“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”
Tell that to the girl who heard:
- You’re a little heavy
- You look tired
- You need to put some meat on those bones
- Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?
- Are you pregnant?
We hear A LOT of words in a given day. But have you ever hear of “health at every size”? Positive body image, here you come!
Rephrase: We hear a lot of opinions.
And people are ALWAYS going to have opinions.
Within the same day, you can hear TWO COMPLETELY opposing opinions.
You: “I am so fat.”
Other person: “You’re looking good.”
You: “I hate what I look like.”
Other person: “Girl, you have the best body! If only I could look like you…”
Recently, this happened to me…all within a matter of 30-minutes.
Other person: “You’re thin.”
Another person: “You’re so strong and healthy!”
Two different opinions from two different strangers, all with their own perspective of what I look like—or what I should look like.
NEVER GOOD ENOUGH
From the time I was 10-years-old and aware of the world (i.e. society’s ‘standards’) around beauty and health, I was self-conscious about what I looked like.
I’ve told the story before where the roots began: Standing in a circle of the popular girls at 4th grade recess when the topic of weight came up.
One by one, the Queen Bee ring leader went around the circle, and made each one of us report back to her what we weighed.
When the topic got to me…I lied.
About 10 lbs. heavier than my Queen Bee peer, I was ashamed of what that number meant.
From then on, the number defined my own sense of self worth.
If it was down, I was happy—but felt a constant pressure to “keep it that way”, tying my identity to the scale.
If it was up, I instantly labeled myself as “fat”—restricted from eating more than X-amount of calories or summoned to doing 100 more jumping jacks.
As that years went on, and I matured, some things changed…but the identity and self-worth I found in my body and the number did NOT change.
- At my lowest of lows, I hated how thin and weak and tired I felt—constantly labeling myself as “ugly”, “worthless” and “a weakling.”
- In my highest of highs, I hated how my thighs touched, or my cheeks were full
- In my “perfect” place—at the time—it was not perfect enough. I would look back on pictures of times past, thinking, “If only I could look like that, then, I’d be happy”…(only to remember that then I wasn’t happy either)
Do you ever do that? Look back on a pic of your younger self, or former self, and think:
“Man, I had it ALL together then…if I could just get back THERE, then I’d be happy…”
However, remembering a little bit deeper…You actually weren’t 100% happy then either: You still wanted to be leaner, healthier, fitter, happier, thinner, stronger, and on and on.
I call this the “dangling carrot”—that thing that taunts you, right in front of your nose—but that thing you seemingly cannot reach.
It’s just dangling.
HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
There is a movement that is gradually spreading within our culture…
It claims: “Health at every size.”
In a society that is hyperfocused on the “obesity epidemic”…what about those of us who may not have the “perfect” looking body still…but ARE healthy?
What does it mean to truly be healthy?
And moreover, can a person be healthy IF they don’t fit the “exact” mold or criteria that a number defines?
Here’s what I have come to believe, HEALTH IS:
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