Many women believe that their value in this world and self-worth is defined by their size, weight, shape, and appearance. How much body fat they have, their bra size, or their waist circumference. I was once one of those of women. Always defining my weight and self-worth by a number. If this sounds familiar, read on while I explain why the appearance of your body does not determine your worth.
Weight and Self-Worth
We’re led to believe from a young age that a woman’s appearance is the most important thing about them. Their currency is how they look.
Futhermore, they are told their happiness, relationships and success are based on a achieiving that number, or not. Yet, there are individuals with all of these things, living in larger bodies and individuals with none of them living in smaller bodies.
Moreover, what constitutes the “worth” of an individual is subjective because we don’t all value the same characteristics in people.
Not to mention, our cultural “ideals” of beauty has fluctuated throughout human existence. Looking stunningly different from one generation to the next.
So, how do we determine what makes a person beautiful?
There was once a time where living in a larger body was valued, as it reflected an individual was wealthy enough to feed themselves well. Even today, there are many cultures that value larger bodies as more appealing.
The tropical paradise of French Polynesia is known for celebrating yet another kind of beauty – that of the well-rounded female body. The Tahitian appreciation of ample body shape goes back to the traditional practice of ha’apori. Literally meaning “to fatten,” according to this ritual, young women were made to put on weight so as to be presented to the chief for beauty and fertility inspection.
However today, we as a culture and as a society, particualrly Western societies, have become obsessed with size. It’s become connected to our identity as women.
This obsession fuels societal pressures to appear a certain way and to have a certain body type, particularly among young women, stemming from a cultural construct of the “ideal” body.
However, wanting your “ideal weight” is not like seeking the Australian Dream. Where if you just work hard enough, you’ll get it.
No. We are heavily determined by our geneticsand unfortunately, we cannot change that.
We can pay for a lot of beauty products and plastic surgery to enhance, support, and beautify our looks and keep us feeling attractive in our culture, but there are limitations.
Products and surgery cannot change our hip size, height, change how our bodies use and store fat, give us genetically modified skin or change the length of our legs.
Products and surgery can enhance, not create self-esteem. But, we still keep on trying.
It’s important to be critical and ask, who decided that what we weigh determines our value?
This is something I ask my clients a lot. In order to heal and change our relationship with our bodies, we must start thinking outside the box and critcially thinking.
Asking, why do I feel this way about my body and myself?
Who said I should be a size x and weigh x amount?
Is it because we live in a thin is best and beautiful society?
Who profits from me feeling insecure about my body?
Do I feel energised, empowered and strong physically and mentally when I definine my self-worth by the size and shape of my body?
Is there really anything truly “wrong” with my body, or am I just unhappy that I can’t live up to the unrealistic standards of beauty?
Do I honestly have the genetics, time, money, resources and mental energy to devote attaining and then sustaining a certain weight and shape?
What else would be impacted in order to achieve my ideal weight?
We can decrease body dissatisfaction and harmful eating behaviours by increasing cognitive dissonancearound the “ideal body.”
Weight and self-worth
There is a reason “self-worth” has the word “self” in it. It is not worth determined by your friends, your family, your partner, your schoolmates, co-workers, or significant others.
It is your worth determined by you. And, who better to determine it.
Check-in and ask yourself, “is this based on facts about myself or is there a lot of outside noise contributing to how I feel about my body?”
Bringing the “self” back into “self-worth” means that the answer to this question is entirely up to you. Ask yourself what you value in the people you love and what you believe makes a person worthy.
Self-Worth = Self-Love
It goes without saying; we love what we value. The more we value the traits and characteristics that make us unique and worthy in our own eyes, the more we love the human we are.
The same is true of our bodies, the more we value them for the incredible machines they are and the life through which they carry us, the more we love them regardless of the number on a scale.
Embarking on a journey to reject societies ideas of weight-basedvalue and to determine what you believe makes you worthy will lead to positive and life-changing realisations, recovery from self-loathing and body hatred, and a future of self-love.
Just remember, If you do reach your goal of a lower body weight, that does not increase your value as a human. Likewise, if you fail to achieve your goal that does not decrease your value.
You are not your weight.
If this is somethin that you need support with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here>>
Before I dive right into Intuitive Movement, I’ll give you a little more background on my story. As most of you already know, healing from my eating disorder has lead me to intuitive eating (instead of restrictive dieting) and a whole new approach to living in general.
A big part of having an eating disorder such as Bulimia, was the crazy amounts of exercise I would do on a daily bases. My relationship with exercise was not at all healthy. My journey with intuitive living began when my unhealthy obsession with food and exercise became a serious eating disorder, coupled with depression and anxiety and if I kept going, potentially a heart attack or organ failure.
