“As a 1960s child, Twiggy (so-called because of her thin, waifishness) was the ideal toward which most women aimed. The women in my family are pear-shaped and we joke that we have legs like a piano. Following this example, I learned to hide my insecurities and deflect the pain by making weight jokes at my own expense. It took years to unravel, and it was only when I realized how uncomfortable those quips made other people feel that I actually looked at what they meant. I nicknamed myself “Big Sexy” and then worked to live up to that instead.” — Suzanne Foreman
“A frenemy is described as someone with whom you are friendly with despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry. That is how I feel about “Mia,” otherwise known as bulimia. She has been a part of my life now since I was 19 years old. At 40, I still feel the daily struggle with my frenemy. She haunts me at every corner, disturbing date nights with my husband and holidays with my family. It all stemmed from my insecurity with my body. As a former pageant contestant, I strove to be perfect. Little did I know, the pursuit of a flawless figure would spiral its way into a lifelong struggle with an eating disorder that has controlled for most of my adult life. Every day is a battle, but it is one I most diligently try to overcome through prayer, perseverance and finding peace in accepting the body I was given.” — Mili Wifey
“My 2-year-old is helping me embrace the skin I’m in. For as long as I can remember, I have battled body issues. At my thinnest, I was 108 pounds and, in hindsight, looked sickly and unwell. It was the one time I felt completely in control — even though I was out of control. Now, after having a child, I am 10 pounds over my comfort zone, but I have come to realize that my body issue is not my own anymore. It belongs to my 2-year-old daughter too. She sees and hears everything, including the way I communicate how I feel about my body. I don’t want my issues to be hers, and so the journey continues — to a place where I can love the skin I am in as much as my daughter does.” — Amanda Logan
“I always wanted to cover my belly up, but yoga helped me to love my body just as it is. My belly will never be super flat and perfect, but I love it anyway, and I am happy to show it. By being open and confident in my own body, just as it is, I am sexier and I hope to be a positive role model to others so that they can feel happy and sexy in their body just as it is.” — Tara Hire
“I fought excess weight for 25 years, hating my body entirely. I waited to live; I waited to love; I waited to look good. What I didn’t realize was that I was creating a food addiction, driven by my hatred. I also didn’t realize that all bodies are different and mine was never going to be supermodel thin, or actressy shaped. After losing over 90 pounds, I finally realized that my shape is what it is, my bones are placed in a certain proportion… and I’ve learned to live and love and become highly sexual just as I am. Owning a body is more important than what it looks like. Feeling it is the best way to lose weight. Hating never works.” — Pat Barone
“I developed body image issues as a young girl even though I was never really overweight. I did go through a phase of bulimia and diet pills to get my weight down during my teens but luckily got over it. I’ve obsessed over my body and my weight my whole life just like my mom did. But I don’t want that struggle to rub off on my three girls. So, what I have consciously done is not verbalize any of my own body issues in their presence. If I have thoughts like that, I just keep them in my head. I have two teenagers and one toddler. And my two teenagers, I’m pretty confident, don’t have any body issues, which is quite an achievement. So, perhaps I’m doing something right.” — Kimberly Kupiecki
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.