Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

freEDom: Love Myself First.

53 Comments

So last week, I was reading Sloane’s contribution to her freEDom From Perfection campaign about body checking, and it inspired my own post today.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge body checker. More specifically, for years whenever I was alone with a mirror, I would pull my shirt up to see how much my stomach stuck out.

This picture I had on Sunday’s post?

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A year or so ago, I never would have had the balls to post that on the internet.

I have an “apple” body shape, so my body tends to store fat on my stomach. I’ve always been extremely aware and incredibly self-conscious of that fact. Even at 10-11 years old, I desperately wished that all that “excess” on my stomach would just GO AWAY. I’ve gone to great lengths to hide my little stomach bump, and I know I would have had a massive issue with displaying what I’ve always considered to be my greatest physical imperfection on the internet. We are our own worst critics, aren’t we?

When I started therapy several years ago, I knew body checking was one of my worst habits that needed to be broken. Every time I went to inspect my stomach, I needed something to remind me that I didn’t need to do that. So, this is what I did:

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Every time I go to check out how far my stomach is sticking out over my jeans, this is what I see.

It reminds me that it’s not necessary.

My body is my body, and I’m learning to accept its imperfections and show myself unconditional self-love. I’m not yet at the point of total acceptance, but I am hoping to get there. Really, do I need a flat stomach in order to be happy? Of course not. And dieting and restricting myself to a six-pack won’t do anything for my happiness either. Of course, I wouldn’t complain if it flattened out a little bit (who would?) but I’m not going to base my life and my happiness around it. I’m not going to deny myself when I have a craving or kill myself at the gym in an attempt to get a flat stomach– it’s not worth it to me.

I still do body-check on occasion, but I have made great strides with accepting what I see. My body is not perfect, but it’s the only one I get. While there’s parts of it I love, I’m working on loving the parts that make me insecure as well.

<— Do you have tattoos? Would you consider getting one?

<— How do you learn to accept the less-than-perfect parts?

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53 thoughts on “freEDom: Love Myself First.

  1. This is amazing girl!! I’m so proud of you!! I wish I had the balls to post a selfie like that! You look awesome and I love that tattoo. That’s what tattoos should be about, reminding you about something important. I just have the one Ganesh tattoo, but I would definitely consider getting another one if I had an idea!

  2. I do the same thing, still! I love the tattoo though, definitely a great reminder!

  3. This is amazing. I’m so happy for you that you are so at peace with your body! It’s seriously so inspiring. 🙂 And that is such a neat idea for a tattoo! I don’t have any tattoos and I probably won’t ever get any because I’m too much of a wuss haha.

  4. Sam, this is beautiful 🙂 I LOVE this idea so much…I have two tattoos…Celtic tree of life on the back of my neck and a rune for strength in white on the inside of my left wrist…reminds me of how far I’ve come and what I can do when I need/want to every time I look at it 🙂 Now, I want something like yours on my tummy, too haha…what a wonderful idea from such a beautiful woman ❤

  5. So you’re kind of (read: very) amazing, Sam. I love that you got a tattoo to remind yourself of such an important message. I don’t have any tattoos but I’ve been playing around with getting some for a long time. The only problem is that I’m not 100% sure what I’d want to get, and I’m deathly afraid of needles 😆 Still, maybe someday…

    • I’m up to four right now and I’ve been planning my fifth one out for a while (I actually think I’m going to add to this one) and it doesn’t look/feel like a needle, so it isn’t that bad! If you get one done, I just suggest bringing candy and someone to hold your hand. Always necessary when I get a piece done!

  6. This is such a wonderful post 🙂 I’ve never had a tattoo, and plan on probably never getting one (I’m a child with needles), but I love where and how yours is. I’m guilty of being a body checker occasionally for the exact same reason. If I’ve had digestion problems, or am bloated and feel bigger, then it’s automatically a bad day. However, if I’m not, then the day is great. I’m slowly learning the process of not choosing how my day will be based on my appearacnce. After all, most of the time, no one sees any change except for you.

  7. Oh my gosh you are a shining STAR. I love that you gave yourself that tattoo as a reminder. It is the perfect place for it and the fact that you opened up by sharing that photo of you on the internet, a place where EVERYONE can see it, is huge. I’m so proud of you girl, you’re making some great strides.

  8. I love love LOVE this tattoo-they’re so addictive but it’s important to get ones that have meaning to you! And it’s beautiful 🙂

    I’m a new reader but just from reading this post can tell that you’ve come a long way!

    • Thank you so much for commenting Karla! I hope you’re enjoying my little blog. 🙂

      And they’re definitely addictive! I’ve been sitting at 4 for almost 2 years and I’m thinking I need to add to my collection again. :-p

  9. i adore this. it is so funny because I really want a tatoo and the place I want it is where i used to body check all the time. i just need the balls to get it now…. can you help me?

  10. That’s great that you found a way to help remind yourself of self love. It’s so admirable that you can talk about this, especially something that you’ve struggled with. Awesome!

  11. Wow, this is AWESOME! What a constant reminder to love yourself 🙂 I love it! I am a “checker”, always have been, it drives me nuts that I do it also! I have a celtic knot on my foot to remind me of my Irish heritage & how “love, life & happiness” intertwine. Keep making those strides!

  12. Sam you are so beautiful and have an amazing figure – plus you’re pretty inspirational to boot! What an admirable post and I love the tattoo!

  13. I absolutely love this. I too have come to realize that having a certain part of my body be a certain “better” way would not necessarily make me “happy” or like my life more. In fact, I am infinitely happier in my body right now than when I had a completely flat stomach and cellulite-free legs. Funny how that happens huh? I love your tattoo a lot and am all for tattoos when they are meaningful. I don’t have anything that I want on my body permanently, but if I did, I wouldn’t be opposed to getting one. Thank you for opening up and sharing this!

