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Positive Body Image

But first, food. ‘Cause who wants to talk body-image on an empty stomach?

toastlunch

Mâche with raspberries and walnuts, buttery veggie stir fry, and whole-wheat toast with soy-free Earth Balance. It was my first time trying the eb, and I wasn’t blown away. It just tasted like… nothing. As far as vegan butter substitutes go, Smart Balance Light seems to have much more of a buttery flavor. (Note to vegans: regular Smart Balance has whey.) But the rest of the lunch was delicious. So much so that it deserves another photo:

toastlunch2

Now, on to the body-image talk!

I felt sparked to address this after learning I’d upset a sweet reader.

My negative self-talk was made in a joking manner, as I apologized and explained in the comment section of that post. Yes, I was making fun of my appearance. But it was all in good fun. I can’t stress that enough. Maybe it’s because I do have high self-esteem that I’m ok with poking fun at myself. Truthfully, I’m happy with the way I look under normal circumstances… But really, does anyone look pretty when soaking wet? (Umm wait, let’s exclude the Victoria’s Secret models from this question, shall we? Any real people?) Long story short? I’m sticking with my Sphynx-cat comparison ;).

However, the commenter had a point: the more we engage in negative self-talk, the more it becomes ingrained in our minds. Although I’m soooo over uttering juvenile statements such as “Oh, I hate my arms. Oh I’m so ugly. Oh I wish I looked more like so-and-so” by now, I can’t say these words never escaped my lips… especially when I was in middle school! (Come on, I’m not the only one who’s ever said—or thought, “Gosh, I wish I looked like someone else,” am I?) The amazing thing is that once I replaced these negative statements with more positive ones, I stopped thinking them too! Stopped thinking them forever? Wait, I’ll cop up to it: every time I see Alassandra Ambrosio… gah, to look like that! LOL but this doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with my own appearance (nor does it mean I don’t realize that celebs have makeup artists and professional photographers at their disposal to make them look like goddesses). I think I finally stopped the negativity when I realized that there’s no one set standard of beauty. Different things are beautiful to different people. It might be trite, but it’s so incredibly true: what matters most is what’s on the inside. Case in point: would you rather spend 50 years married to the handsomest jerk or a plain-lookin’ guy who treats you like a queen? I’m going with the plain one!

Quick! Name one thing (or two or three!) you like love about yourself.

It can be a physical trait or a personality trait. But it has to be positive!

Published on November 5, 2010

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110 Comments

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  1. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen says

    After being referred to as “spunky” on three different blogs in as many days, I’m pretty much loving my blogger reputation. 🙂

    And yes, I love that I’m spunky and people don’t worry about me coming to places and not knowing anyone, since I tend to ‘make friends’ easily. I also love that I can balance that side out with the low-key, loves to chill out and just “be” side as well…

  2. lizlivingvegan says

    Great Post, as always Katie 🙂 I love your positivity. Thanks for the great image reminder!

    P.S. I agree with you, Smart Balance Light is the best vegan “butter” in my opinion!

  3. Gloria says

    I love my nose… it moves up and down like a rabbit when I talk. I have no idea if this happens to anyone else, but people always comment on it! I have a pet bunny, so maybe it’s one of those pet/owner look-alike things 🙂 but my ears haven’t stretched… yet!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      LOLOL! I had a pet bunny, a few years back, that we rescued in China. She fit in your hand… but then, we went away for the summer. When we came back, she STILL fit in your hand… but her ears were now twice as long as her body! (She’d later grow on to be a HUGE rabbit. Serves us right for naming her the Chinese name for “little rabbit”!)

  4. Sarahishealthy says

    Wow, your photos are so vibrant!
    And this is a great post. It came just in time for me, because I’ve been having one of the WORST body image weeks since I recovered from my ED a few years ago. I needed this reminder that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Thanks, girl :).

  5. abby says

    terrific post! as usual hehe :). i love my height. i used to want to be taller, but now i’ve realized it’s a blessing i can wear heels and still not tower over the boys! 😉

    • abby says

      oh and you might not be able to pull off allesandra (she’s too tan and brazilian looking lol) but I’ve always thought you looked more like giselle anyway. and I always thought she was prettier anyway.

  6. Kim says

    Well, I love my hair! For one thing it’s not all one colour. Strange but true, I have a mix of everything from fine blonde hairs to stiff black ones that make up my mane. And it’s really thick too.

