I want to talk about body image.
What do we see in the mirror when we look at ourselves.
What have we been told to see? What is our expectation?
Not long ago I posted a full length picture of myself on Instagram. It was quite a big deal for me. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. Ok, I did it as part of body positivity day so I used that as an excuse. But it still was a big deal. After posting the picture, I wondered if this meant I am getting somewhere with my body image? To tell you the truth, generally I am quite contented with me now, except when Im feeling a bit off. It has taken a lot of work but it feels good. I feel like I am in control at last. I’ve stopped believing that a life goal should be to change your body to be “better looking”. Better for who?
So why are we judged by how we look? Why do we judge ourselves by how we look?
Why do we judge? That’s the real question.
I felt prompted to write this blog about body image because over the last couple of weeks there were a few instances where body image has come up and reminded me of its dominance in our society, and how it has affected me.
I have noticed however that since I have come off the weight band wagon I don’t get as many people wanting to talk to me about it. I’ve also changed my line of work so maybe it isn’t expected as much anymore. Well, whatever it is, it’s a welcome relief.
So back to the couple of instances.
Sitting next to me at a dinner was a very beautiful woman who had a body on her like a super model. She didn’t have any food in front of her and I asked “Aren’t you hungry? This meal is actually quite nice”. She said she had to lose a very specific amount of weight because she didn’t like the way she looked. And the specific amount was quite a lot. At first I thought she was joking so I laughed. However she wasn’t.
I then thought, wow, no matter what we look like, it’s sometimes still never enough.
I proceeded to eat the dinner.
Then, another lady who I know very well said to me, I need to talk to you about what diet I can do to lose all the weight I have put on this summer. I don’t know what was sadder, the fact that she felt she needed to lose weight or the fact that I am the diet guru.
Someone also made a comment to me the other day about weight. They were being complementary by saying “there are people who are really fat and there are people like you who carry weight but feel healthy”. Hmmm thanks 😳
Why is our body image such an issue? Why do people care?
I usually find that people who are critical or make comments about other people’s weight have an issue with their own. That’s bizarre isn’t it? You would think that if you are a bit chunky you would have empathy and acceptance for someone else in the same boat. But no, it’s the first thing that is seen and commented on. People describe other people as, “the one that is overweight” and some people feel they have the right to voice their opinions, without any awareness of anyone else. I had a client who said I was getting chunky, mind you this same client was horrified that I wasn’t a vegetarian because I was a therapist.
Oh well it takes all sorts. Fortunately by that stage of my life I didn’t care. If it had been 5 years earlier I would have been scouring the internet for the next diet.
Its also important to remember the other side of the scale when it comes to body image.
Weight is a very touchy subject no matter who you are. I have had a few clients who have body issues because they feel underweight and are embarrassed. One lady didn’t want me to touch her because of that and kept apologising for being thin.
So why have I brought this up and why is this subject important to me?
Because for the majority of my years it has been a very stressful and depressing subject. I think about the amount of time and money I have spent researching the latest diet, diet supplement, detox, pull me in knickers and everything else that goes with it just to get the perfect body that we are told we are meant to have, and it gives me a headache.
It’s disturbing to see people believe all the hype around diets and perfect bodies and how it will make you happy. Happy????? All it ever made me was stress out. Stress out about what to eat, stress out about what not to eat, stress out about gaining a lb, stress out about not losing enough lbs. Stress out about the judgment.
So, how do we change? Do you want to change?
Well, for me it was turning 50. I had also been through the Amnanda Process. I changed my life in a lot of ways, but the weight thing was still getting the better of me. So, I said “that’s it”, no more diets, no more worrying what other people thought, no more stress.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing. There have been a few times where a diet has crossed my mind. There always seems to be something thrown in front of me especially when I’m on social media. But fortunately I haven’t acted on it. It’s about breaking a habit, you could even call it an addiction, which is hard to do.
The main thing that has kept me going is my strong feeling of being unique. I have led a contradictory life. There have been certain things in which I will not conform to at all and then there are things like body image where I got sucked right in. Well, now that ain’t happening anymore. The more I practise this the better I will get. I am now trusting myself and taking responsibility. I’m not stupid, I know if I overindulge in food and drink there is a consequence, but its nice to give myself permission to have the choice.
We are all unique and beautiful in many ways.
So, If this blog has made you question about how you describe someone or yourself, and maybe made you think twice about judging what you see then Im very happy.
Does anyone want any diet books?????????????? 😜