Oh hey there blog franzz, it's been a minute.
A couple weeks ago I gave a talk on Body Positivity and Body Image to a group of young dancers and I was nervous knowing their little porous sponge-like brains would potentially be influenced by what I shared. Obviously, for the better I hoped.
And in case youre wondering, the whole experience was awesome :)
Needless to say Body Image has been on my mind a lot lately.
If you've been hanging out on IG stories then you have likely heard me talk about how one can cultivate a positve, healthy Body Image.
And today I want to shed some major light on it.
First things first: Please do not blame yourself or feel bad if you have poor body image. It is not another thing you are getting wrong or can't figure out.
It is basically a natural reaction to the classical conditioning we all face by growing up in a fat-phobic, diet culture, that continually manipulates us into believing that our worth is based on the appearance of the fleshy earth suit our soul inhabits.
It's fucking bullshit. A small jean size pales in comparison to a big bursting heart.
(also there is nothing wrong if you naturally wear a size small, okay?)
And I want to clear up one of the most common misconceptions about positive body image.
Your body image has nothing to do with what your body actually looks like.
You could look like a Victoria's Secret model and still have poor body image.
Rather, your Body Image is your internal perception of your body and it's based on the values and opinions you have of yourself based on that perception.
For example, I used to base my self-worth on the amount of cellulite I had and since every god-forsaking tabloid made fun of women with cellulite, I felt like shit about myself and had poor body image.
Now my self-worth has nothing to do with my cellulite, because I know that body-dimples are a pretty natural thing for women to have on planet earth..., so I have a healthy, positive body image despite all the cellulite my 30 year old body has.
This doesn't mean I like my cellulite, I don't hate it either, I just know it has nothing to do with my value as a human being.
So while we are lead to believe that shrinking and tighting our body will make us feel better about ourselves and improve our body image the research does not support this.
And anecdotally, my experience of life and repairing my body image is in alignment with that science. It didn't matter how small I got, I was never truly happy with how I looked.
It wasn't until I stopped focusing on how I looked that my body image improved.
According to Renee Englen, PhD, author of the book Beauty Sick, How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women, the more cognitive resources we spend on monitoring and managing our apparence and body size, the less happy we end up being in the long run.
A drop in pant size might offer temporary reprieve from low body esteem but we end up going a little cray cray trying to keep the weight off, which makes most of us pretty miserable.
On the contrary, when we focus on making the world around us a better place by engaging in meaningful work and authentic relationships, we have less room for "body-based rumination" as described by Englen.
In essence, the key to healthy body image is not "body-improvement," it's cultivating a fulfilling life that you love, one that has little to do with the way your body looks, and is more about what you are able to do becuase you have a body.
The more we can get out of the internal mirror in our minds that is constantly scanning our body for imperfections, the more free and happy we will be.
So this is your permission slip to go do more shit that makes you joyful and excited to be alive because that will improve your body image way more then counting calories ever could!