Monday, March 28, 2011

Making Peace With My Body

By Pat Ballard, Author & Body Positive Activist

I think we can all agree that most women and a lot of men aren’t at peace with their bodies. How many women do you know who are totally happy with the body that they occupy? We’re always trying to change something about ourselves, no matter what size we are, no matter how beautiful someone else tells us we are – we’re determined to be at war with our body.

We don’t come into the world hating how we look. As babies and young children, we’re at total peace with our body. Hating our body is a learned exercise. And we have many teachers. Women’s magazines, television, movies and many other areas are constantly sending the message that if we aren’t tall, thin and beautiful, then we’re not adequate. But even the tall, thin and beautiful ones are at war with their bodies.

I was at peace with my body until I was eleven years old and saw a height/weight chart in a woman’s magazine. At that point, I realized that my “numbers” weren’t right, and I started down a long, almost deadly, road of eating disorders, self-starvation, laxatives and other attempts at staying thin. Why? Because a magazine said I was too fat.

But when my son was three years old, I decided that I’d had enough. I was on the last weight-loss diet that I would ever go on. I made up my mind that I would try to eat healthily, most of the time, and I would exercise moderately, when I felt so inclined. And I determined that I would learn to love the body that developed.

I knew this was going to be a challenge, because I had no idea what my adult body was programmed to look like, since I had dieted all of my adult life. But I was going to find out.

I also knew that I would need some help, going into this new adventure, so I wrote, what I called then, the “10 Commandments of Self Love.” These commandments later became the “10 Steps To Loving Your Body.” I used these steps when I’d start to think about going on another diet. Or when I’d start feeling frightened because my weight was continually climbing and I didn’t know where it was going to stop.

But a remarkable thing began to happen. As I practiced my steps, and started to gain confidence, I started to realize that people were reacting to me much differently than I had expected. I become aware that every time I left my house and interacted with the public, I got some form of compliment. What is this? I wondered. Don’t these people realize I’m fat? They’re not supposed to be complimenting me! But they did. And as my confidence grew, so did the compliments.

Then came the freedom. Freedom to actually enjoy and love the body that I was in. Freedom to accept the body that I was genetically programmed to have. Then came the peace. I felt as if I’d finally come home.

I’m going to share the “10 Steps To Loving Your Body” and I hope that everyone will start to practice these steps and learn to live at peace with your body.

  1. Never stand in front of a mirror and think negative thoughts about yourself.
  2. Never stand anywhere and think negative thoughts about yourself.
  3. Search carefully for your good points and when you have found them, nourish them and build on them and cause them to grow daily. 
  4. Close your mind to any negative words, thoughts or actions that someone might send your way. Don’t allow negative thoughts into your subconscious.
  5. Always conduct yourself in an honorable fashion and don’t allow your mouth to appear larger than your body.
  6. Always do your best to look like you care about yourself, as no one respects a slob, no matter what size that slob might be.
  7. Learn what your best colors are, what your best hair style is, and what your best clothes style is, and never leave your house without being dressed accordingly.
  8. Always, and without fail, smile and simply say, “Thank you,” when you receive a compliment. Never think or say that the compliment isn’t true.
  9. Stop apologizing about your size. Expect everyone to accept you, respect you, and be happy with you just the way you are.
  10. But most of all, you have to love yourself. When you love yourself, others will love you and respond to you in the exact manner as you feel about yourself.
A few years ago, I turned these steps into a book titled “10 Steps To Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are). It may be hard to do some of these steps to start with, but try to force yourself to do at least one until you have it conquered, then move on to the next one. Pretty soon you’ll start to feel more at peace with the wonderful body that carries you through each day. To begin this progress, I suggest that you print out and sign my “Peace Treaty with My Body in the War on Obesity.” (Click Here)

Also, feel free to print the “10 Steps To Loving Your Body,” and put both articles in a place where you can see them every day. And always remember that you are a unique one-of-a-kind work of art. There never has been nor will there ever be another body just like yours. So treat it like the treasure it is.

Pat Ballard is Author of several Romance Novels With Big Beautiful Heroines & also the nonfiction book: 10 Steps To Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)
Website: For Her FREE BOOK! Something To Think About - Reflections on Life, Family, Body Image & Other Weighty Matters by the Queen of Rubenesque Romances CLICK HERE!

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  1. Thank you so much, Pat, for this commentary. I love the fact that you have identified it correctly with the phrase "at war". I immediately thought..."Yes!". That is exactly what is...war. It is strategic and insidious. I have been at war with my body since very early. I have despised it for maturing faster than my mind. I have despised it for not bending to my will to be "skinny"...even at times when I was actually an average size and teaching aerobics everyday. I always seemed to want whatever my body was not.

    Thank you giving us the tools for FREEDOM. It is critical. For me the freedom has come in stages and is still coming. Your article just inspired another level of it. I especially love tip #5. That's pun intended:-) AWESOME! (Imani)

  2. I love this article for its practical application! This is awesome information that women can truly use! Thanks Pat!