I've never fully accepted my 5-foot-tall frame. Instead, I beat myself up, thinking about my not-so-flat stomach and obsessing over burning calories at the gym. I desperately want to wake up feeling completely OK with my body, but it's a work in progress.
For four years, give or take, I berated myself with the word "fat," tossing it out in random conversation with friends. Before that, I was terrified of being "too" skinny, after being teased for my slim shape growing up.
Let me be clear: I've never had an eating disorder and I know I'm not overweight. But, somewhere along the way, my positive body image took a turn for the worse. Nowadays, I simply want to have a healthy relationship with my body without picking apart every flaw.
I no longer want to cling to a negative body image that threatens my overall peace of mind. As I constantly strive to love my body from head to toe, I've found ways to slowly start the self-love healing process.
Stop obsessing over stick-thin models.
I don't rifle through Gigi Hadid's Instagram for body inspo. Striving for her Victoria's Secret-trained frame isn't conducive to loving my real-girl shape. Plus, women of her pay grade have round-the-clock resources to achieve any body they want.
Instead, I follow women who have similar body types to me or at the very least keep it real about their saggy boobs. Find beauty in your body type by following women like Barbie Ferreira, whose body confidence is contagious.
Speak positively about your body.
By society's standards, we're all candidates for extensive plastic surgery. Then again, who gives a sh*t what society thinks? Your body is yours to own and accept.
So, I challenge you to take all the negative descriptors you use for your body out of your vocabulary. Better yet, treat them like curse words. You wouldn't let a stranger hurl obscenities your way, so don't put yourself through the same body-shaming bullsh*t.
Face your reflection and say the things you love about your body aloud.
Women often cling to false ideas about their bodies instead of actually confronting problem areas. Stare in the mirror and face the facts: Your stomach is not as big as you think, and you need to start loving it.
Sounds like some awkward self-therapy you'd see on a VH1 reality show, doesn't it? But I promise an intimate session spent valuing the thickness of your thighs and the curves of your hips is the beginning of your journey back to reality.
Slowly, and maybe with tears, your body's beauty will start to blossom before your eyes.
Find your personal style.
I'm a sucker for streetwear.
Whether I'm dressing for the gym or preparing to slay at a big work event, I reach for looks that draw attention away from my "problem areas" in order to boost my body confidence. For instance, I'm not a fan of my arms, so I typically wear v-neck tops and dresses.
It's the best way to keep my spirits high when I'm not feeling fearless about my figure.
Wear clothes that flatter your size.
Don't just know your look, know your size. Instead of hopping into too-tight jeans or squeezing into a kid-sized bodycon, tailor your style to your shape.
Don't be a slave to trends either. If a romper is as flattering as a camel toe, leave it on the rack for someone else.
Trust me, you'll feel so much better when you're not spending all day tugging at your clothes.
Stay off the scale.
Whoever said numbers don't lie is an assh*le.
Take it from someone who thought 128 pounds was too heavy. The numbers on a scale represent society's obsession with weight, and you don't need to subscribe to that self-shaming mindset.
Those digits are your number one enemy, so don't let it hold any weight on the amount of love you have for your body.
Don't feel bad about changing your body.
If you don't like something about your body, it's your decision to reshape it. I'm not here to shame your lip fillers or your love of waist trainers. Do as you will to get the body you want, just be sure you're acknowledging the source of your dissatisfaction.
My body is merely one part of who I am, not a reflection of my character. The source of my happiness lies deeper than how my clavicle protrudes or the size of my ass, and I look forward to the day when I can fully feel that way. But for now, I'll practice these habits until the body I have feels perfect.