Why Do I Hate My Body?
While recently watching an episode of Queer Eye, the following question hit me like a ton of bricks. Why do I hate my body? Why do American women hate our bodies? In this episode the makeover nominee Dr. Li, a pediatric doctor with years of education (and a banging body), was asked what she loved about her body and struggled to come up with even one thing. Ultimately, based on traditional beauty and body standards she should have had an infinite list including strong slender legs, a flat tummy, and shoulders that weren’t too broad.
Negative Body Image
Tan France, the show’s fashion expert, put her in some jaw-dropping pieces. Her clothes fit her like a dream. What baffled me about Dr. Li was her inability to appreciate her traditionally beautiful body. She has a body many women dream of. This client was stuck in a mental block and I see it with clients and friends all the time. Oftentimes we aren’t able to appreciate our body for anything more than it’s aesthetic look.
“If only my tummy could lose the pooch. I wish my legs would have less cellulite. Why do I hate my body?”
Why do WE hate our bodies? Understandably, it seems no one is immune from the negative self-talk, or a negative self-image that pervades the female perspective. Media and marketing constantly provide the narrative that we aren’t enough- thin enough, smart enough, funny enough, sexy enough.
What’s Wellthy Soul Going to Do About It?
Most clients who begin a Wellthy Soul program have the primary goal of weight loss. Every woman feels too BIG. Why? We can’t seem to see our bodies without numbers attached. Why are we able to ignore all the strength and miraculous traits of our bodies?
An Anti-Diet Approach
Wellthy Soul takes an anti-diet approach to attaining a healthy body. You can weigh in one time in the beginning, one time in the middle, and one time at the end of our programs. The intention is to kick the scale obsession to the curb and focus on nourishing our bodies with food that heals us. We don’t count calories or obsess over macro-nutrients. Our primary focus is fueling our body with whole foods, sweating almost every day through intentional movement, and practicing self-care and kind self-talk. Guess what? It works and it’s a sustainable way to live for the long-term. You will never hear or feel a coach using guilt or shame to guide a client.
Actionable Steps to Ending This Cycle
I don’t know if we will ever completely shift our focus from the number on the scale to how we feel in our bodies. There are so many institutions holding us back. What we can do is fight for that freedom in ourselves. Together we can work towards feeling connected and supported in our bodies. We can learn to take up space. We can stop trying to make ourselves small and start learning to make ourselves strong.
Start Repairing the Damage
1. Identify something you love about yourself. It could be physical or not- we don’t care.
2. Write what you love on as many sticky notes as you have mirrors in your place.
3. Place each sticky note on a mirror.
4. When you see the note, say it aloud each time.
5. Repeat this practice each week for 30 days or the rest of your life. 😉
Why does this work? Because you change your behavior and habit from finding the bad thing in the mirror to proclaiming (out loud) the good thing. Much of this work is done alone. No one is going to snap you out of the “negative body-image” mindset. If you want to change, you have to choose to do it, but know that we will be here lifting you up and supporting you along the way. We want nothing more than for you to be healthy from the inside out.