Is your relationship with food and your body serving you?
“If dieting and hating your body worked, wouldn’t you be at your goal weight by now?”– Victoria Kleinsman
Think about that for a moment.
You’ve wanted to lose weight probably most of your life and maybe you have lost weight and then you’ve gained it again and maybe you’ve lost it again and then you’ve gained it again… so just take a moment to reflect back on your relationship with food and your body and ask yourself;
“Is my relationship with food and my body serving me? Is it making me happy? Is it good for me?
Maybe you’re at the stage where you know that the path to intuitive eating and working on how you feel towards your body and developing your Self Love is the way forward but you still have this desperate desire to lose weight…
That’s okay! It is completely normal to want to lose weight so don’t feel bad or feel guilty for wanting to lose weight. Honestly, if you didn’t want to lose weight at this stage, it would be profoundly unusual.
The desire to lose weight will always be there
It won’t be as strong if you do the necessary inner work and body image work and you will absolutely have less frequent bad body image days, but the desire to lose weight will always be there if you continue to live in the society and culture that we live in today.
No difficult body image thoughts?
Spoiler alert – Body image work is not about ‘never having a bad body image thought ever again, sorry – but it can absolutely help you to separate your self-worth from your appearance so that your body’s aesthetic appearance does not dictate how happy you are.
Matter of life or death
Wanting to fit in and wanting to be accepted and admired by others is actually coded in our DNA. From cavewomen times we needed to be liked by the tribe in order to survive. We needed to be desired by a caveman so he could hunt for us and provide for us and keep us safe whilst we brought up our children.
So if we weren’t accepted or admired then it truly was a matter of life or death. Of course, now it’s not like that but we still feel the same desperate need to be admired and to be liked. Women back then did not have independence so our DNA code goes something like this:
I need to be desired by a man or desired by others in order to be provided for, in order to survive.
Bombarded with messages
If you’ve got to the point where you know that dieting isn’t working for you yet you still want to lose weight, again I just want to clarify and remind you that it is totally normal to feel this way.
If you take a look at society and the media as it is today, we are bombarded with messages from Instagram, Facebook, TV shows, advertisements, movies and series. The message is the same, Fat is bad and thin is good.
It is very common – or more so it is the norm – to have any actress in a larger body play the silly, funny character and to accept fat jokes from others and even give fat jokes to themselves whereas the woman with the smaller ideal body always gets the guy, the successful job and is lusted over and loved by everyone in the movie.
This messaging starts in early childhood through fairytales. Take Cinderella for example… the two stepsisters in the Cinderella story are both considered mean and evil and so their characters were created as one being considered ugly and the other being in a larger body.
This just reinforces the message that “ugly” and “fat” are considered bad. These messages are everywhere in children’s fairytales!
As we become older we are continually bombarded with these types of messages and we feel that we cannot measure up to the ideal. Yet instead of allowing us to see that it is all a waste of time and energy, we just keep trying even harder to reach these ideals because we feel that our life depends on it.
And we are constantly internalising these external messages going through life feeling that with every cell of our being, fat equals bad and unlovable and unwanted and thin equals love, belonging and being taken care of.
Enough is enough!
Does it seem impossible to love your body as it is now?
If you are or have been a chronic dieter it may seem impossible to love your body as it is now and I completely understand how you feel as I have been there for so many years. But here’s the thing, dieting chips away at your self-esteem, dieting reinforces that thinner equals better and the more diets you go on and the more diets you inevitably fail just continues to chip away at your self-esteem and your self-worth. And so we diet even harder and become even harder on ourselves in order to try to feel better about ourselves by looking a certain way because again we have internalised all the external messages that thinner equals happiness… it’s exhausting just explaining this, yet I’ve done it for over 20 years and I’m sure many of you have also.
The way out…
There is a way out of this prison! And it involves a lot of patience, compassion a ton of deconditioning and unlearning everything we’ve been taught about our bodies and food.
Because the world we live in will not change overnight and the external messaging about thinner equals better will not disappear any time soon.
We constantly get comments from others all of the time from our family from friends from our coworkers complimenting us on weight loss or complimenting us on what we wear saying things like; “that dress is really flattering on you” which basically means “that dress makes you look thinner than you are and that’s a good thing!”
So this body image work is never done. Body neutrality isn’t a destination where you arrive and then you’re done… it takes work every single day but it gets so much easier as the days go on and it’s so worth it!
