Body Shape – How I Feel versus How I Look

Really loving my body shape and how I feel versus how I look is a recent new awareness for me. Lately I’ve been feeling so great and really enjoying feeling how my body feels whenever I walk or move, so much so it often makes me smile to myself, even in public!

Going back 10 years, my focus was never on how I felt but always on how I looked. Sure I would eat when hungry, or sleep when tired. Actually as I write that, I realise I didn’t eat when hungry –

  • I ate all the time to deal with how anxious I was feeling and used food to comfort me if I was feeling emotional, and didn’t want to deal with difficult or hurtful situations.
  • Sleep when tired? Actually I was exhausted, but would push myself to stay up late at nights and drive myself hard because I felt a stigma attached to being a single parent and wanted to prove to the world I could ‘do it all’. I wasn’t going to be on benefits and a drain on society: instead I was going to be a great mum, a hard worker, a sociable hostess and later when I got married, a house-proud wife!

Everything in my life was all about ticking the boxes. For years how I felt in my body did not rank high on my list of priorities.

Body Weight, Body Shape And The End of Yoyo Dieting

For many years I battled with my weight. My size would fluctuate wildly from one month to the next. I would balloon at Christmas and holidays because of over indulging in my favourite treats of chocolate, cakes, rich foods and alcohol. And I would feel horrid, but back then it didn’t matter that much, I didn’t like the way I looked most of the time and this was a constant source of misery. I would then starve myself or try out the latest new diet. Unfortunately I could never sustain them and often would be left feeling so hungry, I’d overeat ending up feeling much worse than when I started the diet. I was left to contend with the failure of not sticking to the diet plus the failure of letting myself down even more.

So what changed?

In 2005 I attended my first Universal Medicine workshop and learned a simple yet deeply profound technique – the gentle breath meditation.

This gave me an opportunity to really stop and feel how I was living my life.

And one of the very first things I looked at was food. One day I decided to experiment with cutting out gluten from my diet as I’d observed for a long time that whenever I ate bread, directly afterwards sleepiness would hit which became something I just put up with. Why wouldn’t I eat bread? What’s how I feel afterwards in my body got to do with anything? I want to eat whatever I want to eat, right?

Well I was curious and decided to cut out bread. Immediately I began to notice the difference. No longer did I feel sleepy in the afternoons, but instead had more energy and felt more alert. This was the start of me making how I felt in my body (over how I looked) the most important thing.

When I gave up gluten, I wasn’t intentionally thinking of doing it to loose weight, but more on how not eating foods with gluten made me feel in my body (great) and energy levels (increased). And without trying the weight just fell off me. My battle with food and yoyo dieting was over!

My body shape changed a lot over the last 10 years. Even though I was slimmer, at one point I wasn’t too keen on how I looked but yet could not deny just how great I felt in my body and also within myself. Some people would say to me “Oh you’re too thin”… and I would reply: “Well I feel great” – because I truly did!

Today I’ve truly embraced my new body shape, not because of how I think it should look, but because of how great it feels in my body. And when I look in the mirror now, I’m seeing through eyes that are more willing to accept the gorgeous woman I am, based on my own feeling, and no longer my own or anyone else’s expectations of how I ought to look. Because inside I FEEL great.

by Debra Douglas, UK

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731 thoughts on “Body Shape – How I Feel versus How I Look

  1. We can only truly change when we change the energy by which we are impulsed in the first place, otherwise we can overeat or diet but never will feel great because the energy we are doing it from is one that always will make us feel less than we are.

  2. Living in connection to our essence is the truest guide for us to live who we are, through which we develop a loving relationship with our body, as such honor the truth it shares with us of the choices we make.

  3. It is amazing how easy it is to maintain your body shape when you stop eating gluten and dairy and breads as I find substitutes have the same effect on the body.

    1. It is true Vanessa. When we consistently live in connection to the solidity of our essence, and be guided by our truth, our bodies will reflect this quality without effort.

    2. I find it was through healing emotional hurts that supported me to be more self-loving and thorough this shift my diet also shifted.

  4. We focus so much on the outer body that we forget that the true beauty lies within. It took me a long time to accept this, as my self worth was low and like so many women I would compare myself to women that were taller, more beautiful more sexy ….all the attributes that I felt I didn’t have and couldn’t see, but all this did was allow my self esteem and self worth to plummet even further. Being introduced to the Gentle Breath Meditation was the beginning of changing how I felt about myself. Every time I did it I felt more connected to myself and with the deeper connection the negative thoughts would disappear and I would feel fuller in my body and I gradually started to enjoy being me. Like you now Debra when I look in the mirror I am more willing to accept all of me and not criticise myself as I did before.

