Unlearning Body Hatred
When I ask people why they want to shapeshift or lose weight, there are a variety of answers I hear: my health, to be more comfortable, to be more confident or the all-too-common I would just feel better in myself.
However, there is one reason that I would bet good money is fuelling their desire to be a different shape - something they are completely unaware of.
Or maybe they think it is a given and so obvious there is not even any need to restate it.
Here it is:
Because I hate my body and I want a different one.
Body hatred is so endemic and so socially acceptable that most people never question how utterly toxic it is; how it condemns you to a life of constant low-level chronic stress; how it is a way to diminish yourself and undermine every self-help book you have ever read.
Oh yes, not to mention how it does not work as the motivational tool everyone thinks it is.
Why Body Hatred Backfires
The supreme irony of the statement I hate my body and I want another one is that it puts you into a stress response, which sets off a whole chain reaction of weight-gaining side effects which I explain here: 29 reasons to de-stress
It is like trying to force a naughty child that you have only ever shown disdain and contempt for to become 100% compliant and make you feel good at every opportunity.
You wouldn’t do that to a child, so why on earth would you do that to yourself?
In summer 2019 I created the Body Confident Project (BCP) to help women everywhere accept their bodies. The basic principles also apply to men.
What I found was life changing for me and other women road testing the project. Unexpected side effects included people dropping dress sizes and lack of interest in food.
Here is the incredible truth that I and others learnt from The BCP:
It is possible to start to really accept your body within a month.
If body hatred is a really good way to gain weight, then let’s open ourselves up to the entirely revolutionary idea that body acceptance is a powerful tool for shapeshifting.
This week I include some resources from that programme which will help you to start distancing yourself from your own body hatred.
Later we will focus on some ways to build body acceptance.
Your Must-Do List This week:
#1 Do your diary prep
#2 Keep optimising diary prep
#3 Access the first two pages in the resources list, and the rest if you have time
Must-Access Resources This Week
A short but powerful 5-minute read that will get you thinking about how you have been trained to see your body
7-minute video that challenges most people's ideas about.... well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?!?
20-minute podcast story about the pitfalls of being a non-supermodel who unexpectedly gets a Vogue photoshoot.
25-minute story from the This American Life podcast about how beefing up had absolutely no confidence-building effect on on shy high schooler.