You’re Amazing Just the Way You Are

by Meg on May 7, 2013

One of the most amazing things about Barbados is the people. Bajans are definitely some of the worlds sweetest, most loving people and this is one of the reasons my parents and I want to visit Barbados at least once every year.

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I love the way they think. They are far less judgemental of themselves and others than we are here in North America and, personally, I admire that so much.

One of my favourite moments from my most recent trip to Barbados was the bus ride my parents and I took from Christ Church (where we were vacationing) to a nearby town called Holetown.

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While on the bus, the radio plays and, if it’s a good song, all of the locals begin to sing. During our bus ride, Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars came on and every single Bajan began to sing.

It was beautiful.

It also really struck a chord with me.

As I mentioned yesterday, despite having many successes while on vacation, I did have my struggles, too. One in particular being body image. 

Usually I’m quite happy being me. I know I’m not perfect and never will be (obviously), but I’ve worked a lot on improving my body image and self confidence in the past that this is really not an issue for me any more; however, when I was in Barbados it caused me quite a bit of trouble…

It’s not because I felt uncomfortable in a bikini or anything of the sort, but it was because of comparing myself to others – other people I admire. You see, while traveling to Barbados and wasting time in airports, I spent a lot of time on social media. Instagram, blogs, fitness websites, Facebook, etc. You name it, I was on it. Scoping out pictures of beautiful women.

Women with sculpted arms, muscular legs, and chiseled abs. Remember, we all have our own image of what we think is beautiful – and this is what I personally admire and drool over. 

But, when I looked in the mirror I saw nothing of the sort. I was looking at myself with what I like to call critical eyes. I couldn’t give myself a compliment when I looked in the mirror, which left me feeling very low and insecure.

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All I could do was critique myself when I looked in the mirror or when I saw pictures of myself…

Luckily, I was blessed to come across a few different blog posts that helped me change my way of thinking. Funny how some forms of social media made me feel bad about myself, but others helped me, huh?

Nia Shanks is a woman I always turn to when I want to feel good about who I am as a person instead of basing my self worth on my appearance. If you don’t currently read her blog, you should definitely start doing so now.

She talks about being a “Beautiful Badass”, which is everything but placing your self worth on your physique as she focuses on in this post.

While on vacation, I received an email from her as I subscribe to her newsletter and it really helped me to stop focusing on my physique and rather love who I am as a person.

“Focus on the things you LOVE about yourself instead of obsessing over the things you want to “fix”. I don’t care if you think your right foot is the only good feature you have. If that’s the only thing you currently like, then know that’s the best dang right foot in the whole word.”

Another beautiful woman that unknowingly helped me while on vacation was Jamie. Jamie wrote a post about gaining an extra 5 pounds, but what was unique about this post was how she thanked her body for this extra weight. Jamie was able to look at her body and appreciate it for what it was. Instead of getting down on herself about the weight gain, she was able to be thankful. She looked at her body and said that those extra pounds were due to the new ventures she’s recently taken, good sleeps when she was in need, new fears she faced, etc.

So, I challenged myself to look in the mirror and thank my body for not having those chiseled abs that I for some reason felt so compelled to have. I looked at my body and said “Thank you for looking the way you do.” I was able to see a body that no longer stressed about eating perfectly. I saw a body that was finally enjoying life!

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The third blog post that inspired me to love me for me right now was written by Katie. She wrote a beautiful guest post for me and spoke about loving herself as she is right now.

“This intuitive eating challenge has taught me to stop worrying so much, to relax, and to love myself exactly how I am right now. Not 5lbs less from now, not more toned, not with a great job or a great relationship, but just me. Exactly how I am.”

After reading Katie’s post I was able to stop focusing on and obsessing about achieving that perfect physique I described for you at the beginning of the post and start loving mine.

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Just the way it is! :)

I hope you’re not totally sick and tired of me blabbing about Barbados. Trust me, my blog hasn’t turned into A Dash of Barbados with a pinch of Meg ;) but I just wanted to share all of my experiences with you. The good and the bad. The successes and the challenges.

I hope you enjoyed and I also hope you take the time to read the three posts I mentioned throughout today’s post. All three of them are beautiful and inspiring!

