Yeah…Immaeatthat

Oct 13

Feeling at home in your body (<--i adore this phrase)

The way to feel at home in your body isn’t to constantly be trying to keep your body at or get your body to a certain size.

We can get so attached to our body looking a certain way or staying a size X, but it seems foolish to get attached to our bodies when they are supposed to change throughout a lifetime.  

I guess a big issue is we are taught that we should be constantly trying to stay the same body size.  The idea of “fitting back into your high school jeans” is actually a terrifying concept to me.  You were a child in high school and the body of a child should be different than that of a 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old woman.

So this all leads to the question of: should we get attached to something that is meant to change?

Since the body is supposed to change throughout a lifetime, is getting value and worth from one’s body size an intelligent decision? Or is it foolish?

Is the decision to find your value and worth in your body size going to set you up to be constantly disappointed as you age and your body flows in directions it is supposed to? I don’t know about you, but I have zero interest in being a person who fights the gains and losses my body continues to experience in fatness level, muscle mass, and/or pant size as my life and age changes.  My interest is to take care of my health and I’m okay with the fact that, that doesn’t guarantee a thin body.  Having a thin body never helped me feel more at home and comfortable in my body.

So instead of attaching to a certain body size / pant size, I think we should be attaching to the idea that bodies are made to change.  If you accept the idea that bodies are made to change, you are more likely to begin feeling at home (aka comfortable) in your body as it shifts.  It’s also worth remembering that spending your life trying to control your weight is essentially a constant attempt to be someone else.

Any thoughts on this? Would love to hear comments on:

  • When one’s identity and worth is connected to staying the same body size that can make body changes especially difficult to tolerate.  I’m sure some of your have thoughts/comments on your (past or present) identity being tied to your body size. 
  • What are you currently doing to feel at home in your body? 

As always, would love to get a good conversation going in the comments section :) You guys are good at asking for support / giving support to each other and I love seeing it.

45 comments on “Feeling at home in your body (<--i adore this phrase)”

  1. Love your posts as always! I’m currently studying abroad in South Korea and it’s been really a good exercise for me in relinquishing all forms of control when it comes from food. I’ve been thrust into a very different dietary world that’s forced me to live an intuitive lifestyle. At first, I was having a lot of delusions that I was gaining weight due to the fact that I’m eating tons of rice. Not like weight gain is a bad thing, but I’m sometimes too quick to pair a new dietary change with weight gain regardless of whats actually happening.

    I’m not eating a single food now that I would normally eat, and it’s really cool to eat some place else! Whenever I’m struggling to feel at home at my body, I like to google something like “benefits of eating white rice”, “benefits of sleeping in”, or “benefits of walking” and read articles that talk about how good it is to do all of those things and snaps me out of guilty feelings. I also like to write things that I’m proud of my body for doing, like going on an amazing hike or listening to my hunger cues and how good that makes me feel.

    • I love that you are looking for ways to support your decisions around health. I would also encourage you to start to look inside YOURSELF (instead of google) for the knowledge/voice of authority that makes all of your decisions okay. Even if the internet listed 0 benefits to eating white rice, could you come up with a list of your own reasons based on your body, your current lifestyle, etc? For example, “fills me up when I am hungry” or “allows me to immerse myself in a different culture” or even “tastes good with ‘xyz’ other foods I am eating!”

      I bring this up because I used to always look for scientific information or even other women’s stories to support exactly what I was going through.. it definitely helps and I think it’s important, but what I’ve learned (over time) is that just choosing to tell myself I am okay and all of my choices are okay is more powerful than looking outside to be told that same thing.

    • Thanks for sharing, Savannah <3 I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in South Korea. Disordered eating can really ruin adventures abroad and I'm happy to hear you aren't letting that happen!!

  2. Really really trying to drill this idea into my head these days!

  3. I LOVE THIS POST. I was actually just thinking about how crazy it is that for so many years during my eating disorder, I tried to keep my body looking the way I did when I was eleven/twelve years old. I was a grown woman who was terrified of gaining curves because I was so fixated on staying thin and frail. I was also thinking about how I was never happier or more at home in my body when I was trapped inside ED. I was actually MORE unhappy and LESS at home. It is truly terrifying how ED can give us complete tunnel vision.

    • Yes! I remember a friend asking me in exasperation what body type I was trying to achieve by restricting and my first thought was “12-year old boy”. I was an 18-year old girl. It was only when I finally named the body type I was after that I realized just how absurd it was!!! 

