The thing about healing your relationship with your body is that there isn’t really a destination, or an end point, where you have it all in the bag.
Where you simply check the box of being done.
Because body image work relational- it’s an ongoing journey, an ongoing process, of undoing and unraveling, of curiosity, reconnection, rebuilding and reaffirming compassion for your inner self and the physicality that carries you through your life.
And one of the reasons why it’s an ongoing process, an ongoing journey, is that we’re surrounded by a culture that relentlessly encourages and glamorizes disordered eating.
That’s obsessed with telling us restricting should be praised (because thinness) and that overeating should be demonized (because fatness).
We’ve been taught that an obsession with avoiding fatness is healthy.
Because avoiding and resisting fat will keep us healthy.
It will keep us worthy.
So we internalize rules in attempt to avoid and resist.
Rules that inspire a destructive type of hope that we can keep our bodies contained. That we should keep our bodies contained.
And when they don’t stay contained, we buy into the rules that we’re flawed and should be ashamed. That we can’t possibly be the way we are in the here and now… and be ok.
These rules drive the way we then live in our bodies. They drive the way we look at and feel about ourselves. They drive the way we engage (or disengage) with our world.
It’s interesting to look back over the years to recognize how I’ve cycled through, over and over again, knowingly and unknowingly, living by body rules other than my own.
From living in a young body and beginning to uncover societal rules that it enhanced my worthiness.
To living in the same body, but in a larger size, and imposing rules that it should be punished and abused because of that size.
To living in that body in throes of an eating disorder and painstakingly abiding by rules to become and remain a certain way.
To living in a body that has relaxed into its ruleless ability to shift, expand, shrink, soften, harden and identify external rules as they begin to seep in. And, continue to come home to itself, leaning into an inherent knowing that stems from a place of trust and worthiness.
I’ll never tell you how you ‘should’ exist in your body.
I'll never tell you that you shouldn't worry about how your physical body appears to your world if you're not ready to leave that worry behind.
What I will encourage you to consider is how you’ve been abiding by rules other than your own.
How you’ve internalized societal and familial rules that inspire fears and self-deprecation.
And how that has impacted your relationship with food and your body.
How do you know if you’re following someone else’s rules?
- If the way you interact with your body stems from a place of shame, or not-enoughness.
- If you’re engaging in behaviors to change your body based out of fear ( ex fear of unhealthfulness, unattractiveness or fear of judgement).
- If you’re waiting on a certain size or shape to speak and be seen.
Once you realize the rules that have been driving your behaviors, you have the opportunity to unlearn them and rewrite them.
You have the opportunity to get a little pissed that our disordered world has sprinkled seeds of self-doubt, scarcity and shame that’s watered each and every time you scroll through FB, IG or turn on the television.
This creates space to create a new structure of relating to your inner and outer world that stems from a place of worthiness and enoughness.
That will actually propel you toward lasting behavior change that will support mental, emotional and physical health.
Regardless of how your body appears.
Because well rounded health and body size are not one in the same.
If you want to find peace, you have to be aware. Aware of what’s been forced on you, aware of what does and doesn’t serve you and aware of what you’re willing to push back against.
So, tell me, what are you willing to start to push back against? Send me an email and let me know!
I'm a body image and eating disorder therapist and coach based out of Horsham, PA. I specialize in treating binge eating and emotional eating and helping women rediscover their beautiful badassery.
Are you ready to get started on your journey toward healing your relationship with your mind, body and food?
Join the Beautifully Badass Newsletter below to get on your way!