Yeah…Immaeatthat

Mar 22

Hating yourself doesn’t make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn’t make you fat.

That title is something I’ve thought about a lot for the past year.  We go to Laguna every year (20122013, 20142015, 2016), and it’s kinda like my new year.  A time to reflect back on what has changed during the previous year.

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

If you look back through those posts, you will see I was stuck in some disordered and destructive mindsets around food and body image.  Some of them are subtle, but if you look you will see them.  All those years, except 2012, I would say I was more on the recovery side of the spectrum with my ED.  However, during 2012 I was gluten-free (hello, politically correct way to have an eating disorder).  If you followed me then, I pray (honestly, I’ve prayed about this) that I didn’t make anyone’s ED worse.  

For the three years after that, I was still stuck in some spectrum of disordered and unhealthful tendencies with food and exercise.  I blame that on the diet culture we live in and me not knowing there was another way to live.  

This year in Laguna was so different.  

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

You know when you try to take a deep breath and you can’t fully fill up your lungs? So you take another deep breath, but still can’t quite get enough air in?

Well this year in Laguna, I finally felt like I could breath deep enough.  I could get all the air in.  I could fully take in everything around me because I’ve done so much freaking body image work this past year and it’s changed my life.  I feel like I’m finally able to be fully present in my life and it feels f-ing awesome because I’m not spending my time stressing about controlling/manipulating my body.

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

Sometime a couple years ago I realized my body was never thin/toned/muscular/perfect enough.  Even at my thinnest or strongest or whatever-est.  I was living in a place of continual frustration because I was obsessed with how my body looked.  I finally came to the conclusion that hating and judging myself around food had never made me thin.  And if that was the case, then loving myself probably wouldn’t make me fat.* 

So I decided the physical parts of my body isn’t what needed to change, it was the mental part.  So I stopped exercising for several months (like completely stopped other than occasional walks with Maggie and yoga) and started working on how my brain viewed my body.  Because your body hears everything your brain says.

I learned to stop seeing the flaws that we’ve all been taught to see when we look in the mirror.  I realized that women are trained to want to be thin, which usually results in us being trained into disordered eating behaviors. 

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

In the media we are bombarded by what a woman should look like and this has a devastatingly negative impact on our self image.  I was in a yoga class recently and the yoga teacher (a teacher I won’t be taking another class from) was talking to a pregnant women in the class and asked her how far along she was.  The convo went like this:

prego woman: 4 1/2 months.

yoga teacher: oh you look so good, you’re so tiny!

prego woman: thank you!

I was outraged by the whole thing.  When did being tiny when pregnant become something to compliment someone on? Being tiny when pregnant has zero physiological value.  It only has social value.  And this all goes to prove how messed up our society is.  And it should make you mad.  It makes me mad.  It makes me mad that growing up I knew the harshest insult I could hurl at my sister was to call her fat. How at the age of 9 years old had society taught me that fat on a woman’s body was a bad thing?

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

Having a healthy relationship with food and being well does not guarantee weight loss.  Weight loss is something you have to let go of before you can find peace with food and movement.

When people hear I’m a dietitian, they think, “oh you can put me on a diet and help me lose weight.” It makes me so bummed people jump to that when I actually do the opposite of that work.  I help people stop dieting, be be okay with eating processed foods and start to respect their bodies.

Personally, the principle of Intuitive Eating that was hardest for me to embrace was just that, Respect your body.  I eat in an intuitive way and I believe it is the best way of eating for me.  But I have had to do a tremendous amount of body image work to get to this point I am now.  And there are still days I wake up having awful body image days.  I am a woman living in a society that has a very narrow view of what is beautiful, but I want to start working to expand that narrow view of beauty.    

There are three things that have been helpful in allowing me to respect my body:

  1. Surrounding myself with podcasts that discuss body image, body positivity, Health at Every Size, Intuitive Eating, etc.  Some of my favorites are: Food Psych & Mind Body Musings.  Also any YouTube video with Isabel Foxen Duke in it is gold.
  2. Doing a social media cleanse.**  
    Step one: stop following people who make your feel like crap.  It’s easy to fall into compare and despair mentality.
    Step two: start adding in things that make you feel good.  Follow epic woman on IG like: @BodyPosiPanda, @HealthyIsTheNewSkinny, @IsabelFoxenDuke
  3. Yoga.  It has taken me 7 years to finally get yoga.  But the awareness it has brought and the compassion it allows me to feel towards my body is unreal.

