How Can We Change Body Shaming?
Body shaming is everywhere and it is something we are faced with at a very young age. A discussion with a good friend this morning, made me realize how important it was to blog about this today! So thank you my dear friend who is so beautiful to me on the inside and the outside!
When my daughter was 11 years old, girls would pull on her tags of her clothing to see what size she was and proceeded to make fun of her. She came home off the bus, asking if she was fat? I wanted to cry, I had worked so hard as her mother not to ever make negative comments about myself and how I felt. I didn't want her to know what this felt like, how other people and society made me feel bad about myself. Granted I knew I couldn't shelter her from other people and society, but I knew I could instill in her how important it was to be good to our bodies. We all come in different shapes and sizes, some of us can control our weight and others can not due to illnesses, diseases or medicines. At the same time my daughter told me this, I was at my heaviest, on too many medicines and did not feel good in my own skin. I needed to start practicing what I preached to her and I needed to start showing her that taking care of my body was important. Being healthy and active, was more important then what I weighed or what size I wore.
I love this above picture. I remember one my friends asking me what I weighed in college, I weighed around 140lbs at 5 foot 8inches tall. Immediately she said "I never knew you weighed that much"? She was five foot and 140 lbs to her seemed like a lot on her frame, but not to me. Although at that moment I felt like a giant beast, you never seem to forget the negative comments...why is that? Heck I look back at those pictures and think how distorted my view of myself really was, 140 lbs was healthy and I should have thought that right away, instead of feeling like a giant beast.
The above picture is what society makes us feel like we should look like. Its on TV, it's on billboards, it's in magazines and it's hard to escape. Some people are naturally skinny and that is okay as long as they are healthy. What is not okay, is how these images are in our face and making us feel like this is what your body should look like. I know as a mother I do not want my daughter to ever feel like she needs to look like anyone else but herself. As a Beachbody Coach I do not ever want my challengers to feel that they should look a certain way either. Starving yourself is not okay. Striving to be skinny is not okay. We need to focus on being healthy, more active and being nicer to ourselves.
The above picture hits home too. Women in particular judge each other and compare each other too much. Women can be down right rude. We have to remember to stop judging each other. You may see a women who is a size 20 and think oh my gosh how could let herself get that way and I have heard people say "well she is just lazy". Here is the thing, you could be right or you could be completely wrong. What if that women just lost 50 pounds, what if that women is trying her best every single day to get off of her medicines, to be more active and is doing the best she can to be healthy? Then we have the opposite of the women that is on the left and she will get judged and get called names too. All she does is think of herself and that is why she looks like that, people will say. Where does the body shaming end????? It starts with YOU! STOP judging others, you do not know their circumstances and you do not know what they are struggling with. Women are hurt everyday. I have a friend who is very skinny naturally, not matter how much she eats, she just doesn't gain a pound and she is constantly hurt when people tell her she is too skinny. Too skinny, too fat, not perfect...Stop!Stop! Stop! If we want this cycle to end, then we too have to stop judging. We need to be better role models for our daughters or the young girls in our lives. Here is what I tell my children when they have asked why I work out everyday and why I only want to eat healthy foods. I tell them because I want to be healthy! I will be honest when I first started my journey to lose weight, I thought my goal was to be a size 6 again. Not anymore. I just want to feel good in my own skin, doesn't matter what size or how much I weigh anymore. As long as I stay as active as my body will allow me too and fill my body with nutritious foods, then I will be happy with whatever size and weight my body decides it will be. I do celebrate when I drop a size, or pound or inches-I am proud of my hard work. I am proud of my health. My other goal was to just be healthier mentally. Working out and eating healthier foods, has helped me become so much stronger mentally and that is huge. I no longer feel like I live in an empty shell and being able to get off of two medicines that made me feel non-human, feels freeing!!
One other point I have to make, is we have been made to feel bad about feeling good. We need to be nicer to ourselves. This is something I work on with my Beachbody challenge groups all the time. We have it ingrained to be the hardest on ourselves. We need to appreciate our working bodies. Be proud of who you are, be proud of what you have and be proud of what your hard work has created for you. We should not feel shame in being proud of what our bodies can accomplish. You could workout and eat healthy everyday and you may not lose a pound, but you will feel better inside. At one point I was so wrapped up in comparing my body to others, I realized I was not giving myself credit for the 5 pound and 8 inches lost. I threw in the towel and gave up. It was when I started to stop comparing myself to others and realized my body is not like no other. I started to be happier and started to feel proud of all my small baby steps I was accomplishing. I started working out and eating clean again and I told myself no matter how slow things went, I wouldn't compare myself to anyone else and I would be happy with what my body could do. You start to realize your not celebrating what the scale says, you are celebrating the non-scale victories and being healthier! So the next time you open your mouth or decide to talk about someone, chose your words wisely. Words can hurt and they can stick with someone for their whole life. In case you haven't realized this important fact, you have NO right to judge anyone. Everyone has their battles. It is up to each and every one of us to stop hating ourselves, others and start being kinder to each other and most importantly to ourselves. This is all just my opinion based on my own experiences and everyone has a right to their own opinion, but isn't it time we End the Body Shamming and start being nicer to not only others, but ourselves????