45 Non-Cheesy Quotes on Body Image

Christina Grasso

There are plenty of reasons we might feel shitty about ourselves: From a probably-not-even-crooked nose to that thing you wish you said in your meeting to the fact that Joe Schmo on the corner told us we needed a new pair of jeans (for the record, Joe, they’re meant to be ripped, but thank you for your observation). As someone who has deeply struggled with body image and the myriad issues that accompany it, I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the years and can confirm I’ve seen enough cheesy, uplifting quotes for all of us combined. So, ahead are words that get straight to the heart of the issue—no cheese involved.

1. “Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.” –Glennon Doyle Melton

2. “What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” –Anne Lamott

3. “Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while, and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.” –Stacy London

stacy london 45 Non Cheesy Quotes on Body Image

MORE: 65 Inspiring Quotes From Strong Women We Love

4. “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ―Cheryl Strayed

5. “I never felt pretty. I don’t feel pretty now. I’m not a pretty person. I don’t like pretty. So I don’t feel badly. And I think it worked out well, because I found that all the girls I know who got by on their looks, as time went on and they faded, they were nothing. And they were very disappointed. When you’re somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something, you have to do something. So you become a bit more interesting.” –Iris Apfel

6. “Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you look like.” –Unknown

7. “Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this.” –Cheryl Strayed

“You are still you whether you are 190 or 90 pounds.”

8. “You are still you whether you are 190 or 90 pounds. Your soul still lives in the same fucking house.” –michellekpoems.tumblr.com

9. “The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the storyline that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step towards transforming your experience of the world.” –Oprah Winfrey

10. “The relentless attempts to be thin take you further and further away from what could actually end your suffering: getting back in touch with who you really are. Your true nature. Your essence.” –Geneen Roth

11. “If you don’t know how to show yourself kindness when you’re a size 18, you won’t know how to do it wearing a size 4.” –Unknown

12. “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.” –Sophia Bush

sophia bush 45 Non Cheesy Quotes on Body Image

13. “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.” –Anna Quindlen

14. “Is “fat” really the worst thing a human being can be? Is “fat” worse than “vindictive,” “jealous,” “shallow,” “vain,” “boring,” or “cruel”? Not to me.” –J.K. Rowling

15. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” –Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

16. “This is it: This body is home. This is where I live and hang my hat. This is where I settle into my hips and sit easy in myself, slung together with strong muscles and bones, made gentle and forging with flesh. This body is durable, has lasted for years, hunkered down through fierce storms and allows for the peaceful erosions of age. It is like a cottage on the shore: weathered and well made, a place where a person could comfortable live. I like it here. It is my own.” –Marya Hornbacher

“Being thin does not address the emptiness that has no shape or weight or name.”

17. “Weight loss does not make people happy. Or peaceful. Being thin does not address the emptiness that has no shape or weight or name. Even a wildly successful diet is a colossal failure because inside the new body is the same sinking heart.” ―Geneen Roth

18. “When the demon starts to slither my way and say bad shit about me I turn around and say, ‘Hey. Cool it. Amy is my friend. Don’t talk about her like that.’ Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works.” –Amy Poehler

19. “You’re a work of art, not everybody will understand you, but the ones that do will never forget about you.” –Amber Ibarreche

20. “Worthiness does not have prerequisites.”–Brené Brown

21. “Life is so much more beautiful than a number on a scale.” –Tess Munster

22. “You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.” –Lupita Nyong’o

lupita nyongo10 45 Non Cheesy Quotes on Body Image

23. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

24. “Most important, in order to find real happiness, you must learn to love yourself for the totality of who you are and not just what you look like.” –Portia de Rossi

25. “We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” –Lori Deschene

26. “You have more to do than be weighed down by pretty or beautiful. You are a fiery heart and a wicked brain. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell.” –michellekpoems.tumblr.com

27. “Chic is when a woman is in harmony with herself.” –Giambattista Valli

28. “Another person’s beauty is not the absence of your own.” –Unknown

39. “Exterior beauty, without the depth of a kind soul is merely decoration.” –Vanessa Quintero

“Health is different for every body at a different size.”

30. “Health is different for every body at a different size.” –Crystal Renn

31.“It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough”–Unknown

32. “I look at these pictures and realize I worried about things that I shouldn’t have been worrying about. I wouldn’t go out to the beach without a sarong from my neck to my ankles. Now I see a picture of myself from that era in a bikini and I’m like, ‘You looked great. And you missed out on a lot of fun vacations because you were so sure that you were fat.’” –Stevie Nicks

stevie nicks 45 Non Cheesy Quotes on Body Image

33. “One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.”–Gabourey Sidibe

34. “There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” –Nelson Mandela

35. “Girls of all kinds can be beautiful—from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing and all in between. It’s not easy though because many people still put beauty into a confining, narrow box…think outside of the box.” –Tyra Banks

36. “Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Our goal should be health and stamina.” –Emme

37. “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?” –Tina Fey

“The fear is of being human, and as such, imperfect, and as such, just mortal. Just a body, like everyone else.”

38. “The fear is not of fat. The fear is of need, of hunger, of any desire, or life itself. The fear is of being human, and as such, imperfect, and as such, just mortal. Just a body, like everyone else. That is the key. We are human. That’s everything, and that is all. There must be, at some point, a recognition and acceptance of one’s own humanness. We have to pull the guts out of the spectacular reverse pride – ultimately, the egotism – of thinking we can supercede, by force of will, the body’s needs.” –Marya Hornbacher

39. “What about defining yourself by a different kind of measurement? What about your heart, your soul, your compassion, your generosity, your strength, and your power? There are so many other things to focus on besides your waistline.” –Mariska Hargitay

40. “I’ve learnt to appreciate my body, because it’s taken me all the way here and will take me to the end.” ―Clémentine Desseaux

41. “I wasn’t put on this earth to look good.” ―Charli Howard

42. “You were born, as you, for a reason.” —Sophia Bush

43. “I can’t stay thin. I just wasn’t born for it. I wasn’t born with thin legs and I can’t keep them. For over a year I’ve managed to maintain my weight, but if I keep up that maintenance to the exclusion of everything else, then I’ll have anorexia.” ―Portia de Rossi

44. “Treat your body like an instrument, not an ornament.”―Gary Thomas

45. “Your body is the piece of the universe you’ve been given, the place where love and joy and grief happen, where happiness unfolds. Do you really want to keep believing that it’s a horrible, ugly, lumpy thing? Do you really want to keep punching yourself like that?” ―Geneen Roth

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