Body image. Where do I even begin? As one who has been working in the entertainment industry for over 5 years now, it’s a constantly gnawing topic that seems to linger no matter how many times I try to brush it off my mind. It’s a controversial topic that frequently headlines all types of news media, imposing the idea that a woman (or man) must attain what society determines to be “perfection” in order to be relevant or attractive.

ボディーイメージ。一体何から書き始めたらいいのか。業界で働き始めてから既に5年が経ちますが、今でも頭の奥から離れないトピックです。ボディーイメージについての記事は数多く露出しており, 社会が最も美しいと思うものを世間に押し付けるなど、議論を招くようなトピックです。

I think everyone has compared themselves to others at one point in their lives, whether it’s a friend, the popular girl at school, the gorgeous supermodel in this magazine or that runway, or even nowadays, the Insta-famous blogger or influencer. I’ve also been there, guilty as charged. And unfortunately, it didn’t do me any good. For one thing, I live in a society where string-bean skinny is considered beautiful, and after 5 years of living in Japan, I realized I will never achieve that, nor do I want to be like that. Second of all, as I’m approaching my thirties, it has made me realize that you can’t beat the aging process completely. A woman’s body will change no matter how hard you try to take preventative measures.

Growing up, I was a pretty slender girl and the amount I ate or my lack of exercise didn’t reflect how my body looked. I think it was after I graduated from college and moved to Japan that I noticed things started to change. Maybe it was the change in environment, a change in diet, a change in my daily lifestyle, or all of the above. I still don’t know. All I know is, my body has changed over the years – I’ve gained a couple pounds, I have wider hips, bigger thighs and a butt, and I am definitely not the typical, slender model that is the norm in Japan. But you know what? Those features are what make me me, and I actually like that about myself.

あなたは一度でも自分を他人と比較したことがありますよね。周りの友達、学校の人気者、雑誌やランウェイに登場するスーパーモデル、そして最近はインスタグラムなどSNSで有名なインフルエンサーやブロガー。私も比較したことがないとはもちろん言い切れません。でも、比べたところで、結局自分のためにはならなかったことに気づきました。ひとつの理由としては、全体的にほっそりとした身体が求められる社会に住んでいても、やっぱりこれは私じゃないな、こうならなくてもいいなと思うようになりました。二つ目の理由は、年齢には完全に勝てないことです。30代に近づくにつれ、身体もどんどん変わっていくことに毎日気づかされます。

幼い頃は割と細身な女の子で、どんなに食べても太らなかったし、運動もあまりしていなかったけど大学時代までは体系は変わらずでした。大学卒業後日本に移住してから、そうでもありませんでした。環境の変化、ダイエットの変化、ライフスタイルの変化、もしくは上記全てが理由かもしれません。今でも答えは分からずですが、確実に分かっているのは体重が増えたこと、ヒップ、太もも、お尻が一回り大きくなったこと。もう完全に細身じゃない体系です。でも以外とこっちの方が良いかもと思うようになったのも最近の話です。

Instead of stressing over how “perfect” my body might look to others, starting this year, I decided to focus on bodily health and maintaining a healthy-looking body. I now go to the gym on a regular basis, try to eat healthier, and all in all, try to improve my lifestyle. By gaining muscle, my body has changed yet again, but in a good way I’d like to think. I mean yeah, I probably grew a size since some of my clothes don’t fit the way they used to, but it’s all good. My body is nowhere near perfect, whatever that may be, but changing my mindset to accept how I look at my age has helped tremendously with my confidence level and how I present myself. And in turn, it has allowed me to be more creative with my style choices and to wear clothing that best suits my curvier body type.

If you’ve ever had a hard time accepting yourself or have ever been self-conscious about the way you look, take a step back. Remember, there is no such thing as “the perfect body” because there are so many different people in the world, which means there are so many different kinds of bodies, all beautiful in their own ways. Comparing yourself to others is pointless – it’s a never-ending cycle and you can be doing better things with your life. So, it’s up to you to determine what you think is beautiful. Stay true to yourself, and you’re already beautiful.

