Yesterday, I came across a fantastic blog called Fat Girl, PhD by a young woman named Katie. Actually, she kind of stumble across me, leaving a comment on my blog. With a name like Fat Girl PhD, I just had to visit her blog! And, I am so very glad I did. It is comforting to find someone else who has dealt with similar issues as mine and come out the other side, successful. Her blog truly gives me hope that I can reach my goals as well.
One article on Katie wrote got me thinking about the issue of body image. She listed some interesting statistics about body image (which I would encourage you to go and read). What struck me was the high percentage of people – both men and women – who struggle with body image issues. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re overweight, underweight, short, or tall, young or old: pretty much everyone has something about themselves with which they are not happy.
And, honestly? I’m one of them. I really don’t like the way I look. I see myself in the mirror, and all I can see is a body which I don’t like, and am convinced repulses everyone around me. The way I see my body is a huge obstacle preventing me from truly loving myself. And, I think if I loved myself more, I may be more motivated to take care of my body. At least, that’s the way I think it works. (Something tells me, though, that I may have it wrong – perhaps if I took better care of my body, I’d love myself more!)
It doesn’t help that, during my formative years, I had numerous people tease me about being overweight. I was a chubby pre-teen girl (who eventually outgrew the baby fat and ended up with a great figure in high school, only I didn’t recognize how beautiful I was). Those words really stuck with me, and I feel the echoes of them even to this day. Add to that the societal pressure to conform to unrealistic body shapes, and the “quick fix’ diet industry (of which I have been a victim for far too long), and *bang* you’ve got one grown woman with incredibly low self esteem when it comes to body image.
For the last month or so, I’ve been feeling really down. I think my body image has been the culprit for this case of the blues. And, because I’ve been feeling down, I haven’t been putting as much effort into my appearance, which makes me feel worse about myself.
A few months ago, I was actually making progress in this department. I took an inventory of my body and all of the wonderful things it’s done for me over the years. Giving birth and nurturing three babies who have grown into fine young men. Carrying me through not one but two university degrees. It’s survived numerous illnesses and injuries. In short, my body has always been there for me, supporting me in everything I do, and, basically, loving me unconditionally.
And what do I do to it? I ignore it. I look for its faults and flaws, then criticise it. I feed it unhealthy foods. I don’t exercise it enough. Holy cow! Most people take better care of their pets than I do of my body. And honestly: I deserve better care than a pet cat!
So now what? What do I do to change my body image? I don’t know. I really don’t. I suppose I need to start taking better care of my body, feeding it healthier foods and exercising more. I also need to change my mindset, and accept the body God has given me. Sure, I don’t have the body of a 1940s pin-up model (which, if you ask me, is gorgeous! That’s what I want to look like some day – beautiful, healthy and curvaceous), but I am healthy. I can walk unassisted. I can bend down and tie my shoes. My body allows me to dance and celebrate.
My body deserves to be loved. After all, look how far it has brought me!