Body Shaming, according to the Urban Dictionary, is an actual term with a meaning: Shaming someone for their body type.
Sara: “ew he’s too skinny”Jeff: “she’s soooo fat it’s disgusting”Mary: “she’d be pretty if she were skinnier”Dan: “he’s so fat, how does he even have a girlfriend?”
Body Shaming is not okay
But the reality is we have all done it.
Maybe you body shamed someone today. I am almost certain you have. Maybe you shamed the same person I did. I was actually very rude, mean, ugly, and hateful to the person I body shamed.
That person was me. Let me ask you a real question: have you body shamed yourself today?
Yes, I admit it. I am often my worst critic, my worst enemy, and I will body shame myself where as I would never do it to another person. The question I think we all would ask ourselves is why is it ok to talk to ourselves with a hate that we would never speak to another? Aren’t we just as valuable?
I realized recently that the way I talk to myself, the things I think about myself, and the disgusting faces I make when looking in the mirror are all examples of body shaming. The only difference is I am doing it to myself. I would never talk to another human the way I talk to myself and truthfully, I dont judge anyone elses body the way I do my own. I believe I am not alone in this either. I am around women every day in my line of work and I have asked many moms, fitness professionals, and corporate world women how they speak to themselves when looking in the mirror. They all do what I do and when asked if they would speak to their friend the same way they do themselves? The answer was a unanimous NO. I asked if they look or judge their friends bodies they way they do theirs? No again. So why do we do this to ourselves?
Recently some very outspoken celebrities have taken a stand against body shaming against others. According to the Huffington Post, Kelly Clarkson and P!nk are among many well known singers who have took a stand against the hate they receive about their body weight. They have given 4 statements that speak volumes against body shaming:
- We are so much more than a number on a scale or the tag in our jeans.
- You cannot care what everyone else thinks. You will never be able to make everyone happy, so make yourself happy whatever that means to you!
- Healthy and strong are beautiful.
- There are other things we can fill our hours with, beyond our weight
While I will be the first to tell you, I am so proud of them for taking this vocal and outspoken role as body shaming advocates, but it still brings me back to my point: body shaming is not ok to do to anyone: including yourself. That last idea is the hardest to learn. I do believe that most of us could 100% agree not to body shame another, but offering that same 100% vote for ourselves? Much harder.
Learning to love your body as it is, is one of the hardest things I haver ever done. I have been a work in progress with this for almost 6 years and while I am doing better, it is still a learning process to talk to myself with the same respect I give others.
Here are my top 3 tips to beat the Self Body Shaming habit:
Be mindful. This is when you are aware of what you are saying/thinking when you are in front of a mirror. If you find yourself in that negative spiral, stop for just a moment. Breathe. Pause. Remind yourself of the positive things about your body. Do not allow the negative thought to continue. Every negative thought that comes to mind, replace it with a positive.
One tool doesn’t define you. Are you trying to lose weight? If the scale isn’t cooperating or you find that your clothes aren’t falling off of you like you expected, take a moment and realize the positive effects that are happening. Are you feeling better physically? Are you progressing to heavier weights each week? Are you able to run longer than last week? Are you able to make it through your favorite kickboxing class without taking multiple breaks? These are things you want to focus on rather than 1 particular tool. Success isn’t defined by the scale.
You are good enough now. Learn to love your body without making changes to the way it looks. Would you like to lose 15lbs? Maybe. Would you like to have more muscle definition? Would you like to have a flat stomach? Maybe. However, don’t wait on those things to happen before you love yourself. I promise you, I have been there. I was 100% positive that once I lost the 100lbs I needed to lose that I would love my new body. I was wrong. Instead I found a list of new things that were wrong: some loose skin, stretch marks, still not small enough. We will never have the perfect body, even the women in magazines don’t have the perfect body. Love yourself now.
I hope this helps you to stop the body shaming on yourself. You deserve better.
My last tip is this: If you can’t or won’t say it to your best friend? Don’t say it to yourself.