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More To Love teaches plus size women how to learn body-acceptance and end dieting for good. 

3 Ways to Move Beyond Past Body Shame

Rachel Estapa

When I was eight, my ballet teacher told me I didn’t have any grace.

What was a casual, off-handed statement for her became a filter through which I viewed so much of myself worth.

The stories of our past can impact us today in ways we wish they wouldn’t, especially for those of us who are trying to love our imperfect bodies.

As I have personally worked on shedding years of body shame as well as helping others do the same, I have learned that it’s impossible to move forward without dipping into the past.

This can feel scary - who wants to revisit unpleasant stories and memories? But it’s also essential when you’re creating a new life founded in love and body acceptance.

So I want to offer three tips on how to put the past in its place and start to move forward.

Face your past

Weight and body image touch at the core of who we are and even into adulthood, this spot can feel tender. It's why we hide, diminish, and try to make ourselves small. 

Self-worth and identity are wrapped up in our experiences, so in order to unpeel layers, we must examine how they came to be.

Either with trust friends or professional help, it’s sometimes necessary to face what happened in the past as a step towards resolving it. This process, while scary, can also be very therapeutic, when you give yourself space and time to confront parts of your history that are holding you back today.

Release and share your story

More to Love would not exist today if I didn’t spend time re-telling my painful history with self-esteem and poor body image.

Through the act of writing and eventually sharing it with others, I felt freedom from the grasp of the past. Of course, there is risk, so you choose who to share it with wisely because it's the most fragile piece of you at first. 

But trust me, it gets much easier over time. There is power when we tell our story. and I believe we also spark that confident in others.

We may not be able to change our past, but we can change our relationship TO the past.

Appreciate what you learned

When I teach body acceptance and yoga, I try to impart the lesson that we learn best not from what was easy, but from what was tough.

Because I struggled for so many years trying to like my body, I appreciate where I am right now even more. This applies to everyone - there is something in your life that at once was a burden, but through it, became a source of wisdom. Every More to Lovely I’ve spoken to also shares a similar sentiment - they believe loving what felt unlovable is a path to peace.

Humans are amazing because we learn best through first being lost. Struggles are moments to learn about who you are, what your defaults and assumptions are.

With every stumble, of course, there is a sting, but there is also an opportunity to ask “what did I learn here?”

In the comments below, what strengths have you discovered through struggle?