If you feel overwhelmed with your poor body image and don’t know where to start, I’d remind you that people typically overestimate what they can do in the short-term and underestimate what they can do in the long-term.  That just means, you don’t have to make changes all at once.  Once a day, expose yourself to something from the list above that promotes positive body image.  Once a day adds up to a lot in one year.  It can have a huge impact.  Trust me. 

If you have a difficult relationship with food and your body, I hope you will look into my online course and see if it is something that resonates with you.

Hating yourself doesn't make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn't make you fat. | immaEATthat.com

*Fat used as a descriptor and not as a word with a negative connotation.
**This is the only time I will endorse a cleanse, otherwise your liver has you covered.

Quick note: I decided to put me and my experiences into this blog post.  It would’ve been very easy to write this post without including any reference to myself, but I think it’s more helpful for you to know what I’ve been through and where I am today.  When commenting/emailing me, please remember that I am a person with feelings.

78 comments on “Hating yourself doesn’t make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn’t make you fat.”

  1. GAH I had to comment to express 1) my outrage at that ridiculous yoga teacher’s comment – seriously, wtf?! – and 2) how much I love this post. Like you, it took me a really long time to get over my habitual hating of my body, and some days it creeps back, but life is SO MUCH BETTER this way. 

    I love your comment about having to let go of weight loss before you can find peace with your body and movement. Now that I’ve been out of that self-hatred spiral for a few years, I’m super aware of how much emphasis is placed all around us on weight loss. Yoga for weight loss, clean eating for weight loss, detox for weight loss… How many of us legitimately need to lose weight??! And by whose standard? Medically speaking certainly some, but from these headlines you’d think it was every single one of us. No wonder so many of us share similar experiences!

    Okay, end rant. Thank you for posting this! 

  2. I love this post, Kylie. Thanks for sharing your story and how you have overcome it. Your message is so important for people out there! I love your line of “breathing enough and getting enough air in.” Physiologic health is so much more important than social values. 

  3. Love this post and admire your honesty and bravery of everything you shared. I recently started seeing clients privately and I have one of my first eating disordered clients and it honestly hurts to hear how she thinks about food and herself so this totally embodies a lot of those feelings. On another note- social media cleanse- yesss- I am much more particular about who I follow now- are they sending a healthy message- is it one I agree with, etc. Definitely the type of cleanse we all need to from time to time. Thanks for writing this <3

  4. This post choked me up and that’s not a daily occurrence! All of it is so so true and I wish every woman, at any stage of life, could read it now. The amount of joy and relaxation that is blacked out by our negative thoughts about food, exercise and body image has robbed too many of us a much needed vacation. It kills me that that word is now synonymous with crash diets and over-exercising. I am so glad to have had moments of being at peace with all of it to truly get that “air in my lungs” you described; it keeps me motivated to shift my inner thoughts and how I spend my moments of joy.

    Thank you for your honesty and here’s to keep taking full breaths!

  5. Bravo, Kylie!! Thank you for sharing! Something I am learning is that I have to let go of the idea of obtaining the “perfect” body. Balance and the “beautiful” body that the media promotes don’t go together. I would much rather let go of that ideal and instead achieve freedom and true, abundant life!!

  6. Kylie- I seriously LOVE this post. I really think that to some extent every single female (and even males) can relate to this post! It’s a constant battle. Finishing my master’s in nutrition on my road to being an RD has made me sooo much more aware, and I am so happy you wrote this! Cant wait to share with others!

  7. Gorgeously written and a beautiful message.  Thank you so much for being open and sharing your experiences.  I can relate to everything you said.  That just reinforces what I’ve been working on for the past year-plus.  Thank you!

  8. Thank you for this post and for sharing your experience.

  9. Reading this made me tear up and made my heart swell. You’re such an inspiration and I hope you know that. I’ve struggled with how I see myself and how I let it consume my life for years, and while I feel so much healthier now, I still have days where negative thoughts creep in. But you’re right – every second I spend hating and comparing myself is a waste of this beautiful and preciously short life we have.

    Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty, I have no doubt that it’s helping so many women.