    As for Alessandra Ambrosio, I had to search to find out who she was. You know something? You do look like her! I swear, you have the same smile and face shape…just look at the picture they’ve got of her on Wikipedia!

  7. GabyE says

    Great post! I love my hair 😀 its big, long(down to my tailbone), and curly, and I dye it with henna so its bright red. It get s a little unruly sometimes, and I’ve had people make fun of it, but I love it anyway 😀

  8. Albizia says

    Hooray for positive body image! And for beautiful food images 😛 .

    I like my abs and since this is a little odd, I’ll have to choose something else that doesn’t make me look like some fitness freak. Let’s think… I like my honesty. So if I have to be honest, I really love my abs 😀

  9. katypie says

    My eyes – because they are green, with dark dark rims just like my Mum and my three beautiful sisters.

    I’m opinionated and I OWN IT (thanks Rachel Wilkerson!) – Iget fired up about things in a good way. Politics, human rights, theatre, film, global warming and individual consideration. I have strong opinions and I’m not ashamed of them. I think what drives this is a very strong belief (to large part inherited from my Mum) in equality, fairness, justice and respect. I care and thats ok.

    • Lisa C. says

      My whole family has green eyes too… except for me! Mine are brown. I always wished they were green. But since this is supposed to be a positive body image exercise, I won’t dwell on that here. Instead, I’ll give you a high five from another opinionated lady! 😉

  10. Christin L. says

    I am curvy, which use to be the bane of my existence, but now I celebrate them! I also love my brown eyes (which I also spent years wishing they were blue or green, but now I love their dark depth!) and my laugh (which I also didn’t always like because it’s loud and boisterous, but I have had TONS of people over the years tell me how much they love it, which in turn has helped me to love it too!). I am so glad that in my 28 years on this planet that I have been able to turn my negativity about my appearance into love. I still have an occasional day where I don’t like to look at myself (especially during monthly visitor time), but they are much fewer and further between, and that’s progress!

  11. Jennifer - jcd says

    First, one thing I love about you is your thoughtfulness.

    Now, one thing I love about myself is that I know how to be silly and play with little kids. Look at me, I’m a googly potato masher monster… yep… totally silly.

    Great post. We all need to keep happy thoughts.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      One thing I love about you is how you always leave such sweet comments that make me smile. I can only imagine you have the same positive effect on all the kids you guide. P.S. You will be sharing some of your blended oatmeal with the poor girls, right? I remember the horrors of Girl Scout camping food. Take pity on them! 😉

      • Jennifer - jcd says

        Thankfully, we almost always get good food at Guide camps! This weekend is an exception to the rule – the menu is horrible. Thank goodness for fudge babies! I”m making three batches to bring with me and share. 🙂

  12. Lisa C. says

    Love this post! I agree about the negative self talk. I think that’s one of the main reasons the media sways opinions so easily–because they’re the only ones sending out the message, so people believe it if they keep hearing it! We’re like the animals in Animal Farm. The more they chant something, the more they’re made to believe it’s true. Great post, Katie!

  13. VEGirl says

    Nice post timing! Just last week I was talking to my mom about body image and she asked me to name some things I like about myself.

    1. my butt
    2. my legs– long, strong, and slender
    3.My ability to connect and interact with all animals

    Katie, girl– I really love that your doing this, body image that is. I feel so safe and secure when I read your blog. I feel like you care about everyone here (which I think you do!) and it makes me feel so involved and important 🙂

    Luv ya!
    VEGirl

  14. Marina says

    Wonderful post Katie, you always fascinate me with your wisdom and kindness.
    I have to admit, I do pretty often say how ugly I feel, fat, my thighs…stuff like that. But I’m changing that, and it’s amazing how that what we say affects how we feels. Now, I tell myself I’m unique and beautiful, kind and smart and funny, and that really makes me happier.
    I like my brain :D, my sense of humour, my nice arms and…hm, well, my back looks nice 🙂

  15. rebecca says

    The things that I absolutely LOVE about myself : I have the pale skin/dark hair thing,my freckles,blue eyes,fact that I can build muscle/flexibility fairly easily and I also build/keep endurance {running/cardio} pretty easily.yay for athletic broads!