  14. Holy flipping crap Sam. This is incredibly inspiring to me. I am SUCH a body checker, it is SO hard to resist the urge to “check” my stomach several times a day. From the second I wake up in the morning I check my stomach. I have to check it right before I get in the shower. Sometimes I think that one morning I don’t check it will be the morning I would have “noticed” it looked “different”, so I feel like I have to check it just in case. Of course it always looks the same. I have gotten better – I used to check my stomach at work when no one was looking, be it in my cubicle or in the work bathroom. The fear over someone “walking in” on me helped me to stop that bad habit. Slowly I’m trying to break it. Your tattoo is such a beautiful idea and in the perfect place to remind you of what I have been telling myself as a mantra – that I am a WHOLE person. I am not a stomach. I am not a pair of legs, a butt, a whatever. I’m ME!

  15. First time commenting – but I had to. Like you, I’m an apple-shaped person (btw, who came up with that? I’m a person, not a fruit). And all my ED-driven body checking and body snarking is targeted towards my stomach. When I opened the page, my eyes went to the picture before the text, and I thought – wow! A person can look that great AND be a normal eater, after anorexia? Then I read the text, which was equally inspiring. I’ve still got a few pounds to go before no longer classified as medically underweight, and this helped me feel braver about pursuing the process with a positive outlook.

    Sometimes the ED tries to tell me I’m failing at getting my ideal body – and don’t give up! Try starving one more time, exercise just a little more. But really, we (all) already have ideal bodies just by virtue of existing, right? My personal mantra has become “I’m not giving up, I’m letting go.”

    • Thank you so much for commenting! I absolutely adore your mantra – It’s the best possible way you can look at the situation. I know you’ll get to where your body needs to be.

    • Can I just say J that I love your mantra too and am glad you commented. I can relate so much to your comment and I too focus on my stomach and laughed out loud at your fruit comment (too true). Thinking of you as I continue on the same journey!

  16. This is such a beautifully raw post, love it! I totally can relate to the body checking. Back in the past I did it all the time, where as nowadays I do it on occasion but the difference is that now I accept what I see. I love your tattoo and love how so symbolic it is! I have 3 myself 😛

  17. This is incredible, especially because I can 100% relate. I’m 100 a body checker, every time I pass my mirror, I check out my arms or stomach and inspect for how “skinny” I look. Love the tattoo, that’s such an inspirational decision and I admire you and your strength.

  18. Wow, great, inspiring, down right amazing post. Thank you for this pure honesty. I’m a major body checker! It’s kind of out of hand ha. I think a lot of it is just past habits that have stuck with me and fear of getting “bigger”. It’s a tough one to stop doing! Your tattoo is beautiful and I love the message behind it!

  19. THAT is a bad ass tatt. I love that reminder.

    I have 3 tattoos. One on my wrist says “believe.” I got it when I was doubting my ability and now everytime I question myself I look down and remember that I can do anything if I want it badly enough.

  20. Beautiful post, hun!! I teared up reading this because every single word resonates with me. Like you, I’m an apple shape, so when I gain weight, it always goes there first. I remember being self conscious about my protruding stomach at the age of five, and feeling as though I somehow wasn’t as beautiful as my flat-stomached friends. Of course, those feelings only intensified as I got older, and then turned into destructive habits. I’m SO grateful to finally be at a place where I embrace my body and its imperfections. Sure, there are days when I body check and think “uggh,” but those days are far fewer than the days when I think, “wow…I AM beautiful just the way I am.”

    I LOVE your tattoo, and I love the message even more! So inspiring, Sam! I don’t have any tattoos, but I’ve thought about getting one many times since high school. It may still happen, but I’m waiting for the right moment. xoxoxo ❤

  21. I love this idea! What a great way to remind yourself that YOU are YOU and that is more than enough : )

  22. Sam — Your tattoo is magnificent, but the philosophy behind it? Truly touching.
    I have a tattoo of lilies on my shoulder with my power words (courage & resilience) underneath. I did it for the same reason — when I’m feeling down, I reach over and touch it (giving myself a hug in the process). Also, my new tattoo of a phoenix on my calf celebrates my legs and the fact that I’ve risen from the ashes to celebrate all that they can do. Finally, the intertwined hearts on the back of my neck. My Mom has the same one, and they represent the fact that our hearts will always be intertwined. When I’m feeling expecially lonely, it’s always good to remember that there are others out there who believe in you.
    Many doctors think recovery tattoos are a bad idea, but when they represent hope and encourage you … how can you think that there’s something wrong with that. I love mine and know that my recovery wouldn’t be nearly as sustained without them.

    • Mine definitely helped me a lot – yours all sounds beautiful! I find it interesting that doctors are against them – I think if it’s appropriate for the individual and it speaks to them about their recovery, why not?

      • In their defence, I think that they’re more against getting them while you’re in treatment. But they also don’t like the fact that we’re “commemorating” our EDs, from what I understand. They’re more of the “recover and move on” aspect of things. But we all know that it really doesn’t work that way at all.
        I need the reminders. And I will always advocate tasteful recovery tattoos.

      • Thanks for clarifying that hun – I never would have thought of it that way. I’ll always be advocating them too!

  23. Oh my gosh, this is amazing!! Seeing you with this makes me want to do something similar. I love the idea behind it 🙂 You’ve come so far!

  24. Obsessed. Thanks for sharing! I love the placement, and the reminder it gives you is so beautiful. YAYYYY recover tattoos!

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