Love always,

Meg xo

Do you struggle with body image? How do you over come being your own worst critique? Let’s stop focusing on what we view as negative – tell me one thing you love about your body! :D 

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali May 7, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Fantastic post! I made a pact to myself to spend less time on social media looking at all these fabulous bodies because it is similar to magazines and tv, it can cause is more harm than good. What if we spent half the time on the internet and put that energy towards loving our bodies and being appreciative of what we DO have?! You’re a beautiful soul, thanks for always being authentic’!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM

YOU have a beautiful soul, too, my dear! Thanks for the comment :)

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lindsay May 7, 2013 at 7:41 AM

i see a mind and heart that completes a beautiful body. That is true. You are perfectly YOU and no one can be YOU. Thank goodness! I love that you are focusing on your God given ASSets. tee hee. Love you friend!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Haha, oh, I love you too Lindsay!!

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Kierston @candyfit May 7, 2013 at 7:49 AM

Darling, you are beautiful inside and out.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM

You are the best! Thanks for the comment Kierston! <3

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Linz @ Itz Linz May 7, 2013 at 7:54 AM

i definitely go through phases when i struggle with body image… itz definitely a good reminder that STRONG is beautiful and everyone is beautiful in our own way! :) :)

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

I’ve found that focusing on strength rather than my appearance really helps me!

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Katy May 7, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Just as those other chiseled, buff ladies are your inspiration or definition of “beautiful”, you are definitely mine. I would KILL for your arms! Lots of love and admiration! xoxo, Katy

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Wow, thanks Katy <3

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Bee Goes Bananas May 7, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Great post hun! It’s definitely something we all or have all struggled with at some point or another.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Very true!

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Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 7, 2013 at 8:42 AM

This is such a great post, and you have both a gorgeous mind and a gorgeous body!

I definitely struggle with my body image. Most of the time it’s related to food or exercise in some way–i.e., if I ate too much, I’ll feel a little bit down about the food baby. Or if it was a rest day, I’ll probably find something to complain about. A result of the past 6 years of disordered eating. :/

One thing I love my body is just how capable it is. I realize that’s a very general statement, but my body can do so much. It has run 12 miles straight, it’s able to survive those nights or successive nights when I don’t get much sleep, it can regulate how much and what foods it needs (imagine that!). That’s not even to mention the thousands upon thousands of processes that our body does every day just to keep us alive and breathing. All of our bodies are so amazing and capable of so much. We just need to take time to appreciate it! :)

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM

It helps so much if we focus on what we are capable of doing rather than our appearances!

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Carly @ Snack Therapy May 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Girl, I think we all struggle with body imagine more than we’d like to admit. Hell, I’d bet that Cameron Diaz and Alessandra Ambrosio and Jessica Biel have “fat days” now and again. I’ve found that, when I’m feeling down on myself, the worst thing I can do is to get mad at myself for feeling down. Shame spiral to the max! Instead, I try to do things that make me feel beautiful and happy.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM

I love this comment! One of the best ever! It’s so important to be true to you and do what makes YOU feel beautiful – whatever that may be!

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Ashley @ Life and Fitness May 7, 2013 at 10:10 AM

It’s so sad that often we are our biggest critics. Especially when I’m with a large group of women, they often start talking about what they don’t like about themselves. It’s very easy to join in, but I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to only think positive thoughts about my body.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Good job, girl!

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Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin May 7, 2013 at 10:21 AM

This is a great post, Meg. I have definitely had periods where body image issues is a struggle especially when I had initially gained weight that I definitely NEEDED to gain. You hit the nail on the head with appreciating our bodies for what they do for us, rather than what they are lacking. My mom always reminds me to treat myself as I would a good friend. You would never look at your beautiful friend and think about how their hips were too wide, you wouldn’t even notice a small imperfection and would think they were gorgeous just how they are. Love this post <3

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM

It’s an amazing concept to treat ourselves as a good friend/best friend and in the past I’ve also been taught to treat myself as my young self – I would never be mean to the 4 year old me if you know what I mean? xo

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Amanda May 7, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Wonderful post today, Meg! Inspirational to me.. as always!

I have been struggling with my body image for quite some time now. I LOVE my stomach and the way it looks, but when I look at my arms and legs.. all I see are toothpicks! I never wanted veiny arms or thighs that don’t touch, and now I have them. Wearing a bathing suit is incredibly difficult for me, and in reality I should love my body for the way it is and stop over analyzing myself and be able to enjoy myself!

