How I Began to Love My Body, Part 3: Overcoming My Body Hate

This is part 3 of 4-part series on body image—how I hated my body for a long time, learned to love my body eventually, and how you can achieve a positive body image as well.

Girl awakening

Having finally understood the true reasons behind my persisting higher weight (read Part 1: My Deep Hatred for My Body and Part 2: Unraveling My Weight Issues if you haven’t already), it was time to tackle the problem by addressing its root causes.


#1. Recognizing My Body as a Neutral Medium

The first thing I did was to recognize that my body as the neutral medium it has always been.

All this while, I had felt that my body had let me down by failing to match up to my ideal image. As mentioned in part one, I have never had any issues with my height, body frame, body type, nor natural body features. However, I really hated my weight for I wanted to be skinny (within my frame and height) but I couldn’t.

It was only when I was listening to Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Weight Loss” last year (despite it’s title, it’s an ebook, not a video course), particularly the lesson on “Love Your Body”, that I realized the folly of my thoughts.

I realized that my body has never had anything to do with my weight problems at all. It has never been the culprit of any of my problems. It has always been the innocent party all along, caught in the crossfire of my body hate and self-hate issues.

What do I mean? Well, I used to think of my body as the source of my body/weight problems. If only I had a different, a lighter, body, I would think, all my body/weight problems would go away.

However, was my body really the problem? No, it wasn’t. My body has always been a neutral medium created for me to walk this Earth. My body’s size, whatever it was or is today, has always been the result of my energy intake minus expenditure, in accordance to the laws of physics. Whenever it became “larger”, it was only because I had consumed more calories than I needed for the day, which led the excess calories to be converted into fat and stored onto my body. Whenever it became “smaller” (rare), it was because I had consumed less calories than I needed, which then led to my fat deposits being burned off.

It wasn’t as if my body was trying to make my life difficult and purposefully ballooned to torment my existence. It had simply been reacting to my real world eating and energy expenditure; it continues to do so today.


Recognizing my body as a neutral entity was important in unchaining its place in my convoluted set of beliefs surrounding myself, my body, and love. It was my first step in sorting out my negative body image issue such that I could tease out the actual factors leading to my poor body image and continuous weight (re)gain.

#2. Loving My Body; Appreciating and Respecting It as It Is

My next step was to start loving my body, wholly and unconditionally.

I remember I have been taught, since I was born, that my body is a holy temple created to house my spirit. I was taught that the female body is especially precious and I need to love and care for it dearly.

Somewhere along the way, I lost touch with this teaching. I would berate my body endlessly for not conforming to my ideal vision. I would stack it up with bodies of societal idolatry (usually that of celebrities and models) and be outraged by the disparity between my body and theirs. Instead of respect, all I harbored towards my body was hatred—deep hatred.

However, when I took a step back and reflected on my behavior, I realized that I was being entirely stupid, self-centered, and unappreciative of what my body has done for me.

Since I was born, my body has always there, selflessly serving and helping me. It has continuously pumped blood throughout my body so I can live. It has continuously supplied oxygen to my cells so they can breathe. It has continuously fought whatever diseases, viruses, or bacteria I come across so I can live my fullest existence every single second of the day.

Day or night, rain or shine, my body has been there for me all this while, quietly performing its role. Never has it failed on me; never has it complained about what it has to do; never has it b*tched about what it has to put up with, what with me being such a ridiculous owner and all (especially since I would blame my body for being “fat” and how I would regularly jump from binge eating to not eating at all, or from exercising religiously to not exercising totally).

My body has been relentlessly serving me for the full 28 years of my life (to date) and hopefully for more to come. Instead of reciprocating my body’s efforts with love, I had hated it. Instead of appreciating my body for what it has done (for me), I had berated it over and over again for the things which it was not even responsible for. Instead of respecting my body for the holy temple and beautiful life form that it is, I had continuously denounced it as a contemptuous object.


What kind of a ridiculous owner had I been? My body hasn’t let me down at all. Really, I was the one who had let my body down instead.