  10. Kylie, I LOVE this post and really appreciate your honesty and openness.
    I’ve been reading your blog since late 2012, and while I never had a negative reaction to anything you’ve written, I have noticed your growth. You just seem to “get it.” “It” being food, health, respecting yourself, eating the damn cupcake, and enjoying life. Thank you so much for spreading positivity in this space of yours. I’ve gone through a lot the same regarding body image (honestly, pregnancy – embracing and loving the changes to my body and knowing it was sustaining LIFE – was the ultimate healer, even if I was also on the receiving end of STUPID comments about how “tiny” or how “big” I was; that’s a whole other discussion!).
    Keep breathing and doing what you’re doing, girl. <3

  11. Love this post (and your blog in general). Thank you for writing this!

  12. Thank you so much for writing this post Kylie! My relationship with food is something I am constantly working on… I used to restrict myself from eating certain foods, got frustrated when I ‘couldn’t have them’, and then was mad at myself when I gave in. It was a destructive cycle. And it’s taken some time, but now I feel like I am in a good place where I don’t restrict any certain foods, but eat everything with moderation and I am much happier – and healthier!  And I am so happy to hear you can breathe deep again!  Keep up the amazing work <3

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing and sharing this post! I am just starting to trust intuitive eating, and still fall back into unhealthy binge/restrict cycles, but I this post was exactly what I needed to read. I’m so encouraged by your words and the idea that in the long-term we really can accomplish much more than we imagine we can! I am definitely bookmarking this to read again. THANK YOU and please keep doing what you do! :)

  14. Man, I needed to read this today. Truthfully, I needed to read it about two weeks ago, but better late than never, right? I’m 8 months pregnant. This is my first, so all of these body changes are taking a toll on me mentally (not that it’s easier any subsequent time). I can’t thank you enough for being a voice of reason this morning. For reminding me that ‘looking thin’ isn’t important, but that feeling good in my own skin is way more rewarding! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. Thanks so much for sharing this! It took me to getting pregnant and having my son – a tough pregnancy at the end where I gained a ton of water weight through preclampsia – to finally start listening to my body and eating intuitively. It wasn’t until I was pregnant, and later, breastfeeding, that I started to eat what I wanted when I was hungry. It was surprising how I never binged anymore because nothing was restricted. I also lost all the pregnancy weight (over 8 months or so) without dieting – simply by listening to my body and giving it what it needed. It now astonishes me that being “fat” is one of the worst things our culture thinks a person can be. 

  16. p.s. my version of an ED was going vegan for awhile…

  17. This gives me SO much joy. I had to laugh at the gluten-free remark. So much truth. For me it was no red meat. 
    In recent months I have realized that I need to let go of wanting to love my body. I think I am much better with just ignoring the way it looks and focusing on how it feels. 
    You are such an inspiration. One thing I’ve realized with recovery from an ED, true recovery, is that with each each year I become more recovered than I ever realized I could.

  18. This was so beautifully written! I hope to someday soon be free from ALL body negativity and be able to wake up in the morning without analyzing myself and my food choices, but it is hard work, especially with societies standards of women’s beauty! This post was inspiring, and made me realize that each day is a day for progress! :)

  19. Love love love this post <3 AND you blog AND you so so so much :)

  20. Thank you for this post:) Very inspirational. I am 36 and have struggled with anorexia for most of my life. However, becoming vegan has helped me to fight my ED. It’s not about restriction, but figuring out that I can enjoy food that makes me feel good (quite honestly, I never liked meat and giving up dairy made any skin or digestive issues disappear!). It’s still hard with all the images of what women are “supposed” to look like and seeing that all the clothes are meant for skinny girls, but it’s so exhausting to keep analyzing all my food and worrying about how much I work out, etc. I find that a plant-based diet (and preparing a lot of my own food–I found out I enjoy cooking–who knew?) is helping me to let go of that (don’t get me wrong, though–I still love some of the vegan processed foods like Oreos!). Thank you again (and I love trying your recipes).

  21. I know I had gone through a phase kind of on the down low about body image and thinking that so many calories a day was good, I didn’t really follow that and my mindset changed but I now see that eating more empowers me to do what I love, it helps me to exceed my physical expectations. I can lift heavier than I ever thought possible and to be able to do something I love like that and keep improving means way more to me than how thin my waist is. But it also really does remove the stress and let you live in the moment. Eat that burger and fries and sometimes have an extra drink, and when its all said and done get back to eating nutrient dense food that your body needs to survive and keep you healthy! Thanks for sharing, and for the record, I don’t think you could make someone’s ED worse, if anything you can encourage them to find the freedom that you have!