I have been really trying to move past this.. and even realize that if I don’t want my legs and arms to look like this, I need to gain weight in a healthy way (I struggle with ED myself). It’s been a struggle as well, but I am truly hoping to gain 3 pounds before I go to Florida at the end of June. I know it’s not much, but it’s a true challenge for me. I got myself to this point, and now I need to get myself back to the way I was– when I was happy about my body and not over analyzing myself nonstop!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Good luck with everything, Amanda! Just love yourself for YOU <3

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peaceloveandoats May 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Awww thank you, Meg! I’m so glad it had such a positive impact on you. LOVE YOU!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Love you too, my dear!!

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David May 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I just started following your blog a few weeks ago and it is so positive and refreshing. I have really been encouraged. Thanks for sharing! David

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Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut May 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Love that song! Some days it even makes me tear up!!

You ARE beautiful girlie!

Piece of advice? Stop following or even LOOKING at those pictures of other women. There’s no need for it! It’s not helping you to see the best of someone else (who might not even be physically feeling good because of self-deprivation), when you can only be the best YOU. <3 I personally had to stop following certain people on Pinterest. Do what's best for YOU! <3

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Great advice and I’ve already done it – I unfollowed A LOT of people on IG

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Jolynn @ Lift Pray Love May 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

You are a beautiful, empowering woman with a body of gold that you have definitely earned! We have all negative thoughts about ourselves, right down to the clothes we put on, the way we style our hair, our makeup, and obviously our body image. I just like to think of the main positive in my life – it could always be worse. Someone, somewhere is dealing with more pain and suffering than I am so I will be happy with what I’m blessed with. I’m alive. I’m healthy and that’s all that matters! :)

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

It’s so helpful to focus on our health and dwell on that :D

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Alyssa @ Road to RD May 7, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I love the positivity that this community offers. When one person is down, there are three people there to help pick them back up. Thank you for this post- today in particular I’m in the post-binge phase and feeling a little low, and this post has helped to bring me back to reality. Beautifully written!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

I am so happy I could be of help, Alyssa <3 love ya!

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Amy May 7, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Hey Meg! I don’t think anyone is tired of hearing about your trip to barbados! It seems like you had such an amazing time and have accomplished alot of personal goals while there so why not talk about it!! :) Your posts are so empowering and they are helping us all who can relate. I also struggle with intuitive eating and excersize and also over critisize myself at times, and this post actually made alot of sense. im glad you wrote it as i can definitly relate! Thanks for sharing :)

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Awwww thanks, Amy! <3

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Melissa @ Treats With a Twist May 7, 2013 at 2:01 PM

I loved this reminder. This is the NUMBER ONE thing I struggle with. I can be having the happiest day, cheering myself on for my food choices and accomplishments in work and in the gym…and with one look in the mirror, my inner critic chirps in and all happiness is dashed. I know I’m doing it to myself too and know I need to learn to look past it all and love what I HAVE and stop thinking about what I am not. Many of us won’t ever really look like the person we want to see when we look in the mirror because our expectations are so unrealistic – like I can’t ultimately be 15 pounds lighter with a longer torso…just not possible, yet I’m over critical of myself for not looking like those other women. Working on loving something, anything, about ourselves just as we are right now will only help us live happier lives.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Keep loving yourself sweetie <3

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Becki @ Fighting for Wellness May 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I’m so behind on reading blogs, but I’m very glad this is where I decided to start catching up. I had a similar moment last night when I realized that despite the fact I’ll never have abs (okay, never say never, but I really think I love wine too much) I’m beautiful. So you are you, my dear.

Love you, Meg!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM

YES YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! I love you

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Lisa May 7, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Yesss! Absolutely love this positive and refreshing post.
We are all our worst critics, but after we overcome those thoughts it’s truly amazing what more we can offer to ourselves and to others. Because really there is no better you than YOU!
I can’t be the best Meg, but I can be the best Lisa ;)
So great that you’ve been able to move past the image of yourself and really see how beautiful of a person you are on the inside as well.
Loooove you.

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

lol! And you ARE the best Lisa :D <3

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Heather @ Better With Veggies May 7, 2013 at 3:59 PM

I love this and it’s something I certainly struggle with too. I know in my head the important thing is to be healthy & active, but I admit I have a picture in my mind of what I’d like to change and that it would be better that way. Thanks for the reminder that our bodies are awesome now!

