The “I love my body” message (and why I hate it.)
Since fat isn’t valued in the culture we live in, I don’t think I’ll ever look in the mirror and think, “omgsh I love that fat on my arm.” Or, “I love the way there is cellulite on that part of my thigh.” So that got me thinking…should we be focusing on loving our bodies?
I heard a quote about humility that I really connected with recently. It said humility, “isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” I think that sorta parallels nicely to what positive body image really is. Positive body image isn’t loving your body, it’s thinking of your body less (or more neutrally) because you’re too busy living or working on creating a vibrant life.
When I think about people and things I love, those are influences in my life I think about a lot. I love Andrew, my sisters, our parents, Maggie, my watercolor set…and because I find joy in those things I think about them a lot. So when I come across messages saying that we should all be trying to, “love our bodies,” it never sits quite right with me. For me, since loving something means I think about it a ton, body love isn’t what I’m going for. I don’t want to sit around all day thinking about my body.
As I’m about to journey from pregnancy to postpartum I’m really interested to see what feelings come up for me. During the first trimester I had feelings of feeling foreign in my body…which is a feeling that always catches me off guard and feels icky and awful and takes me back to high school and college when I never felt comfortable in my body. These feelings typically pop up when I’m sleep deprived, going through a major life change, working too much, and self care has fallen away (<–All of those factors will be at play in the postpartum time. ‘Working too much’ = caring for a newborn non-stop.). I know what negative body image is. It’s…
…so when there’s a stressor from time to time it’s easy to default to blaming your body, which is something I think we all need to be proactive in being aware of and intentionally telling our brains that, “I’m not allowed to blame my body size here…what other factors could be upsetting me right now?”.
So I’m interested to see how I feel in my newly non-pregnant body and share about it when I’m ready to. I imagine dressing my postpartum body is going to be similar to dressing a going-through-puberty-middle-school body (hehe)…a bit of an awkward stage where nothing quite fits and your body feels foreign from all the change.
So. What do you think about this? Do you think pursuing body love is something that is right for you? Has the body love message brought you peace in your natural body size? Or maybe is thinking about you body less because you are prioritizing your values and making sure your actions are aligning better with your values is a better approach for bringing you improved body image.
Now a few actionable steps you can take.
If you feel really uncomfortable in your body, healing your relationship with food and exercise and building up a trust that your body knows how to feed itself and move in a way not meant to micromanage your body size can be a good place to start. There are a lot of starting points for healing those relationships.
- A free option is listening to Seasons 2 and 3 of the Food Psych podcast.
- If you already do that, the Intuitive Eating Book or The Intuitive Eating Workbook are great next steps (<–both of those are affiliate links).
- If you’re already doing both of those things or would like a bit more guidance…I’d recommend my How to Eat Course. Since I won’t be accepting any new clients until February and would love to support anyone in starting their journey to a more peaceful relationship with food and body NOW, starting today thru November 11th my course will be discounted by 25% using the code: GOODBYEBODYHATE
If you feel uncomfortable in your body, you don’t have to live like that. I feel so many women and men don’t do the right type of work to move towards feeling comfortable in their body size. Going on a diet and focusing on becoming smaller is the wrong type of work. Moving towards thinking about fat more neutrally and focusing on creating a more vibrant life is the right type of work. All of the above resources will help you do that.