Do you remember when was the first time you thought your body doesn’t look the way it’s “supposed” to? I have a vivid memory of that moment: I was in my teen years, flipping through the pages of some glamour magazine and starting to realize how different I look comparing to the models presented there as a gold standard of beauty.
Diet culture has been bombarding us with those images, making sure we never stop spending money, energy and other resources on “perfecting” ourselves, trying to reach these eluding “ideal”. We are made to believe our bodies are wrong and have to be fixed, in order for us to be accepted and valued.
Being culturally forced to comply with the unrealistic (for most) standards, we find ourselves caged in chronic dieting, restricting – bingeing cycle, disordered eating, constant body checking and dissatisfaction and preoccupation with weight and appearance in general.
As opposed to diet approach, rooted in the weight-centric philosophy, Intuitive Eating teaches us to trust and respect our bodies, regardless of their shape or size. It helps us realize, that body deserves to be respected and taken care of even if you haven’t reached the point of accepting your genetic blueprint yet.
It may feel extremely challenging, if not impossible, to jump from hating your body straight to a point of loving it. And expecting this leap from yourself can be quite unrealistic.
Improving your body image isn’t a one-day project. It requires time and practice, and it’s fair to expect bumps along the road, as this work rarely follows a linear trajectory. Through reflective and self exploratory work, Intuitive Eating helps to heal relationship with one’s body, improve body image and untie self worth from your look or number on a scale.
When we discuss body image with my clients, we usually start from recognizing where their relationships with their bodies are at the moment, how have they been evolving during their lifetime, where they would like to be at and what are some steps they can take to start advancing towards their goal.
For some it can start from removing a bathroom scale from their sight, unfollowing accounts with thinness – obsessed messages or changing the way they check themselves in the mirror. For others, it may begin with body-positive affirmation quotes they can relate to, or coming up with a list of assertive responses to unsolicited weight comments.
Regardless of the specific strategy a client chooses to work on, an overarching goal for improving the way they relate to their bodies are based on learning to treat it with kindness, respect and compassion.