  4. These posts always come when I need them the most!  After recovering from anorexia and giving birth to two healthy babies, I still struggle to accept my body.  My body went back to its prepregnancy size after my first son, but my second son (10 months) seems to have made a permanent change!  I am working to accept the change as okay but I’m having a hard time with it.  My body went through hell between anorexia, excessive exercise, infertility treatements, pregnancy, breastfeeding, miscarriage then infertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding again.  I look at my two boys and think about what a miracle it is that they are even here.  My body is meant to change.  I am certainly not the same person I was a few years ago, so why should my body be the same?  I know all this, but it’s still hard to look in the mirror or feel my belly and hips and not criticize my shape and size.

  5. I have hypothyroidism and I’m struggling with my body size. Just last year I came to the point where I would finally accept my body size and stop trying to lose weight/gain muscle. I read blogs on intuitive eating and bought the books. Then I gained some weight, received my diagnosis of hypothyroid and had to make peace with going up another size. Now I’m going up a size every couple of months it seems & it’s too difficult to make peace with a size then go up another. I can’t afford to keep buying another wardrobe every 3 months. & I’m “plus” size already so I get the “well-meaning” concern that I’m unhealthy. According to my most recent results, my thyroid levels are in the healthy range now so my thyroid shouldn’t explain my continued weight gain. & I was not restricting before I started eating intuitively so it’s not like I’m in the natural phase of gaining due to no longer restricting. Anyways, I’m just really struggling with accepting my body size because it’s changing in a matter of months & it’s too expensive and emotionally exhausting to adjust to each new size.

    • Marie,

      I just wanted to thank you for your post. I am in recovery from anorexia (healthy weight and no longer overexercising but those body image thoughts are ALWAYS there), and I really identified with Kylie’s post today. That said, your thoughts resonated with me because my mom has hypothyroidism and I grew up watching her struggle with it. She was constantly having to work harder than others not to gain weight, and she had a hard time being in her body. Now though, my mom is so happy and has finally accepted herself. And you know what? Her body is a little bit different than it used to be, but she seems SO much happier to me. Like, she’s so comfortable with who she is, that it really couldn’t matter less to her what she looks like. Of course, she’s someone I love, so I think she’s beautiful inside and out. I hope for you that you can find this peace too, even if it takes time (it took my mom over 30 years!).

      I also get the expensive bit about needing to buy new clothes (in recovery that’s been a definite challenge for me). For me, dresses and yoga pants have been great – I hope that helps somewhat! Oh, and thrift shops can have some really nice stuff if you’re lucky!

  6. Such a great post! This comment is great too. I have wondered, Kylie, how you would transition into “mom body” (whatever that means). I am 40 and a mom of three teens and have spent too much time and energy with an eating disorder and disordered eating. Having started on recovery later in life- 38- I really appreciate any of these posts/thoughts that point out that a body changes!! I get so tired/angry hearing the get your body back BS that seems to go hand in hand with pregnancy! Actually the whole belief that a body isn’t supposed to change makes me angry. So many people running their lives with that false belief; I was one. Still sometimes get tricked back into believing that’s true. I don’t know if I read it here or on something you linked to but the quote was “I choose to live at my happiest self not my thinnest self.” I’m so thankful for your thoughtful posts!

  7. Something that really frustrates me is the pressure in college to “not gain the freshman fifteen” – the adjustment to college is hard enough, and I cannot tell you how many girls on campus are constantly commenting on their diet/weight/exercise in reference to the freshman fifteen. 

    Something that really helped me was reading one of your 5 thoughts blog post Kylie, and changing the perspective around my body – my body is not meant to stay my high school size, it’s natural for it to change as I grow into my “woman’s body.” In the past year of recovery from an ED, not only has my body grown into a softer, fleshier woman’s body, but my mind has also matured and grown into a (young) woman’s mind :)

  8. Do you ever experience a lack of hunger cues? If so, how do you deal with this.

    • All the time. I know my body still needs to eat every 3-4 hours regardless of hunger/fullness cues and I eat anyways. Also helpful for me was/is recognizing that hunger doesn’t have to feel like a growling stomach. It can also feel like emptiness, a headache, irritability, being bloated (if I go too long without eating I always end up bloated before and after I eat), tiredness, etc.

      • Thank you for sharing this!  I’ve been working on healing my disordered eating for several months with intuitive eating (thanks to you and Robyn!!! ). It is so hard to tell when I’m hungry and I have lots of bloating and cramping.  I’m so glad to hear that this Is typical.

        Can’t wait to read your post next week about ways to feel at home in my body.

