Why the sunflowers in a body image blog?

Every August, my husband, son, and I take a road trip up to Door County, Wisconsin. On the drive back, we always pass the big field of sunflowers that you see in the blog's avatar. The field as a unit is beautiful, but each individual sunflower is glorious in its own right. And if you don't take the time to examine each one, you might assume that all the flowers are basically the same. They're not. Although in general they have the same coloring and shape, each one is unique and adds to the depth and beauty of the field. If they were all identical, the richness would be lost. I think people are the same way.

We come in all shapes and sizes and that's what makes us wonderful. I worry about how cultural pressures to look a certain way are diluting the flavor of our variations. And while being healthy is important, you can't get there if you hate your body. Is it possible to look different from what our culture says is ideal and still love our body? I think so and that's what I'd like to explore here.

We accept so many negative body image messages without even thinking about how they undermine our health and well-being. And hating our bodies leads to all kinds of other struggles, including eating disorders. We get stuck feeling like we can't attain happiness or peace until we reach that particular weight. We lose touch with all of the miraculous things our bodies can do because we get so focused on our appearance. And you can't browbeat your body into long-term health.

Achieving a healthy body starts with accepting the one you woke up in this morning. You don't have to accept body shaming. You can stop punishing yourself. Take a moment and thank your body for all it has done for you.

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