It was then my onus to love, appreciate, and respect my body for all that it is and all that it has done for me, and hope that it will continue to support me in my life journey the same way it had done in the past 28 years.

Today, rather than look into the mirror, see an unideal version of my body and put my body down like I would in the past, I now look into the mirror and see a body that is perfect and magnificent in its own right. I see a body with a beautiful female silhouette; with soft, feminine curves; with skin that is soft and pure; with complexion that radiates my soul.

Girl in joy

A holy grail; a temple; a masterpiece of Mother Nature; perfection at its finest. That is what it has been all this while. ♥

While I may continue to have an ideal body image (such as being more toned and fit), that’s only part of improving myself. I know that whatever my body is right now, today, is perfect. I love, appreciate, and respect as what it is, while working on making it even better.

#3. Putting an End to My Constant Self-Pressurization

My subconsciousness had got to the point where it was highly pissed at myself for my constant self-abuse. From pushing myself to always do more and be more, to openly disrespecting my needs (like not sleeping when I needed rest), to doing things at the expense of myself, it had been outraged at how poorly I had taken care of my soul and my body.


Much of this self-pressurization came from an inferiority complex. I’m not good enough, is a conversation I have been running since I was young. I need to do more and be more, was what I used to think.

Realizing that I’m good enough is something I’m still working on today. At the same time, I’ve been making big leaps in releasing my self-pressurization through the following steps:

  1. Let go. I used to get very worked up over every little thing, including things which are not in my control. Today, I let go issues which are not in my control and focus on the things which I can effect instead.
  2. Living an inspiration-led rather than pressure-enforced life. I no longer pressurize myself to do things. Instead, I live by intuition and do what I feel like doing in the moment/day.
  3. Stop putting myself after others. I recognized that as long as I put others before myself, I would be doing myself and others a disservice, for I would not be able to help others as much if my needs were jeopardized. It is only true respecting my needs that I can be of true value to people out there.

Further reading:

#4. Addressing My Emotions (Fear, Stress, Etc.) and Issues Independent of Food

Growing up, food was a centerpiece in my life. Whether it was when I felt stressed out, or when I received positive news, or when I was inundated by my fears, food had been my go-to answer for all these situations.

In addressing my body image issue, I had to unchain the extraneous roles of food in my life. This means no longer turning to food when I feel stressed/fearful/happy/angry/sad/depressed/empty/etc. and/or when I’m faced with problems., but instead learning to deal with my emotions and issues as they are.

Doing this has been liberating. I realize that I had been using food as a crutch which prevented me from dealing with my emotions and issues as they are. Now that food is no longer part of my problem-resolution process, I am able to pinpoint my emotions and problems very precisely and handle them in an on-point manner. Rather than trough around my problems in a roundabout way, with food as a feel-good factor, I am now more conscious of my reality and what I have to do to create a better one (as opposed to soaking myself in an illusionary world of happiness (which is really anguish and unhappiness deep down) tied to eating and food).

Even in the times when I don’t have a solution to the issue yet, I have learned that it is okay not to have the solution (yet). I have learned to be okay with uncertainty. I have learned that sometimes I can sit and brew in my problems for a while, as long as I get to solving it eventually.


Check out:

#5. Loving Myself

Hug Yourself

As a corollary to Point #3, I learned to love myself.

The constant re-emergence of my heavier self was my subconsciousness’ way of sending a message, which was: “Hey lady—can you please stop taking yourself for granted? Can you please start loving and caring for yourself the way you endeavor to do for others?”

Yes, message received loud and clear. After my decade-long struggle with my body weight and with eating, I have realized that my body image and food issues go beyond just resolving my relationship with food and eating. It goes deep down to my relationship with myself.

All this while, I had such a poor relationship with myself. To the point that I continued to food binge after achieving a neutral relationship with food in 2012, because I felt that I did not deserve a great body nor a great life. The only difference was that instead of eating unconsciously based on erroneous food/eating beliefs, I was overeating because I subconsciously wanted to be fat, ugly, and undesirable. It was self-sabotaging at its finest.

