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Accepting Your Body Shape and Size – Say “This Is Who I Am”

Here’s how to accept your body shape and size by saying “this is who I am” – and meaning it! These tips for accepting your body are from photographer Rosanne Olson’s 54 women in her book, this is who I am.

In this book, Olson included each woman’s thoughts about her body, appearance, and a negative body image. Here’s a Q & A with Olson herself, including her thoughts on how couples can become happier and healthier together.

But first, a quip from Maria Shriver, author of Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within.

“As long as I was trying to anticipate what people wanted from me, as long as I was trying to fulfill other people’s expectations, I was in a losing game,” said Shriver. “That’s what I want to focus on…letting go of other people’s expectations of you so you can own your own life, write your own story and live your own legacy.”

Letting go of other people’s expectations is a big part of accepting your body’s shape and size – and so is developing a healthy relationship with your partner. It’s all part of being who you are honestly and authentically, and that’s what both Rosanne Olson and Maria Shriver focus on in their books.

This Is Who I Am: Our Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes is one of the best books I’ve written on accepting your body shape and size. Here’s what Olson says about writing it…

Accepting Your Body Shape and Size – Say “This Is Who I Am”

“The main message of this is who I am is that of compassion for self and others,” says Olson. “I am trying to promote the message that we can appreciate ourselves even if we are not currently in the desired (elusive) state of perfection (which we rarely, if ever, are). Any time we can look at ourselves with acceptance and love, we enter into a better relationship with ourselves. This can’t help but spill over in a positive way into our relationships with others.”

How couples and families – not just women – can benefit from this book

“Using the book as a catalyst for conversation with one’s partner (or child) is a great way to explore feelings that may be difficult to talk about. I have heard from many women who have said they find connection with an image or an essay. I know of a therapist in the Chicago area who uses the book in her office as a starting point for conversation with some of her clients. I know of a woman who was able to share for the first time her story about sexual abuse by her father after reading one of the essays. I also know of a mother of a middle school student who bought 20 books to give to her daughter’s girlfriends.”

How both men and women are affected by this book and photos

“Both men and we women grow up with the image of the “perfect” woman embedded in our brains by popular media,” says Olson. “And though women are the most affected, the men in our culture are trained to look for that “perfect” woman, as well. It creates an impossible standard for both genders. I think the book may be of use because it looks at real women and their stories with compassion. The book helps us see that there are many kinds of beauty-not just the retouched women in the fashion ads.”

Reader Feedback on this is who I am:

“This is very powerful and beautiful and makes me pause to think about how I feel about my own body. I think that at 56, it’s time to stop the endless negative self-talk about too much weight. These women remind me to try to appreciate more so that the cells can get on with their work. I would like to stop offering that resistance. Thank you for the help…plus, thank you for the beauty and appreciation. That is so obvious…you have created a truly sacred space for these women to be.” Michele-Los Angeles

“I just read through your book “this is who I am” and I am astounded. I am a 17-year-old student who has struggled with appreciating my beauty since the fifth grade. Your book changed how I look at myself.  I have always been afraid of being nude because I am so insecure about my body. I have struggled with depression for five years and I attempted to commit suicide – because of the way I look. I am a size 12 and wish I was a size 2. After reading your book, though, I appreciate my body and I appreciate my imperfections. Thank you for publishing this book and I hope you continue to publish them.” Hannah-San Francisco.

For more natural beauty tips, read How to Feel Beautiful No Matter What You Look Like.

Books for Women Have Trouble Accepting Themselves

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7 thoughts on “Accepting Your Body Shape and Size – Say “This Is Who I Am””

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your feedback, Abbi! I agree that those skinny body advertisements aren’t good on an article about accepting your body shape and size…it is a mixed message.

    There’s a difference between exercising to stay healthy and fit, and exercising to change your body shape and size because you want to be skinny.

    This isn’t a good reason and I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I don’t have control over what ads appear on my articles. And since I make a living blogging, I have to include ads. So, I and my readers are stuck with mixed messages.

    Thanks for being here; I do appreciate your comments.


  2. I love your article & message. I hate that the ad that pops up immediately beside it is for Jillian Michaels’ latest hard-core diet/exercise plan. Nothing wrong with diet & exercise, just a little thing that made me say hmm.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I’m not just “okay” with my age — I’m thrilled to be 40, because I feel more mature, self-confident, happy, peaceful, and wise!

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts!

    The irony for me is that the older I get, the more body confidence I have. But maybe it’s not so ironic, since I’m much fitter and healthier now, in my 40s, than I was in my 20s….Maybe part of improving body confidence is being okay with your age.

  5. I love that your page comes up on a search for negative body image – what a gorgeous book, I’d not seen it before. Slowly we are starting to see more images of the diversity of women, as opposed to the thin stringy muscled big-breasted ideal we’ve been bombarded with for the last 20 or 30 years, it’s so liberating! But we’re still stuck with the feelings of inadequacy for this imperfection… Kendra, Laurie is correct, being mindful of what you’re thinking and feeling is a great start, questioning those thoughts and the beliefs behind them is a powerful step forward. Good luck in your journey!

  6. Hi Kendra,

    Boy, mothers can be hard on us sometimes! My mom always encouraged me to diet, but didn’t teach me HOW to eat properly (proper nutrition, healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbs, etc). I didn’t realize the difference between dieting and healthy eating until I was an adult.

    One thing that worked for me — to get fit, lose weight, and improve my body confidence — was to tune into my body. Instead of automatically reaching for a bag of chips or hating my cellulite, I became more mindful of why I was eating or why I hated that part of my body. Becoming aware of the roots of your beliefs or actions can empower you and help you stop them.

    I also recommend you pick up a copy of “this is who i am”! It’s an amazing book of real women who have accepted themselves (body, mind, and soul) for who they are…and it’ll change how you see your own body.

    I hope this helps…….if anyone else has tips or questions about body confidence, please don’t be shy 🙂 share them here.


  7. My mother made alot of negative comments about my weight and appearance when I was growing up. I became so self-conscious and scared to be myself — and I still am, at age 32! Do you have any specific tips for getting over my mother’s perception of my body and improving my body confidence?