martina braun
martina braun


Bold statement, isn't it? Does the statement irritate you or do you just hear a quiet "Yes, exactly!" in your head? Either way, stay tuned and find out why the sentence can have a really liberating effect and how you can get there too.

I'm sitting in front of a box full of pictures from my past. Exactly the kind of box that probably exists in every household in some form or another, full of old memories in printed form. The reason for this is an assignment from my therapist, in which I am supposed to deal with various aspects of my past and the best way to do this is to immerse myself in old memories.

So I scroll through numerous pictures and jump back to almost forgotten events - birthday parties from my school days, wild parties with loud music in our youth center, dance class - prom, graduation party, scenes from my studies and various company parties. As I reminisce, I notice that the pictures always show a different me. My visual appearance has changed again and again over the last 42 years. Hairstyle, body fullness or clothing style, I have tried out a lot and given up a lot again. But I notice that all the pictures have one thing in common, namely the feeling that I never really felt comfortable in my body at any stage of my life. I always found something about myself that I didn't like and fought against.


These days, it can be easy to get bounced around like a cue ball between the various body-consciousness movements. With every glance at social media, we are inundated with statements about body positivity, body neutrality, intuitive eating, "what I eat in a day" videos and tips from fitness gurus on how to tackle our belly fat. We're all aware that these trends thrive on stealing our attention and likes, but secretly we're all hoping to finally find the cure that will make our eternal dissatisfaction disappear effortlessly. And so, at a certain point in time, each of these movements found a voice in my life and gained a temporary raison d'être.

So I stood naked in front of the mirror in my bedroom and tried to love my body unconditionally. But what happened? I felt stressed and under pressure! After years of struggling with my body, I was suddenly supposed to show it unconditional love and acceptance? No chance! I couldn't accept the beneficial principles of the body positivity movement. The fact that judging and discriminating against bodies in any way is inappropriate and that all bodies are valuable and beautiful just as they are is something I can accept for everyone but myself. I inspected myself and asked myself why the others were able to do this but not me. I literally felt excluded from the body positivity community.

Next, I tried to accept my body as a given, just as it is, without giving it any extra attention. But when you consider how important appearance still is in a social context, this becomes an almost impossible task. Feel body-neutral when you go to a clothes store and look in vain for the hot blouse that the mannequin with the unrealistic physique is showing off in size XXS, only in size 42. And when you ask the store manager, you are told that the store's philosophy is to only display clothes up to size 38 and only give out the larger sizes on request. Body neutrality quickly gets a rather bland aftertaste and you get the impression that this concept only applies to those of us who don't fit the beauty mold of our society. So this concept also proved to have no chance with me, I really wanted to fit in, but my efforts weren't enough. Again, I had the feeling that I couldn't get something right that actually sounded so simple.

The excursions into the world of fitness were the logical consequence of this for me. For weeks and sometimes even months, I tortured myself in the gym, whipped myself through HIT intervals and motivated myself to get into my jogging shoes at 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings. It worked for a while, but at some point I ran out of energy to motivate myself. Sometimes it even turned into self-reproach and I had a pretty low opinion of myself and my discipline. I felt like a weak sausage with the door to the fit and beautiful club slammed in my face.

And then there was the issue of intuitive eating. The concept seemed like the solution to all my struggles. Listen to your body and learn to eat consciously again. But for me, this plan had more to do with discipline than I expected, because you have to learn to deal with the sudden freedom to eat whatever you feel like. I really struggled to get my brain around the fact that just a single Toffifee would trigger the same feelings of happiness as the whole packet. And yes, during this time I really dealt with my emotions in relation to food and learned a lot about my motivations. Unfortunately, it didn't leave any lasting changes in my eating behavior. Although I understood my body and my thoughts better, I still couldn't find peace.


As you get older, a whole range of other physical issues are added to the topic of body fullness. You deal with aspects such as young or old, firm or wrinkled, hairy or smooth, muscular or lean. And with each of these aspects, you get the feeling that you have to choose one of the camps. But the path to this decision is a gauntlet, as there are numerous social rules to follow. Have you noticed that you have almost no chance of not making an enemy of someone? For every aspect, there are suddenly self-appointed experts who intervene without being asked and want to proselytize you.

