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Taking a second to love ourselves. #MoveitMondays

summer

I’m comfortable in my own skin.

Most days.

Some days are better than others and with some blips on the way, I am moving towards loving my body as it is, right now.

Loving ourselves the way we are, in our own skin – period.

wedding

Summer 2010, Toronto

This can be a difficult, an almost impossible seeming task, especially if you are like me and have suffered from a past of disordered eating. I started dieting at the age of 12, having convinced myself that I was fat at the age of 8, and lived a life of severe yo-yo dieting, binge cycles and emotional eating ever since. And with these drastic changes of diet brought drastic changes to my body.

One summer I would be slim.

And the next I would be tipping the scale, having gained the weight back (and then some) from my previous dietary scheme.

Sound familiar?

ottawa

Summer 2011, Ottawa

I know I am not alone in this journey towards health, body acceptance and loving my body unconditionally but it doesn’t mean that this journey is always easy. 

Who knew it could be so difficult sometimes to love ourselves? Our whole selves.

Including those bumps, scars, stretch marks, lines and every dimple in between.

Body love. Something I am continually working on.

This occurred to me when I came back to Belgium after enjoying a wonderful yet indulgent summer with my friends and family whom I so dearly missed back home.

There was a lot of late night laughter over long drawn-out barbecues, served up with my mom’s infamous homemade pies and maybe a bit too much wine.

choc cake

But there were also many early morning runs accompanied by long days of walking and green smoothies to boot.

I enjoyed every second of my time home in Canada. Savoring every moment with my loved ones. Do I regret indulging and enjoying my time back home? I do not regret a minute of it. I enjoyed my mom’s cooking, something I rarely get to do, and soaked up the sun with my family during weekend BBQs and elaborate Sunday brunches.

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As the summer came to an end, and I came back to Belgium to resume to life at my second home, it occurred to me that my tummy was a bit softer than before I left and maybe I did gain a couple of pound on the scale.

And after noticing this, I felt myself becoming self-conscious. Retreating to a mental state that I had been to many times before. I noticed this state of mind shining through in my conversations with friends who I hadn’t seen over the past few months.

When meeting up with a girlfriend she proclaimed: “You look so beautiful and tanned!

My Response, as I point to my hips: “Oh no, look at me, I gained so much weight back home“.

Girlfriend, as she pats her stomach, “Noo, look at me and how much weight I gained back home!

It is as if we have been programmed to hate our bodies. Finding faults where we were never meant to be perfect and learning that the best way to take a compliment is to point out something wrong about ourselves.

paris

Summer 2012, Paris

The more I’ve reflected on my automatic response, the more I notice myself putting my body down and others that I love dearly doing the same around me.

Those couple of pounds? Once resuming to my normal life and getting back into my day-to-day routine, those pounds were off before they even had time to settle. 

But that doesn’t mean that I do not have some work to do mentally. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying my best to remember that my body is perfect, as it is, right now, in this moment. Body love at its best. Because this body has achieved amazing things, will bring me to amazing places in the future and has helped me accomplish major feats along the way.

I am strong in my skin. I am beautiful in my skin. I am comfortable in my skin.

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Summer 2013, Quebec City

And the next time somebody pays me a compliment, I’ll remember to thank them rather than picking out some measly fault that was never really there in the first place.

I’m happy to say that after years of disordered eating, going through more summer wardrobes in every size possible (everywhere from a size 6 to a size 20) I have finally settled somewhere in between a size 8 and a 10 and a 6 (what’s truly in a number, anyways?). 

And this past summer was the first summer where I could wear the same clothing from the previous summer. This might seem like a trivial triumph to some but for me it meant saving lots of tears, time and money wasted in summers past. And not having to give up my cute summer dresses from the year before because they were too tight, loose or not fitting ‘right’ anymore.

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Summer 2014, Rice Lake Ontario

My body still changes on the day to day. Somedays I still feel fat. Somedays I feel perfectly comfortable in my own skin. And most days I am perfectly comfortable spending the day in my workout bra, top and yoga pants, running around town, studying and finding time to bake in between.

And that’s okay. Because this healthy lifestyle is more than just going to the gym “x” number of times a week and eating “x” number of fruits and veggies, so much of it beings with loving our bodies, our whole selves, at this very moment.

 love

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216 Comments

  1. Love the first photo, I miss the sandy beaches! You look gorgeous already, I’m glad you posted it, we should love ourselves more than just the way we look! It’s important to listen to your body and remember who we are! Thanks for sharing this, Ceara!

