Over 70% of women and almost 50% of men are dissatisfied with their bodies. We are exposed to over 5,000 social media ads daily telling us how to act, look, feel and function. 5% of our population has the ability to look like the people in our social media ads yet 95% of us are expected to successfully look like them. Are you exhausted yet?
As technology use grows we become exposed to more and more social media. Social media that does not show the wonderful diversity of all the bodies on this beautiful planet. We are exposed to the similar tall, typically white, and thin models with a small smattering of people of color or those in slightly larger bodies. Most people find it difficult to see themselves represented so we think our bodies are “wrong”. No matter how strong your conviction is, being happy with your body it is like a tide – it ebbs and flows on the daily and sometimes within a single day – and all of these messages can eventually get to you.
History of body shaming has unfortunately mostly been in the wheel house of those who identify as women. We have had to go through the history of waist trainers for the perfect female figure, gain weight and lose weight based on the “in” body at the time, adhere to more and more bizarre diets, all the while being perfect mothers, daughters, friend, co-worker, wife and chefs extraordinaire. The beauty industry that still largely targets women’s insecurities is a $600 billion a year sham. I say sham because the messages are not “you are worthy. You are valued. You are beautiful just the way you are”. The messages are “you need to change many things about you. You are not good enough. You need to hide those “flaws” to be attractive enough.”
So why do we keep doing it? I blame partly the internet with more and more access to these bizarre diets (like the Avoiding Swamps Diet), and again all of those messages coming at us that do not support us but bring us down. Let’s put a stop to it now (and live freely by swamps again!). Body diversity is a beautiful thing – we can flaunt those things once deemed “flaws” as our “extra awesome thing we bring to the world”. We can start to give up some head space those all-consuming negative thoughts took up, for more crucial things like the cool things your body can do (or your love of cats)! When we decide to put down the diet and start focusing on the positives rather than the negatives we can start down the path of radical self-love. When we start to focus on adding rather than restricting we give ourselves that room to just breathe and be.
For many, like me, this journey looks more like a roller coaster ride than a nice sunset cruise. Not every day is perfect, and not every thought is positive. In making that conscious shift away from “I am not enough” to “I am enough” we can slowly start to undo that reflexive negative self-talk. For many of us this also includes bringing a team along on your journey like your friends, and family who can provide extra support and love when it is needed. Another member to maybe give a pass to is a dietitian who is weight-inclusive, fat-positive, and/or approaches nutritional advice with a healthy-at-every-size approach.
My passion in life is working with those who are having a difficult time on their self-love journey with their bodies and food. These things were not always a positive in my life but as I continue to grow and love myself a little more each year I see the absolute joy they can bring. I find joy in moving my body freely without self-judgment, eating foods that not only nourish me but provide me happiness, and comfort without shame or guilt, and wearing those things I never thought I could. I want every being out there know they are worthy, and enough just how they are. Your appearance does not dictate your value or worthiness in this world! Are you ready to start your radical self-love journey!?
To connect with me, contact Alison Friesen Nutrition or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org