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.
Ask: What is that internal voice telling me? Is it criticizing me all the time and bringing me down?
And if it is, can I catch it, and then the more practice you do, the more mindful you are with your thoughts, the easier it is to catch them and redirect them.
Julie: Now, that just seems so simple, and I know as a coach, health coaching is the most difficult area of coaching, at least for me, in terms of having clients make a marked change. And they typically, want to lose weight. Yet- it is an intense process of untangling their relationship with food-it can be done-but it is after their mindset changes-then their actions change. Getting that needle moving forward is so difficult. It is so hard for me to believe that if I just told them, "okay, you just got to change your mind, look in the mirror and tell yourself you're beautiful-you will lose weight" -they would think I am crazy. I mean, that just seems like magic fairy dust, a sprinkling of magic that very hard to ingest. As a coach- I watch clients struggle and beat themselves up while untangling this relationship with food.
Tia: I totally understand that because it's never a linear path. And there are some days where you do feel confident. And then there are other days that you're just not as confident in yourself, but like, something I like to remind my clients and remind myself to is can you truly hate yourself skinny? And honestly, the answer can be yes. But once you get to be where your goal is, like, if you get to that, quote, unquote, skinny place, you're still going to hate yourself. your mindset never changed in the first place, and it's not gonna change after the fact either, because we're always gonna be reaching for more, we're never actually gonna be satisfied once we hit those goals. Coming from a place of hate is never a sustainable route to make a change. And that just breaks my heart just when people truly hate themselves based on external appearance.
Jules: Statistics say two-thirds of Americans are overweight. Right now, two-thirds of Americans are overweight, compared to two decades ago, where it was just a quarter of the American population. What are we doing wrong? And why can't I lose weight? I mean, this is the $5 billion dollar question.
Why can't I lose weight?
Tia: Right. And, you know, that is so sad to think about. A lot of the time to those people, those two-thirds, that are overweight are typically very unhappy with themselves too. If we can get ourselves to shift our mindset into a place of love, we can make decisions and we can make food choices from a place of love, rather than hate. So we're not feeling you know when we go on that diet, that fad diet, that's like, fix yourself in 30 days lose 20 pounds in 30 days, all of these catchy titles that we see on the internet, and we see in magazines. We are approaching ourselves from a place of dissatisfaction. We're approaching dieting from a restrictive, unhealthy mindset as well. We shouldn't restrict sounds so bleak and depressing to me and I would be even more unhappy, restricting.
Jules: We talk all the time that we train ourselves to tolerate a certain life. we tolerate what we have, we rewire our synapses in our brain to just be complacent in our health journey. How do you get over that complacency?
Tia: Taking a look around us seeing truly and being honest with ourselves as to where we are at and who are we surrounding ourselves with?
Who do we look at as an idol?
Who are we looking up to online of our body goals or our health goals in general? Who are we comparing ourselves to?
And is that where the inconsistency lies is that you're comparing yourself to somebody who, that you only see their highlight reel online, you're not seeing the breakdown that they had? Because you know, X, Y, and Z -do you really know them?
You are not privy to the 1000 pictures they tossed away. You're not seeing the angle in which they took the picture. And you definitely do not see the muffin top. You're seeing the flattering angles, you're seeing the photoshopped images, and we're getting an unrealistic idea of what health is and what health isn't. This is a very black and white way of thinking---it's all or nothing mindset. And that's not healthy either.
Jules: The word comparison- I swear, that is the root of all our evils as women. The comparison mind game we inflict on ourselves is destructive. This practice of comparing unrealistic ideals to our current circumstances is poison. It robs us of our joy and our happiness. And we get overwhelmed by comparison. In fact, it is more destructive when we compare ourselves to our past selves. This self-comparison mutes that fire within.
It is imperative you stop comparing. To bring more depth to your journey start eliminating the "4 C's" from your daily thought patterns. When you are intentional in your days and eliminate toxic gunk from your mind you will be amazed at the results. You will empower yourself to do better and be better
ADD COMMUNITY TO YOUR LIFE:
Finding a community that doesn't promote any of the "4 C's" is an asset that can provide accountability and encouragement. When you are in proximity to those who walk on a similar path it will provide you an outlet for true connections. Sometimes getting out of your own head can be a magic bullet towards success.
✨And remember- it's never too late and that you are never too far gone, You have the power to make the changes to bring you closer to a life that you love- and that you desire. Remind yourself that you are worth it. worth that you. You are worthy of having the life that you desire.
You are not alone. Start getting obsessed with living your best life.
You Got This- Jules
If you have an eating disorder-please reach out for help:
For More Conversations Like This Listen To Our Podcast "Obsessed".
We are four experts in the field of personal development who are obsessed with humans on the verge of change.