Fashion blogger and plus-size model Raeann Langas shares how loving your body can be a difficult, nonlinear journey—and why that's absolutely normal.
Raeann Langas, a model from Denver, is the first to tell you what a major impact the body positive movement has had on her. "I've struggled with body image my whole life," she recently told Shape. "It wasn't until I started seeing and reading about these new role models, who promoted self-love at every size, that I began to realize how amazing my body actually is."
It's the reason she started her blog, dedicated to proving that fashion is fashion, no matter your size. "Whether you're a size 2 or 22, women want (and deserve) to wear stuff that looks good on them and empowers them," she says. "The body positive movement has only helped perpetuate that."
That being said, Raeann is also transparent about the fact that figuring out how to love your body is actually really, really hard—and having negative thoughts and feelings about yourself is totally natural and normal. "I think it's important to know that even those women who're constantly posting about being proud of their bodies have plenty of moments when they're full of doubt," she says. "It's what you do in those moments that really matters."
The 24-year-old fashion blogger mirrored those emotions in a recent Instagram post where she opened up about how loving your body is a process, not something that happens overnight. "I have a lot of women ask me how they can start loving their body, and I always say it is a lifelong journey," she wrote in the post. "You have to work on your relationship with your body every single day."
Loving your body can be so freakin hard. I have a lot of women ask me how they can start loving their body and I always say it is a lifelong journey. Just like any other relationship, you have to work on your relationship with your body every single day. Some days are better than others. One way you can start changing your mind set is every time you think something negative about your body say something that you love about it. I know it sounds cheesy but it works. If you tell yourself you hate your body everyday you'll believe it. If you tell yourself you are beautiful you'll believe it. Make the change //Shop my faves from @aerie's Real Me collection here: http://liketk.it/2sOlv #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKcurves #LTKunder50
Raeann's words of wisdom were inspired by an encounter she had with her photographer, she shares. "She decided to open up to me about how she was in a place where she noticed her body changing and how unhappy she was with it," she says. "It really got me thinking about how women are so hard on themselves and how difficult it is to be expected to love your body now and also through all of its phases in life."
While it's great that we're living in a time where we're constantly being encouraged to love ourselves, it ironically, can come with a lot of pressure. "It's a constant struggle to embrace every part of you," Raeann continues. "It's honestly just like being in a relationship. Some days are fantastic—you're head over heels in love—but other days are hard and require a lot of work."
As humans, we're prone to being self-critical, but it's what you do after having those negative thoughts that you should focus on. "There are plenty of days where I catch myself saying 'Oh my gosh, my stomach looks horrible in this dress' or whatever it is," Raenne says. "But every time I say something like that, I challenge myself to also say something positive just to change the tone of the conversation I'm having with myself."
Bottom line? Body positivity isn't a linear journey and it definitely isn't easy. Sure, you might slip up sometimes and fall back into the toxic messages society has been sending you your whole life. This doesn't make you a failure, nor does it mean that you have a negative mindset. It just means you're human and that's perfectly okay. As Raeann puts it: "Keep chasing the hate with kindness and love because words are so powerful, and eventually you will see—and more importantly feel—a change."
Because our bodies are badass and feeling strong, healthy, and confident is for everyone! Help us spread the body love and be a part of our #LoveMyShape body confidence movement: Post a photo or video on social sharing why you love your shape. And check out Movemeant Foundation, our partner in empowering women and girls to be body positive.