After a teary eyed episode last week, I'm finally here for part 4, the last installment of our body image series (at least for the time being). We've gone through so many aspects of our struggles with body image in the series. In part 1 I told you all about my rock bottom moment when it comes to body image and the fantastic tools that pulled me out of that place. In part 2 we discussed what the research is now showing when it comes to body image, body image resilience, and using the low points as jumping off points to slowly improve your relationship with your body. We also talked about self care (not self control or focusing on changing our bodies in order to love, appreciate and look after them). To me, acts of self care were one of the secrets to coming to a new relationship with my body and with food. In part 3, we talked about what happens when we have a different body, either due to illness, disability or circumstance, and I again told you about a painful/joyful part of my life, where I learned so much about what it means to navigate this beauty obsessed world.
Today we're going even deeper.
Today we're going deeper because our issues with body image and our relationship to food are like big juicy onions. Once you start peeling back the layers, you start to notice there is usually something at the core of these issues, something we try to keep hidden away below the surface, distracting ourselves with calorie counts, miles measured in apps on our phones, trying to control, tweak and change our bodies, and speaking negatively about our outside image instead of looking inward.
In part 1 of our body image series I told you about my very own rock bottom moment and how it led me to finally find peace with my relationship with food and later, with my body. In part 2, we discuss what the research is saying about the role resiliency plays in improving our body image, and today, I'm sharing another part of my story. Today we're continuing our body image series with an episode dedicated to anyone who happens to be in a different body, whether it's due to illness, disability, or changes brought on by particular circumstances, today we honor bodies of all kinds.
Something not many people know about me is what goes through my mind whenever I walk into an elevator, through the streets of a new city, into a public bathroom, or into a restaurant. It's something very unusual but almost instant. As I stroll down a pretty sidewalk in a new city, I notice whether or not the curb has a ramp, when I walk into an elevator I'm gauging its size, when I walk into a restaurant I notice stairs and whether the bathroom has a wide enough corridor to get to it, ditto, with restrooms and stalls. I do this because for my entire childhood and adolescence, I shared my life with someone who had a physical disability, my mom.
For today's post and episode, part 2 of our body image series, I'm going to introduce you to the idea that the shame, hiding, negative body image moments, sad dressing room or morning scale moments, might not be a complete waste. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish these on anyone, and we're going to work hard through this series to prevent these from popping back up as frequently as they've been happening to you. What if I told you though, that the actual research shows that we can use these moments as a jumping off point to improve our body image? It's called body image resilience, a concept I found out about thanks to two of my favorite twins on this planet, two amazing women I'll be introducing to you today. A pair of identical twins who aren't only as eloquent as they get but who are body image activists, PhDs and experts on the topic of body image resilience and self-worth. Lindsay Kite, PhD and Lexie Kite, Phd have made it their life's mission to scientifically study how to help women and girls stop the self objectification, and see their bodies as more than objects to be looked at, teaching us how to re-wire the way we see our bodies.
Last week in part 1, I shared the story of my rock bottom moment and the tools that helped me climb out of that space, and that's certainly the place to start when you're on this quest to improve your perception of your body and that negative self-talk, but I know how hard this can be. It can feel like an uphill battle in which you have one good day and then 5 bad ones back to back. You can feel totally confident and appreciative of your body one day, and then have a body bashing fest in front of the mirror the next morning. It's why I created this series, to share the tools that have helped me.
I want to paint a little picture for you. It was right after Christmas, and although I would happily leave my decorations and my Christmas Tree up until September, I quickly had to take it down because Carlos's birthday (which is on January 14th) was coming up, and with that, his birthday party. Since I go overboard on Christmas and I have a tree that is suitable for a house twice this size, it occupies way too much space that needs to be cleared for all the party people. There I was, taking all the ornaments down, wrapping the fragile ones in newspaper, untangling lights, ornament glitter all over the place and boxes everywhere. My wooden dining room table covered in ornaments and decorations. My headphones are on, and a podcast episode is coming through. I listened, having to sit down once or twice. A couple of tears falling down my cheek, Carlos unaware that any of this was happening, sitting at his computer working away in the other room. Those little tears that were part sadness, part anger, part desperation, with a very tiny but present feeling of relief. It was too minuscule to notice everything was going to be ok, but present enough to give me a glimpse of hope. All I could think at that moment was to take the phone out of my pocket, and take this picture.