Thoughts on body image

I have a LOT to say about my own body image (here, and here, and here). It seems to be a hot topic in the community right now – we moved from “low-carb” to “safe starches” to women’s health and body image considerations, and I’m happy to stay here for as long as we care to continue the discussion.
I’ve come to believe, in a nutshell, that everyone just needs to nourish themselves well (with good food and functional movement) and love their body for whatever comes from that. We’re too worried about lowering body fat percentage and “leaning out,” and usually not for health reasons.
Let’s be honest: often we’re inspired not by health, but by socially-driven vanity. By the feeling that we’re not good enough as we are because we don’t look like some photoshopped celebrity. We’re driven by the messed-up messages we’ve been assaulted by since we were young. They drive us, we don’t drive us.
The “I-want-to-be-different” self-talk, and the obsessive dietary behavior that comes with it, can jump in a lake. Allow your body to be whatever it is when it’s well cared for. Love it there. Redefine our ill-conceived, trend-dependent concept of “perfect.”
I truly believe that WHATEVER your shape, if you’re well-nourished and practice smart self-care, you are beautiful and perfect EXACTLY as you are. 
And truly, even if you AREN’T well-nourished and you DON’T practice smart self-care, I’d still say that if your intentions are good, and you truly desire good things for yourself, you are as beautiful as they come.

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9 Responses

  1. Amen!! I jumped off the I-wanna-look-sexy bandwagon long ago. When your health falls apart, as mine did, you realize what’s important – being healthy and happy. Looking sexy doesn’t matter anymore. This is a great post for everyone to read. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Saw this pic on your facebook page and it made my day! (Whilst simultaneously validating my love of high-waisted swimming trunks!) Body image is such a complex and all-consuming beast; it’s fantastic that you’ve brought more honest awareness to the cause. Loving ourselves, jelly and all, may be the biggest challenge for us health-minded women-folk. Awesome post!

  3. Thanks Liz. I’m slowly coming around to accepting my body the way it is. I am actually quite lean, however I live in an area of Australia that is weight-obsessed and the ideal body image is still waif-like. So 90’s! Being a personal trainer and nutrition coach and having women skinnier than you complaining how fat they are can do bad things to your head. However, I’m now surrounding myself with more like-minded people who realise there is more to life than being skinny. Listening to you and Diane each week is not only great for my professional development, but also my personal acceptance. You chicks rock! Thank you! x

  4. Hmmm…it’s so interesting, because I would imagine a lot of women out there (especially younger women) are striving for the image on the left, while the whole point of the ad is that the woman on the right looks better! We seem to have some holy grail of thigh shape wherein we only get our wings and halo if our thighs don’t touch (a la the woman on the left). I’m pretty certain I’ll never get there, and that’s okay. So I have to wear some kind of spandex under a skirt to prevent chafing (especially in summer!). So what? 🙂
    “Nourishment” is such a great word. Just saying it makes you feel more at peace.

  5. Liz, you make a really good point. It’s all in the mind frame and intention — if you are eating to nourish then you are in an infinitely better place than eating to deprive. And it is a concern in healthcare because there are definitely people who hide their eating disorders behind various “special” diets.

  6. The body image thing is something that is hard for me. After I lost 130LBS, I felt great. The issue is, I have massive stretch marks all over by chest – from my arms pits and on down – and it just sucks. On top of that, the thin loose skin covering my whole stomach makes it even worst. It sucks because I know I have a six pack under it, and it’ll never show. It’s like, even though I’m more muscular and in better shape than the majority of my friends, it doesn’t look like it all.

  7. I just listened to the most recent podcast, which couldn’t have come at a better time for me. At 8 months pregnant, I’ve been so emotional about my body image and weight gain. I was on my way to paleo pre-pregnancy and morning sickness and depression knocked me pretty far of the path for the last six months until the last week or so. I’ve always been athletic and curvy, and was usually trying to shave off some body fat to fit some ideal despite being strong, fit and reproductively healthy. So, in a nutshell, I wanted to thank you and Diane for the most recent podcast, it couldn’t have come at a better time to reinforce that this is where my body needs to be right now, for me, and for my baby. As long as I commit to switching to NOURISHING my body with foods instead of binging and emotional eating I can accept it. I started making the mental shift earlier this week and the podcast was the reinforcement I needed. So, thanks ladies. Keep up the amazing work!

    1. You are doing what, to me, is the most amazing thing the human body could possibly do 🙂 So much love to you and your baby! Keep working to remove all self-judgment and keep nourishing yourself! I am so grateful the podcast was helpful. Please keep in touch!

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