We reached out to the Angle News Community to ask what you did to feel better in your body this year.
And you had all kinds of inspiring answers.
For some of you, it was learning to love yourself as you are, or throwing out the scale. For others, it meant eating right, exercising, and shedding pounds. For some it even meant more permanent changes, like surgery.
There’s no one right way to love your body, and everyone’s journey to body positivity is their own. This list isn’t meant to encourage any particular method, but to show the many ways we learn to love the skin we’re in. Maybe one or two will inspire you to make a change, make a promise to love yourself as you are, or find a whole new way to embrace yourself in the new year.
1. You might beautify your body with piercings and tattoos.
“I’ve always hated my chest, so this summer I got a small sternum tattoo. I also got my nipples pierced. Now I don’t cringe every time i look at my chest. Instead I see a beautiful piece of art and some nice jewelry.”
2. Because if your body is a temple, why not decorate it?
“I’ve gotten a couple small tattoos over the years, but they’re in places that are harder for me to see. I finally found the right artist and got a couple larger pieces I’ve been wanting: one from my right hip to my right armpit, and the other on my left thigh. When I look down at my body or at myself in the mirror — no matter how I feel about my rolls or pimples or rashes or stray hairs — even if I’m having a bad day — there are always beautiful, colorful things to see. And how could I not love that?”
3. Or try to stop stressing when buying a bathing suit.
“I stopped looking in the mirror while wearing bathing suits. I bought suits I thought were cute, and fit me, and did not spend hours analyzing every lump and bump — instead I just wore them and assumed I looked fine. It did incredible things for my self-esteem.”
4. And seriously, maybe DGAF at the beach.
“I just said ‘fuck it’ and bought that bikini I was too scared to buy. I don’t get a ton of chances to go to the beach, but strutting my shit in that bathing suit made me feel soooo good. I hadn’t worn one since I was a little bitty kid. Was I super skinny with a flat tummy? Heck no! Some teenage girl made a comment once, I could hear her mom say to her, ‘Yeah, but at least she’s swimming — not like us, too scared someone will see us in our bathing suits.’ Make fun of me all you want — at least I have the balls to love my body!”
5. You might try to stop focusing on your body’s so-called flaws.
“Becoming aware that I’m actually pretty healthy, which I absolutely should not take for granted. What’s a little sagginess or some gray hair or [insert any of 1,000 possible “flaws” here] when your body lets you do all the things that are important to you?”
6. Or embrace the big changes that transform you.
“The past year has been incredibly hard on me physically and mentally. I went away to college for the first time, and over the course of nine months was diagnosed with narcolepsy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (which may actually be IBS, am still running tests), had one of my worst periods of depression and bad anxiety flare-ups, and gained about 40 pounds because of all of it. I got on the right meds, moved in with my amazing boyfriend of four years, got two cats, changed my major, came out as bisexual, and finally decided to do a bucket list item and dyed my hair purple. Everything isn’t perfect, but waking up surrounded by love and smiling every time I see my hair helps make it all feel a little closer to perfect?”
7. You might get naked in front of people who appreciate your body’s beauty.
“I got a job as a nude model on campus at my university. I saw the job offering and laughed but eventually decided to just go for it. There’s something so surreal about strangers looking at you naked and not critiquing, but viewing and drawing as if you were a piece of art.”
8. Or concentrate on loving the most important person in your life.
“So I hated my body for a long time, particularly my stomach because of the rolls I got. It’s gonna sound super cheesy but all I did was tell myself ‘I love you’ and named everything I loved about myself. It not only increased my confidence in myself, but it helped me appreciate the fact that this is who I am and this body is my body and I love it all.”
9. You might consider ditching the razor to appreciate all aspects of your body.
“When I stopped shaving my legs and pits I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference, and I didn’t think I’d stick with it. It has made me love my body so much more, and has brought body image issues to the surface that I didn’t know I had, allowing me to overcome them. I spent some time hiding my pit hair in the summer and being self-conscious about it, and now I rock the hell out of it and feel more empowered about my body than I ever have. And I feel sexy as hell. My male partner thought it was weird at first but now notes how confident and sexy I feel, and he thinks it’s extremely sexy now too. When I see another woman on the street with pit hair, I feel like we are part of a badass lady power club.”
