"I wish my [fill in body part] was different"
This statement just might be the most frequently used phrase among women everywhere. I've been saying this type of phrase to myself since I was little. Growing up, I was teased all the time for being overweight. I mean yeah, I was chubby and all, but c'mon...the way I was teased you would have thought I was the world record holder for being the most obese child in the world. Body shaming usually begins when we are young and it seriously affects our self perception.
As a grown woman, I STILL have to lovingly re-affirm to myself that I am beautiful just the way I am when I look in the mirror and feel like pinching that 'trouble spot'. My body image journey has been an extremely tough one. It is upsetting how long this issue had (and still has!) a stronghold of my life and how much it continues to affect other women around me. Research studies I've read show that:
- Body image is one of the top predictors of overall life satisfaction for women
- Majority of women are dissatisfied with their bodies
- Technology has affected the body image of girls as young as 8 years old
- Most teens girls report being unhappy with their bodies
The lack of self-love for our bodies is severely affecting our lives and it is even being 'inherited' by our daughters! We need to take a stand for our generation and the ones to come by learning to truly love and accept ourselves, especially our bodies. From personal experience, I believe you rarely succeed by treating the symptoms alone [harmful behaviors such as self-injury, binging, purging, excessive calorie restriction, excessive exercise, etc]. You must simultaneously treat the CAUSE...lack of self-love.
So How Can We Love Our Bodies?
Our bodies are so sacred! Us women even have capabilities of forming human life inside our organs! Let's be friends with our bodies, not enemies. I am still figuring this out right along with you, but I have discovered a few ways to change the way you view your body RIGHT NOW:
- Stop the comparison game - Stay away from the triggers that make you feel insecure or judgmental about your body. I am not saying to avoid beautiful people! Just take measures to avoid the triggers that activate YOUR automatic comparison game. For example, stop following that certain "InstaModel" account that makes you feel more depressed than inspired after scrolling.
- Replace inner negative talk and judgment with positive talk and affirmations - If you do catch yourself comparing, thinking, or talking about about your body in a hateful or negative way, stop yourself and follow through with a more positive thought or affirmation. For example, you might think to yourself as you watch 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians': "Why can't I be skinny like Kylie? I hate my body, I am so fat!" Catch yourself and say out loud or think, "Well I may not be skinny right now, but I am working on being healthy. Besides, my thick thighs are bomb!"
- Respect your body - Be active, eat properly, and get a good amount of sleep each night so you can be stronger and healthier. Try to cut back or refrain from drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Primarily focus on how you FEEL, not how you look.
- Honor your body - Visit your doctor for those yearly check up's and routine blood tests, use protection if engaging in risky sexual behaviors, REST if your body is asking you to rest, schedule a massage, take a long bubble bath with epsom salts (detoxifying and relaxing!)...be nice and genuinely LOVE your body.