You are not alone.
We, as women, are obsessed with our bodies for an infinite amount of mind-boggling reasons. We are a culture that celebrates diets and losing weight. We applaud unhealthy practices to get skinny fast. With a leisurely scroll through social media, many women are thrust into an unhealthy cadence of anxiety and comparison. As we lock arms with this consuming mental marathon of societal pressures I needed to find the answer to this question:
"Why can't we find joy -or at least, contentment in the miracle of our own, unique body?"
There is a personal reason for asking this question. At one point in my life, I was gripped by the seductive promises of an eating disorder in my late teens. This alluring mistress promised me that "skinny" would solve all my problems. Boy, was she wrong.
It was a fortunate moment of happenstance that my galpal, (who happens to be a holistic nutritionist) was happy to indulge me in this conversation.
Let me preface this conversation, by laying the fundamental groundwork.
If you know me then you know I am obsessed with the human experience. I, too, am equally obsessed with understanding why humans make decisions that defy logic. And in relation to understanding body image, women make diet decisions daily that defy logic. The truth is that American women are targeted by predatory practices of the diet industry.
The diet industry is selling us skinny on a $65 billion platter. How do we "real girls" even stand a chance against this assault on our body-positive fight?
Are we fighting the good fight here?
Tia Morell, my gal pal, and our resident health coach is the cornerstone of The Crown & Compass Coaching collective. Tia tells it like it is. She is constantly reminding us that we need to give ourselves grace and to do things the right way. She reminds us to be gentle on our journey and not look for external validation when trying to lose weight.
JULES: Do you feel that there is a difference in terms of the generations? And how we look at our bodies? Do you feel that a 20-year-old may look at their body differently than a 40 or 50-year-olds? Do you see that?
TIA: Absolutely, I think that it definitely can change with age and experience and how we feel about ourselves internally and externally. I also think that as a culture, we are now getting exposed to diet culture and just body image a lot quicker than we ever have been in the past because of our social media outlets. And seeing all the highlight reels of people and Photoshop, that's not even realistic. I think young girls are getting skewed cons by or have a skewed concept of what body image is and what a real natural healthy body looks like.
Jules: And what does a naturally healthy body look like? I mean, please tell me.
Tia: I wish I had a straightforward answer for you with that. I think that everybody's looking for a straightforward answer. But honestly, we are all a different kind of healthy, we're not one and the same. We're not all going to be the same weight, same height, same shape. And so it really looks different on each one of us.
Jules: Right, right, you know, and I feel our sisters that are listening to us right now. Numbers do lie and statistics say that 56% of us are extremely unhappy with our bodies. That statistic paints a picture of self-flagellation in the highest form. And when we look in the mirror every morning see an image that jolts us into self-hatred that is a terribly sad space to inhabit.
Tia: 100%. It is a terrible existence. Why should anyone hate themselves because they are overweight? So when you look in the mirror and feel a rush of negativity bubble up recognize this negative mindset.
If you are not nice to yourself-why should anyone else be nice to you?
It sets us up for having a negative mindset. And when you go into the day, you end up finding negative stuff that backs up your opinions, because you're looking for them. It does not set you up for success throughout the day.
Jules: That is for sure. Okay, so why? Why do you and I want to talk about this? I have personally struggled with body dysmorphia, looking in the mirror and seeing something that wasn't a true reflection of what I really am. What can we do to even start to think differently? And what is that wake-up call we need?
Tia: The first thing we can do is bring awareness to our thoughts. We know we can't change our mindset. We can't change what we're thinking if we don't know where we currently are. And if we don't have a good idea of what we're currently thinking about ourselves. Start here--recognize those negative words. Just recognizing these negative patterns is liberating.