        Thank you for all that you do!

        Julie

      • This was so helpful! I would love to hear more about how to listen more to your body, especially when you feel like you sometimes lack “traditional” hunger cues. I usually have a pretty low appetite, from years of restriction and guilt surrounding any time I ate — especially if it “appeared” to be more than others around me. I’ve started to try and listen to my body a bit more and eat when other things happen. Like if I get shaky, light headed, or can no longer concentrate. I then eat and try to be conscious of how my body feels better/same/worse afterwords.
        That being said, it’s super hard and I would love more blog posts talking about this!

  9. I’ve been coming to terms with this recently…it’s hard because I just really don’t want to sometimes. We went to a cousin’s wedding last weekend and I got so frustrated because none of my dresses fit. My husband was so sweet – he helped me find a new dress and told me how beautiful I am to him. I was reminded that I love the soft, fleshy parts of him so why don’t I believe that he likes mine too??

  10. This is one of my favorite points about body acceptance and was truly the spark for me to try and learn body acceptance. I logically KNEW that I wasn’t going to look like a 20 year old when I am 80… that would be REALLY weird. The next thought was realizing this change in my appearance wasn’t going to occur overnight, and instead, would be gradual changes throughout the years. So, WHEN was I going to decide I was okay with that and to STOP trying to change everything or “get it back.” Now when I hear advertisements/media talking about getting a body “back” (back to before kids, back to high school weight, yada yada), I just think the whole idea is ridiculous and comical. Afterall, we don’t expect to fit into the clothes we wore as a child, why should we expect to fit into clothes we wore more than a decade ago or in a different season of life? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  11. I always have it in the back of my mind that as an aspiring dietitian wanting to specialize in eating disorders and intuitive eating, I need to look a certain way (thin) otherwise why would people listen to me? How do you counsel clients without worrying what they think about your body size?

    • Eating disorder and intuitive eating treatment should be done from a weight neutral approach. I would go as far as to say it would be hard to be an effective clinician in this field (and even would be harmful to the client) if the clinician didn’t prescribe to a weight neutral + Health at Every Size mentality. If a clinician is interested in this field they should be open to thinking more neutrally about their body size. The book Body Respect by Linda Bacon is a great place for them to start.

      I’m sure clients have a problem / thoughts about my body size all the time, which is totally fine! That’s one of the reasons they’re in treatment…to get to a place where they don’t base their value or worth (or, for that matter, my value or worth) off of their body size.

      If a clinician has a lot of self-consciousness about their body or weight inside or outside of client sessions, that is a sign that one may need to continue doing body image work / get supervision or counseling on where their body concerns stem from.

      Hope that helps!

      • Yes it does thanks!! I definitely know I still need to work on my body image issues and because of that I know I might never be able to work with eating disorders but it’s something I think about because it’s always been in my heart to do.

        • I don’t think this means you can never work with eating disorders! I think it’s just good to have self awareness of where you are in your journey and that you are working on moving towards more neutral feelings around your body. Because of your past struggles you will be able to have so much empathy for what clients are going through<3

  12. PREACH. Feeling at home in your body- such a beautiful concept! Things that help me with that are meditation, yoga, walks outside (not on a treadmill ew), and resting. Things that detach me from my body are super intensely exercise and over-thinking food choices. Great post Kylie!

  13. Hi Kylie, loved this post. I’ve been meaning to ask you for some time, what are your thoughts on intuitive eating for people who have certain diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc? How should those people incorporate intuitive eating to following certain “rules” that could help manage their condition?

  14. I absolutely love this post. It’s something I totally needed to read at the moment, because the past two months I have been trying to stop dieting and become a normal, intutitive eater. I thought it would be easy to begin to eat normally but truthfully I find it terrifying! I have been dieting for years now, and I’m just so tired of being neurotic around food, so you, and a few other of my favorite intiuitive eating RDs have finally convinced me to do it! Although sometimes it’s very hard to not begin dieting again because I’ve gained just a little weight, not an insane amount but enough to where it’s making me feel self conscious. It especially makes me feel self conscious around my mother, I just turned 16, and my mom has always encouraged me to diet and won’t listen to me when I tell her that whenever I diet I lose my period with the weight I lose. She thinks that the reason I started my period to begin with was because I weighed too much. Now that I’m finally trying to accept my body’s natural shape and size, I find it hard to eat indulgent things, or food other than salad or vegetables around her. Do you have any advice on dealing with mothers who want you to be at your thinnest?

