My dress is from Tucker, a beautiful clothing company. They create beautiful dresses and fits using gorgeous prints and sustainable silk. They were kind enough to send me the dress I am wearing in this blog post.
We Are Hard on Ourselves
I remember telling a kind lady in my ballet class that I only ate pretzels as snacks. No sweets. She replied, “wow good for you. You’re so disciplined.” I had to be around 9 years old. I still remember how sad I felt when I said how much I ate, but at the same time, I felt proud. This is the earliest I can remember having negative feelings towards food.
Body image has become such a buzz word! I actually hesitate to use the phrase ––– But here I go! I wrote this blog post in February, during Women’s History Month, but hesitated to publish it. I think it is because I am sharing something I still struggle with. I gained more weight since being married than both high school and college combined. This loving your body thing feels fresh for me, which means it is the best time to share my thoughts. I hope to just encourage you to put healthy habits in your life.
I want to share my journey with body image issues because this problem is still normalized in our culture. With all the social media campaigns and the changing in marketing, there is still a harsh standard of beauty on women. Men have their own struggles that I cannot speak into, which is why I want to talk about body image issues for women.
Did you know that anorexia was not even talked about or defined until recently? The first diagnosis by Richard Morton, was called the wasting disease in the 1600s, however, It wasn’t studied or treatable until the 70s. This is when a book came out talking about therapy to address the problem of “not eating”.
I have a few thoughts on why this became a talked about issue around this time. Actually, I only have one: CULTURE.
If you look back at the movies from the 50s on to the 70s women are thin. That’s it. Just so thin. Thin became an obsession. Now there are full-blown institutes or treatment
I have heard about weight all my life from my mother and her mother’s mother. Watch what you eat, exercise, lose weight. However, I really think dance was where I picked up an unhealthy, competitive view on being thin. It wasn’t until I got married that I started to really think about how I talk to myself. My husband is actually affected when I comment on the way I look. He takes it personally, and it made me take a second to think about why I talk so harshly to myself.
Self talk is so important.
I am going to admit right here that I have a problem with loving the body I was given. Anyone with me? For some girls, they have a problem loving their nose, their skin, their legs or all of it. For me, it’s my middle section that is hard to love. I even struggle to put this out there. But let’s be real here. Every. single. girl. hates something about herself. And when we say it out loud it sounds silly and whoever you’re saying it to tells you it sounds silly. Yet we still say it.
As a girl who danced ballet for 10 years, I have stared in my fair share of mirrors. I remember a tiny girl in one of my dance classes, whose sternum and ribs are clearly defined, called herself fat. We were ten and I remember thinking, “if she’s fat what does she think of me? I must be fat.”
That was not the first time I had a thought like that. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel uncomfortable in my own skin if I am being honest. I’ve always skipped meals and tried to get away with eating less. I wouldn’t say I have an eating disorder, but I have always felt like I needed to improve or lose weight.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”Genesis 1:27
There is a study (Kathryn Miller, 2019) that shows body image is directly related to who you surround yourself with. If you are around others who are vocal about their hate for their bodies you will probably have the same feelings about your own body.
So here is my question, ladies: are being vocal about your body hate?
Are you around someone who is?
How is this impacting your mental health/ body image?
If you watch Jane Fonda’s documentary she shares about her mother’s suicide and her father’s girlfriend’s problems with anorexia. She herself struggled with bulimia. She actually blames her father for the unhealthy habits his wife, girlfriends and daughter experienced. Her life story is on HBO if you want to watch it. I think this story is hard to watch but I love how honest she is. Her story proves we need to be careful with who we surround ourselves with and listen to.
This is why I love going back to the Bible or my faith on this topic. We were all created in the image of God according to Genesis 1:27. Yes, we need to eat healthy foods. Yes, we need to care about our appearance. If you have ever struggled with weight or eating you know that your thoughts will swing from one side to the other. I am fat. I need to stop eating. I hate how I was created Or I am good, I don’t really care about what I put in my body. Both thoughts about yourself
If you struggle with positive body image here are a few things that has helped me:
- Do not surround yourself with friends who a) don’t eat b) may be bulimic c) makes comments about your appearance. That person is NOT healthy and needs professional help.
- Fall in love with healthy foods. I love avocado! I started to really look forward to cooking and learning healthy foods.
- Exercise when you can. Stay away from anything unhealthy or obsessive. I really do enjoy the challenge of running 1 mile a day.
- Practice positive self talk. You can’t beat yourself up for being human or not perfect. Remember the only perfect human is Jesus and He was completely God
Your value as a person does not hinge on your appearance, no matter how much culture, your feelings or people in your life may make you think.xoxox Hannah Lynn
Article on body image mentioned: Kathryn Miller ScienceDaily.com