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This is a tough one….I have said it before, and I will say it again and again….positive body image ALMOST ALWAYS comes last within Eating Disorder recovery, as well as within any journey towards self-compassion. Loving what you see in the mirror, appreciating your size, your weight, your natural curves, and appreciating all of the beautiful flaws within your physical image is so much harder than it seems.
Keep reading to learn how to obtain a positive body image in the absence of weight loss and dieting, as well as, suggested resources to reach a level of self-compassion and positive body image.
The truth is that happiness does not come from weight loss, it does not come from that summer diet or beach diet, losing those five or ten pounds does not foster a feeling of happiness. Happiness does not come from dieting, #bodygoals, or a new workout regimen (Check out this post on the power of the scales and numbers within our society). Most of the time these concepts are so often combined, but in reality happiness, weight loss, and body image are all independent of one another. You can be happy, and not lose the weight, but still have a negative body image, just like you can be unhappy, lose the weight and have a negative body image….these concepts are not tied together! The majority of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. 80% of thirteen-year-old females have tried to lose weight. Our culture is driven by the concept that weight loss and dieting can create a sense of happy and confidence…when in reality, that is just not how it works.
Check out FACT Friday for more!
Finding a sense of self-compassion and self-love for those love handles, for those stretch marks, for that back fat, and belly pooch, is a true sense of positive body image. Accepting your body and loving your body for what it is, appreciating your body for what it does for you…. THAT is achieving a positive sense of self and body appreciation!
So many individual’s struggle with this aspect of Eating Disorder recovery as well….in that the mind can get away from us at times. We start to become emotionally and sometimes physically consumed by the unrealistic perceptions about how we currently “see” ourselves, how we want to “see” ourselves, how we “see” other’s in comparison to ourselves, and how we believe other’s “see” us. Yep, it sounds exhausting, and maybe even ridiculous, but this is the mind of someone within Eating Disorder recovery.
I use these words carefully, in that when I say “see ourselves”, or how “we see others”, I mean this literally, because that is what we are doing, I do not mean how we look, or who we are, instead I mean how we perceive ourselves. At times it seems that the physical self is somewhat dissociated from the emotional self, in that our appearance is wounded and therefore separated from the rest of us. In order to recover one must be ready to mend that wound, and finally introduce that physical self to the emotional self, and be ready to fight for a positive body image and finally be whole!
It’s All About You.
You may look one way to someone, and another way to someone else, but all that truly matters is how you perceive yourself and this is why a positive body image is so incredibly difficult to obtain. NO ONE, and I mean, NO ONE, can change your mind about how you “see yourself”, EXCEPT for YOU. For goodness sake, Justin Timberlake could declare your beauty to the entire world, tell you that you are perfect, skinny, curvy, a bombshell, whatever…and it still wouldn’t matter, because you won’t believe it, not until you can believe it.
It’s up to you, to do the work to literally retrain your brain, to eventually train your mind, and emotions towards how you “see” or perceive your body. Throughout recovery, you are taught to rid of your unhealthy behaviors, cope with life’s obstacles in a healthy manner, practice self care, love your inner self, and nourish your body. All of that is a major triumph in itself….but to love what you “SEE”, to rid of that negative self talk, and accept that person staring back at you in the mirror….now that is AMAZING! I promise you, that this is possible, you can fully recover from your eating disorder, and by this I mean love who you are, as well as, love your perceived self.
Therefore, with the summer upon us I believe it is time to take this oh so difficult part of life by the reins! As a collective force, we are going to start “seeing” ourselves with love, and true admiration….we are going to become inspired by what we “see” in ourselves. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting about the various components that relate to body image conception and eating disorder recover! We will get through this together!
Lets Do This.
As you move through this week, I challenge you to commit to working towards true self-love, in that, you will work towards loving what you “see” as much as you love who you are. Start to wrap your mind around the fact that this is possible, and you will get there….we will get there together! Below are some recommended books and resources to assist you on your self-love journey!
To come: Clinical depictions of body image and eating disorder recovery, ways to implement self care into your healthy body image initiative, outside resources to keep you motivated, and personal and professional tidbits about body image conception and working towards full recovery. See More Here!