Restoring my relationship with myself meant unbuckling personal grievances, loving myself, appreciating who I am, and valuing my needs. As my hatred towards myself decreased, my self-love surfaced. This love has never been missing all along; it had just been covered up by my self-hate. Removing my hatred has helped my self-love to shine through in an unadulterated fashion.


#6. Taking Responsibility for My Current Body Shape/Size

Last but not least, I began to take responsibility for my current body shape/size, whatever it may be.

This means no longer faulting my body for being “large”, “pudgy”, “fat”, “thick”, “ugly”, and what not. Whether my body is fat or thin is none of its business. As I mentioned in Point #1, my body is just a neutral medium for me to walk this Earth. The size and shape of my body has everything to do with me—my eating habits, my activity level, and my health.

No more self-blame. No more finger pointing. No more fault finding.

In the place of blame is the assumption of responsibility for my actions (namely my binge eating habits). I traced out my various actions which contributed to my larger-than-desired body size, which were (a) me eating excessively at night due to self-imposed stress, (b) me consuming more food than I needed to in the name of not wasting food, (c) me eating because I felt pressurized to eat in the presence of others, among others.

I then worked on removing these factors from my life, one at a time. These actions subsequently led to results in the form of normalized eating, and gradually, weight loss.

Natural Resolution of My Weight Regain Issue

Funnily, as I worked on the six steps above, my body started slimming down.

Note that I did not try to overtly lose weight, at least not in the concerted manner I would in the past. While I would typically repress my eating habits and/or exercise rigorously to eliminate the excess pounds, I didn’t this time round. I just naturally ate lesser, ate healthier, and embarked on activities which I genuinely had interest pursuing. The weight just came off as a result.

It just drives home the point that our body weight is simply a reflection of our inner psyche. We have our beliefs about ourselves, food, and the world, which naturally translate into eating habits and day-to-day actions, which naturally translate into our body weight.

Earlier in my life, I had already imbued myself with the right hard knowledge surrounding food, weight loss, and lifestyle. (Live a Healthier Life in 21 Days Challenge (2012) and 21-Day Fitness Challenge (held in 2012 as well) were big enablers in getting me into the groove.) The only thing blocking me from truly losing my “excess” weight for good was my inner psyche, specifically my twisted relationships with myself, my body, and at one point food/eating. Having finally addressed these issues through the six steps above, my weight then had nowhere to go but off.

Looking back, it is funny to know that the very thing keeping myself from achieving my ideal body all this while was my hatred for my body. Because I had hated my body, my subconsciousness felt that I did not deserve to achieve the body I yearned for. It was through the unconditional acceptance of myself and my body that my subconsciousness finally supported me in realizing my vision of my ideal body, because I am now a worthy owner of my body.

I’m now about a US size 8 for tops, dresses and 10-12 for jeans/pants. While this is no size-0 Hollywood standard, these sizes are perfect for me and my body frame. If I were a size 0 I would be emaciated with a huge head on a non-existent body. At my current size, most would describe me as tall and slender, and I’m in a healthy weight range as I’ve always had. Moving forward, I just want to shape and tone up a little bit more through more healthy eating and more physical activity. I love my body as it is while continuously improving to make it better.

Yet, bear in mind that I’m not just loving my body today because it’s nearly where I want it to be. I began loving my body even before it fit my ideal image; it is because I love my body as is that I was able to start shedding the pounds permanently and naturally, not the other way round. This order is key and something which I’ve been trying to drive home with the sharing of my story; it’s also something that I drive in Module 3 of my How to Stop Stress Eating Program.

Check out the last part of the series, where I share my step-by-step guide to address a negative body image and start loving your body: Body Image: Your Gentle Guide to Loving Your Body.

If you feel this series may be of help to someone else, please do share it on Facebook/Twitter; you never know who you will be helping.  🙂

This is part 3 of 4-part series on body image—how I hated my body for a long time, learned to love my body eventually, and how you can achieve a positive body image as well.

Images: Girl looking, Girl on fieldHug yourself

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