After 15 years of constantly thinking about food and spending every ounce of energy I had left to weigh less, I couldn’t do it anymore. My teeth were decaying, my hair was falling out, my skin was always breaking out, my nails were brittle, my joints hurt, I was always cold and I had constant headaches and stomach pain, – I was f@%king miserable! Can you tell…
What is Intuitive Movement?
First of all I think it’s important and healthy to let go of the word exercise and instead re-frame it as “movement”. You do not need to run a marathon to get the same amazing benefits you can get from doing a Zumba or yoga class for example.
That’s not to say you can’t ever go for a run or do a pump class. There just needs to be a balance between full on push and pull, and soothing gentle movement. Constant punishing exercise is not healthy for anyone, let alone someone who may be experiencing concerns with food and body.
So, Intuitive movement is exactly how it sounds. Its taking the same ideas of intuitive eating and making them fit exercise. Intuitive movement means participating in movement that feels good to you.
It means taking a break when your body needs a break. It means forgiving of yourself when things don’t go as planned and you don’t get to move your body that day. It’s putting your mental health first.
How did I start Intuitive Movement?
I found what my body enjoys to do. I like walking, swimming, dancing and riding my bike. I don’t have a certain millage I need to walk or ride. I CHOOSEto do it because I know moving my body is good for both my body and my mind.
It’s no longer solely about burning calories. I love being able to listen to my body, see what it needs, see how its feeling and make that decision as I go. I encourage you to do this too.
Intuitive movement allows you to slow down, and be more aware of the ebb and flow of your body and life
Where should you start?
1. Think about how you enjoy moving your body. How do you feel before, during and after? Write things down, start a journal to collect your thoughts about movement.
2. Why are you moving your body? If your only reason for doing it is to look a certain way, then you may want to re-evaluate.
3. Moving your body is something you do for YOU! Not anyone else. Someone could tell you that a certain exercise or movement is the best thing in the world, but if you hate every second of it and you quit after a week, is that form of movement the right fit for you?
Life is about so much more than looking a certain way and weighing a certain number. Moving your body even incidentally, is something we can do for our bodies to ensure we are functioning at our very best every day. Don’t make it another form of torture for yourself. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
– go tenpin bowling
– play table tennis
– play a backyard game of basketball
– walk the dog
– swim at the beach
– dance class
– help a friend move house
Just make sure you listen to your body, don’t force it and most of all, enjoy it! Your body and mind will thank you.
“Health” and the choices we make about our health, are not one-dimensional. Rather they are a multi-dimensional continuum; where physical, mental and emotional health are all interconnected like a matrix. They are not separate from one another, and indeed have a powerful energetic influence flowing between them. Read on while I explore how the mind-body-health-connection can help you to better health and wellbeing.
To explore and treat one, but not the other, is like committing a crime to our bodies. It denies the whole person, the complete 360-degree care, healing and support we need.
Not long ago the mind-body-health-connection idea was considered new age. But as we learn more about the brain and body, we see how intimately one affects the other.
Not only is our brain performing billions of actions to keep us alive every second (no exaggeration). Our thoughts and emotions actually influence this biochemical and neurological cascade, either increasing or decreasing inflammation, and even changing our immune system in a way that makes us more (or less) vulnerable to disease. It’s a fascinating field of research called Psychoneuroimmunology.
Furthermore, the mind has a profound influence on the body when it comes to how we metabolise the food we eat. The psycho-physiology of how digestion, assimilation, calorie burning and all the nutritive functions of the body are literally and scientifically impacted by stress, relaxation, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, pleasure, eating rhythm, eating speed, awareness, our personal story, and more…
To put it another way: What we eat is half the story of good nutrition – the other half of the story is who we are as eaters.
So, where can you begin?
Reclaim your personal power, because it = metabolic power. Reaching your personal potential helps your body reach its physical potential. Therefore, personal growth is an essential part of physical healing.
Be willing to get curious and ask yourself the deeper questions:
What lessons am I here to learn?
How am I here to grow?
What character flaws am I here to overcome?
How am I able to serve others?
Where am I excelling?
Where am I falling short?
Ask these questions with compassion, not self-judgment. This is a lifelong pursuit and will not magically happen overnight. But the healing journey begins by asking these questions of yourself and putting the answers into action.
The key to healing
If you’re struggling to with challenges regarding your health and you’re feeling betrayed by and at war with your body, it’s natural to feel angry, disappointed and depressed. However, we need to have an understanding that our bodies do want to help us, even if it feels like your body is letting you down.
Feeling at war with your body increases the issue by triggering the “fight or flight” response – which is the exact opposite of the healing environment your body needs in these times. Instead, you need to have compassion with yourself for having these normal human feelings and be kind to yourself. Relaxing into your symptoms – can activate the healing process.
In essence, health is not binary – it is not something that we either fail or succeed at. In fact, health is an ebbing, flowing web of choices and experiences that we traverse differently from day-to-day, depending on who we are in life, the challenges that we have faced and the environment in which we were brought up in.