Despite the fantastic body positivity movement in play, I think it's still fair to say that each and every woman has body issues in some way. We all secretly or overtly want to change something about our bodies. Bigger boobs, flatter stomachs, smaller thighs, bigger thighs smaller boobs, whatever it is. With our wonderful bodies that serve us every day by breathing for us, digesting for us, getting us around, allowing us to consume toxins such as alcohol and then purifying our systems for us but we don't have a problem with those parts. We have a problem with FAT.
We all know this comes from years of conditioning from the media, presenting 'ideal' bodies that are unrealistic, of young women who are naturally thinner with higher metabolisms, pre-childbirth and of course heavily photoshopped. Combine that with any negative messages interpreted during childhood from sources including parents, peers, teachers, whoever. Note the use of the word 'interpreted' there. We interpret all kinds of messages to mean that we are not good enough which can lead to toxic core beliefs (limiting beliefs) which then affect our thoughts and behaviours in many areas of life (which I will write more on soon). However, what you need to know now is that, at some point, you will have formed the belief that YOUR BODY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. This could be based on the broader belief that YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH or even that YOU ARE BAD or YOU ARE A FAILURE. But let's stick with "your body is not enough".
At times, you could have even inherited this belief from a close family member. If you are a highly sensitive person who is empathetic, you may have even absorbed this belief of theirs in a way to serve them, bond the two of you, attempt to heal them by sharing their pain.
However this belief has come to you, we need to work on dissolving it because all it does is make us feel sh*t any time we look in the mirror and notice the body part(s) that we are not happy with. Disgusted at even. Ashamed by. What are really doing is rejecting ourselves. You are the sum of all your parts.
I am writing this because I too suffer from shaming my body. I will not use the language 'guilty of'. We have enough collective guilt. It is suffering. It is not nice to feel this way. Hilariously, I am training for a half-marathon and running distances longer than I have ever run before. I am careful with what I eat, I have a food blog dedicated to healthy recipes, have written nutrition articles for magazines and been a food revolution ambassador for Jamie Oliver. I am a size 10-12, which, objectively, is a healthy weight. But in my mind, it is not enough. In 2017 I lost three stone and carved out a body I never thought I could through cutting out alcohol and weight lifting. Recently, as my life has become more balanced, I have regained some of that weight and I have thoughts of self-loathing, judgement and shame. I am sick of this and I want to help others in my situation, which I know are many, so I decided to dig deeper. A dream for the future: that women realise they are enough, beautiful, can accept and believe when someone else compliments their body.
I realised that even at my slimmest, a Topshop size 8, back when I was 19, I was still unsatisfied with my weight and body. I still thought my belly was fat. At my worst, I would make myself sick after so much as licking a cream egg.
Today, in my daily meditation, I reached insight and I felt compelled to share it with my gorgeous female readers and clients. I have tried gratitude. Gratitude is a great tool. Gratitude requires practise and can really shift your mindset. But today I found something else, I changed my perspective. I have been working on shadow integration and illuminating parts of self that are currently unconscious. As we know, we bring about change when we bring the unconscious conscious, that is our life's journey, I believe. We are not growing, we are simply removing the layers to reveal our whole selves as we are already whole.
I was able to detach my belly from myself and see it with compassion and see it as if it wanted to be part of me but wasn't able to, it was being shut out, it was being left out, it was being shamed and rejected and I felt sad for it. I felt love for it. I imagined it like it was a little cute thing that was vulnerable and needed love, care and nurture but what it was getting was constant abuse, hate and shunning. To see anything being treated like that breaks my heart and so this was the key. To accept it as welcome, as part of me, as important, as loved, as perfect. To see it as a child.
Because that is where these things started and if we can heal our inner child we are well on our way to integrating ourselves. Your belly/thighs/bum are you, have always been you and will always be you. By accepting them, you accept yourself more and in turn, you are able to accept others more and help them to heal.
We are all at different stages with understanding what acceptance is. It seems to come and go and, guess what, that's alright. Accepting all is the main objective of realising our already-existing wholeness and that includes accepting where you are on your process.
So I invite you to see that body part as a small child who is being denied love, affection and care. And while you can work on becoming the weight you desire to be, because there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthy weight or slightly slimmer, it must start with a place of acceptance. We can only get to B when we acknowledge and accept we are at A. This doesn't mean to say 'I HATE A AND I WANT TO RUN AS FAR AWAY FROM IT AS I CAN' It means saying 'Here is A, I love A but I am going to love A and always love A while I move towards B'
For those who have lost weight and then put it back on, to have compassion for yourself at ALL times, regardless of weight gain or loss is the work we are doing here. Compassion for your 'fat self' is essential for it is a facet of you.
Takeaway - Action items that you can do now that can help
-Gratitude for how amazing, unique and wonderful your body is regardless of weight.
-Loving-kindness meditation towards yourself.
-Reflecting on whose shame you may have adopted to feel closer to/heal for.
-Give yourself permission to detach from sharing their belief now as it no longer serves you.
-Envisage your 'fat' body part as a part of you that wants to be let in from the cold, who wants warmth, love, affection and acceptance just like the rest of you does.
-Mindfulness to notice what your thoughts are saying and to develop the ability to detach from these thoughts and move into a more positive mindset.
-Developing a meaningful affirmation that you can stick up somewhere that can help you believe a different narrative. E.g. I am enough.
I am here and you are here and you are enough. Feel free to contact me for a session to discuss how you can work more deeply on these issues in one-to-one personalised empowerment coaching.
Lots of love,