But deep down, we all know beauty comes in different shapes and sizes, so why is it so hard to embrace our curves and love what we look like? We checked in with Karley Ziegler Mott, founder of the Embrace Your Curves Project, to help us understand why some women have trouble embracing their bodies. Plus, Mott offers up tips on how to be at peace with our most beautiful selves.
CanadianLiving.com: Why do you think so many women have a hard time accepting their bodies?
Karley Ziegler Mott: I really think we are our own toughest critics. There are so many images in magazines and in Hollywood of size two women, and theirs is perceived as the ideal body type. I think we compare ourselves to other women, believing we should look a certain way. Also, after women have children we're even harder on ourselves. When normal sized women constantly see images of five-foot-eleven models weighing 120 pounds, it can have a negative effect on their self-esteem. Think of the typical magazine covers each month; almost all include ways to lose weight quickly or look 10 pounds smaller. Why not just love how you look today?
CL.com: What's your opinion on how men view women's bodies? Are we much harsher critics of ourselves than men are?
KZM: In all honesty, I believe that men aren't nearly as judgmental of women's bodies as other women are. Let's face it: While there are many women who believe in supporting and empowering other women, there are also catty women who like to make others feel badly about themselves. As long as women exercise and eat well, men don't mind curvy bodies.
Page 1 of 2 – Mott shares her top five reasons to embrace your curves on page 2.
CL.com: What tips do you have for women to help them be at peace with their bodies?
KZM: First and foremost, it is our responsibility to take care of our bodies and be healthy. If we're going to embrace our bodies and feel positive about our curves, we need to show ourselves – and our bodies – respect by living a healthy lifestyle. Being at peace with our bodies is simply mental. I feel much more confident now at 35 and a size 12 than I did at 21 and a size four or six. It's all about our inner confidence, and if we stop putting ourselves down that peace will come naturally.
The way we dress has a great effect on how we feel about our bodies. Just because you're not cut straight-up-and-down, it doesn't mean you have to be ashamed of your body. Curvy women need to dress for their bodies. I cannot tell you how many curvy women I see wearing clothes that are too big and it does nothing but create an unflattering look. Play up those curves!
When clothes shopping, I also encourage women to say, "Who cares?" to the size tag. Do not worry about that tag. Try on several things and wear what fits and is flattering. If that means going up or down a size, so be it. When you wear clothes that fit and are flattering, it can do wonders for your self-esteem.
5 reasons why women should embrace their curves
Mott offers up the following reasons you should embrace your curves:
1. You have to love yourself for others to love you fully. If you embrace those curves, you'll be proud of them and stand taller, show more confidence and that will radiate to others.
2. You need to set a positive example for our children. Never underestimate how your own confidence level will rub off on your kids. If you constantly put yourself down in front of them, your kids will hold onto that. Later on, they might have the same issues.
3. It'll boost your love life. If you embrace your curves and stop being ashamed of them, your love life can benefit. When you're not feeling beautiful, you're not going to be 100 per cent receptive to romance. But when you're feeling positive, your attitude will radiate and completely change the dynamic in a relationship. No one wants to be in a romantic situation and be thinking, "I wonder if my husband notices my stomach isn't as firm as it used to be." That can ruin the experience for both parties.
4. Curves are beautiful. It's time to realize your curves are beautiful. There's nothing like a curvy woman wearing a well-fitted dress or pair of jeans. Play up those curves and stop being ashamed of them because they're beautiful.
5. There isn't only one ideal body type. We are all built differently and few of us are meant to be a size two or four. Realize that the female body is an amazing thing, and we should start loving and appreciating it. It's time to stop obsessing over what the size tag says in our clothes. Curves are feminine and beautiful, so embrace them!
Natalie Bahadur is a regular contributor to CanadianLiving.com and is the senior editor of styleathome.com.
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