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Midsize model gets candid about loving her tummy: ‘I truly believe in fighting shame with vulnerability’

Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of eating disorders and disordered eating. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.

One model is revealing how her “biggest insecurity” became a means for her to foster “the deepest” and “truest” self-love.

On Aug. 16, Juliana Davis (@juliana_davis), a self-described “midsize model on a self-love journey,” posted a video on TikTok in which she discusses the battle she’s had with learning to love her tummy.

“So I just woke up. I haven’t eaten. I’m not bloated, and this is what my tummy looks like. And, in fact, this is what my tummy has looked like pretty much my entire life,” Davis begins. “And after spending pretty much all of my life absolutely hating it, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that, actually, I think it’s just OK.”

While there’s been some debate about the proper definition, midsize is generally/typically defined by Glam as sizes 10 through 16.

Her tummy, Davis says, has been her biggest insecurity throughout her life.

“When I get rejected in a relationship, I’m like, ‘Oh, but my stomach,’ or if I’m seeing someone, ‘Oh, they probably like me but, oh no, my stomach,'” she says. “It’s been the thing that’s made me scared to wear clothes, tighter-fitting things, and it has just made me feel the most insecure and frustrated in my body.”

‘When there’s something about your body that society constantly tells you is wrong and needs to be fixed, there is a power that comes from realizing that it doesn’t actually have to be.’

Defying society’s expectations about the way you should look, Davis says, is OK.

“Having this tummy has made me discover a level of self-love and self-acceptance that I never knew that I could have,” she reveals. “When there’s something about your body that society constantly tells you is wrong and needs to be fixed, there is a power that comes from realizing that it doesn’t actually have to be.”

According to the Independent, one way to try to combat negative self-talk when it comes to your belly is to practice giving yourself compliments each day.

“It may seem odd at first, but giving yourself daily compliments will change your attitude toward yourself,” writes motivational speaker Ewa Pietrzak. “Start by complimenting your body parts, even if you don’t like the way they look: ‘I love my belly, even though it’s a bit big. I love it for digesting all the food I eat’. Progress to compliments about your big and small successes and other things you like about yourself.”

‘I thought its shape was confirmation that I’d ‘failed’ or a reason I wasn’t worthy of love’

The reception of her TikTok, Davis says, confirmed that she isn’t alone in feeling this way.

“My whole life I have carried so much shame about my tummy. I felt like I was the only one who struggled with it. I thought its shape was confirmation that I’d ‘failed’ or a reason I wasn’t worthy of love. I didn’t want to talk about it or show it to anyone — in hopes that it would disappear,” Davis tells In The Know by Yahoo via email. “However, I truly believe in fighting shame with vulnerability. In a moment of courage I posted the video, and almost immediately its reception was beyond anything I could have asked for.”

Adds Davis: “After spending so much of my life feeling alone because of my tummy, it really made me feel supported and loved. I am so grateful for the kindness everyone showed me in such a sensitive moment. What I’ve realized is, hiding my tummy in shame never brought me this much love. What actually helped me finally find my people and my peace was self love/vulnerability.”

‘I woke up this morning and had to ask myself why I’m letting my stomach dictate my happiness’

Several TikTok creators, many of whom identify as women, have taken to Davis’s comments to articulate their gratitude for her vulnerable video.

“This app is a blessing. Tysm for sharing this. I’ve always had a tummy even when I was skinny and hated myself for it,” @pinkblankie wrote.

“Felt. But isn’t it weird that when I see others with it they are beautiful but it’s hard to see that beauty on myself?” @happytobhappy asked.

“I woke up this morning and had to ask myself why I’m letting my stomach dictate my happiness. Thank you for allowing me to see myself on my fyp,” @wild.detours commented.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating habits, contact the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Visit the NEDA website to learn more about the possible warning signs of eating disorders and disordered eating.

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