All of this has kept me pretty busy over the last few years. With every new concept, I hoped to finally find a positive attitude towards my body and was disappointed every time it didn't work. My constant companion: the packet of Toffifee and lots of new and old self-doubt.

So how are things now? I can't tell you that there has been a moment of enlightenment for me since I have been true to myself, no matter what. But I can say that at some point, the moment came when I no longer felt like pretending to fit into any concepts come hell or high water. I decided that it was absolutely okay for me to not always be at peace with my body. Everything else is far too exhausting for me!

I'm still fighting my battle with my appearance, but I don't want to hide it anymore. There are times when I step on the scales every morning only to realize that it's still the same number of kilos as the day before. I do my exercise regularly because exercise is essential no matter what age - and I hate it! Every now and then I make an attempt to follow through with a "stay on it" full motivation program and then briefly condemn myself for sticking to it when it only lasts two weeks. But that's ok. Just as ok as the fact that I count my calories most days so that I don't stuff everything into me uncontrollably. If there are exceptions, then so be it! I get annoyed for a moment, drag myself onto the treadmill and then go and buy a salad.

Oh yes, and if I can't come to terms with my crow's feet any more, I'll turn to my beautician to tell me all about the possibilities of Botox and hyaluronic acid.

Now back to the statement at the beginning of the article about why I can sometimes think my body sucks. Quite simply: because it's yours! And it's your decision! Your decision not to have to come to terms with the status quo, your decision to be allowed to fight the battle with yourself every day if you have to. It's your decision to be allowed to think your body sucks sometimes and not have to sugarcoat things under the guise of social perception.


But even that doesn't just happen and it takes a lot of courage to free yourself from your own and other people's expectations. I know I'm not the only one struggling with this, so here are a few suggestions to help you on your way:

  • Make it clear!

Be aware of what you think about yourself all day long. Write down what you think about your body, how you think you should treat it, how you would like it to be and what you think you have to do to achieve it. Also consider whether these are actually your own thoughts. Because only if we know our thoughts can we change them. Create facts and bring the dull and incomprehensible feeling into reality and importantly: accept it. Don't push the realizations away, but get used to them. Develop strategies to deal with these feelings, because complaining is not an option!

  • Make it public!

Don't hide your attitude and take a stand. I don't mean that you have to trumpet your wisdom loudly to the world, but if a conversation turns to the topic of body optimization, then stand by your convictions. Don't let someone else's opinion be imposed on you just because you shy away from the discussion. Another advantage of this is that you not only position yourself in front of others, but the more often you say it out loud, the more you believe yourself. How about a planned offensive in the form of a "complex party"? A shot at every complex that we carry around with us and that coincides with those of our colleagues.

  • Get naked... often as possible. Whether in front of the mirror, in the sauna, during nudism or sex, the more often the better. Even if it ends in a fit of laughter, with repetition, being naked loses its horror and perfection loses its meaning. And why is that? Because we are confronted with reality, which shows us that we are usually far too hard on ourselves and that most people are preoccupied with their own shortcomings anyway. And if you still need Botox afterwards, then so be it!

  • Make it realistic!

Yes, we need to talk briefly about failure. Because that also plays a role in this topic. We fail to find the continuity to change our diet, to carry out our sports sessions with the necessary intensity and - for me personally, much worse - to have once again failed in front of myself. However, none of this has anything to do with our body, but with our own and others' perception of what it should look like and how we should think about it. Failure accompanies us throughout our lives and at least some of us have learned how to deal with it. We all fail and the best thing that protects us from this is realistic goals and wishes. So make it clear to yourself whether obsessively loving your body or working out in the gym every day is really what you want. Or could you use your energy for something more meaningful? Saving the world, for example?

An important note at the end: there are people who are paralyzed by the belief that they are not beautiful enough and whose lives are very restricted. This can lead to people not wanting to leave the house and experiencing depressive moods. This disorder is called dysmorphophobia and should definitely be treated therapeutically.

For everyone else, allow yourself to think your appearance sucks sometimes. That's completely ok! And it's best to be accompanied on the subject, because all too often we fall back into old patterns on our own!

Tell me your story! I look forward to working with you.

What is your attitude towards your body? Do you have any questions or comments? Then write me your story in the comments or by email at

I'm looking forward to seeing you!