You know when you stare at a word for so long it starts to not look like a word anymore, like something is wrong with it? I think this is the same thing girls do to their bodies. –Glennon Doyle Melton
I saw this quote this week and it struck me, this is an epidemic. Some statistics cite 91% of women being unhappy with their bodies. I have seen higher. It’s not just girls and women struggling with poor body image, either. It may look a bit different, but men have body dissatisfaction, too. Some sources say 43% of men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
As an eating disorder therapist, I know all too well how having a poor body image can lead to behaviors that are harmful to our physical and mental health. Even so-called casual dieting or “normal dieting” can lead to some pathological behaviors, leading to a partial or full-in eating disorder. Perhaps the worst part is society will support the notion that our bodies are not good as they are, we need to be working harder to fit a mold that isn’t even real. The weight loss industry is worth $66 billion. It’s a trap, don’t fall for it!! Let’s move toward trusting our bodies more and eating intuitively.
But even before that….let’s start questioning why we hate our bodies? Why do our bodies have to change in order to “fit” into the world’s standards? Why do our bodies have to change before we can feel happy or even comfortable in our lives? All bodies are beautiful. They do amazing things for us all the time. Let’s lean in and listen to him or her (our body) and see what they say….see what they know….see how they feel. When I introduce this concept to clients, I get so many reactions from not really believing there is anything that their body could say or do that is good….to a sadness for how much they have ignored or even abused their body. It seems like such a foreign idea….we have been conditioned to not be okay with how we look. Make no mistake, the conditioning had an agenda. If it wasn’t financial, consider the idea that it might be political or someone is benefitting from our dissatisfaction.
This is merely an introduction of the concept here. It is a huge concept and one that might need to be explored more with a professional if you are struggling with a negative body image. While society has played a huge role in poor body image, trauma can also play a role. Be gentle with yourself and seek a counselor trained in working with disordered eating and body image, as well as maybe trauma, to help you sort things out.
Before you go, I would love for you to check out 11 Facts About Body Image from dosomething.org. It is more information for you regrading body image, with some cited sources for their facts. They also have a Mirror Messages Campaign for young girls that you can sign up for….start leaving some post it notes with positive messages on the bathroom mirrors at your schools.
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