  22. I really appreciate this post. It must be very hard to be so personal on the internet, but just remember that even if you get through to just a few woman that it is completely worth it. Sometimes readings something like this is a big ‘a-ha’ moment for a person struggling with an ED. I am slowly getting over what I now realise was an ED/exercise addiction. I calorie counted all day and saw exercise as punishment for each time I ate something ‘bad.’ It wasn’t until talking to a friend who was recovering from anorexia that I realised we had similar perceptions about food and that I had a problem. It takes time and I am not quite there, but I loved reading this and remembering that getting okay with food again is a journey. I also started yoga and have found it so healing. For the first time it makes me love my body for what it can do – not for what it looks like. Thanks for the post :)

  23. thank you SO much for this post. Ive deff been struggling with poor body image since I’ve regain my weight after going though recovery. I try to tell myself to look in the mirror and see how much HAPPIER i am now that I’m free from the ED thoughts. 

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have struggled with body image and still currently do one certain days as well as having a healthy relationship with food. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for your encouraging words! 

  25. This is my first time ever commenting on a blog site. I just want to let you know I read your blog every day and you have been helping me through my own recovery for the past two years. This post is the reason why I keep coming back. What you have been through has given me hope.

    You are my inspiration.

  26. Amen to all of this.  Especially this:  “When people hear I’m a dietitian, they think, “oh you can put me on a diet and help me lose weight.” It makes me so bummed people jump to that when I actually do the opposite of that work.  I help people stop dieting, be be okay with eating processed foods and start to respect their bodies.”

  27. This was amazing! Thank you for writing this! I completely agree with your thought process of pregnancy. When did it become “so great” to be “tiny” while carrying baby?! You are growing a tiny human!!! Be whatever YOU want to be!

  28. I want to reach through the computer screen right now and give you a big cyber hug, you are amazing and this post is so important and necessary!

    I wish I could just make every woman I meet read it :)

    Thank you so much for sharing. You are such an inspiration and blessing in my life and so many others xx

  29. What a great post! I can relate so much with what you’ve said. I admire you for talking openly about it and for being brave enough to have made it to where you are. I don’t want to “defend” the yoga teacher, but I imagine her comment came from a place that was also influenced by society. I hope one day she learns what you know now. Thank you for this inspiring post!

  30. Thank you for sharing Kylie. I stumbled upon your Instagram a couple years ago and I have always enjoyed your posts.  I also have struggled with an ED and it’s a very scary thing that can isolate you from those you love most. Loving yourself and letting go of the negative influence that society can have is essential. 

    Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration :) 

  31. This should me required reading!!! Thanks for all you do. 

  32. Thank you – that’s all I’ve got to say.

  33. Reading your blog posts about intuitive eating and body image was the final push I needed to seek help from an RD/certified eating disorders counselor. I’m working through the intuitive eating process right now with her and struggling so hard with letting go of weight loss. It’s consumed me for so long. Thank you so much for your authenticity. It’s what brought me to my journey of healing myself.

  34. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. Many of us struggle, and it helps to hear that we’re not alone.

  35. Kylie-

    This is so well written! I applaud your honesty, your #realtalk, and your passion to continue to find yourself! I love this post, but more importantly, I love that you use your platform to make a statement that can so powerfully and positively affect all women.

    You go girl! 

    <3 Liz Shaw

  36. Thank you for this. The struggle has always been real.

  37. I admire you SO MUCH, I love your creativity when making recipes so when I read that u still have some days with bad body image issues I feel so good, like I’m not alone, someone I look up to has the same problems as me <3.

    Thank u!!!

  38. Thank you for this post. I followed the three IG accounts you mentioned…I think it’ll be a good reminder that healthy and beautiful doesn’t HAVE to mean thin or ripped on days that I feel down about myself. :)

  39. Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing Kylie. I know the majority of women are struggling with this and its nice to know we’re not alone and that there are so many amazing women out there working to fight against this mentality. Followed all your IG suggestions – love the body positivity! 

  40. Love, love, love this post, Kylie. I so respect you as a colleague and friend. I became an RD for the same reasons you mentioned in the post :) Just followed all of your Instagram suggestions and can’t wait to listen to the podcasts! xo

    • So glad we’ve gotten to spend time with each other in real life and not only be internet friends:)) AND you will love the podcasts! They are incredible!!!!

