I sometimes struggle to reconcile my propaganda of taking the body with the fact that I help women lose weight.
Can you respect your body and want to change it?
My answer is loud yes. More than ever.
If I did not believe that this is true, I cannot do this work with honesty.
Unpacking beauty and evaluating what our bodies do for us is an important component of well-being.
In his book The Disease of Beauty, Rene Englen, a professor at Northwestern University and head of the body and media lab, very clearly and very convincingly reveals the cultural epidemic of beauty, the obsession with appearance, and its influence or affected most women in America.
Using research and interviews with women, young and old, and from different backgrounds, she shows the alarming scale of this problem. The stories of these women are heartbreaking and very familiar, and I could see myself (especially my young self) in many of them.
But Rene doesn’t just leave you with the awareness of the whole beauty sickness disease, she very gracefully sets out some extremely useful and practical solutions to the problem.
one. Function over form. When we really stop to analyze how much we focus on appearance, it’s pretty amazing. Instead of focusing on what we (or others) look like, zero on what our amazing bodies can do (for example, hug our loved ones, see a wonderful perspective, sing a song, hike along the trail, smell lilacs).
A way to take better care of your body is not a shame, it is, being kind and practicing gratitude for all that it does for you.
2 Love does not hate. Please do not listen to those who claim that you need to hate how your body looks to motivate healthy behavior. These claims are not supported by any scientific data.
3 Ask different questions. How do you want the world to be different when you leave it? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to be remembered for? Probably not a big abs. Let the answers to these questions have a greater impact on how you spend your time + money + energy.
four. Media. Do not use multimedia messages about the perfect body. Is his TV show, your Instagram feed, magazine covers, books – if he pushes an unattainable, perfect photoshop, don’t look at him and don’t think about it.
I recently updated my Instagram feed to include ONLY people + companies that promote adoption and inclusion. Messages that raise me and inspire. Life is changing.
Instead of fighting poison after it has already entered your system, change what you consume.
five. Language of the body. Try not to talk negatively about your body, especially in front of children. Whenever we complain about our body, we encourage those around us to do the same.
“When we degrade our own bodies, we send a message to others that it’s also acceptable for them to do so.”
6 Praise the character. When praising others, try not to focus on your appearance.
We are created to praise the appearance. What is FASCINATING, research shows that even a “positive” comment makes the recipient more conscious.
“This shirt looks so good on you,” reminds the wearer that her looks are being criticized.
Instead of praising looks, praise the character that they have achieved, who they are in the heart.
"Anything that attracts a woman’s attention to the appearance of her own body or makes her feel as if her body is being evaluated can lead to a disgrace to the body."
I will say that this book was difficult for me to read on occasion. It challenges. It works. He asks you to reconsider deeply rooted beliefs and behavior.
But, if you are ready, it can also be a powerful catalyst for treatment.
XO ~ Robyn
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