    1. Thanks for the love and kind words Rika! You are so right, it is so much more about how we look on the outside πŸ˜‰ <3

  2. What a great positive post Ceara. Honestly I need to read your words, and I think lots of women are in the same journey too. Life is too short to waste time hating our bodies. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring post.

    1. Thank you Hadia! And this –> “Life is too short to waste time hating our bodies”. You are spot on! πŸ™‚

  3. Wow!! Look at you go girl!! What a great, truly encouraging post!! It is SO true!! We can be so very hard on ourselves!! …but it’s when we step back and eat/ exercise/ live in a place of Love rather than hate (for our body) that we can truly find a happy place with food!! Great post girly!!

    1. Thanks for the love Cailee!! And I love that – we are eating/being active etc in a place of LOVE for our bodies! That is beautifully said!

  4. Great post! I think I am in the same journey along with so many women its so easy to beat ourselves up when really we should be giving ourselves some love which can be forgotten quite easily! Not sure I’ll ever be truly happy with my body but I definitely don’t hate it like I used to which is a good start x

  5. Great of you to open and share! I think everyone can relate to your feelings – thin, not so thin; bad skin, great skin; tall, short; large-frame, small-frame; straight As, C student – we all criticize ourselves entirely too much. Just keep striving to improve and be thankful for what we do have. We never know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Lori and You are so right! It is so important to be thankful for what we have and take a step back when being too critical of ourselves! πŸ™‚

  6. ANYONE who has ever felt torn between the ‘2 extremes’ will tell you that 100% – feeling energized, healthy + strong beats the feeling of empty, tired, sunkenness by a million…which is why it is so important that we remind ourselves daily that we deserve to feel happy + healthy. We have the freedom to look after ourselves πŸ™‚ – That’s empowering! It’s a conscious choice that we must make if we want to stop adding value to things we do. We just are. We just do. Because we deserve it.
    I also know a quote that anybody reading this might like!!

    “I have cried over myself a hundred times this summer. I have wept over my big feet and skinny legs and my nose. I have even cried over my stupid shoes! But now, when I have true sadness…there are no tears left” – Betsy Byars

    <3

  7. Oh my gosh I LOVE this post, Ceara! I can relate to SO much of the stuff you’ve got in here. I’m still trying to feel comfortable in my own skin and accept my body for what it is—I really needed to read this today. πŸ™‚ xoxo.

    1. Thank you so much Denise! Have fun shopping and hope you find some cute outfits! I always look forward to hitting the shops back home when I’m back in Canada! πŸ˜‰ All the best and have a great week!

  8. I love this post. SO MUCH! Thank you for sharing it because it was exactly what I needed to hear today. It’s been a “bad” month here and I’m feeling horrible! “And the next time somebody pays me a compliment, I’ll remember to thank them rather than picking out some measly fault that was never really there in the first place.” <<< This. I need to do this more often. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and support Dorothy!! I am sorry to hear you are not having the best month (I have definitively been there many times and understand completely). Just thought I’d let you know that your smile is absolutely effervescent and shines through in everything you write! I look forward to your posts weekly πŸ™‚ All the best!

  9. Ceara, this is amazing. It takes a lot of time to become at ease and comfortable with who we are but when we get to that point life will be so much more enjoyable. Because our minds are freed to notice all the beauty around. I’m still working on it but know it’s worth persisting.
    “And the next time somebody pays me a compliment, I’ll remember to thank them rather than picking out some measly fault that was never really there in the first place.” <- This!

    1. Thank you so much for the support Miss Polkadot – it means a lot πŸ™‚ You are so right, once we learn to fully accept ourselves as we are life does become that much better – definitively an ongoing journey! All the best to you!

  10. This is such a great post! Being comfortable in your own skin is sooo important! Plus, it is truly a great feeling to love yourself! Well said! πŸ™‚

  11. You’re so inspiring, Ceara! I think feeling comfortable with my body will always be a challenge for me. With everything that I eat, I subconsciously count the calories. Sometimes I’m fine with it, other times no, so I try to work on not worrying about that so much, but that’s definitely an ongoing struggle! I love the quote you provided, so true! Hope your week is off to a great start!

    1. Thank you so so much Gayle for your kind words and for sharing a bit of your story. I can totally relate to what you have said – definitively an ongoing journey for me as well. Hope your week is also off to a great start!

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