  41. Such an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing. As women in this day and age we sometimes forget to realize that being happier with yourself involves more than just your weight or how you look.

  42. What a powerful post, Kylie. Thanks for sharing this personal story and for just being YOU! And I loved this so much “I help people stop dieting, be be okay with eating processed foods and start to respect their bodies” because as RD’s we really have a wonderful opportunity to help people learn how to enjoy all foods and feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. I know you’ve helped so many people with this post by just being honest :) 

  43. Love you lots, Kylie. Thank you for sharing your story. I can attest to so much of the frustration in wanting my body to look a certain way, yet also to the freedom of allowing myself to love…myself. Society is pretty screwed up in so many ways, but beautiful people like you are helping it move in the right direction. <3

    • I’ve always been so appreciate of you, Alison. You’ve been with me from the very beginning:) Thanks for another motivating and encouraging comment<3

  44. Thank you so much for posting this!! I went through years of disordered eating and thoughts about my body, and have been trying to get past it and into intuitive eating for at least a year now. Your words in this post are words I needed to read, so thank you, thank you, thank you! <3

  45. Such wise words!! Thanks so much for this post <3

    Blessings,
    Edye // Gracefulcoffee

  46. Yes. Just, yes. This is something I’ve personally been struggling with as well and still do, although it’s gotten much easier in recent years. This is a beautiful post, and one that all women should read. Thanks for sharing this.

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  49. This is amazing!! Thank you for sharing this!!!

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  51. Thank you for your wonderful positive thoughts and honesty! It’s not an easy and I am excited for you and how far you’ve come. I am inspired by your journey and am definitely checking out the resources you mentioned. thank you :)

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  58. I SO needed to read this today. More posts like this, pretty please! Your story is so inspiring! And I am super excited about these new podcasts. I subscribed to both immediately. Thank you!

  59. Love love love this. I have gone through the same struggles and am so passionate to help other women overcome this! I hope I can have a positive impact like your blog someday! If ya ever need any help  give me a holler :)

  60. This was amazing, Kylie.  Thank you for opening up and sharing your story :)

  61. This was so lovely to read. It’s really sad when you think about the fact that “women are trained to want to be thin…” It couldn’t be more true, all of the media and marketing surrounding women. It’s so frustrating…
    I’m going to have to look into those podcasts, thank you for sharing this!

  62. This is such a great post! Yoga had the same effect on me – I finally noticed my body in a completely different way, and started to feel pride and amazement with it, rather than hatred.

  63. Kylie, this post is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in quite some time. I am so proud of you, both for the progress and growth you’ve had in your person journey to self acceptance and as a food blogger/voice advocating normal eating. You are such a beautiful person inside and out – when I hear of people like you coming out with their struggles with body image, it makes me so happy that we’re doing the work we’re doing! So grateful to have you in my RD dream team! XO 

  64. I really, really needed to read this.
    I’ve been trying to hate myself into weightloss for a while and that’s just not a good thing.

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  66. Check out my podcast Body Kindness! And keep working on being good to yourself. It’s a journey for all. More RDs need to speak up that fat is not bad. (Also see RD4BC.com)

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  70. Soaked up every lovely word here. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey, which the rest of us and learn and grow from. Sharing with my readers every which way I can. 

  71. This is the first post of yours I’ve read. By my count, I’ve been struggling with this cycle for 34 years. That’s an awful lot of body hating. No one in my life knows how much I’ve hated myself, done the eat/guilt/exercise cycle, berated myself for eating, etc. By medical standards I am underweight, yet no dr has ever commented on it or encouraged me to get healthier. By the grace of God I had three healthy babies. I didn’t feel bad about myself eating when I was pregnant because I was taking care of the life growing inside me. Otherwise it’s always felt like I didn’t deserve to take up the space of a normal size human. I am slowly, slowly coming up for air now. My body is changing & shifting as I navigate mid-life hormonal changes and I’m trying to be ok with that. I’m finally trying to focus more on the person that I am rather than the size I am. Keep on writing & encouraging. Your voice is grace and encouragement.

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  73. This is a really beautiful post, thank you for sharing. By sharing your story you are helping so many people and the work you do is just amazing. I love your blog and your work! 

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