If you have food issues, fear foods, disordered behavior, or are a professional dieter, I can almost guarantee that they stem from struggling with Body Image. Think about it.. if our bodies didn't change because of the food we eat, or how much food we consume, then food would not possess such intense morality. It doesn't matter if you are fat or have thin privilege, the feeling of body dissatisfaction FEELS the same for any woman who experiences it.
Thin privilege is a term that describes a woman who is in an "acceptable BMI range" and does not have to face the day to day struggles and experiences of a person in a large body who's mobility is effected or who faces criticism from society or who is automatically viewed as unhealthy because of their size. And Yes, I do have thin privilege, and I have received the insinuating comment that I just couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be in a fat body. And although our experiences are different, In any life circumstance, we can never fully know what anyone else is going through. But I can however almost guarantee that I've had the same self- negative body talk, the same diet mentality, the same hatred for a body part(s) and the same wishes to be thinner as any other woman. Size is not a factor here.. What matters is how we view ourselves and learning to erase the inner mean girl that we all have sitting in our brains. We all have internal struggles and for anyone to suggest that our feelings about our bodies are valid or invalid based on how society labels the shape or size of our body to being acceptable or not, fat or thin, is unfair.
In my opinion the majority of women who control their food, aren't doing it solely for life-span & health purposes. Most people who are eating clean or healthy, have some underlying motive to achieve thinness or have a fear of being fat.
So, In order to achieve a place where we can view food as just food, (a human necessity that is nourishing, energizing and keeping us alive), we must address Body Image. If we can come to a place where we accept our body for what it is and we can put aside trying to achieve a unicorn body, then the food issues will no longer be an issue - our quality of life will increase and in turn, we will be living in a healthier mind set. In order to do this, we have to change the neuropathways in our brains to believe different truths. Truths and beliefs are ingrained as children and solidified over the years from outside messages and internal thoughts that we believe to be true. (Subscribe to my newsletter to learn more about this).
I am not claiming that it is easy or that body image work is ever done, it takes work everyday. I still have triggers that have my mind racing that I should be stronger, thinner, taller, leaner or triggers that have me criticizing the shape of my legs or stomach or have me saying I feel "fat" in certain clothes. But I can tell you from the experience of doing the work, these thoughts that I use to mull and obsess over for days and weeks, last about 3 minutes tops. Because of the tools and knowledge I have, I can appreciate and accept however my body looks today. And you can too.
I'm filled with ways to help you achieve a better Body Image but here are 3:
- Filter your social media. Too many times we are following people who “trigger” our negative thoughts. Whether someone posts a picture and we start comparing our body to theirs or they say something promoting diets or weight loss or those awful before and after transformation pictures. Sometimes we forget that we can literally unfollow people and then fill our feed with body positive profiles and messages. Even if you have to unfollow a friend, you can kindly explain that you don’t want to hurt their feelings but you are on a body positive journey and you need to block some things that are triggering and right now you have to #doyou. Believe me, your true friends will understand. Follow profiles of people in similar or larger bodies as you. Fill your eyes with different images then our Diet culture provides.
- Accept the things that you can. Maybe you have bigger legs then you’d like or your stomach isn’t as flat as you’d like. We all have these thoughts.. and when they come up, you can catch them. Stop. And change your train of thought. Tell yourself, my legs may be bigger, but they can function. Wouldn’t it be worse if I couldn’t walk? Or my stomach may not be what I want it to be, but I can put my hand on it and remind myself that I am breathing and am literally able to enjoy life. Or it gave me beautiful kids that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
- Appreciate where you came from. Think about your mom, aunts, grandmothers, cousins.. what body shape do they have? Is yours similar? We all have different and unique genes and family lineage. So it’s nearly impossible to look at a celebrity, or friend or any other image of a woman and wish we looked like them. Think about the people and family traits that make you unique and start to appreciate that!
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