  16. Amy Cole says

    I love my legs. They are long, lean, and look amazing in skirts, shorts, and boots. Much more importantly, they allow me to complete long runs and bike rides!

  17. Michelle says

    I LOVE reading your blog, when I caught the name of it there was no way I could not follow! I have lost 110 pounds and I love my abs (even though they cannot be seen with the excess skin, I can feel their definition)! I love my positive outlook on everything in life! And I love my defined shoulders and arms!

  18. Gina G says

    I always say but ill say it again…. I adore you Katie!
    Sounds funny but I love my belly button lol, it is an innie outie and makes me feel special haha
    I also love that I am a very trustworthy person that the people im close with can turn to me in any situation because if ya don’t have trust you have nothing, they mean the world to me 🙂

  19. tangyh says

    Great post!! I’m still a work in progress as far as body image goes–it was hard growing up being the “fat” sister with two very naturally thin little sisters!! I have worked extremely hard for what I have and I love my love for fitness and to contantly want to make myself a better person. And I’m totally okay now that I’ll never be a size 2–I happen to like having a butt and muscular legs 😉

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Ugh it’s hard to not compare yourself to your sisters… my sister’s good at almost everything, and growing up I was so competitive about it. But now I’ve FINALLY learned to actually be happy and proud, not resentful, when she succeeds at something. 🙂

  20. Caitlin says

    I think it is hard to not make joking comments about our appearances, but I agree that it’s better not to. Even saying those things in jest helps them become a part of our societal psyche.

    I love my boobs and hair and emotional personality (er sometimes). I love that I am smart. I love that my friends used to refer to me as mommy because I am responsible and caring. I love all the positivity on your blog! Oh, and the Friends references.

  21. Ilana says

    Oh yeah, the negative self-talk. It’s like a cultural norm – and if you actually like yourself, you’re weird! I used to be really depressed and disliked myself a lot, and I always used to wonder how “normal people” did it, felt happy, loved themselves. I’ve made a complete about-face and not only do I love myself but I’m happy regularly, and now that I am, I find that most people AREN’T, and it shocks me! We’re taught from an early age to dislike ourselves- media images, parents with their own body image issues, peers who learn negative self-image at home, etc. It’s like it’s so much easier to be negative! I say, LAME!! I mean, what is there really to dislike about a healthy and functioning body? Just because it doesn’t look like a cookie cutter version of that “perfect” body on magazine covers, if your organs and limbs are functioning and you’re not sick, you’re in pretty damn good shape!

    3 things I like about myself: My hair, my shameless outgoing-ness, and my resilience!

    I love you Katie! Keep preachin’ the good word!!

  22. Shelby says

    When I start getting those negative thoughts or thinking I would like to look like someone else I look in the mirror or think “You are so fabulous, what are you thinking?!”

    I love my
    1. Booty! I swear, I’m like the white beyonce of rear ends. I love it. Not to mention I went from literally not important at school to the girl people’s boyfriends oogle at and try to cheat with. True story right there, not bragging!
    2. My lips. Even though they’re small, they’re full and the perfect shade of pink!
    3. My feet. Yes, I know most people hate feet. I do too…when they’re other people’s! I think mine are just so cute (: haha

  23. rebecca lustig says

    i used to HATE my nose. but now i realize it helps define who I am. my cultural, religious and spiritual identiy.

    we were created to look a certain way for a reason. its so unfortunate there is always the ‘quick fix’ to change our unique beauty– quick fix as in negative self talk, exercise, food restricting, and surgery.

    i hope YOU have the best friday 🙂

  24. Patrick says

    When I was younger I used to be really down on myself and have low self esteem. Then I started sarcastically mocking myself by pretending to be a completely egotistical narcissist. After talking about how incredibly awesome I was all the time– it had the odd consequence of convincing myself!

  25. Allison says

    1. physically, i love my smile
    2. personality, I love my (some would say naive) sense of the world as being a positive place where anything is possible
    3. other, my nerdiness

    Thanks for the great post!

  26. Celina Toenz says

    working in the fashion industry has taught me that the entire fashion world is an illusion.

    we buy into the ‘fantasy’ world of fashion, cosmetics etc however that should be where it stops.

    you cant strive to attain or be something that is not real.

    the only REAL beauty, is your own inner beauty (as cliche as that sounds)

    because nothing is worse than a handsome jerk 😉

    oh and i love my long legs:)

  27. Iris says

    Katie, you’re awesome! I totally love you! What do I love? I’m kind of loving my stomach lately…and I’ve NEVER felt that way!

