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Living in a Body You Love

Living in a Body You Love

A few days ago, I was doing a mini-detox on my computer and found the invitation card my daughter's first birthday. Just one glance at that picture and the floodgates of memories burst open.

That year was certainly not the best time in my life, and I never would have considered hosting a party if it was for myself. However, you can always count on the immense power of a mother's love. I swung into action and planned the birthday party alone, from designing the cards and party packs to cooking and baking everything that was eaten.

Thanks to a big oven, cooking was always easy-breezy, though I’m not sure I could swing that 72-hour cooking marathon today. One of the reasons I don’t cook much anymore is because as much as cooking is (or, rather, was) my hobby, I ate it all up. I used food to solve all my emotional problems. I had tried weight-loss programs many times and quit. I had even cajoled my husband into buying me gym equipment, which I still hadn't unwrapped.

After the guests left and I got the pictures, I couldn’t share a single one. Most pictures were of myself and my baby girl, and if I was in it, I wasn’t sharing it. That meant only three pictures were for public view.

It wasn't as if I'd never seen a picture of myself. I did take pictures (though sparingly), but they were all selfies, so I had never seen an up-close and full-body image of myself. All I could see was a large woman. I already didn't like myself or my body much but this...this was awful. I was miserable for days. The pictures were still on my laptop thanks to external hard drives.

[Related: Body Size Does Not Define You]

Fast-forward to November of the same year. I had managed to lose 16 kg (over 35 pounds), but still firmly in place was my inability to love myself, my flaws, and my imperfect body. I still saw myself as fat, even though my ribs were popping and my mum said I looked bone-dry.

It took me a long time to treasure my body, accept it, and live in it fabulously. When I look in the mirror today, dressed or undressed, I always take the time to appreciate the gorgeous, fabulous woman I see. And guess what? This self-love has strengthened my ability to love my family and not take other people’s behavior personally.

This didn't happen in one day. I started with affirmations, which I don’t just say every morning. For almost two years, they have popped up on my phone every day. Two in particular were very dear to my heart:

You are loved, lovable, and you show love to everyone else.

You are fabulous!!!

[Related: The Centerpiece of Happiness: Less Self-Criticism]

I posted a picture today and have gotten numerous compliments on my appearance. My professor and the people around me have complimented me, as well. Ironically, I feel I have gained about 4 kg, but I carry that extra weight with so much fabulosity that I don't let it bother or define me.

I lead a very active lifestyle and feed my body with purpose about 80% of the time. I very rarely, if ever, consume artificial sugars, processed meat, and white flour products. I have embraced a healthy lifestyle way beyond what I eat, and I've made self-care a priority. My body weight is not the central point of my life.

What people say about how you look is largely influenced by how you see yourself. Love you, because no one else can.

This does not mean my flaws have magically vanished. I have come to realize that I am worthy of love, self-care, pampering, boundaries, and most importantly, that I am enough.

[Related: Dealing with Your Inner Critic — Handling the Tough Self-Conversations]

The question is: Do you believe you are enough? Just like me, you can take simple baby steps today to redefine fabulosity in your life.

1) Affirm yourself DAILY.

2) Do not entertain opportunities to describe yourself in a negative light, be it from you or someone else.

3) Spend more time appreciating your body in the mirror. Don't focus on what is perfect or what needs to be changed, but the fact that you are enough.

4) Do you need to lose some weight? Look for a great meal and fitness plan that leaves you functioning your best and at your highest capacity. Don't ever feel you need to punish yourself.

5) Learn a little more about styling and what fits your gorgeous body best and if a properly "beaten" (made-up) face turns you on. By all means, get skilled in that area, too, and feel free to try out new things.

6) Always remember that you are beautiful, fabulous, and gorgeous, and you owe it to yourself to define what beauty feels like and means to you. Remember that you are not limited to someone else’s standard.

[Related: Sorry, Not Sorry: How to Stop Caring About What People Think]

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Dr. Ezinne Meribe is a Medical Doctor, certified Personal Nutritionist and a Weight Loss/Wellness Professional. Having successfully overcome being overweight and struggling with her own body image, she now uses her professional and experiential knowledge to empower women to own and love their bodies fabulously via her platform Zinnyslifestyle.

She runs a refreshing Facebook community of over 14,000 women- Healthy Yummy Mummies, where mums can lean on each other while exploring what a healthy lifestyle means for them and their families. She understands the influence mums have on the community, because when you positively influence one woman’s lifestyle, you influence her children, her husband, her siblings, and her parents.


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