This is a rather personal post about my body (and body image) that I wanted to share – because I know SO many women are going through similar thoughts / issues / scenarios.
Last year, I turned 30, and (as can happen with the turning of a new decade and new phase of life) I was forced to confront and accept some things about myself.
Throughout my 20s, I changed in MANY ways. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I feel as though I quite literally became a completely different person.
But there was one of these elements that I was struggling with so much (even though no one would have known it) … and that was my physical self. My body.
You see, growing up I always identified with being quite ‘small’. In fact, at some stages I was quite teeny tiny. Most notably, the phase I went through as a mere 16-year-old, where I basically starved myself of carbohydrates (and lived on very little food) and went running every single day in an attempt to be the thinnest version of myself possible.
Now, I am NO expert on eating disorders or body image issues – but this phase of my life was fuelled by a complete NON acceptance of my body, by a sense of lack, and the desire to be ‘beautiful’ by being thin. (Driven by what I had ‘learnt’ from society growing up).
Quite honestly, that was one of the most miserable times of my life. I don’t even know how I managed to pull myself out of it – I think, at some point, I just deeply realised that I just couldn’t do that to myself anymore. That my self-worth would not be dependent on being a size 6. Also, I love to eat!
After that, I managed to get through most of my 20s with relative body-acceptance. Until … at around 27, my body started to change. I was still HEALTHY – I had just become a naturopath – but I wasn’t naturally ‘thin’ anymore.
For the first time, I had curves! And I was struggling to accept it.
This struggle went on for a few years. Every so often, the idea of mild starvation would enter my head. Maybe, I would think, if I just live off fish and green veggies – and NOTHING else – for a few weeks, I’ll go back to being ‘thin’. I would dream of all sorts of ways to change my body. It wasn’t taking over my life, but I knew that if I didn’t address this issue soon – it had the potential to interfere majorly with my fulfilment and wellness.
Fast forward to a new decade.
My 30th birthday provided me ample reflection time. One of those reflections was, I’m a woman now!
I knew it was time to stop fighting with my body.
I knew it was time to just embrace my new, curvier shape.
I knew it was time to stop thinking ‘If I just do ______ , then maybe I’ll be thin again’.
Then, a mere 4-5 weeks ago, this exact topic came up in a kinesiology session. My trusted practitioner forced me (in the best of ways) to confront my lack of acceptance of my body. I burst into tears. But the tears were because I *finally* realised:
I am perfect the way I am.
I don’t need to change.
This is a new decade, a new phase of my life.
I’m a woman now.
I finally gave myself permission to let go of needing to change all my perceived ‘flaws’.
AND – I gave myself permission to let go of the ‘old’ version of my body, and fully embrace the new one.
And the thing is – that old body, the body of my 20s? She, for so many of those years, was riddled with burnout, exhaustion, adrenal problems, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances.
This new body – the body of my 30 years old self? She is empowered, rested (most of the time), content, fulfilled, and living the life that she had always wanted to create. Sure – I still have my meltdowns and tough days/times – but on the whole, I am so, so content with life. With myself and with who I’ve become.
Listen: if you, like me, compare your body (or any part of your being) to other people, to the idealistic views of what you feel you ‘should’ be because of the media … please, I beg of you, give yourself permission to STOP.
Please, deeply realise: you will die one day.
Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s true – you don’t have this physical body that you are currently inhabiting forever. Why would you want to spend your time in that precious vessel, beating it up and putting it down?
Your body is a massive gift. It carries you through your life, day after day, putting up with all the things you might be dragging it through.
By all means – if you know something needs to change with your body, then seek the help to make that change.
But let that change be fuelled from a place of LOVE, not lack.
Focus on your wellbeing – not how ‘thin’ you want to be.
Because, I can promise you, when you are living a truly authentic life and treating your body well, you will exist at the weight and shape that is most natural and perfect for YOU.
When we rest enough, prioritise sleep, do things that we love, eat lots of veggies and nourishing foods, and move our bodies regularly in a way that feels restorative – THAT is the body you want. That’s the body that was given to you. Embrace her. Look after her. And … indulge her (healthily!) when it feels right to do so. (Let me tell you – I’m never going to give up a glass of chardonnay with a girlfriend because I’m scared of what it will do to my body).
But please, stop berating your body. You are truly worth more than that.
And, for the record, my words here are not designed to confront or offend. There are ALL SORTS of body shapes and sizes, and our perception of ourself is always skewed by our own perceptions and ‘filters’.
No one else is necessarily going to understand where you are at with your body image. I’m not assuming that I know where you are at, either.
My intention is solely to remind you: the way you are, right now, is good and perfect and wonderful.
You don’t need anyone outside of you to tell you that (but, I am here to remind you anyway).
Go forth today and treat your beautiful body (and mind and soul) so WELL.
Extend her the same time, love, attention and resources that you so willingly extend everybody else in your life … then watch what changes.
All LOVE –
Naturopath / Women’s Life Coach // Melbourne, Australia / Skype
Stay connected with me.
I work as a Naturopath + Life Coach in Melbourne, Australia, and via Skype.
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