Updated: Oct 19, 2022
By Mae F.
First, I should start this off by saying that I’m no expert in this field, and I’m not even always great at it. I still have days when I HATE my body and are ungrateful for it, but those days are getting fewer and fewer. So I wanted to share with you all how I managed to reduce those days and how I started to feel more gratitude and even love for my body.
Recognize and accept that your body is literally just a skin that houses your organs
Okay, the phrasing of this might make you feel weird or uncomfortable, but it’s the truth! Your body is just bones, muscles, organs, and skin - why do we feel the need to judge it, or criticize it? If it wasn’t for our body, we would be unable to do *anything* - including live or exist! You can’t change the structure of your bones or the shape of your organs… so why don’t we focus on things we *can* control, like our passions, our interests, and our relationships.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Your body is a house… Are you home?”
2. Accept that this was the body you were born with… you can either spend your whole life running from it, or embrace it.
This might be tough to hear but it’s the cold hard truth - COULD we change our bodies with drastic diet, extreme exercise, and starvation? Yes, yes we could - there’s no denying that. But let’s not forget what that comes with… depression, anxiety around food, feeling cold all the time, hair loss, weakness and frailty, hopelessness, irritability, isolation, loss of friends, social anxiety, suicidality… the list goes on and on. So let me ask you again, why are you chasing this harsh reality?
Often we get so caught up in the chase of weight loss that we forget what it has taken from us. We will *never* be satisfied. One of my favorite quotes is, “The eating disorder doesn’t want you skinny, it wants you dead”. If it wanted you skinny, we would be able to stop once we reached this “dream body” - but it never ends. Not until we’re dead.
3. You were not put on this big magical floating ball to lose weight
You have such unique, special talents to offer this world all of which are far more important than your “ability” to reduce your gravitational force on Earth. The world needs your grace, your intelligence, your specific, personalized experiences and the lessons you’ve learned from them - far more than it needs a skinny, frail, weak individual. The world needs strong, powerful, badass women who are unafraid to take up space and to use their voice. Wouldn’t you so much rather have a lasting impact on this world and on other’s lives because you were present, energetic, exciting, outgoing? Don’t you want to be remembered as a great friend, a loving sister/brother, a compassionate and caring coworker? Because I can promise you that if your sole focus is wasting away, you will be none of these things… how could you? You’re too busy trying to minimize yourself into nothingness.
We are given this one, precious life and it can be taken away from us at any moment.
4. Although diet culture wants us to believe differently, people truly care SO much more about your personality than your body - plus, who wants to be friends with an irritable, hangry, lethargic person?
How much did Amelia Earhardt weigh? What pant size was Marolyn Monroe? What did Mother Teresa eat in a day? What are Serena Williams’ macros?
Oh, you don’t know? That’s because it does. not. matter.
Seriously - diet culture tries and fools us into thinking that the only way people will love or accept us is by being a size XS… that’s just not true!
You have endless, undiscovered talents that you have the opportunity to share as you conquer the world - and guess what? No one gives a f*ck about how many calories you’re eating while doing it! You’re not more worthy when you’re starving yourself than when you’re nourishing yourself properly. In fact, a) you are inflicting self-harm by restriction and overexercise, and b) there is less of you to love when you shrink yourself :(
5. Focus on what your body can do rather than what it looks like
This one was the game-changer for me. For so long in recovery I had been told “Strong>Skinny” which although is true, I took to mean that you wanted to LOOK strong instead of skinny. My idea of strong were the fitness models and TikTok influencers in Gymshark bras and spandex flexing infront of a mirror.
Throughout my time in CrossFit, I’ve learned that what we mean is it is important to BE Strong>Skinny. It doesn’t matter what you look like. We need to focus on being strong, powerful women. And ironically, once I stopped worrying about looking stronger, I started to feel stronger and stronger. I hit new PRs, I work hard in a workout, my endurance is increasing… all because my mindset has shifted to being strong rather than looking strong.
I think the social media enterprise has begun to profit off the “Strong>Skinny” slogan, which is a damn shame because the whole reason we started it was in response to a direct result of their diet culture “Skinny=Beautiful & Worthy” campaign. We see women feeling forced to “Cut and Bulk” and look fit and toned - I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is equally as hurtful as telling people they have to look skinny. We’re still focusing on fixing how we look - we need to emphasize the “BE” Strong rather than “LOOK” strong. We need to focus on PR videos, rather than before and afters. We need to praise dedication to eating enough to fuel your body, versus flexed pictures in a mirror with gym lighting after a “cut”