All of us – but especially women.
We need to stop.
We need to stop making those small underhanded self-deprecating remarks about our bodies. Even the ones where we’re joking – because ultimately, we’re not joking. Our poor little bodies hear our own criticism through the thin veil of ‘humour’ and buy into our own sales pitch hook, line and sinker.
Besides. No one hears these remarks and thinks “hahaha you’re so funny.”
These self-deprecating remarks – no matter how light or well-intended will leave another woman considering her own insecurities, flaws and perceived physical deficits.
It’s crazy to me how many women are unhappy with the way they look. I mean, of course I understand it as I also fall into that statistic… but it makes me so sad. Because when I look at you – my friends, sisters, the women I love so dearly. I don’t see your physical ‘flaws’. I don’t look at you and think you need to drop a few or that your hips aren’t in proportion with your chest. I am usually preoccupied by appreciating your beauty and your drive; or admiring your wit, or I’m in awe of your talent and intellect.
There are so many reasons making healthy choices should be a priority for you – and the most unimportant is the number which represents the calculation of your body mass’s gravitational impact on the earth’s surface.
Making choices in effort to be more conscientious and healthy is important for a better quality of life. For the ability to move your body in a more agile manner, especially as you age. For the health of your bones, joints and muscles. For the sake of your digestion and the impact on your visceral health. Because physical activity is shown to have positive impact on brain function and intellectual development.
You do not need to lose 5 pounds. Or 20. Or 3. Or 23.
Many times I’ve had various friends remark on their weight – she needs to lose some, or she is really fat right now or whatever she says… and I suddenly become hyper aware that I’m bigger than she is… I’m 5’10. On average I am taller and naturally a bit wider than most of my friends. I don’t usually think about it. Until I do. She says it, and then even though I wasn’t thinking about losing weight, I am now. I mean, if she needs to – does that mean I should too? Does she think I’m fat? I mean, she must. Factually speaking, I am larger than she is. I suddenly wish I had a baggier shirt on…
So if you don’t feel the language you use to regard your body is harming your own relationship with your self-image, would you consider adjusting your language for the women and girls around you? Like me. Cause I need that support. I don’t want to need it. But I do. I want so badly to feel good in my body. I am practicing so hard to be in a better relationship with this vessel that has faithfully carried me through my life. But I need a little help.
One of my favourite yoga teachers is my favourite because I have never once heard her say a negative thing about herself or her body. I’m sure she has the same insecurities as anyone else, but she exudes confidence in exactly who she is. She is gloriously weird and completely unapologetic for being so. She is beautiful, healthy, and so active – and also, she doesn’t have a six pack, and girl likes a good meal. She embodies so much of what I want to be. A person who is completely and absolutely okay with – and maybe even *gasp* in love with every part of who she is.
Why are my rolls something I’m ashamed of – but on my nephew they’re adorable? Why can’t I too revel in my own adorable squish factor? I am so done with this. I refuse to let following generations of girls and women continue to confuse themselves with the misconception that fitness, a mindful diet, and an active and healthy lifestyle are all purely pursued in effort to maintain a particular measurement of their physical body.
I think about my little cousin. She’s 12. I don’t want her poisoned with this virus.
I mean, come on. You would never sit a young girl down for this conversation:
Alright, so, here’s your Society Adaptation Kit. It’s got all your essentials: insecurity, self-deprecation, timid behaviour, false humour to cover up flaws, Oh! And here’s a waist-trainer, it’s just an updated term for corset, it should come in handy at some point…
We are more than this ladies. We are so much more. Beauty isn’t one shape or type. You know this. I know you do because I’ve heard you say this. The words come out of your mouth – so I know you want to believe them – but when your words are actions, do they follow this model? You can be someone who says you are body positive all the live long day – but what are you actually DOING with your words? Not when they’re about someone else. But with YOU. Your own damn body. What’s happening there? Actions speak louder than words. Do your actions align with your words?
However thin, fat, muscular, broad shouldered, wide hipped, skinny armed, pudgy bellied, flat butted…. Please stop voicing these as something you are ashamed of, or lacking, or have too much of. You have so much more to offer than a juicy booty. (And also your butt is rad no matter the concavity/convexity.)
I don’t know when, but one day, I’m going to have kids. And there’s a 50% chance that I’m going to have a daughter. Which essentially means that I have between now and then to eliminate this BS language that tears down my body because I refuse to pass this along to anyone else. And I’m practicing now because I know it’s going to take me a while to break this 31 year long habit.
I am making healthy choices for my body to love my body more. Not because I need to embody the visual representation that someone else has created to represent health; but because being authentically healthy is important to me. My body, mind, visceral heath and the quality of my life are important to me.
Thin isn’t a talent, a gift, or a characteristic of the elite. It’s also not a crime. It’s simply one type of body. Similarly, fat isn’t ugly or shameful. It’s not lacking or incapable. It’s a natural part of the human body.
I challenge you to join me in losing the self-deprecating body jokes, to change your sentence from “I need to lose weight.” to “I am really craving some activity in my life, and maybe a few more vegetables.” To notice when someone else’s appearance is triggering your own insecurities and to acknowledge that and be with it for a moment instead of voicing your opinions or criticisms on their body.
I really believe that subtle but meaningful changes could be so largely impactful. We would all feel a little more accepted in our individual appearance and there would be much more mental space for us to focus on our internal self-development if we’re not so focused on the external.
My friend Christine calls them Mind-Viruses. This one is dated and I’m bored of it; and simple shifts in language and attitude could make all the difference.
Stop the spread.