10. Or do something as simple as getting out in nature or going for a walk.
“I started to take walks whenever I could. Walks made me forget about how my body looks and think about how great it feels just to be inside of it, away from others distractions. I could breathe, feel my temperature raising, my feet touching the ground, my arms swinging. Suddenly I started to see every aspect about me as important both inside and outside. I accepted myself when my hair was having a good or bad day, when I was in the mood for shaving or not, when my arms were raised so my belly seemed thin and when I was sitting seeing all my belly fat. I started to look at myself not as good or bad but as Me and to realize how great it feels. I started to have self-confidence, self-control, inner peace, and trust in myself.”
11. You can make a big decision, like surgery.
“I had weight-loss surgery. While I still have some regrets about it (I’m 8 weeks out), I’m glad I did it. I have healthier eating habits, which has resulted in my kids being healthier as well. I’ve lost a total of 67 pounds so far!”
12. Because for some people, a drastic change is the right thing to do.
“This year I made the decision to finally get weight-loss surgery. Not the typical way people love their bodies, but it was how I chose to love mine and make it last longer. I love the positive health changes the surgery has produced in me. I feel like a more energetic and happy version of myself.”
13. Or maybe you can have a small shift in perspective.
“Instead of focusing on the parts of my body I didn’t like, I took inventory on things I did. I learned to be proud of what I have. Once I was able to see parts of me I loved, I was able to love my whole self.”
14. You can make choices that help you feel more comfortable in your gender expression.
“I started binding my chest regularly. Last summer (as in summer 2017), I got out of an abusive relationship. My ex was not supportive of me being trans and managed to convince me that binding my chest is wrong and unhealthy and I shouldn’t be doing it. So I didn’t. After I left the relationship, my ex’s voice kept going through my head, telling me how unsafe it was. I had a binder but I barely wore it. In February, I got another binder and started wearing them a lot. My outlook on my body improved. Now I’m saving up for top surgery.”
15. Or consider lifting weights to lift yourself up.
“Last year my depression got the best of me. I gained almost 30 pounds and absolutely hated myself and my body. One day I realized that I needed to get my life back on track, so I started working out (weightlifting). I’ve been consistent this entire year and have not only lost the weight I gained (and more) but I’ve rediscovered my love for myself. My physical and mental health is so much better, and I’ve finally come to accept and love myself no matter what. I have this newfound confidence I’ve never had before. I have no one to thank but myself. I did this all for me because I finally realized I am worth so much. I can honestly say that I love myself.”
16. You might stop buying into diet culture and obsessing over calories and weight.
“I stopped weighing myself. I can tell whether or not I’m healthy and need to eat better or exercise more without knowing a specific number, and I used to obsess over it to the point where it was really unhealthy. I used to weigh myself multiple times a day and catalogue every single thing I ate and do those calculations (one Oreo = 500 crunches, or whatever). Now I haven’t weighed myself in years and I’m far happier and healthier without knowing specifically how much I weigh, and I can focus more on my long-term health instead of maintaining a specific body mass.”
17. Or maybe stop comparing yourself to other people.
“I kept comparing myself to other people and saying I wish I was that size blah blah. I would try the diet fads and weigh myself countless times but would gain it all back again and cry myself into a stupor. I decided one day to just throw out the scale, stop looking at everyone and just worry about me. I started eating what I wanted and healthier, picked up yoga & blogilates, started getting leaner and toned. I felt better and began to love myself more. Went to the doctor and got a clean bill of health. I’m still plus size, but I’m a happy, healthy plus size.”
18. You might find a partner who appreciates you, and helps you feel truly sexy in the bedroom.
“Having a healthy sex life! My previous experience was with someone who made it abundantly clear that he liked skinnier women better (why I slept with him, and for 3 years, I do not know…). I had sex with the lights on for the first time! Being shown that my body can actually be attractive to someone helped me make peace with it — so much so that I decided it was time to treat it kindly, which for me means exercising and eating right. I lost almost 50 pounds in the process and I feel *great*!”
19. Or finally, thank your body for being what it is, whether that’s strong, sexy, or something else entirely.
“Getting back into yoga has made me more grateful for my body. Instead of focusing on being skinny and being small I am now learning to thank my body for being strong.”