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Julie @ twosaucysisters.wordpress.com May 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

LOVE this post Meg! <3 I think everyone struggles with body image at one time or another. I know that Brit and I both often struggle with the fact that we have been the same cup-size since gr. 5. Often I find myself wishing I could be even just a B-cup, instead of the A-cup that I am. But then I remember the things I do like about myself and how having a small chest helps me when I am running (no bounce to the ounce! ;) ) and then I feel better. :) A good push-up bra always helps, too! ;)

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Brittany@twosaucysisters May 7, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I’ve said this before, and I’ll continue saying it over and over again- I have always had to struggle with comparison, because I have a beautiful girl living with me all the time… my twin sister, of course! (You can tell her I said that ;)) Because we’re twins people always feel the need to compare us with each other, and so it’s so easy to go along with it and start comparing myself to Julie, too, but I’ve worked very hard to stop myself from doing this. I have good days and bad days, but for the most part I have taught myself to love our differences and enjoy just being me :) Great post, Meg!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

So happy you enjoyed it love :D

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Sarah May 7, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Such an amazing post! But please know that you are absolutely gorgeous both inside and out!! You are not only beautiful, but influential, caring and most importantly a wonderful blend/daughter/girlfriend, etc! I feel lucky to know you! xo

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Awwww WOW thank you so much, Sarah!!!!!!!!!!

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Ashley May 7, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Ive definitely had my fair share of struggles with my body image and I have a really hard time taking compliments but Im slowly coming to terms and getting better at it, great post!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Thanks girl! xo

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Nicole @ FruitnFitness May 7, 2013 at 5:20 PM

I wish I didn’t buy I do struggle with body image, I try not to bit I think it gets to all of us at some point. I think you are beautiful but he way, and am glad that you were able to start to realize you are beautiful for who you are! Now, I also really want to visit the beautiful Barbados!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:06 AM

YOU HAVE TO VISIT BARBADOS!

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Amy May 7, 2013 at 6:18 PM

I had actually read the same post by Jamie! It was beautiful to read how somebody could actually love and embrace weight gain, as opposed to the negativity most people associate with it. And good for you for turning your thoughts around!! That’s really hard to do, especially when on vacation so far away from home and what’s comfortable and familiar. You’re such an inspiration Meg!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Wow thank you, Amy! It never gets old being told I’m an inspiration! It’s always unbelievable, but thank you!

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Amy May 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM

You’re welcome sweetie! It’s true; your honesty and openness about your ED and IE really helps others, including me. So thank YOU!

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Ellie May 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM

I love the fact that my legs do not grow hair. I don’t know why, but I haven’t shaved in over a year and I LOVE IT! Praise God for smooth legs :)

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Health, Love, and Chocolate May 7, 2013 at 10:33 PM

I’m so glad you have been able to give the body the loving it deserves. You are gorgeous inside and out!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:07 AM

So are you my love!

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Lexi May 8, 2013 at 2:47 AM

You really seem to be on the road to healing and that is so wonderful to see. I’m an RD myself and have seen the consequences of EDs first hand far too many times, it is heartbreaking. Good for you on working towards recovery! I’ve only recently found your blog and I saw you’re going to go to IIN. Out of curiosity- why have you chosen that route rather than RD?

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I felt like I didn’t learn what I wanted to from my degree. There are SMALL parts of me that wants to be an RD still; however, I think a health coach is a better fit. I’m planning on doing a post on this soon, so I’ll be able to answer your question MUCH better once I let my thoughts mull over and start making sense ;)

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Lindsay Cappotelli May 8, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Yes! We all struggle with insecurity at times. I’m definitely my own worst critic, but I am learning now that there are more important things to focus on in life than being lean and having 6 pack abs. When my mind was so consumed with those things and how to achieve those things, it left no room to hear God’s voice because it was crowded out by too many other things. Now God is changing my priorities and I can hear Him speaking to me in ways I never did before. By the way, I love all your Barbados pictures! It looks so beautiful there! Wish I could take a trip to the beach soon!!

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Meg May 8, 2013 at 10:08 AM

God’s voice is utmost important!! <3

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables May 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Beautiful post sis! I wish we could all love our bodies like this. I find myself starting to compare sometimes on social media, and that is when I know I need to step back and refocus. You are beautiful… inside and out!

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen May 12, 2013 at 10:30 PM

I actually have a post planned for (hopefully) this week regarding some thoughts on my own body image. I am so grateful you shared yours, honestly and openly. We are all imperfectly perfect, but we live in a world where constant comparisons put pressure on us to change or be different. I have a ton more to say….but I’ll save it for a post (or an e-mail ;)).

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