Am I Body Conscious?

photo courtesy of J&J and photographer Jeanne Young

Is the question that has been bothering me for years especially now when I read the editorial of Zo Aguila in the August 2009 issue of Cosmopolitan Philippines.

So, am I? I have ultimately big belly from years of drinking sodas. I have arms that screams fat and hairy parts that is just to embarrassing to speak off. Although I find myself always wearing sexy clothes esp during parties, I would be aware of how I sit down and move so my big belly won't show. Though I wear tube and off-shoulder dresses, I cringe on seeing my picture because I only see my arms. And I pay a lot of money to have my legs and underarm hairswaxed off. When people compliment me on my style or my figure, I would put them off by saying that its not true and follow it up with "NO, I'm fat!"

I don't have the skinny figure that is seen on every magazine, billboards and of course even my friends. I can't wear a bikini unless i know I'm in the company of people whom I'm comfortable with and knows my figure (or lack thereof).

So the obvious answer to the question is a big whopping YES! I am body conscious.

I am too hard on myself, right? Apparently, I am not alone in this ordeal. There is even a medical term for the severe type of body consciousness, called body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. BDD represents the extreme of Bad body image that hinders a person to function well on a daily basis because of being fixated or obsessed with the flaws in their bodies. To know if one has this, you must be completely obsessed in your appearance and go through extreme lengths to change it like continuous cosmetic surgeries. Consult also a medical expert to know if you have BDD.

I am quite sure that I don't have BDD but I am nevertheless conscious of my body and silently wish that I look like some of the models that I meet. They seem to have no limitation with how they move and what to wear.

However, being the cheerful-always-looking-at-the-bright-side Shen that I am, I always find ways to see myself in the good light (literally and non-literally). I also make the effort of finding non-evasive ways to improve how I look. There is life after big tummy after all and I can't let the fats around my arms disrupt me from fulfilling my goals.

So how did I survive all these years with being body concsious?

1. Knowing how to pose. If you watch the Tyra Banks Show and America's Next Top Model, you know several ways to pose that will minimize your flaws and maximize your assets. Skim through magazines and practice the poses that the actresses make on the red carpet.

2. Stand up straight. Being aware of your spine and straightening it always provide a look of confidence that even at your worst day, you'd look 10 feet tall and fabulous. But don't make yourself look like a military soldier.

3. Eating right without starving yourself. Ok, I admit this one is hard especially when manang cook porkchops. But you don't have completely devoid yourself of many sumptuous meals. Simply eat in moderation. One porkchop is enough instead of your usual 2.

4. Have some fashion courage. Stop limiting yourself with with what you wear!! I admire Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Tyra Banks and Oprah in their fashion forward outfits especially on the red carpet. Not only Paris Hilton can pull off a Herve couture, you know. :) Be a little adventurous by buying outfits that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Usually, I can pull off a tube dress by simply wearing a stylish belt to side my tummy.

5. Use body enhancing products wisely. Do not by all means use anything that is not FDA approved. There many products in the market now that promises to reduce body fats in certain parts of the body, to eliminate cellulites or whiten skin. Always do some research before buying any of these or consult your doctor.

Personally, I use products that is easily found in groceries or reputable online shops. Veet is my friend in terms of waxing, Johnson's Body Care 24 hour Lasting Moisture to keep my skin soft, Silka Papaya for whitening and Indigo Baby Yummy Mummy Anti-stretchmark Oil. These are not miracle products but what I consider to be working for me despite the slow process.

body enhanding products

6. Exercise. An adequate amount of physical activity will not only help you lose weight or tone your muscles but ultimately make you feel more good about yourself.

7. Learn to love what you have and don't have. I've resigned myself that I will never be too thin or tall enough. Bottom line is, physical appearance isn't worth that much if you don't know your true worth. Surround yourself with positiveness. :)

Hope I was able to help you, body conscious girls out there. We are all in a struggle in a world that rotates around physical beauty.

much love,

BDD reference from Shape Magazine, June 2002, by Michelle Stacey found on this site.
Red Carpet photos of Leighton Meester and America Ferrera from this site.

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  1. hi shen! kudos to this very "real" article. i confess that I am also body conscious. every comment about my body is not taken lightly. this is a very inspiring read for many of us girls who suffer from the dictates of society. it is a good reminder that we do not live in a cookie cutter world and we should make the most of what we have (and don't have).


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