周りの人にどう思われてるかを考えすぎてストレスになるよりかは、もっと自分のためを考えるように心がけようと決心しました。今年から頻繁にジムに通うようになり、健康維持とどれだけ健康的な身体を作れるかを重視しています。筋肉もついた分、身体がまた変わったのですが、良いことだと思っています。まぁ、去年よりも身体が一回り大きくなったかもしれないけど、それでいいんです。前々パーフェクトじゃないし、パーフェクトとは何か分からないけど、ボディーイメージに対しての思考を変えてみたら、自身へも繋がったし、自分の見せ方にも変化がありました。そして、ファッションチョイスも、自分の新しい体系に合わせて工夫するようになりました。

自分のことを認められない、もしくは自分の見た目を気にしているあなたへ。パーフェクトボディーは存在しません。何故なら、世の中には色んな人がいて、色んな種類の身体が存在するからです。そして、全てがそれぞれ美しいのです。他の人と比べることも意味がないはず。永遠に終わらないサイクルになってしまうので、もっと大事なことに集中した方がためになります。美しいとは一体何なのか?その答えはあなたの考え方次第です。

 

Wearing Bikini Lab top and bottom.

All photos by Fu Sheng Wang

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28 comments

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Samantha I love love this post. My body has changed in the last three years because of my diet and exercise. You look incredible and love your photography.

Xxgracie

snappedbygracie.com

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Dear Samantha,
I love your honesty here and I really can relate. I’m 44 and I’m ok with being not perfect and just try to maintain heathy habits and I work hard to set a good example for my children and students. However my twenties were spent in disarray because I was always striving for perfection. Healthy is always best!

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This is such a beautiful post and I’m glad that you talk about accepting body image and yourself. This is truly very important and sometimes it is very hard but with practice and patience can be accomplished. I love this gorgeous shots, the bikini and the mood of the pictures. So perfect!!!!

xx. Gina

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I appreciate you so much for writing this blog post because one of my main mission is to encourage women to love themselves and be confident in their own skin. Like you, it didn’t always come naturally and with the rise of social media, we can’t help but to compare ourselves to others. But I think over time, once you get to know yourself more and become comfortable with who you are, that’s when true confidence and self love develops. I am so happy that you have come to terms with who you are because that’s something I hope all women can achieve!

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Thank you for posting about such an important topic to all women of all ages. I am so happy to hear that you are happy with your body, because honestly you really are beautiful. It’s crazy that everyone sees flaws in the mirror when the world sees such beauty.

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I love this post Samantha! I think it’s smart to focus more on body health! But either way you are gorgeous <3 you!

http://www.prettyinleather.net

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<3 ^^ http://www.lauderlis.net/gv/samantha_mariko_3.php

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I love this post and you nailed it on the head about being body image positive and accepting who you are. It is sad to say that Asian countries always puts slim body above all else where as western countries value fitness and strong body as a form of beauty. I’ve had 2 kids and completely accepted the fact that my body will never be what they were in their 20’s and that is ok with me. I go to the gym twice a week and I see older ladies looking so fit and healthy and that is the type I’m striving for. Btw, you look absolutely amazing in these photos and should be very proud of yourself for having this amazing physique.

xo Sheree
PoshClassyMom.com

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You’ve been approaching it the right way and I honestly can’t say I haven’t never compared myself either. I think it’s great to make the best of what we have and strive for healthier bodies and keeping active daily! Loved your post. And as always great photography. xo

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What an inspiring post. I’m sure many women including me needed to read this. We women are always beating ourselves up about how we are not this or that or how we have too much of this or not enough of that. I recently got sick of feeling that way and decided to accept and love what I was given. It could be worse.

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Beautiful thoughts and post and good pictures . First of all you looking very good and the beautify come also from inside. I’m glad you accepted yourself all of us should be be grateful. Little imperfections are not problems . We must be grateful for our health and life . We can’t put limits because it’s never enough. The human being wants always more 😉
Xx
Eva
http://www.themermaidfashion.com

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This is such a great post and body image is something that is very important and something as women we need to come terms with. I definitely think there is no perfect body type and everyone’s definition of “perfect” is different. We all need to embrace what we were given and be happy with our assets. Being secure with ourselves and our bodies will help us be happier overall. It’s not a competition and as long as you are healthy and happy, that’s all that really matters. xoxo, Christine
http://dailykongfidence.com/

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Such a great post doll!!! You look amazing!!
xx- Nina

http://www.ninalnguyen.com/2017/09/feeling-blue-with-dream-pairs.html

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I’ve definitely learned to accept my body for what it is and not to compare myself to others. I still however, find myself being self-conscious about my body and that’s primarily my fault for not sticking to a stricter diet, haha.

