In my last blog, we talked about the body shaming that goes on within Olympic competitions, the comparison, the judging, the disordered eating behavior, and the senselessness of it all.
Why is it we all tend to compare ourselves to those we see on TV, on Facebook, on Instagram, in the mall, in the gym or on the covers of the magazines at the supermarket? Is it because:
- The number on the scale isn’t right?
- The size of the clothes we wear are too big?
- People will talk about how fat we are behind our backs?
- People will think we don’t deserve to eat that, wear that, go there?
Do you want to live another day, another month, another 10 years avoiding living your life due to what others are thinking? Or due to your beliefs about yourself?
If I continued to live in this way, this would be what my obituary might have said
Anne died thin. She never ate anything “bad”; she was a perfect size 2.
She was the fittest person I knew.
Don’t we – don’t I – have more to offer than our size?
What about some other qualities like honesty, integrity, determination, care, compassion, humor, humility?
I want the Olympians we watch on TV to inspire us. To provide us with an inner sense of pride, with strength and energy.
It is not their job to look like a perfect size 2, to have 6% body fat, or to never eat a French fry. They have chosen to work, train and perform at an optimal level at whatever body weight helps them achieve just that.
Olympians range from 4’6”- over 7 feet, from 85 lbs or over 300 lbs…their weight works for them, not against them. If you asked a woman sprinter, do you want to be the thinnest sprinter on the track or the fastest runner, what do you think she would say?
At Green Mountain, we know that one size does NOT fit all.
How do we make sense of all this madness that surrounds the look of our bodies and the self-hatred it sometimes holds?
We shine a light on all of this. We open up the mind and bring awareness to where all of these negative thoughts have come from. We light a LAMP:
L: Limit social media and social comparison.
Social media can set in motion social comparisons that can be a driving factor in body dissatisfaction. It allows for appearance-based social comparison on an unprecedented scale, different from what we used to see with traditional media forms (Strong, et al 2015).
Activity: Notice every time you engage in social comparisons that don’t make you feel good about yourself. Tell yourself one thing that makes YOU unique, special, different.
A: Appreciate what your body CAN do.
Like climb stairs, pick up a baby, play on the floor with your pet?
Start to look at the activities that your body has allowed you to do, and will allow you to do now. Don’t wait until the number on the scale says something else. Do it today, do it now.
Activity: List 10 things your body can do.
M: Mindfulness of your thoughts and self-talk.
Becoming aware of that voice in your head that says you are not good enough. The voice that stops you from doing something you might otherwise do, the one that hates your body, your thighs, your belly. Begin a practice of Positive Self-Talk, send the negative voice on a permanent vacation.
Activity: Write a letter to yourself from that body part that you find yourself hating.
P: Practice self-compassion and self-kindness.
Begin to treat yourself like you would a friend. What you think about your body is based on thoughts and beliefs, thus is constantly changing.
Begin the practice of your body being your friend, not your foe.
If you don’t appreciate your body in this moment, you’ve lost the chance to start right now. . The moment is gone. Begin where you are and care for your body like a good gift (not the bad gift we throw away, re-gift, or let sit in the back of the closet), with respect and appreciation.
Activity: Find an affirmation, write it on a 3 cards. Put one on the bathroom mirror, another one in your wallet or purse and the third on the front door. Read it whenever you see it. If you can’t think of one right now, try one of these on for size:
- I love and accept my body.
- My body is strong and capable.
- I am enough.
- I honor my body today.
- My body deserves respect.
- One size does not fit all.
At Green Mountain, we help women become empowered by who they are, no matter what their size.