  28. JoLynn-dreaminitvegan says

    Physically- my boobs are pretty good.
    I have close friends, a husband who loves me and son too, great in-laws,
    I’m a confidant and I have a pretty good sense of humor. Being vegan I’m even a better person than I was before.

  29. Tricia says

    I get compliments on my eyes a lot and i love them. They look like chocolate lol, and i love my abs cuz they’re the product of hard season 😀 and they look sweet.

  30. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    So glad that you’re minimizing the negative self talk, wondeful!!…I think as women, as a whole, we all do this far too much and it’s pervasive, destructive, and in turn just fosters negative self image in our sweet friends and in our daughters.

    In my case, raising a child is hard enough! Raising her to be a strong, confident, amazing young woman is even more….and it’s awesome to know we’re all doing our part to be confident, loud and proud, so to speak 🙂

    Getting on my plane for Food Buzz, wish you were coming!

  31. Quix says

    Your veggies are always so colorful! I love it!

    There are things I’d like to change (and are working on it), but let’s face it – until I have a team of professionals, there is only so much I can do. And who needs all that fuss on a daily basis anyway!

    Lets see… I love my eyes – wouldn’t trade blue for any color. Also, my legs – I’ve worked hard to make them strong and they’ve carried me through many miles and races and haven’t quit yet!

    • Anonymous says

      LOL yeah by the time you figure out what’s wrong with you, you’ve wasted 1/2 your life! Who needs to be a perfect person anyway? I’d rather have my flaws and learn to embrace them! 🙂
      Katie, I love your veggie photos too!

  32. whatenergycreates says

    Yay! I love body-positive anything. I loved reading everybody’s favorite things.

    One physical thing I like: I have a really goofy smile when I laugh.
    Non-physical: I like how socially awkward I can be, because it makes people laugh when I tell stories.

  33. Frances says

    I have a really hard time being positive about my body. I’m always picking on myself, warning myself that if I slip up too much in the snacking department, I’ll really just lose the shape I’ve worked so hard for.

    That said, I think there are some pieces of me that are just nice, unedited by exercise or diet. I’m smart. I appreciate nature and I’ve loved farming since before the slow-food movement was cool : P Also, I think I have a sensitivity about me that, while hurtful in some situations, really helps me empathize with close friends.

    I just have to remind myself that these things are better measures of my worth than how much I ate in a day.

  34. S says

    I have to say it, this post reminded me of the scene in Mean Girls where they all stand in front of the mirror critisizing themselves and Lindsay Lohan doesn’t “get” it…XD

    I have a very love/hate relationship with myself so I’m tentative to say what I like but I guess I’ll just say I like my eyes because they’re a nice color 🙂

    • Anonymous says

      It’s really helping me to know I’m not the only one who’s having a hard time saying what I like about myself! I really need to work on self esteem :(.

  35. Namaste Gurl says

    Awesome post, Miss Katie. Always so on tune and timely. LOVE it 🙂

    I’m grateful for my olive hued skin color. I don’t burn super easily when out in the sun, and if I do, it turns straight to a tan. For the most part, I have a natural glowing tan year- round. There’s nothing like glowing all year, is there? 🙂

  36. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says

    I love the fact I don’t let little things bother me anymore. I used to get so worked up if something didn’t go perfectly, if someone said something and i took it the wrong way, if plans fell through, etc. But now I live by “if it’s not going to matter 10 minutes or even a week from now, it’s nothing to stress about.” It’s made me so much happier 🙂

  37. Dawn says

    i like my feet 🙂 they have high arches so even though they’re size 10 they still look graceful, like my mom’s.

    i also like that somehow i’ve managed to raise two great kids (so far).

  38. BroccoliHut says

    Great post! Delicious looking meal and thought-provoking subject matter:)
    I like my eyes–they don’t really fit into any single color category!

  39. Hela says

    wonderful post! and so, so, so true!!!
    when I was younger I always thought I was fat. Which, in fact, was far from my actual shape!! I don´t even know WHY I was thinking this, as I was told so many times how great and thin I looked. Anyways, eventually I DID gain all that weight I thought I already had put on. You probably all know that. It just proves that you must watch out what you think! Thoughts have such power! We must use them for our advantage, not the other way round! I still don´t have the thin shape I used to have, but I honestly do not mind! My body is healthy and that is what counts. I am exercising, eating healthy- body weight changes over the years and people have to accept this fact.
    so, 3 things about myself. easy task 🙂 my red and curly long hair, my quick mind and my ability to communicate.
    embrace yourself, that is what I say!

