WHY LOVING YOUR BODY DOESN’T WORK, AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD

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There’s a growing movement around body-positive messages with the intent of empowering people of all shapes and sizes. While the sentiment of “I love my body” is meant to be positive, let’s consider what it may actually mean.


BY: KYLIE MITCHELL, MPH, RDN, LD

Because fat isn’t valued in the culture we live in, it’s difficult for most women to look in the mirror and think, “Oh my gosh, I love that fat on my arm.”  Or, “I love the way there is cellulite on that part of my thigh.” If that is the case, then that begs the question:

Should we even be focusing on loving our bodies?

There’s a saying about the meaning behind humility: “It isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”  It’s a nice parallel to what positive body image really is, because positive body image isn’t about loving your body.

It’s thinking of your body less because you’re too busy living or working on creating a vibrant life.

Think about all of the people and things you love: your significant other, siblings, parents, children, friends.  Those are influences in your life you think of the most because you can find joy in them. Messages that focus on sharing why we need to love our bodies don’t quite work, because love is directed at something that’s meaningful to you. It’s something (or someone) who you think about all the time.  

Who really wants to sit around all day thinking about your body?

Feelings of discomfort in your body can pop up when you’re sleep deprived, going through a major life change, or working too much. Any body image struggles are a representation of an internal struggle you are having trouble processing through those moments of stress. That’s when self-care can fall to the wayside and it becomes easy to default to blaming your body.  

During these times, it’s even more important to be proactive, stay aware, and intentionally reminding ourselves, “I’m not allowed to blame my body size here. What other factors could be upsetting me right now?”

After all, spending your life pouring your energy into trying to change or control your body size will lead to an unfulfilling life.

For those who are constantly fixated on your size and truly feel uncomfortable in your body, know that you don’t have to live like that. Consider healing your relationship with food and exercise, and move towards the idea that your size and the fat on your body in a neutral way.

Start building up trust that your body knows how to feed itself, and move in a way that doesn’t require you to micromanage your body, There are many starting points for healing those relationships.  

All you need to do is start focusing on creating a more vibrant life.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: BOBBO SINTES

Kylie Mitchell, MPH, RDN, LD is a Houston-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals create a healthier relationship with food without restrictions. By promoting positive body image, Kylie is driven to stop disordered eating and help people fall back in love with a healthy relationship with food and their body. Read more from Kylie at immaEATthat.

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