What is a healthy body image, who has one and is anyone satisfied?
“Let me ask you something, in all the years that you have…undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No? It's because he doesn't care! He's in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery. I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I'm going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I'm just through with the guilt. So this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert ~ Eat, Pray, Love
I confess I didn't read the book, I saw the movie. When I first met my husband my body image was negative. I thought I needed to lose five pounds. Several of us were going out on his boat together and I was having a very hard time finding a swimsuit that I felt comfortable in.
The few months prior I had been following the Body For Life workout and eating plan but I didn't lose those stubborn five pounds. Later, I hired a personal trainer. I woke up before anyone else to go to the gym and I'd come home so sore I could barely walk up the steps to the house. I still didn't lose those five pounds!
As the years went on, like most women having babies or nursing, my weight fluctuated and so did my body image. I can honestly remember all the years that I liked how I looked. I remember the exact ages that I felt ok with my body. That was really sad because, now at forty-six, I have spent more of my life hating my body than appreciating it.
My husband thought I was super hot back when we met and he still does. He still sends me emails and texts reminding me that he likes the way I look, including my Hips and Curves.
Is Body Image actually the issue?
Why the obsession with our appearance? Why not focus on overall well-being instead? After all, should our happiness come from our appearance or somewhere else? Shouldn't life-satisfaction be more about how successful our relationships are, how we are walking out our life purpose, living out our personal mission and vision, and our personal health?
At the beginning of 2017, I decided that I would stop trying to fix everything and spend more time enjoying my life. My weight was one of the things I was constantly trying to “fix.” Stress actually contributes to weight gain and poor health as much as eating poorly and skipping exercise.
While I would love to lose weight, I am no longer willing to beat myself up about it. I actually have wanted to workout and found myself eating less since I stopped thinking about losing weight. When I was thinking about losing weight all I thought about was food, when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, what I'd eat next, you get the picture… but when I stopped obsessing with weight loss I stopped being hyper focused on food.
Since I made this change I intentionally focus on more important things. I enjoy going to the gym with my husband, playing games with my kids, spending time in my yard, and planning little road trips. I've been happier this year for sure! Once again, the perception of choice brings about freedom!
I want people to know that they do have a choice: you can either spend your life being at war with your body and hating it, dieting, shaming yourself, using exercise as punishment, or you can embrace your body, move it for pleasure and live an exciting and uninhibited, liberated life. I know which one I'd choose. ~ Taryn Brumfitt
Body image and the dreaded dressing room
For most of the last several years, I rarely bought clothes. I avoided buying clothes to the point that I had one pair of jeans, my workout clothes, and a closet full of other clothes that made me feel pretty bad about myself. Don't even get me started on the ugly undergarments I had collected. Curvy girls can wear intimate apparel, too!
This year I have worked very hard to accept my body because I am not getting younger! I definitely wouldn't say that I have given up hope or stopped working towards losing some weight, but I am no longer willing to be miserable over my size. I still have to remind myself daily that body image is not about how you look, but how you feel about the way you look.
I started shopping for nice looking clothing that fit me even though I am not the size I'd prefer to be. I researched to find some shapewear that smoothes things out and bras that are attractive yet designed for bustier/curvier girls. I stopped holding on to those too small clothes that I hoped I'd fit back into some day and purchased new things! I no longer relegate myself to slouchy clothing just because I'm not the size I'd like to be.
From now on, I intend to treat my body with respect and kindness. A good reminder is that health and appearance are two different things. There are varied causes of negative body image. We get both positive and negative messages about our bodies from family and friends all the time beginning from when we’re very young. So as a parent, I realize I haven't been doing a very good job of sending the right message to my children and it's time to set the record straight.
Friends, if you know the feeling it's time to stop being ashamed of your body. Love it, embrace it, dress it well, and stop hiding from the world! Now once again, here's your reminder from Julia Roberts.