Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting? Ninety-one percent. That means that women who dislike their bodies, engage in self-defeating, negative self talk and who are victim to the societal pressures of perfection are the MAJORITY.
I think it's safe to say that being unhappy with who we are - what we look like - and how we feel is the perpetual struggle for the modern woman. Ladies, pardon my French, but this is bullshit.
Would you tell your 10 year old daughter/niece/sister that her worthiness was dependent upon her body fat distribution? Her stretch marks? Her cellulite? Or the number of "likes" she gets on an Instagram post? Of course not! And yet, 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat. So, be it intentional or not, that's exactly what we're telling ourselves and the 10 year old young ladies in our lives.
Before I dive into coaching with a client I like to ask them a few soul-searching questions so we can establish goals and resistance to change together.
These questions look something like, "what do you want to achieve by going through coaching?", "why haven't you achieved this yet? what's standing in your way?" and "what might happen if you achieve this thing?"
Recently, I enrolled 50 young ladies (aged 21-60) in my coaching program for a free 4-week Body Comp Challenge. The responses came flooding in and here's (a paraphrased version of) what some of them had to say in response to these questions:
...because I hate my body.
...I want to be able to get dressed and go out without feeling depressed.
...I feel like hiding every time I'm out in public because I look disgusting.
...I want to be confident with my intimate relationship.
...because I want to believe my husband when he tells me I look beautiful.
...I don't want to run away from social situations because I hate the way I look.
...because I want to like myself.
Is your heart breaking? Because mine certainly did. After reading response after response, most of them fragrant with a similar tone of disgust and defeat, I was broken. Broken because I know how these ladies feel. We all see the same images on social media. We all hear the same critiques - whether of ourselves or of others - claiming to be too fat or too round or too this or that. It’s never been easy for women to deal with the ever-mutating standards of female beauty, but now more than ever (thanks to the incessant bombarding of air brushed perfection that crosses our social media sites each and every day) women constantly doubt and define themselves according to how they look - as if that dictates who we are as human beings, as women.
What if we refused to let others dictate how we live our lives and what our bodies should or shouldn't look like? 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and are trying some sort of diet or weight loss system. That means, some of those women have perfectly healthy, beautiful bodies - something to be proud of - and yet, are still discontent and resorting to extremes in an effort to shrink and change their physical form. Where does it end? Do we ever arrive at a place where we feel happy, worthy and content in our skin? At what point do we stop and say, "I am looking pretty damn good and I’m OK with it"?
If we don't learn how to love ourselves despite not emulating societies standards of perfection (or whatever other unattainable standards we've built up in our heads), I don't think we ever will. Perfect is a state that is completely unreachable and mythological, but happiness is a state you can reach any time, anywhere, in any body you please.
You are a goddess. A warrior. A strong force of feminine power. Sure, sometimes you're a bit of a mess. And other times you don't feel strong or capable, but you are still a goddess. You are still worthy of all the love you yourself have to give.
Life is far too short to go another day at war with yourself. It's time to fall in love with everything that we are - even our changing bodies that will wrinkle and sag with time.
"You are imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful." - Amy Bloom
If you're looking for a way to nurture and nourish your body, while learning how to love it, let me know. I'm here to help.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.