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Self Acceptance and Society/Fat Acceptance

Self acceptance is loving and appreciating yourself even if there are things you'd eventually like to change. Fat acceptance or society acceptance is getting society as a whole to accept that we have the same rights as everyone else and to reduce prejudice within the community.

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At the beginning of May someone made a post on our Facebook page and we were so impressed with what they were doing we asked if we could feature them in our magazine.

Big Beautiful Women Claim Your Beauty: My Photo Journal To Self Acceptance

For as long as I can remember I have always been insecure about my weight. The constant mental activity caused by insecurity is destructive. Worrying about my weight has compromised every moment of my life. In the pursuit of peace of mind I contemplated how I was going to get past this. I asked myself the philosopher’s question. “Am I going to live a life of contemplation or am I going to live a life of action?” I knew I had to find some way to be comfortable living in my body and this required a life changing process. I contemplated the most drastic scenario that would force me to confront my insecurity. In addition to this I also had to be held accountable; once I started to do the work I had to follow through and finish this process. So I created what I believe to be the perfect project, I have to look at myself constantly and I have to follow through. I promised myself I would take self-portraits once a week for a year and I committed to post them publicly. I have designed a photo journal in the form of a blog called Big Beautiful Women Claim Your Beauty. As I move towards self-acceptance I hope to inspire other women to embrace their unique beauty from head to toe.

I started taking self-portraits to create a perception of who I am visually. Like many women I feel the insecurity that is created by certain venues of the media. I’m 40 years old either I claim my physical beauty now or it will fade and I will never have known it at all. Some days I’m overwhelmed. I look at my photos and I am bombarded with a visual rush of my physical flaws. Other days I feel empowered because I can see my flaws and I accept them. I am learning to look at myself as I look at a loved one. I would never expect a person I love to try and attain a media induced perfection… so why would I expect this of myself?

When I look at my photos chronologically I see myself becoming more vulnerable. I move deeper into my source of insecurity. Because insecurity is just like an injury; one must move through the pain of therapy to heal the ailment. My pictures are therapeutic. I hit plateaus and I backslide. I rest and I continue my therapy. I photograph myself in order to heal from a lifetime of emotional injury caused by a merciless insecurity. As pain and restoration harmonize I feel myself move closer towards self-acceptance.

The pursuit of the perfect picture carries me through a photo shoot. The real work takes place after the photos are uploaded to my laptop. I have to view them with a critical eye and choose the photos to edit; after those photos are edited I choose the photos that I will publish. At the beginning of my project I was a slave to my vanity; I would only publish the most figure flattering photos. Now I try to marry art and honesty. I believe this shines through in one of my recent posts In the Bedroom where I photographed my partner and I nude.

I was apprehensive about publishing In the Bedroom. I thought this series of photos was way too personal to be shared on my blog and then I reminded myself of the purpose of my project. I am moving toward self-acceptance through the media of self-portraits. I realized that I had to continue to move further. I have always been inhibited by my weight especially in the bedroom. I could never fully enjoy the pleasure if physical intimacy because I was always so self-conscious. In the past I thought if I sat in a certain position or my partner touched one of my rolls the relationship would be over. I was obsessed with preventing my partner from discovering how fat I was. I would think to myself “What happens if he sees me naked while I’m standing up?” I look back at this now and I feel silly. Logically if I am 220 pounds when I’m sitting down behind a table I am probably 220 pounds when I am standing and naked. No surprise there. All humor aside publishing In the Bedroom was a big step for me.

My Partner Michael is a gifted athlete with an incredible physique. At age 42 he plays hockey in a competitive league with men half his age. When I watch him play he is powerful beyond belief. It would be impossible for anyone to guess his age while he’s playing hockey. Michael is a large man who is strong and muscular but I am still bigger than him. This makes me very self-conscious. I want to be that petite female that is carried into bed by her big strong man but that will never happen. I will always be bigger than Michael.

The night after I published the photos I felt that I had to explain to Michael why this was so important. As he held me I wept. I struggled to get the words out. I said, “ When I look at the photos it hurts because I can see that I am bigger than you.” Revealing my insecurity to my darling man was a painful but necessary component of my therapeutic photography. The next day I took another look at the photos and again I felt the sting of insecurity; but I kept my eyes fixed on them. After a while I abandoned the superficial properties of the photos and I looked deeper. I could see how happy we are. I am so proud of how I love Michael. I love him endlessly, without fear of losing him and now I can see that I am beautiful.

Weight is a measurement, a number. At this time in my life I have to measure the value of my happiness. I have mentally separated many facets of my life while reducing them to a mathematical formula. Our emotional health is complex. It is frightening to be practical with such a thing. We use common phrases like ‘cutting our losses’ conversationally without fully comprehending the meaning of these words. I have to separate myself from my false perception of ideal health. This belief that I can only be healthy if I am height weight proportionate has to be abandoned. I have to cut my losses. My bikini wearing days will never return to me and now I understand that I had to find a way to love living in my body. Emotional health is paramount in living a rich and full life. I cannot attain emotional health if I am constantly worrying about my weight. So I grab my camera and take self-portraits. As I journey towards self-acceptance I hope to inspire other women to embrace their unique beauty.

Written and submitted by: Lisa Boivin

Check out this great blog at Big Beautiful Women Claim Your Beauty. Also subscribe to their Facebook page at

SSBBW Magazine is sponsoring a child...

World VisionMatetaThrough World Vision Canada, SSBBW Magazine is sponsoring 5 year old Mateta Nsimba from Democratic Republic of Congo. Mateta Nsimba was born the same month as our magazine (February). Mateta lives with her parents in a poor area. Her father is self-employed but his earnings are barely enough to provide for his family. Her mother stays at home caring for her family. As we receive updates on Mateta Nsimba we will post them here for all of you. If you want to help towards the cost of sponsorship or to help us purchase gifts for other communities in need around the world be it water filters, goats, or even soccer balls then please click on the PayPal button below.

Each month we'll list those who contributed to this great cause. If you do not wish your name to be posted please email us at Thank you.

October 2009 - Thank you to Mary C. for her donation of $20 towards our sponsored child.

November 2009 UPDATE - We received a letter from Mateta,

"Dear Sponsor,

Thank you for accepting me as your sponsored girl. I am Nsimba Mateta, I live with my parents, my brothers and my sister. I like eating chicken with rice and playing with my dolls. As I can't yet write a letter by myself, Mu. Lucien Pongo, member of the local structure of management has helped me but I make a drawing for you. How do you like it? Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Your sponsored girl, Nsimba Mateta

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
~Elizabeth Stone

"The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!"
~Author Unknown

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