem/image has been an absolute killer for me in the past. I was heavily involved in sport as a child, dancing, track and field, basketball etc but because i suffered CSA i was always forced to look negatively at my body, because of the man who abused it, and who deliberately picked me because i was smaller than everyone else. What that caused me to do was drop out of physical activity as I progressed thru teenage years, and become largely in active and as a result, overweight. In my mind, i was making myself bigger (it only turns out that i was gaining weight, not muscle or height) and stronger to fight him off, or gaining enough weight to be "unnattractive" to any man who may have wanted to hurt me. I am only just losing the weight i gained now, and due to working out, i've gained a fair chunk of muscle. I guess what i'm trying to say is that, i have poor self- image, or i have had but i'm working on it.

Another thing I am just wanting to think about (although slightly ot) is how much of our body image, as women, is governed by what we see, hear, read , purchase. the media is the most powerful way of making women feel sh*thouse about themselves, the beauty industry thrives on poor self esteem and sees consumption of certain "beauty" products as a way of rectifying supposed "flaws" in our appearance. It may not apply to every single woman, but i know many women feel inadequate due to what they read and see on tv. and it's about time we began to reject those images.

that turned slightly ranty, but it is linked up with self image and self esteem in several ways.

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Oh - I've just thought of something else.

I've started to give myself regular breast checks. This is something I hated the thought of a year ago. I couldn't bear to touch them. But now it is so good to know that I am looking after myself that way. :)

:hug: Ruthie

P.S. And I'm with you on the lipgloss Nicole :)

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Another thing I am just wanting to think about (although slightly ot) is how much of our body image, as women, is governed by what we see, hear, read , purchase. the media is the most powerful way of making women feel sh*thouse about themselves, the beauty industry thrives on poor self esteem and sees consumption of certain "beauty" products as a way of rectifying supposed "flaws" in our appearance. It may not apply to every single woman, but i know many women feel inadequate due to what they read and see on tv. and it's about time we began to reject those images.

Oh yes! I couldn't agree with you more. When I was younger I used to read fashion magazines like Cosmo and such. Now I refuse and I purchased a copy of SELF magazine at the airport on my trip home from SOAR SPA. Of course much of that was because there will be an article in SELF about SOAR SPA, but I wanted to see what the magazine was like. It is a much nicer magazine than those trashy rags like Cosmo. I think a real magazine like SELF is a healthy alternative to traditional magazines if you are one inclined to read magazines. I don't much have time.

I also throw out Victoria's Secret catalogs and stick with Newport News. The models are still skinny, but at least they are not marketing their catalogs towards men like VS.

Nicole :throb:

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:hug: Nicole :hug: I was blessed to meet you at SOAR SPA Nicole and you are amazinly beautiful hun. I love the lipglosses we got in our bags *giggles* I will post more later. Gotta go to Wally-World the n clean the house.

:hug::wub:

Lee

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Lets see there are so many things that make me feel good......

I love high count cotton sheets

a nice glass of wine

lotion

I get a massage every other Friday it is a hour of pure heaven

I touch myself alot....I mean I pet myself...I rub my shoulders and neck I massage my hands and feet ect.

Long showers

painting my fingernails and toenails..........Michelle

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How could I forget a glass of wine? :wine:

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One other thing I just thought of, I have "comfort" clothes. Sometimes when I am really sad or really triggered, I wear things that make me feel warm or safe. I have a favorite sweatshirt that I put on and pajamas always comfort me too.

:)

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Boosting for amyhall78 but also to add:

Comfort clothes are fab! They just make your body happy!

Another plug for Lindy's soaps, because this thread inspired me to buy the oatmeal. Because it was a special soap and not just a bar of Dial or something, I really took my time and lathered up and let the oatmeal gently exfoliate. It was lovely, and I felt better all night after that shower :)

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Nicole,

Thank you for bringing this up. I too have a very poor self image of myself. As I'm sure you clearly saw in both our trips together. I cried histerically when I thought you didn't like my ideas and all the while I'm thinking "Oh God I'm so ugly, that's making it worse!" It's like emotionally and physically they go hand in hand.

I found that by telling myself each day that I am a good person and that I am smart and bright even if it's just saying it in my head helps me accept who I am on the outside more. I didn't used to love my body in fact I was constantly finding something wrong with myself. Once I began loving the person inside I began to love the person who exsisted on the outside. I think that's how I got through some of the poor self image.

I still struggle a lot with my image, whether it's how I am on the inside or the outside, I may always struggle I don't know. But I know now I will never ignore my inner voice when she tells me I'm phenominal just the way I am ;)

Love, Haullie

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I am boosting some of my old threads and I remembered this one!

Here is one thing I have been doing a lot lately that I really enjoy and makes me feel happy and healthy - going for walks! Of course I live in the Caribbean, so I realize not everyone can walk this time ofyear outdoors without freezing, but I live close to a few little grocery stores, so if I need coffee or something, I walk instead of driving. The fresh air feels great, and of course the view of the water I have is amazing! Makes me feel good to be alive. :)

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Oh goodie...thanks for boosting this! :)

Since turning 30 last month, I have decided to make time for myself, to do things that I love and would make me feel good about myself.

I stopped going to the gym in July and have gained about 10 lbs. Yesterday, I decided to go back to the gym and do what I love: Spinning, Pilates, Yoga and Running. At least 3 times a week, no less.

I will take my time in the kitchen and stop buying processed foods and enjoy a great home cooked meal. I have found that there's nothing more pleasing than making a favorite recipe and savoring every bite. With a glass of red wine, of course!

