If you’re alive, female, and over the age of 11, you’ve no doubt gathered by now that “loving your body” is something you should try to do. But the reasons why—touted in all those well-intentioned-but-pat magazine stories and inspirational Pinterest quotes—leave me cold. What, exactly, does a person get out of liking her body more?
A ton, as it turns out. A growing body of research pinpoints links between seemingly unrelated elements of physical and mental health to being OK with the shape of your body. Notice I’m not saying “loving” your body. Because honestly, I believe it’s unrealistic to love everything about ourselves, all the time. What are we, the models in those bandwagony “Love My Body” Victoria’s Secret ads? (Which were ridiculous, by the way—how is seeing Alessandra Ambrosio and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley writhe around in underwear mouthing “I love my body” helpful or relatable to any regular woman?)
Anyhow, for many of us, learning to feel positive or even neutral about our physical form may take some work—but I’ve dug up three very concrete reasons why it’s worth it.
1. No matter their actual weight, people who are O…