  15. I wish I had known this when I was starting college! My body changing (and me thinking it wasn’t supposed to) was a big trigger to my eating disorder that started freshman year. Now in the process of recovery, I still have to remind myself that the goal isn’t ‘weight restoration’ because restoring to the weight I was at the beginning of college isn’t where my body is supposed to be at 25. Thanks for your posts – they’ve been hugely helpful!

    • Same name and very similar stories. Thanks for sharing and congrats for starting recovery! I don’t think people realize just how dangerous college is for mental health issues and eating disorders.

  16. I really needed to read this today. I feel like I have come so far in my journey to recovery, which I have, but I know until I can stop feeling like I need to stay the same size, I can’t consider myself recovered. I like the phrase “feeling at home in your body”. When I start to have disordered thinking about my body, I think that is a phrase I can add to my toolbox to help. Thanks for the great post!

  17. I love this so much! It was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m 4 months postpartum and lately I’ve been struggling to accept my stretch marks and the fact that my belly button is just never going to look the same. I’m going to try to give myself grace and to start to feel “at home” in this new body.. after all, it did nourish a 10 pound beautiful baby boy

  18. If I’m honest I’m still struggling. I quit diets so no food is restricted. I haven’t binged in a while and I’m exercising more but I’m not fueling in the right way. I am over eating on unhealthy foods causing no weight loss. Because I’m not seeing results (even tho it’s early days) I keep thinking I need to go on a diet. It’s really exhausting. I’m considering getting rid of all the clothes that I used to fit in to as I find they make me feel worse not motivate me to get the weight off 🙈 I don’t feel at home with my body right now I think it’s going to take a while👎🏻

  19. I stopped weighing myself quite awhile ago, and of course at my annual gyn appt tge other day, the nurse told me my weight. I hate that it still triggers me but it does so, it was just annoying.

  20. I love this post, and being at home in my body is something I’m striving for. I’ve come miles in terms of body acceptance but I’m still struggling. The thing is, we live in a fat phobic society, where thinness is “social currency” (Roxanne Gay talks about this in her book Hunger). Having been bigger (and treated in a certain way) and smaller (and treated in the opposite way), I live in fear of returning to a less socially normal size and still desire thin privilege. It’s incredibly difficult not to keep fighting my body to change!

  21. So funny. I wrote about this and yoga a while back.

    http://www.thewefiles.com/blog/2017/5/18/to-be-a-tree

    I also love that expression, and I agree it is helpful to accept the process of change. So much easier said than done of course. Thank you for your thoughts as always, Kylie!

  22. I love this post and I am definitely a culprit of being attached to my body size. I am 21 years old and in the early stages of recovery from anorexia, and I never thought it would be so hard to change my mentality about my body size. I desperately want to love my body at a healthy weight. I want to be okay with my body growing because especially in recovery, that is always a good sign. But it’s the most challenging part about this process. I am still trying to let go of the body I had during my disorder, but I did grow very attached to it. Thank you for sharing this post-it helps everyone who struggles with body image issues but especially helps people who are in similar situations to mine :)

  23. Hi Kylie!

    I’d like to know your thoughts on body types….pear, apple, hourglass, etc.
    Lately I’ve been trying to do some work on my wardrobe, downsizing and trying to find clothes I look great in. I’m a pear body shape, so naturally I want to find things that are flattering and make me feel confident. The problem is (if you can call it a “problem”….it’s mostly something I noticed and found kind of weird) that all the models they use for “curvy” girls and “pear” shapes…..are pretty chunky (not using chunky as something negative, just a descriptor). Why do you think the people in the fashion industry equate having curves or a womanly figure with being overweight? And a lot of the things I read tell girls to not hide their curves and to “play up your assets,” as if having a figure (aka having some pleasant, feminine padding around your hips and bum) is something you should be ashamed of in the first place. It’s annoying!

    Thoughts? I’d love to see a watercolor or article on this topic. :)

    ~Olivia

  24. Pingback: Specific ideas for how to feel at home in your body. – Yeah…Immaeatthat

  25. I love this post and all the comments! I know there are so many women out there who feel the same way! After restoring weight in recovery, it took a while to accept my new size, and then when I did I started gaining weight and for about 3 years my body would change every year. However, I think this is when I started eating more intuitively. It was so hard to have to accept my body and then see it change again and buy a new size of jeans. Yet, the body I have now is not a teenager or college-student body, it’s a women’s body, it’s where my weight is supposed to be. I still struggle to feel at home in my body…I think most times I try to avoid embracing it, and if a change happened again, I know that I would struggle.

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