http://www.thebeautybeau.com

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Your body is so tuned babe.
I am in the process of gaining weight and I am trying to stop it with all that I can do, but nothing is working anymore.
Would you like to follow each other on bloglovin? Follow me and I’ll follow you back.
http://www.easys-tyle.com/

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I completely agree. There is no such thing as the “perfect” body as it’s all a matter of perception. One person’s ideal is different from the next person. What matters most is that we treat our bodies right, and love the person we are 🙂

Bernice | IG@bunnybernice
https://www.bunnybernice.com/single-post/2017/09/06/Verdem-Cleopatra-Review—24karat-Gold-Facial

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Absolutely love this post babe!!! Self acceptance now days is so important specially people that are in the public eye since theres always out there trying to get your lack of confidence low. I have to say I been thru this as well and now I’m all about accepting and loving myself. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story and you are such an inspiration.

xoxo
Marcy

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You’re approaching your 30’s?! I wouldn’t have thought so!
You look fabulous hon and I totally agree. We’re comparing ourselves to others for so many times.
I do/did too. But at the same time, I know I’ll never be as skinny as the girls in the magazines, because I just.. I can’t.
Dinners with friends and fam, a piece of cake now and then, those are also part of life. So combining it with a healthy lifestyle and exercising to be fit: definitely. But to feel miserable because we don’t look like the people we like? Nah… 🙂
XO Charissa

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Very inspiring post, Samantha. All girls feel themselves insecure looking at all these Insta models with perfect bodies. Ok, most of them are Photoshoped, others had a bunch of plastic surgeries, but simple girls (especially young ones) think that they are perfect without no reason. Very frustrating. I love your philosophy of accepting yourself through better and healthier lifestyle. I think that is the most important thing, not your shapes, curves and centimetres. Just try to live a healthy life and don’t feel bad if you don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models.

http://lanaluu.com

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You look amazing, Samantha! Thanks for sharing this inspiring post and sharing your thoughts on a topic that I’m sure many of us can relate to. I’ve definitely noticed a change in my body from when I was in my twenties to now being in my thirties. There are places I wish I was leaner, bigger, longer, but overall I’m content with knowing I’m eating healthily and working out when I can. I always feel better about my body after a workout, even if it’s only for 20-30 minutes. I’m sure that time isn’t very transformative or anything but it still makes me feel good nonetheless.

xo, Jo

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Okay this is quite possibly my favorite post of yours to date. I recently finished reading the book “52 Ways to Love Your Body” by Kimber Simpkins so your blog post pretty much came at perfect timing! This year, I made a resolution to take better care of my body and do a better job working out consistently and eating healthy foods. So far, I am doing pretty well aside from the fact that I busted my ankle last weekend but it’s already recovering almost entirely and for that I’m so glad! Our bodies work so hard to allow us to do the things we do everyday. So, it’s important to treat them with the respect they deserve. I totally agree with you that there’s no such thing as a “perfect body” as “perfect” is subjective — and besides, just like most things in life, it’s what you make of it! Great post — thanks for sharing darling xo, sharon

http://www.stylelullaby.com/fashion/classy-sassy-and-a-bit-bad-assy/

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I’m glad this post was something you could relate too. And I’m guessing your ankle probably healed quicker because you are actively working out. I will definitely check out this book though, looks like a great read 🙂

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such a lovely floral bikini! totally looks good on ya babe!

xx shaine
https://itsshaineivory.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/babe-shes-24/

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great photos:)

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I find that the most attractive woman—or person for that matter, is someone who’s confident in their own skin. You look gorgeous, girl! Remember that.

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I agree that healthy is always best. I’m so glad you stay active working out and eating healthy. This will help you with energy, motivation, and strength. Also, we must always cultivate the beauty in the heart because that lasts forever.

Love, Hadasah

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Such beautiful words Samantha. I still find myself comparing my body from time to time, but generally, I realise that I have managed to maintain my body shape for the most part, and always feel better when I am looking after it. The comparison game is a trap and such a waste of time! I agree that it all comes down to you and feeling confident in yourself.
xx Jenelle
http://www.inspiringwit.com

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Beautiful, Mariko san!!
I agree with you!
わたしも、つい人と比べて落ち込んでしまうけど、
本当の美について考えてみたら、元気がでてきました☆
Thank, you!!

akiko

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