Hate Your Body?
So many women state that they hate their body or can’t stand themselves the way they look. This is their reason for going on a diet.
But why and how do women get to this point of hating their body? It’s probably survival mechanism that comes from the far past. Early Humans lived in tribes and survived because they were part of a tribe. To be cast out or shunned meant almost certain death. That meant conforming to the standards and way of living of the tribe was very important to the members.
Today’s standards for being part of a tribe means that you are slender. Those present day requirements to be thin in order to be part of your tribe has to do with advertisement, the movies and media. And in the present, that has to do not with survival, but how these corporations can make money.
Advertising essentially sets, reflects and then promotes the standards for what is acceptable in today’s society. Unfortunately, it’s still politically correct to insult and ridicule overweight individuals. If you don’t conform to the standard of being thin, you are going to be teased, bullied and eventually shunned by the tribe to which you belong. That can mean your school mates (for younger people), your job, your religious institution, and even your family.
Thankfully, advertisement and media has been changing slowly to incorporate more diversity: people of color, gays and now a few plus size characters. The place we want to achieve is that they are just characters; not part of the plot simply because they are black, gay or fat. This is good change, but it takes a long time until it is mostly accepted by society as the norm.
Fat Shaming Starts Early
Why are girls as young as six years old starting diets? It’s from society’s pressure expressed through the taunting in school. Heavier children are the focus of bullying more than any other group. And this hurtful teasing often exacerbates the weight issue due to the stress it causes in a child. They are separated from the group, and may end up using food as comfort and getting them heavier.
Many parents also put this pressure on their children- “you’re going to get fat, you can’t eat this”, not allowing children treats, restricting their diets. Unfortunately, the medical industry, where doctors lack actual training in nutrition and obesity fall right in line with what the Diet Industry and media are pushing. They encourage parents to limit their child’s weight through diet, instead of investigating what the actual cause of a child’s weight gain is due to. Is there a genetic factor? Is the child being abused? Is the child sleeping adequately? Is the child under stress?
Prevent Dieting in Children
There is a way that a parent can help a child not grow into a fat adult. Their job is going to be helping the child to see their own positive attributes, encourage them in activities they enjoy, and where they feel they can excel, and take away the focus- ESPECIALLY for GIRLS, on their appearance. Pull up photos of role models like Oprah and others at different sizes, who are popular and appreciated for who they are- NOT what they look like.
Unless there is a physical reason, such as an inherited body type, children can grow into their weight once they have dealt with the issues that are causing them to have excess weight. Dieting will only CAUSE the outcome parents are trying to avoid: making the child gain additional weight, and have a weight problem for life!
Your mindset can have a profound affect on your weight. When you say negative statements, using negative self talk your brain “hears” this talk as being attacked. Your physiology responds to this stress by raising cortisol levels. This actually changes your metabolism and puts your body into a state of “fight, flight or freeze”. In essence this negative self talk is sabotaging your efforts to manage your weight.
How To Learn to Appreciate Yourself
Self-esteem is a very important aspect of being an healthy, well-adjusted adult. Unfortunately, so many women have confused their self-worth with their appearance. They have forgotten that the most beautiful aspect of a human being is what is inside them – not their exterior appearance. Pressure from society and from corporations that make tons of money do it by focusing on women’s insecurities about their appearance. Lots of money can be made from women who feel insecure about how much they weigh, how old they appear, the size of their breasts, etc..
That’s where the tribe mentality comes into play. Women who have come to hate their bodies because they don’t conform to the “norm” need to work on developing self-esteem, and self-confidence for themselves. We cannot blindly accept that everyone has to, wants to or CAN conform to the norms. Our genetic inheritance and life experiences will change our body. If you are lucky enough to live a long life, time and gravity will change and age us. But in exchange we get wisdom: if we accept that as our gift. For many women that wisdom teaches them what is important, and gives them the hindsight to realize that years spent denying themselves the food they desired so they would look sexy was a waste of time.
Love Yourself Like Your Dog Loves You
When you can get to the point where YOUR opinion of yourself is the one that counts, life will be happier for you. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is:
“Your opinion of me is none of my business”
Can you imagine how much better off you will be when you realize that whatever anyone says to you is simply THEIR opinion?! You don’t have to defend yourself, you don’t have to get angry at them. It is only their opinion, and they are entitled to that, just as you are entitled to yours.
Then the trick is to re-learn to love yourself based, not on the shallow dimension of appearance, but on who you are, and what you give to others. Love yourself like your dog loves you- tall or short, young or old, fat or thin. THAT is real unconditional self-love and appreciation. It will change your life – and you’ll be a shining example for all those around you.
ps- Don’t forget to get my report – and, please comment and share your thoughts to help others know they are not alone….