Have you ever taken a nude photo of yourself? Whether you sent it to your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend or just kept it to yourself, I think that it is an important way of self discovery.
Only recently have I been able to take a nude photo of myself without cringing. Last year or 5 years ago, I would have taken one and then immediately deleted it because I would have hated what I saw. And yes, although losing 33 pounds has certainly contributed to me feeling better about myself, I wish I could have learned to love my body even at it's heaviest.
My body has been through a lot in the past 39 years and it hasn't failed me yet. However, I let myself get away with poor body image and self loathing for much too long. I wish I could go back to when I was 18 and start a tradition of taking a nude photo every year on my birthday. Not in a pornographic way or as eye candy for a man, but for me. Pictures can show you so much that you can't always get with words and memories.
What would my pictures show me?
The belly button ring that didn't last very long.
My annual summer freckles that always come out in the sun.
My appendix scar from when I was 3 years old.
My swollen belly from my 5 pregnancies.
My stretch marks that came with those pregnancies.
Swollen boobs from breastfeeding.
New scars from various mishaps.
New wrinkles and laugh lines on my face.
New muscles from exercising and running.
Each one of those things has contributed to who I am today. I think that as women, even men, we spend too much time worrying about things that are "wrong" with our bodies. I encourage everyone to take a full body naked picture and for each flaw you want to criticize, you must say something positive about yourself instead.
Don't go through life being unhappy with who you are or what you look like. It is amazing what some positive words can do for your outlook.