Love Your Naked Self
by Kim Ford
8 Tips to help you love the skin you're in!
Let me be honest. My breasts could change
a plastic surgeon's pupils into dollar signs. Recently,
I walked passed a mirror in a department store and
thought someone was walking directly behind me. Upon
further review I realized that it wasn't a person behind
me. It was my actual behind. The abs are a 2-pack
instead of a 6-pack. Hey, it could be worse. And
cellulite, well, its found prime real estate in my
But that's okay and you know why? Because this is who I am. Sure, I would like to have my nineteen-year-old breasts back and thighs that can smash walnuts. And I could get them if I exercised and supported my local plastic surgeon. The truth is that I don't want a daily four-hour workout routine and that surgeon is doing well without me, thank you. So what's the alternative? I'll tell you. Instead, I have learned to love my body, flaws and all, and I'm calling on all women to do the same.
Take a good look around you. Every day women are bombarded with images from the media that tells us we're ugly, unhappy and undesirable if we're not a size 4. We're then offered quick fix solutions, such as diets, injections and scalpels, to help us become a size that is impossibly unattainable for most women. Nicole Hawkins, Ph.D., a psychologist that specializes in body image issues says "Genetically, only 3% of women can achieve a size 4 body." With odds like that I'll have better success with the lottery.
The pressure to be skinny, because slim isn't good enough anymore, has led to increased rates of eating disorders in many women or, at least, feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
Most of us have been there in some way. You can name one or two things you dislike about your body or you can name ten. You've asked around about a good plastic surgeon or invested a few house payments in exercise equipment, videos, diets and gym memberships.
When it's time for sex, and you know who you are, you turn off all the lights and pull the covers up to your shoulders. Don't deny it. Our bodies deserve better treatment from us. "The truth is that women scrutinize their bodies way more than men do." says Josey Vogels, sex expert and author of Bedside Manners. "They're just happy to have a naked woman next to them." Not a supermodel, not a video vixen, but a real woman. With that said we should no longer hide our bodies in unattractive clothing or turn off the lights before getting naked.
Now that we've been re-educated it's time to put theory into practice. How do you love your naked self? Remember, beauty is skin deep and you'd be surprised at how a few tips can help you learn to love the skin you're in:
End the competition
You know you've done it. Stop comparing your body to other women's bodies. You can't substitute body parts, girls. This type of comparison just leads to feelings of inferiority. Hawkins says that women need "to focus on yourself and feel comfortable with yourself." Every woman's body is unique and offers many positive attributes. Find what you like about your body and embrace those things.
Treat yourself to a wax
If you've never had a Brazilian bikini wax then you have no idea what you're missing. Get it straight, it's not just for adult film stars anymore. You can go completely bald, barely there or be creative about it (hearts, anyone?). Waxing makes you feel sensuous and you'll never have to worry about how you look when that spontaneous interlude occurs. Another added plus: many men find it arousing.
Shop for lingerie
Sexy little underthings are not just for the guys. When did we start thinking this way? Lingerie makes you feel sexy because it makes your body attractive. I love the way my body looks in a matching lace bra and panty set or a cute chemise. Trust me, if I like it on mine, you'll love it on yours. And for those of you who aren't comfortable being in the buff in front of your partner, Vogels suggests wearing sexy lingerie. "This way you don't have to get totally naked." What a wonderful thing to do with the plastic surgeon's fee.
Hire a stylist
"If you can afford it," Vogels says, "hire a stylist.
If not, enlist a friend whose style you admire to help you with your makeover. If you can't do either, go to a store that's worth its salt and ask one of the sales clerks to help you find outfits that emphasize the good parts and minimize the not-so-good ones. You'd be surprise at how a clerk at The Gap can help you find a pair of jeans that turns your butt into booty!
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Every day spend at least 15 minutes looking at yourself completely naked but this time focus on the parts of your body that you love. Embrace those body parts and then look at your least favorite body ones. Don't be judgmental. Instead of wincing at the not-so-perky breasts remember the children that nursed from them. All of the perfections and imperfections make up who you are. More importantly, know that you are worthy of beauty.
Get naked, part deux
If you're bold and your confidence level has increased by now then pose nude. There are legitimate photographers who will take nude pictures of you (no, you won't end up in Playboy). Believe it or not, the pictures will look better than you think because photographers know how to use lighting to highlight your assets. If you can't find a photographer, there are still plenty of art schools that need nude models. And you get paid. Naughty, girl!
If you haven't heard striptease lessons are being offered everywhere and no, class is not held at the strip club. Check out the internet to find a class near you. Many dance studios and gyms offer instruction in exotic dance. Strippers know what they're doing and they look good doing it. It's all about using your body to your best advantage. Get a few girlfriends and learn how to work a pole. You'll have fun and learn a lot about your body.
Head to the beach
If you want to get over your body inhibitions cold turkey, visit a nude beach. They're popular in Europe, the West Coast of the United States and South America. This is a great way to appreciate your body and show others that you appreciate it also. Contrary to what you may think nudists don't stare at other nudists and they don't critique bodies. Worried about male eyes? Most of the men at nude beaches are gay so their interests are elsewhere.
I'm not suggesting that these tips will have you smitten again with your body overnight. But these tips will help you rethink how you feel about your body and yourself. I don't love every dimple on my body and but I don't hate them either. What I do suggest is that we stop placing value in thinness. Maybe, in a couple of months, I'll start exercising again but a size 6 won't be my goal. My value is not defined by perfection. Let us all be beautifully imperfect. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some ribs waiting.
About the Author:
Kim Ford is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor and single mother currently working on a second masters degree in American Literature at the University of South Carolina.