Body Positivity: How Loving Myself Saved My Life

I was always known as the fat girl. No matter if it was in school, at home or in a café. I would always look around the room and felt like I was the fattest one there. So, I used to go on soup only diet and do ridiculous workouts just so I could lose a few kilogrammes here and there. I hated how I looked and always felt that I needed to lose some weight to be considered attractive. Thank god for social media and body positivity movements, I have found confidence in my body.

Three plus size women walking on the beach and talking.
Women should be confident of themselves regardless of their physical weight or size. Thanks to body positive movements, one can learn to be happy and content with their plus-size figure.
Image by Raw Pixel from Freepik

Me, Five Years Ago…

I have just finished my diploma and I was eager to start a new job. However, I was anxiety-ridden about my body. I wanted my new co-workers to think I am beautiful. So everyday, I would eat less than 900 calories and force myself to go for an intense workout even if I was tired.

Did I lose some weight? Yes, I lost about five kilogrammes within the first few months. I was so happy that I didn’t realise that I had also ruined my body by not giving it enough nutrition. Not to mention also, my metabolism slowed down since my body thought I was starving.

A woman taking a picture in front of a mirror.
I didn’t feel confident in my own body and kept punishing myself for putting on weight by going on ridiculous diets.
Image from Preveena Sivakumar

There would even be days where I would start binge eating to make up for the days I had to control my calorie intake. This must have left my body in a messy state.

Me, A Year Ago…

I made some crazy changes. I see more and more body-positive posts on Instagram and Facebook. Most of them were from a plus-size model by the name of Ashley Graham. When I first discovered her, I fell head over heel in love with her. She was definitely what society would label as ‘FAT’ but did she let that stop her? No!

Ashley Graham wearing a matching patterned Umbro outfit.
Ashley Graham rocking another outfit with confidence.
Image from Ashley Graham’s Instagram Account

She would give talks, model, work out and eat whatever she wanted. The best part was that she looked happy. Through her, I discovered many plus-size content makers on a variety of social media platforms. They gave me confidence and made me feel beautiful.

Me, Now With Body Positivity

Now, I work out a few times a week. I like doing Yoga but sometimes I prefer HITT workout, especially if I want to release some stress. Moreover, I don’t put restrictions on my food. I eat what I want and when I want. The best part is the fact that a part of me always felt like I need these restrictions around food or I won’t be able to control myself. However, I haven’t binge eat for almost a year now. I trust and listen to my body.

Woman posing in front of a swimming pool wearing a off shoulder dress.
Accepting my body has given me confidence to wear what I want without feeling embarrassed about my love handles or belly rolls.
Image from Preveena Sivakumar Instagram Account

There will be times when I get upset or angry every time I see myself. I would think to myself, how did you get so big? On those days, I would remind myself that my body has given me so much. For example, I usually make a list of things I am grateful my body does for me. That usually puts things into perspective and encourages me to love myself more.

What Is Body Positivity?

The body positivity movement is rooted in people’s wants and needs to be able to accept themselves and those around them as they are, rather than what popular media would like us to believe.

Three happy female cartoon characters of different figure types, raising their arms in jubilation around the term "BODY POSITIVE"
Body positivity is a great movement that inspired people everywhere. It aims for us to accept and love our bodies.
Image by Pch-Vector from Freepik

No matter your body type, skin colour, fashion sense or gender orientation, this movement seeks to include everybody who dares to step outside of the perfect image of skinny, muscular, tall, fair-skinned people that the media inaccurately represents.

How To Love Your Body?

Going from “I hate my body” to something more positive will take time and conscious effort. First of all ask yourself this: Why do you want to look different?

Most likely, it’s because you want other people to like you, and you believe looking a certain way will make you more loved and accepted.

“We are sold this idea that looking a certain way will bring us approval, affection, love, respect, value, etc.” 

Kara Loewentheil, J.D., MASTER CERTIFIED COACH On body positivity

Before you can learn to love your body, you need to relinquish the idea that you wouldn’t feel sad, lonely, or rejected if you looked different. 

Two girl embracing their body and loving themselves because of body positivity.
I want everyone to feel the same way these two girls look in the picture. Confident and powerful. The best part is they look happy.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

For you to learn to love your body, you need to stop judging other people based on their bodies. When you criticise another person’s body, you send the message—both to them and to yourself—that bodies are a valid measure of a person’s value. Quit it. Remember, your mental health is important too.

Importantly, cleanse your social media of anything that doesn’t promote body positivity. Another person you can follow on Instagram for body positivity is Fiona Tan. She posts pictures to motivate you to love your body more and inspire you with outfit ideas.

Talk About The Curve Cult

At The Curve Cult, their aim is to empower women by breaking barriers and show the world who they really are with confidence and pride. That has inspired them to create a fashionable plus-size clothing brand for all extra curvy and style-savvy women around the world. 

A woman of colour wearing a polka dot dress.
The Curve Cult offers a variety of outfit choices for customers of all body types and sizes.
Image from The Curve Cult’s Instagram account

On top of that, they strive for inclusivity and diversity in the foundation of their business. Oh, did I mention that they are also a person of colour owned business and they strive to create imagery that never fails to include everyone, especially marginalised people?

They also created a lot of job opportunities for plus-size models. Imagine seeing people like me on social media. Moreover, it was wonderful to see plus-size representation and they all looked confident.

Body Positivity Is For Everyone

Maybe every day is a battle for you with food and your appearance. Or maybe you have the occasional bad days when you don’t like what you see in the mirror. Either way, being at war with your body is not healthy. Somehow, we’ve ended up as a society obsessed with the shape and weight of our bodies. And women are the most affected.

A plus-size model wearing a one-piece swimsuit with confidence. Thanks to body positivity.
Thanks to body positivity, more and more people are more comfortable with themselves. This is so inspiring and motivating to the rest of us.
Photo by Jennifer Enujiugha from Pexels

To sum things up, the road to learning to fully love and accept your body is a long one. Trust me, I know, and there are no shortcuts. But there are some small, powerful steps you can take each day to improve your relationship with your body. It would be easier to get in the mindset if you are also given a variety of fashion options like what The Curve Cult provides. Do visit their official page if you need that extra pizzazz for your outfit. I can assure you that they will have the right size for you. Comment down below how body positivity has helped you!

If you don't feel secure with your body appearance, what is the main cause of it?

This article is part of Espoletta’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.

About Preveena SIVAKUMAR

Engineer, teacher, and a published author, Preveena is one friendly and bubbly character. Travelled all over Asia in search of muse and inspiration for her writing. After all, the more you've experienced the world, the better the perspective of your stories will become.

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