Body Image & Body Shame
Did you know that more than 90% of women (less than that for men) have body image issues, and it has nothing to do with how much they weigh or their clothing size? Body image is how you imagine your body, and how you imagine what other people think of your body. Body shame is how you “feel” about your body, and is often based on how you imagine your body, or how you “feel” about what other people think of your body.
First, let me be clear about one thing that most people don’t understand. This will set the stage to bust through a limiting belief that is certainly holding you back.
“How someone sees you is only a projection of how they see themselves.”
Allow me to explain. When we accept our body as it looks right now, it is possible to love any body as it looks. So you see, if you feel someone is judging your body, they are not judging you. They are judging themselves, because they are clearly telling you how they would feel about themselves if they imagined themselves with your body. It truly has nothing to do with you.
Here’s a personal story as an example. This story is in no way a suggestion that you should do what I’ve done. Do what feels natural to YOU. Nor is it a judgment about anyone.
In the past 3-4 years I’ve been intentionally embracing my naturalness. For example, I’ve stopped using nail polish, hair color, toothpaste with fluoride, deodorant that contains aluminum, I’ve let go of coffee and all soft drinks. I let go of wearing makeup 95% of the time 16 years ago. It feels right for me, and I’ve done all of these in small steps over a period of time - intentionally paying attention to my body’s reaction.
Someone who is unaware of my intent, may look at me and think I’ve let myself go. But in reality that is what they would think about themselves if they quit wearing makeup, polishing their nails and coloring their hair. It has nothing to do with me. They don’t know my true intent so they could only make judgments based on “how they would feel” in that situation. Do you understanding then what I mean by “what people think of you is not about you?”
So knowing that, it’s time to let go of what people may think of you. It’s time for you to begin loving your body as it is right now. Because everything else is truly not helping you BE authentic, compassionate and nurturing to yourself to be in your body.
“Hating on your body affects your metabolism.”
The thoughts you think about yourself regardless of what you weigh, weighs on your body in more ways than one. Anytime you attack yourself with negative thoughts, it causes a stress response which slows down your metabolism. Quite the opposite of what you wanted, right?
It’s time to open your heart and truly love yourself for who you really are right now and in doing that you learn to love what is and BEcome embodied. Rejecting your body will shorten your lifespan.
That doesn’t mean to stop evolving yourself to be higher, healthier version of yourself. It simply means don’t make achieving a specific stage of health a inflexible creed where any variance results in rejection and disrespect for yourself, or rejection and disrespect other people who choose differently than you.
As a Certified Eating Psychology Practitioner, Certified Health Coach, and Spiritual Mentor, I’ve coached what society would refer to as “fit” people, and what society would consider “overweight or fat” people. And I can honestly say that ALL of them had the same concerns.
They want to look good and they want to feel good. Acceptance by society’s food rules was more important to them than listening to their body. In fact, they didn’t know that listening to their own body was an option. Being physically “fit” is no guarantee of happiness. So obsessing about losing weight before you can be happy doesn’t serve us or help us live in the moment.
“Create the end result now.”
What I mean is BE happy now. People imagine their life to be different after they’ve lost weight or achieved some stage of health. What if you chose to create that feeling now? In other words, don’t wait to see a specific number on the scale to be socially active and enjoy yourself, find true love, BE happy, BE adventurous, start a new career, travel, and live your life.
Additionally, many “fit” people who have body image issues needlessly worry and create anxiety for themselves around the idea of gaining weight. Many overweight people worry and create anxiety for themselves around the need to lose weight. Why? Because they are looking outside of themselves for acknowledgement and validation rather than working from within to development their self esteem. None of them are happy.
YES, I completely understand that being healthy is not just about how you look; it’s about how you feel and the longevity of your life. However, if 90% of women (a smaller percentage of men) are obsessed about weight and use the ideology of better health as a distraction from truly living an authentic life, it doesn’t matter how long they live if the quality of their life is diminished by worrying and obsessing constantly about their weight.
How many years has food, eating and weight been an issue for you? What has that done to your self esteem? I likely will not be surprised by your answer because our culture for many years has collectively created the environment we are in. It holds people back from learning to intrinsically honor themselves and develop self esteem from within - without being competitive with others and living life in a comparative reality. In fact, competition and comparison are encouraged, because it is said to be what makes people more successful, strong, etc. This is an ideology from several decades ago, and it didn’t work then either.
My teachers didn’t train students on the subject of self esteem. Perhaps your parents guided you in that direction, and I commend your parents for having such strong personal ethics, values and foresight. As an adult though, we learn about it from what is now called “personal development”. The keyword here is “personal”. Personal development is ALL about YOU, and it’s not something you can achieve from reading books, attending workshops or hiring a coach. To develop yourself you must implement the knowledge you collect into your life, and practice it on a daily basis. It will not be easy, but it is absolutely worth it.
The #1 method for healing an unhealthy body (mind, body, spirit) is to be IN your body: embodiment. Distracting yourself with anything otherwise will not serve you fully long term. Standing on a scale and using a number to tell you how you should feel about myself is disembodiment. You have to be “in your body” to be fully aware of its communication with you.
So if you think that “body image and body shame issues” are interfering with the quality of your life, Contact Me. Together we will work on loving what is right now and letting go of what other people think or say about you. We will do this slowly through small experiments. You’ll be wearing your detective hat and making these experiments fun!
Remember, AHHH Lifestyle is spelled with 3 Hs.
It would be such an honor for me, if you would complete a short “anonymous” survey to let me know what aspects of your life concern you the most. It would certainly help me provide the most tailored Eating Psychology information for people like YOU who visit my website, and of course my clients. The website address to complete the survey is: ahhhlifestyle.com/interests