  40. Anonymous says

    I really wish I could say say something that I love about myself but I honestly do not love myself. I have extremely low self confidence and struggle everyday with it.

    • Cynthia K says

      Well I can tell you one thing you should love about yourself…your honesty! You may think you have no self-confidence but it takes guts to actually admit that you struggle with it…so you are clearly a strong person and will sail out of this ‘dark’ time soon!

      • Hela says

        thx cynthia, you are so right!
        it is rather sad that u, anonymous, feel that way about yourself. but surely there is another thing you love about yourself? maybe you good fabulous dark eyebrows??

  41. Moni'sMeals says

    Beautiful Post!
    I love having my clients that I train ONLY talk about what they do love and like about themselves and not the other way around, (it is so common to go the other-negative way.) 🙂

    To sum it up-I love my strong body, mind, and spirit!:)

  42. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan says

    I like my hands, my feet, and my vocabulary 🙂 Great post and positive way of talking about the issue!

  43. martha lilian says

    I’ve got a stomach most people would kill for. There…I said it.

    I am seriously lucky though. I never gain weight around my middle and ab workouts aren’t a priority.

    [/vain]

  44. Cynthia K says

    I *love* being freakishly tall, as my English teacher labeled me years ago…I’m 5’11 1/2″ and have always been proud of it. Now I’ve got a daughter who is tall so far, for 2 1/2 anyway, and I hope she’ll always be proud of herself too, no matter how tall she gets! (not taller than me, I hope, lol, because I know my dad always struggled when he had to yell ‘up’ at me when I was in trouble. 😉 )

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Aww hahaha I bet your dad hated that! My dad is 5’8 and he’s very sensitive about his height lol. But luckily for him, my sister and I turned out shorter. He’s actually the tallest one in out VERY short extended family (my grandpa was 5’1!).

  45. laurak says

    This is a really great post, Katie, well done 🙂
    I think positive body image is something that we should all have, because everyone’s physique is beautiful in a unique way, and as you say, the idea of ‘beauty’ is entirely subjective anyway!
    I have been told I have lovely feet (by an old woman mind you, who was lamenting over her slightly more worn feet, but anyway!), so I always keep my toes nicely nail polished, even in winter!
    Laura 🙂

  46. Hannah says

    A year ago I couldn;t some up with one thing I love about myself, now there are so many!!!!
    1. My Arms
    2. My Butt
    3. My laugh

  47. vamptriana4evr says

    I love….

    1. my eyes: I used to wish they were green but instead I have this wonderful shade of golden brown outlined in a rim of darker brown. Honestly they kind of look a little like the amber colored eyes you see on the vampires in Twilight… just the teensiest bit darker!
    2. my outgoing personality: It is very easy for me to make friends pretty much anywhere I go since I am so open and outgoing and I love it!
    3. my boobs!: Ok so I know this one sounds a little strange but I was blessed with an abundnant rack and I have to say that I love the way I fill out my clothes! Plus it helps that my fiancé adores them too!

    Thanks Katie, for making me stop and think about the things I love about myself. There are a lot more but these are my top three….

    • Mary poppins says

      Point 4. Howd that work. Should be proud of your self not your breasts. His new wife is a B cup. Your breasts didn’t hide the personality well enough

  48. Jennifer says

    Hmm…three things I love about myself? 1. That I am a great story teller in the sense that I can tell true stories in a way that makes people really appreciate them. 2. That I remember where I came from and the values that my family instilled in me. 3. That I have no fear of public speaking, which is a very important part of my life and career.

    Katie, thanks for a great post and for inspiring me to do this “exercise.” I can be really good at thinking of things I don’t like rather than things I do. Thanks!

  49. John Dove says

    Katie, I noticed several of the low carb recipes use Whey powder, be it vanilla or whatever.
    I am having a horrible time figuring out which one is best or at least better tasting and still low carb. Can you help me??? Hope so. Love your recipes. I have them printed up everywhere and have tried several and OMG! Thanks, John Dove

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