Are you dreading the holidays because you’re worried about gaining weight? Are you already strategizing about what you will and won’t let yourself eat on Thanksgiving? Are you worried about what certain family members will think about your body size? Welcome to the tribe, my friend. You are not alone. The holiday season is notorious for good foods and bad body images. Instead of prioritizing fun or connection during this time, we obsess about how not to gain weight. Instead of a season of joy, it becomes six weeks of anxiety and low self-esteem. Let’s change that. I’ve got a
The Anxious Approach Those of us with anxious brains tend to go through life with a white-knuckle grip on it. We like structure, we like to have a plan, and we like to know what to expect. If we don’t know what to expect, we can’t properly prepare. If we can’t properly prepare, we won’t be able to handle the catastrophe that is inevitably just around the bend. That’s what our anxious brains tell us. This is how I have always approached life. I overthink so I can anticipate every possible scenario, I prepare for all of them, and then
BODY IMAGE Do you know the definition of body image? It’s one of those concepts that we all kind of know what we mean, but not exactly. Body image is how you see, feel, and think about your body. It is how your brain interprets your body, and its various parts, on any given day, in any given moment. Body image is usually categorized as “positive” or “negative.” It can change, and it can be different for different body areas. Body image is not simply a reflection of how your body looks. Though it is related to what you see
As mask mandates are lifted, we are bringing our bodies back into the world, and some of us – a lot of us – are not thrilled about it. We don’t feel good about our bodies, and we feel even less good about them being seen by others. We’re bracing ourselves for being judged as “too big.” There is so much that comes with being perceived as “too big” – it means you are being seen as not good enough, not acceptable, not loveable, and you need to change. That is a crappy message to receive, regardless of its complete
Most critics’ jobs are to critique. To analyze and assess. The inner critic is different – her job is solely to criticize. That is her entire job. She’s not analyzing anything. She’s not even assessing. She’s not trying to be fair at all. She’s just throwing out criticism after criticism because that’s her function. That is her whole purpose in existing.
Your inner critic is an amalgamation of every negative thing anyone ever said about you, every side eye someone gave you, everything you ever interpreted as a negative judgment of you, and all of your insecurities. She gathers anything that will make you feel bad about yourself and uses it against you. She doesn’t care if it’s true; she just wants it to hurt.
Vaccinations are happening. We are slowly starting to leave the house, go places, see people, do things. This is such a relief for so many people: those who haven’t been able to work, those who are lonely, those who are bored, extroverts. These folks are sprinting toward re-entry with grins on their faces and wide-open arms. Others of us are cautiously sauntering at best. We expect re-entry to be at least a little rough.
I’ve been thinking about boundaries lately. We all know it’s important to have good boundaries, but we’re not always clear why it’s important or what having good boundaries means exactly. A boundary is a marker that says, “This is where I end and you begin. Between me and that marker is my psychological space. I have full domain over that space. I get to say what is important to me, what is true for me, what my needs and wants are, what my feelings are, and what my pain points are. I get to say what my beliefs and opinions
Wanna guess what my opinion of dieting is? Yep, exactly. It is all kinds of hope wrapped up in a shiny package that wears off after days or weeks or months and almost always leaves you feeling worse than when you started. Most people who go on a diet and lose weight will gain it all back in 1-5 years. Not only that, most people gain back more than they lost. When I say “most people,” I do mean most. 95% of diets fail. Those are not good odds. Those are not even just bad odds. Those are HORRIBLE odds.
I’ve written a couple of articles about what body neutrality is and why our society desperately needs it as an alternative to body negativity and body positivity. I hadn’t yet written about how to do it in real life. This is the How To for body neutrality. As a reminder, body neutrality is an approach we can take toward our bodies that focuses on how they function instead of how they look. When we focus on how our bodies are functioning, we are reminding ourselves that how they look doesn’t have to matter.* We are reminding ourselves that the value