It’s a process
We can’t go from body hate to body love overnight and often when we are just slapping positive affirmations on top of negative body image thoughts, that actually creates cognitive dissonance and impostor syndrome and actually doesn’t help much at all.
The process goes from body hate to body neutrality to body acceptance and appreciation to body love and I can tell you this, the difficulty that you have to go through in order to reach that place of body neutrality and body love is 1 million times worth it compared to dieting until you die…!
The root cause
The root cause of any kind of body image dissatisfaction is feeling unworthy. Not feeling good enough.
When we attach our self-worth and our self-esteem to the way our body looks we are never going to be happy. Our bodies have nothing to do with our self-worth so we need to separate self-worth from the way we perceive our bodies physical appearance
“When I lose weight I’ll feel more comfortable”
What does that really mean to you? Dig deeper here…
Does it mean that you will feel comfortable and confident to take your kids swimming?
Does it mean that you’ll feel confident getting intimate with your partner?
Does it mean you’ll feel better in the gym and moving your body?
Get really clear on what that means to you. What does feeling better in your body really mean to you apart from losing weight?
Will dieting really give you what you want or do you just think it will…?
I’ll love my body when…
You may be thinking that there’s no way you can love your body as it is now because you’ve spent so much of your life hating it.
Maybe you say things like, “I’ll love my body when…”
But here’s the thing, when you put your life on hold until you’ve lost weight you’re literally stopping yourself from living with a false promise.
You may think that you’ll be able to love your body when you’ve lost X amount of weight but is that really true?
The magic happens when you practice and remember how to love your body now and then you start to build a beautiful relationship with your body. You become more in tune with your body. And all of the things that you want to feel when you’ve lost the weight you can already start to feel now in the body you have today… but it starts with body acceptance and giving up the fight against yourself and your body.
If you continue allowing yourself to base your happiness on your appearance you are honestly setting yourself up to be unhappy forever.
If you believe that you can never learn to love your body now you’ll never be happy. So allow yourself to create the possibility that maybe you could somehow, learn how to love your body as it is now…
Our bodies change all of the time. Our bodies are supposed to change and if you put all of your self-worth in your appearance you will be spending your whole life chasing something that is not attainable.
Give yourself space to feel what you feel
Start with accepting that you don’t like your tummy or your legs or whatever it is you don’t like about your body.
Give yourself space to feel that.
The body-loving movement sometimes can be filled with toxic positivity and we can feel the pressure that we must love every part of our body in order to be free in our bodies and have a positive body image. That is not the case.
Simply by giving ourselves the space to feel what we really feel about our bodies, for example standing in front of the mirror and accepting that you don’t like certain parts of your body or maybe even all of your body right now and allowing that to be okay is definitely the best place to start.
Body love starts with body neutrality and body neutrality is being free in your body without seeing your body as an object to look at or to manipulate to look a certain way. The problem is not with your body the problem is what you think about your body.
We spent way too much time preoccupied with our bodies and it’s never enough and it’s never-ending. Continuing to concentrate and focus on what your body looks like all of the time causes you to become even more preoccupied with your body and then with food as well.
If we practice letting go of the need to feel accepted through our body’s appearance, and practice building up our self-esteem and coming back to our sovereign self-worthiness which has nothing to do with our bodies – we will be able to live in peace, freedom and self-love.
Your body isn’t the problem
Body image is not about your shape or size. Body image is how you perceive your body no matter what your shape or size.– Victoria Kleinsman
The problem isn’t your body it’s how you feel about your body.
If we think we will have a wonderful life by having the ideal body we need to think again.
We need to take time to process and to grieve our ideal body because it is only when we let go of an ideal body type and stop seeing our body as an object or a thing to be admired and start living in our bodies is when we can truly be at peace and feel happy.
Because your size does not guarantee your happiness no matter how much we think it does.
We all age and get older, we get wrinkles, we go grey… this is a part of life… none of us are getting out of this alive.
If we continue to waste our energy and allow our happiness to be based on external factors such as what other people think about our body and what our body actually looks like physically, we are just wasting our life away.
So the question I would like to leave you with today is”
“How can you be more kind and compassionate towards your current body?”
Body neutrality starts with coming back to the now, being IN your current body and giving yourself kindness., compassion and unconditional self-love.
Again, we need to learn how to separate our self-worth and our appearance.
Hating yourself hasn’t got you the results that you want so how about trying to be nicer to yourself and learning how to love yourself on your journey to food and body freedom?
If you need help with this, I got you!