  5. It is for us all to look at how it comes that we are used to take such a little care about our body in a true sense. So not for looking good as a focus but because we truly care for ourselves and our body.

  6. I feel really appreciative of the fact I have no body issues as I see so, so many women who pretty much loath how they look. When you think about it we aren’t treating God’s divine body with the love and sweetness it deserves…

  7. Our relationship with food as a comfort is really worth looking at. I gave up gluten and dairy many years ago now and the difference in my body and my energy levels is huge. I am finding that my diet naturally alters and refines as I do, and feeling a lightness in my body feels lovely.

    1. When we feel light we tend to eat light and when we feel heavy we tend to crave more dense and heavy foods, and also what we eat contributes to how we feel. Everything is linked and one choice affects the next, but how do we shift our choices to be lighter and more supportive? Through self-love and self-care, and letting go of our hurts. You may ask, what’s our hurts got to do with our diet? Well, we all know when we feel hurt and emotional the first thing we reach for is food, comfort eating is a huge addiction.

  8. When we feel amazing in the movements we make from our body, we then reflect our true beauty and this then is not only seen but also felt and confirmed which shows just how beautiful it is to move from how we feel and then reflect that outwardly so.

  9. “an opportunity to really stop and feel how I was living my life.” This is such a beautiful gift offered and presented by Universal Medicine and The Way of The Livingness.

  10. Thank you for exposing the cycle of yo-yo dieting etc that so many women spend most of their lives trapped in. It is so awesome that you have connected to how your body feels rather than how it looks and the benefits that flow from that appreciation.

  11. I have for most of my life been overweight and it was something that I had just resigned myself too. I am now back in a healthier weight range yet it still takes some adjusting to let go of a heaviness I carry towards my body and learning to enjoy how my body is today.

  12. When we make how our bodies feel important, we are open to make changes in our diet, at times people do feel the effects of gluten in their bodies but do not have any level of self love that would inspire them to make different choices.

  13. Beautiful, loving your body from within, being happy in your skin…”Today I’ve truly embraced my new body shape, not because of how I think it should look, but because of how great it feels in my body.” We spend so much time looking outside of ourselves, and looking at the superficial aspects of our life for acknowledgement or fitting in. The fashion of what looks good changes, we need to take a step back and reconnect with our bodies and start from there, love who we are from the inside out.

  14. I really do love my body and are quite shocked when with other women and thier level of hate towards there bodies is so strong. It is such a cruel way to be with ourselves. I never hated my body but I never loved it either, now I will often stop to admire my figure and it’s more from kindness than objectify my body to any standards that we are endlessly bombarded with.

  15. I recognize that Debra.
    I feel more and more lovely in my body and still also, by more surredering more to my body, more beauty to come I know.
    To feel taht is so rich as I don’t need anything to feel delicious.
    On days Ior periods are enjoy myself less or pains are coming up I know there is something to look at. How do I live my daily life? Is that whith gentle caring touches? Am I moving delicate connecting with all my body?

  16. To built an honost relation with our body in what it wants to eat and why we are can change our diets in a natural way. No books telling us how to eat. Just we becoming aware how we avoid certains things to feel.

  17. When I was growing up, I don’t think I ever came across a woman who was truly comfortable with herself and very loving towards and with herself. Every woman I knew had some sort of critique or criticism towards herself. I love that I now have women in my life who reflect something different to this.

  18. How lovely to truly love your body. This is so unusual I love that you can claim that, very inspirational.

  19. Since I went to study with Universal medicine all my life changed as i was waking up fast. My outer beauty I used for long to get attention from men. I was not knowing the way to be truly intimate with a man. It was based on pictures. I could even not truly love a man as my cravings to be seen where to big. Now i live a life where i dress to confirm me and in what clothes i feel lovely. I have no need anymore to be seen by men. I love to be with me and i love to deepen the relation with me in a loving way and that has a direct beautiful effect on my relation with my partner and everyone.
    There is now this solid foundation in which I hold myself.

  20. What I am noticing is that when we make life about how we feel and not on how we look not only do we see and respond to others differently in the way that no matter how we look it is the radiance inside that matters but others can see and feel the beauty inside us. How we feel comes first and then how we look is a confirmation of how we feel.