It's always been hard for me to make time for reading since I have work and school full-time, but I love to unwind with a good book. Right now I am reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

I absolutely love to crochet while watching movies. :)

I have what feels like Body Dysmorphic Disorder and I do believe that working on my image will help tremendously.

Lindy

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I should probably start doing things like this... I started severely neglecting myself a while ago. But the other night I shaved my legs, and then put some moisturiser on them later that smelt nice :) Lol, very simple. But it's a good starting place for me.

I do things to 'look after' myself, but only so I don't stand out. Just to fit in, I don't do it to feel 'good' about myself. Hmmm. I'll try the lipgloss thing tonight :)

What do you do about looking nice to go out, when you have red scars on your arm?? :blush: I used to wear nice tops but now I can't... because I don't really know what sort of jacket thingy to put with it! It would be nice to feel pretty again for a day.

Saz x

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Hi Nicole and everyone,

What a great thread. I like the idea.

I am not feeling able to post on this subject, but will try to make up a small list of what I have been doing.

Thanks for all the great sharing.

Kate

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~ posting a painting by Rubens at my workdesk. It's a wonderful picture of a naked woman and just the back of a man; it's beautiful. But the women does not fit today's media image of beauty. It has really helped me in my quest to feel beautiful. The painting is here.

~ taking long showers and soaping up with my hands, which meant touching every inch of my body. It made me get to know my body.

~ making myself take a long bubble bath and again cleaning my body with my hands.

~ lotioning up DAILY after the long showers; massaging my feet, calves, hands.

~ working out. That made me feel my body alive, blood pumping, sweating.

~ recognizing and not accepting any bad thoughts about my body.

~ telling myself that I am beautiful inside and out and that nobody can tell me otherwise.

~ getting a manicure, pedicure, waxing done once in a while.

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Since being diagnosed with PCOS I have gained a tremendous amount of weight that has been difficult to lose despite good eating habits and steady tradmill every day for 20 minutes. I hate to talk about it like that because then I start to dismiss that this is all my fault and maybe I wouldn't even have PCOS if I wasn't overweight to begin with. hmmm...anyway...so I really don't like my body image right now and although I try to stay positive and give myself affirmation, it's still hard for me so I intend on discussing this to my life coach tomorrow and getting some additional insight because I do believe that a positive attitude is what will help me become healthier, it's the negativety that slows me down. I'm constantly wondering what else could be "better" about me, but God made me the way I am so I have a lot of inner work to do still.

Love, Haullie

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Nicole I absolutely LOVE this thread!

One thing I've started doing on a very conscious level, and on a consistent basis is visualizing my hand reaching up, palm outward in the "STOP" sign kind of way, in response to ANY negative thoughts I have about myself (more often than not they are body image related, but sometimes just "stupid" or "lazy" etc).

As soon as I have halted the thought (and the visualization makes for a dramatic halt), I reverse the negative message in my head to something positive, typically the opposite of what I just thought.

For example, if I walk past a window or mirror and see my reflection, and the thought pops into my head that I am a slug and really need to do something about my weight, I visualize the "STOP" sign hand, then I tell myself over and over, "I am thin and lithe and every day I achieve greater and greater health." (Ok, so I'm not really thin and lithe, but my subconscious mind only knows what I tell it... and the more I believe it to be true the more my mind will make it become a reality.)

I also find that showering, putting on makeup, and wearing a smile, even when I don't feel like smiling is often enough to get me over the hump.

I love this thread and am going to work on finding something new every day to add!

Awesome idea, Nicole!

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Glad you like it Blue!

That is a very good idea you have! To elaborate on that thought, actually saying, "NO" or "STOP" outloud when negative thoughts arise may be equally powerful. It goes back to the power of your voice. I might have to try that!

I had a pretty bad day today, so it was nice to see this thread had been bumped :flowers: Now I think I will go take some of the advice posted here and try to make the end of the day a little better. Thanks ladies :hug:

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Cooking healthy meals for yourself, even if you are cooking for one (which I now am)

Dates with yourself! I have planned nice quiet evenings at home with a movie, book or some good music, cooked a nice dinner and instead of getting dressed up I'll put on my favorite comfy clothes. It really feels good and can be extremely healing. I felt totally spoiled the first time I did it!

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This is a great thread! :)

I sometimes look in a mirror and analyze myself without judgment. I just desribe my features, and then try to find things I like about my appearance. It helps me not to focus on the things I don't like about myself, like my weight, but to look at myself as a whole, not just the fat person I see.

I do lots of affirmations about myself. I tell myself I'm beautiful. Even if I don't believe it, the purpose is to keep repeating it to myself so I will start to believe it.

I have a chart where I write something negative I feel about myself, and then in the next column I challenge it. I used to have to use positive words that other people have said about me, but I've improved enough to straight-out challenge it with my own thoughts.

I love having "beauty" time. I take a long shower or bath, put on good-smelling lotion, put leave-in conditioner in my hair, use a clay mask that makes me feel refreshed and my face smooth, put on comfy clothes that make me feel good, maybe paint my nails, and relax.

My favorite "feel-good" clothes are just pajama pants (or my yoga pants) and a cute, soft, and comfortable tank top.

I also do yoga and meditate with incense and scented candles. Music is powerful to me, I really listen to it, not just hear it, and it feels like it's pumping through my veins. So listening to music I love makes me feel great and although I do meditate in complete silence, I also do with music.

I have an eating disorder, and my focus has been on calories and losing weight. I've been stopping myself when those thoughts come and I try to redirect my focus to nutrients, strength, and fitness. I love exercise and having a healthy meal makes me feel good. Going running and lifting weights makes me feel more powerful and confident, as well as feeling like I accomplished something when I come back from a run.

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