The unhealthy relationship with my body began during puberty when I felt a loss of control over the changes in my teenage physique. The comments people made about my changing body did not help the fact that I feared I was losing control. I truly believed that being thin could fix my internal dilemma of how I felt about myself, despite the weight I was at.
For many years, I felt my worth was based on my appearance. As the societal pressure to be thin continued to escalate, I constantly felt even more inadequate and ashamed that I was not able to meet society’s impossible standards.
I have learned that making peace with food is one thing, and making peace with your body is another beast. Re-search shows that 60-80% of women and 40% of men don’t like how they look. It is sad that as human beings we allow our outside appearance to dictate our quality of life and happiness.
Our body image can also impact our relationships and our mental and emotional well-being. We may isolate from family and friends, or we may avoid social events. I missed out on so many fun events growing up because of my own insecurities about the way I looked.
If you are struggling with body image, it is helpful to remind yourself that:
- You can make the choice to either accept or reject society’s values of appearance and weight
- Your body does not define who you are. Your body is NOT the problem. Society saying your body is unworthy, IS the problem.
- Focus on your valuable qualities that have nothing to do with your appearance.
- You do not have to look a certain way to live a meaningful life.
To heal your body image, focus on what you feed your brain, not what you feed your body. You can be happy or miserable at any shape and size.
Body acceptance requires action. It is important to confront and challenge our beliefs and negative thoughts, and stop comparing our bodies to others.
Regardless of how I feel in the moment or other’s opinions, I am going to be unapologetically me. It has taken me decades to feel at peace with who I am, but the day has come that I accept what I look like, regardless of what other people think.