  21. It is such a big one body shape and how we look … that this will determine how you feel and what environment you are going to put yourself in. Being able to see the that it is really about how you feel on the inside and how you let this out equally with all.

  22. Brilliant Debra, I can relate, for me it has been about a struggle to put weight on. I have tried all sorts of foods, large portions, different times and supplements. But what I have not changed till now is the quality I eat the food in. The habit of ‘wolfing it down’ carries with it a feeling of desperation, anxiety and hiding my light. I am inspired by your words and now imagine eating all my meals, already feeling full of me.

  23. “I ate all the time to deal with how anxious I was feeling and used food to comfort me if I was feeling emotional, and didn’t want to deal with difficult or hurtful situations.” I am sure most of the population can relate to this Debra so many of us eat for reasons other then eating, it would be great if we was educated on the cause and effects of emotional eating – we need to bring this out of the dark.

  24. Amazing article exposing a deeply poisonous epidemic that has permeated society to it’s core perpetuating an never ending drive for external beauty the lack of self worth in women world wide… burying further the truth of the innate beauty that lies within. People complain about the behaviours of our youth today yet feed into the very energy that creates the issues they suffer from by not speaking up against the sexualisation, false images that abound, and the promotion of qualities that indeed make us ugly. This is a social issue and a responsibility we can’t just hand to somebody else.

  25. This area really needs to be studied- how dieting often doesn’t work because the issues underneath have not been dealt with.

  26. I also stopped eating gluten 8 years ago and also dairy and it completely changed my digestion and how my body felt and looked. What is interesting though is that now if I don’t listen to what my body needs or doesn’t need then my body reacts in just the same way as it used to… with bloating, discomfort and tiredness. As soon as I make changes to my diet for how I am now living, all those side effects go again.

  27. That question of ‘what does how my body feel got any significance in life’ made me smile because I also used to be like that whereby my thoughts and mind where the only way to live (as the thoughts would constantly say) yet when we give the body a say, listen to its feedback on our mind-driven thoughts many times the truth gets exposed. Our bodies ability to feel is vital if we are to live in any form of true sucess, living love and knowing ourselves as love as apposed to sucess defined by recognition.

  28. When we feel great about ourselves on the inside, we move, speak, think completely differently, and the external matters so much less. I’ve also found experimenting with different foods fascinating in terms of the kinds of thoughts that I have after eating certain heavier foods.

  29. It is interesting how we feel about our bodies, because recently I put on weight as a result of some comfort eating patterns that I continued from a holiday. What I found interesting was that I didn’t choose to notice I was putting weight on and it was only until I went to try on a summer pencil skirt that I ‘realised’ I had indeed put on quite a bit of weight. What was interesting here was prior to putting on the dress I was feeling good about myself, enjoying my body and had started swimming and using my local gym but as soon as I clicked that I was over my normal weight by probably a stone I started to not like my body. How my self worth was tied up with an image of what my body shape ‘should’ be in order to be attractive, this was such a strong feeling and one I felt very uncomfortable with acknowledging that I was governed by images more than by how I felt.

  30. Debra you are super sexy! I saw you at a wedding recently and you looked just radiant. When people embrace who they truly are the inner glow and beauty is undeniable.

  31. I loved reading this blog Debra. What was inspiring about it was that in a world focused on look-ism you broke away and felt what was going on in your own body instead. This will be the future – constantly checking in and correcting our diet according to what our body is telling us and feel how we feel after we eat rather than following endless diets and listening to others – for how can we beat the wisdom of our body?

  32. I didn’t realise how much gluten affected me until I gave it up for a few months, on the advice of a nutritionist to help with acne that I had at the time – when I tried some again the effect was really obvious – it made me very sleepy and a bit irritable which stood out a mile, it was great to experience this as then I knew it was something that I truly didn’t want to eat because I knew from my body how much it affected me.

  33. The way we look versus the way we feel is so super important, because if we get caught up in what we look like, it ensures that all the flaws we see are the ones that don’t make us feel love towards ourselves. This can be so damaging, however, when we go to how we feel, that ensures we aren’t captured by pictures that can pull us down.

