What do you love about your body?
Not your personality, or your charming quick-fire-response-skills, but your living, breathing body.
It’s hard, isn’t it?
As mentioned in previous posts and in my article for EatBeautiful.org I am one who has struggled with body image.
Like, a lot. Although I don’t think anyone would look at me and say that I am in need of a gastric bypass surgery, however, the thoughts and feelings remain.
When I was at intermediate, one of the names so graciously bestowed upon me by an 11 year old ass wipe of a child was “mullop Meg”. I think it was part jealousy on his part; I had bigger arm and leg muscles than him. But that was it! Skin and bone and muscles.
I should have taken the kid down….
About a year after that, I was deeply in love with a bloke that shall go unnamed, who told me that if you put MY face on ****’s body, you’d have the perfect girl.
Dude. I mean… DUDE.
Needless to say we were not destined for a happy future. Poor guy, he really missed out.
Am I sad about all this? Not really. Angry? Only for my younger self who cared so much about these comments.
So, if I am not sad or angry, then why the body issues?
I don’t want to be cliche here and blame the media, but it’s hard not to see the people you stargaze at, with the amazing streamlined bodies, and not wish you looked just a smidge more like them.
This said, I do believe it goes deeper. There is a piece that demands focus; the piece about your self-worth. The idea that holds hands with your body image and says either you do or do not deserve to eat. The tap on the shoulder that says you haven’t been disciplined enough to deserve these things. So instead of the pizza or wine or (insert favourite high calorie food) you tell yourself that you are not ‘allowed’ and instead, due to your body indiscretions, you must now sit and watch those around you enjoy what you will not.
Granted, I believe wholeheartedly that we need to cut back on the constant treats and processed garbage for the sake of our health, but it’s that nagging feeling that I may never indulge again. I may be doomed to sit at the table of bliss and merely watch as the other adults have their foodie orgasms over their chocolate molten lava cakes.
Having a body image problem looks like this: “I hear you when you say I look good, and I appreciate that you think so, however when I look in the mirror I see a shape that I do not want to relate to.”
“my arms may be toned and strong, but to me they just seem ‘manly'”.
“yes, I can fully leg press almost double my own weight, but can they not just have a bit more length and svelte?”
Even writing this makes me cringe as these are my sometimes-thoughts that I usually prefer to keep at a low level. However, considering that:
- 1 in 4 teenage girls may suffer from the symptoms of an eating disorder
- 23% of young women are currently dieting
- 52% of adolescents begin dieting before age 14
- In New Zealand a study was done which found that 80% of the females were within normal weight limits, but only 18% of them thought their weight was normal.
It kinda warrants a freaking conversation don’t you reckon?
Bodies, like human nature, are diverse. Both in shape and ability. Some are small and flexible, some are large and flexible. Some are large and inflexible and some are small and inflexible. You get the idea.
Why does it matter? Do your legs get you from your bed to the bedside of your crying child? Do your arms have the capacity to hold on tight to those who are broken?
The above has become somewhat of a mantra for me when I practise yoga and can’t quite get to the position I see my teacher get to. Or when I happen to google the likes of Tara Stiles, the bambi-esque yoga goddess whose body, and its ability, make me want to cry a little bit.
I just have to close my eyes and be grateful that I CAN walk and run (ok, jog at a slow pace) and cuddle and other…stuff.
Does the body image issue disappear? No, not entirely. Maybe it never will. But it turns down the volume level for a bit, for fear of a smack round the mouth with a jandal.
Oh so namaste.