In the past few years, it seems as if more and more companies/songs/advertising are hopping on the “love your body” campaign. You know the ones. Dove’s advertising showcasing women of all sizes. Victoria’s Secret’s “I love my body” commercial. Meghan Trainor’s number one hit. But sometimes, even I (who write about this positive body kinda stuff) get sick of the “love your body at any size” campaigns.
Because, really, if we are honest with ourselves, they aren’t quite working. How many women are there that still don’t love their bodies? (Yes, you can raise your hand too 🙂 )
There is one colossal mistake that these campaigns are making.
I used to read inspirational articles about loving your body, and think “well, that’s nice, but I still want to be skinnier”.
So what is the vital flaw in these messages?
It’s not that we shouldn’t love our bodies at whatever size we are. I’m all for that.
But the crucial thing that is missing in these campaigns and messages is that they are treating the symptom and not the deeper issue. The deeper issue is the emphasis we’ve placed on being thin.
We’d give one of our own limbs to be skinnier. And therein lies the problem.
We’ve placed being a size 2, 105 pound, skinny woman as what we aspire to be, what we secretly hope for, and what would fix all of our problems. It represents our dreams, our desires, and our wishes.
When we get “there” (there being the size we want), we think we will have the sexy body confidence, a hot sex life, confidence to rock all the outfits we dream about, inner happiness, body contentment, etc.
We’ve associated losing the weight and achieving a certain size as the ticket to a better life. We have this illusion that when we finally get thin, we will somehow be loved, be adored, and have the life we’ve dreamed of.
And that’s what the campaigns aren’t addressing. They are missing the mark.
It isn’t that we don’t want to love our bodies. It’s that we glorify being thin as the golden ticket to the life we dream about. (Click to tweet that!)
Being thin does not address the underlying issues of that emptiness in your soul. Losing weight does not address the belief that you don’t think you deserve to have what you want. Achieving that size four can’t possibly heal your inner belief that you just aren’t good enough.
The “love your body at any size” campaigns don’t address our deep, core beliefs around what weight loss means.
It is our beliefs that need to be changed. We need to ask ourselves what meaning we give to weight loss and a small body size.
Your relationship with your body will change when you realize you CAN have the life you dream of now. (Click to tweet!)
You can date, you can have a killer job, you can wear cute clothes, and you can feel confidence in the innate essence of who you are. Just because you aren’t the size you want to be doesn’t mean you can’t create what you really want in your life.
We need to break down our beliefs behind the WHY of wanting to be thin.
When we dig deeper, with compassion and curiosity, to find out what we really believe, it is then that those beliefs can begin to change.
Where does wanting to be skinny hold its power over?
What do you think will happen when you lose weight?
What do you associate being thin with?
What else do you care about besides being skinny?
Really examine those beliefs. Get out a journal, call a friend, talk to your pet, or do whatever allows you to sit and bring some light to those hidden thoughts.
The “love your body at any size” campaigns are a good start, but we need to take it one step further. We wouldn’t NEED those “love your body” commercials if we didn’t put “being thin” on some sort of pedestal.
We aren’t born hating our bodies. Somewhere along the way we learn that we need to be thinner, smaller, skinnier to be better. And the good news is that with a little digging, we can unlearn all of it, as well 🙂
I’m curious-what are YOUR answers to the questions? What are your beliefs behind being thin? Share in the comments below 🙂
PS-Are you in the Denver/Boulder area? I’m doing a FREE workshop on November 18th from 6:45-8:00 pm: Navigate Holiday Eating with Ease and Enjoyment. Would love to see you there!
I couldn’t agree more. No amount of external activities (diet, exercise, etc) is going to change the way we feel about our bodies. It’s the inner work, the mindset, that truly counts.
Lily, I like that succinct,to the point way of phrasing it 🙂 It IS the inner work that truly counts! And love your website! Pilates + nutrition is a kick ass combo.
I used to be 30 pounds heavier between the years 2004 – 2010 because when I was pregnant with my daughter, I carelessly put on 90 pounds! I was never self conscious so was not bothered by the weight gain however, what I noticed was my weight literally “weighing” me down. My knees, ankles and even feet were always in pain. In 2011, I dropped 30 lbs in 3 months and all my pain disappeared. Health should always be the #1 issue not vanity, this is what should be addressed. Women just need to listen to their bodies. Great topic Jenn.
I love this and I totally agree. I’ve thought the same thing and have struggled with this ideal until very recently. I have to say that the deeper I dug into the why of why it’s so important the more I came to understand myself better. I’m much happier in this state of healthy acceptance. Thanks for this perspective!
Agreed-health is the most important and I think it is so helpful to recognize that in the weight loss journey. Coming from a place of wanting to be healthy as opposed to looking good is key!
Anne, I think you’re a model of how it “should” be done! (Digging deeper into the why behind it). Thanks for your insight. And I LOVE your site. The color scheme is awesome:)