  34. It’s so true Debra, when we really stop and look our life, the things we do and take foregranted as ‘right’ actually don’t add up. We say we like to ‘chill out’ and take things easy but do we really? We have ‘time off’ but do we ever truly stop and wind down? I’d say not. There is a huge discrepancy between what we say and what we do. As you beautifully show the bridge between these two places lives in the feelings and senses we have. For if everything is energy then these sentiments, sensations and thoughts we receive are what actually make up our physical body. The question is, are they critical, negative and analytical or full of Love?

  35. I have begun to appreciate my body actually knows what it needs and does not need rather than follow all the ideals and beliefs that we are told are good for us. That does not mean I don’t end up eating a healthy diet it just means that I listen to what my body can digest and supports it to be fully engaged and vital in life.

  36. This is a great way to approach self image issues, to change the game by shifting the rules a little from how you look to the focus being on how you feel. It would be great if some photos of your story were attached to this blog, it is a truly remarkable life change you have made and I am sure many people would relate to.

  37. Loving and nurturing myself, re-discovering all it takes to let my true woman out
    (simply surrendering to the true and natural loveliness of me) is the most exquisite journey that deepens constantly.

  38. And when we have this focus… On how we feel that is, it’s like a doorway into a whole new way of feeling and being, in this connection starts to shine out and our eyes bringing true beauty.

  39. What you have shared here Debra beautifully illustrates how living in connection to what we feel within and in our bodies as opposed to what we think, brings greater awareness to the choices we are making and why, as such our bodies reflect the level of love we are choosing to live with.

  40. I spent all of my adult years yo-yo dieting and once I started eliminating the foods that caused bloating and mucus, my weight simply dropped off. As I refined my diet, more weight went until I finally reached the same weight I was at age 18. My body has stabilised at that and I don’t have to think about what I eat, I cook and eat as much as I feel to, and it stays steady. I love being slim, but because I am no longer eating heavy foods, I feel great inside too.

  41. We think that what we eat is all about nutrition. But in my experience it has a whole part to do with blocking out how we feel. The thing is we have become so adept at this, we don’t even observe or sense that we have these deeper feelings in the first place. ‘Feel? Not me…please pass the cheese’ – well, that’s the dialogue I have had. So it has been beautiful, like you Debra, to stop this blocking behaviour with my diet and start to feel just how much there is to life. It’s truly a feast for our senses.

  42. Interesting how we feel we have to prove ourselves no matter what it costs us physically. We eat to get us through life, without realising the impact of what we eat and rather than eating foods that supports our body we choose foods that make us more sluggish. Fantastic to read how you have given up gluten and your body has found its own natural shape and feeling great!

  43. This is the revolution or more so the evolution Esoteric Womens Health is supporting women with. The fact that they can look or feel within for how they are feeling without needing to go to the outside to be shown. There are so many images pushed at women of all ages to bend them into whatever it is that’s going on but now more and more women are seeing their natural beauty which has nothing to do with outside appearance. The outside is just a reflection of the inside and so isn’t based a ticking a box but based on a living feeling. You see so many women shine from their own support and care. We have been sold a dummy with media pushing all manner of how to looks at women when in fact everything they have ever needed is at their fingertips. Esoteric Womens Health supports women of all ages and all styles because it’s a true support for women, no dividing up or target markets just bringing women back to themselves.

  44. That is such a valuable lesson to share. When you take time to observe people, it is obvious that how you feel actually affects how you look, the inner glow is clearly palpable on the outside.

  45. I’m seeing through eyes that are more willing to accept the gorgeous woman I am, based on my own feeling.
    It’s such a pivotal moment isn’t it Debra, when you can look at yourself and have that gorgeous feeling inside, overtake any picture or words that try to come in and change that feeling.

  46. It’s funny, but like you when I lost weight people would say to me ‘oh, you’re too thin’, but when I put weight on, no-one ever said ‘oh, you’re too fat!’… it seems that being slim can sometimes expose others, and bring up their own issues surrounding their body image, and they felt more comfortable when I was overweight than when I was slim.

  47. “For years how I felt in my body did not rank high on my list of priorities…” It is sad but I feel that many women feel this way Debra, putting themselves way down the list and making sure that everyone else is happy, whilst leaving themselves feeling exhausted, and often left feeling disenchanted with their body. I was a yoyo dieter too, for years my weight fluctuated with the seasons and it wasn’t until I gave up gluten and dairy that my weight stabilised without trying. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, you are an example of how we can change our body without strenuous exercise or dieting, but instead making self-loving choices about what we eat and choose foods that our body does not react too.

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