Losing Weight Does Not Fix Negative Body Image
A client recently said, “How come I don’t feel any different after I’ve lost xx pounds?” Well, body image isn’t dependent on body size. Body image is your perception of your body, and that is influenced by societal, cultural, familial, social, and peer values! Values dictate what is or is not important (valuable) to you. They influence our self-perceptions and self-esteem.
If you’ve been told your worth is based upon your looks, positive body image is probably an elusive goal. The toxic message is “be different than you are (ugh hem- shame). This is why smaller bodied people still can hate their bodies and have body dysmorphia. Sadly, diet culture tells us otherwise. We are promised confidence if we just get smaller. It’s a lie!
Bloody diet culture has told us our value as a person is our body size and shape. Our values influence how we view ourselves and others. If you value freedom, self-respect, integrity... you feel congruent when you live in accordance to those values. Here is the problem with body shape as the value; it will never be good enough- because the value is “be something you are not.” The value is, “Have this specific body that less than 1% of the population naturally has.”
What’s frustrating is this is all rooted in shame... so everyone thinks, “YA, but that doesn’t apply to ME... I WILL be happy once I shrink into silent submission and make everyone so happy about how my body looks.” I wish I had recordings of the hundreds... thousands of people who have said in the therapy room (and in personal conversations), “I still hate myself after this weight loss... breast augmentation... diet...detox...etc.”
I also hear the following, usually 9-12 months into therapy: “I get it. I choose to love myself. I ACCEPT AND RESPECT MY BODY.” Then we cry and laugh and get super pissed at the patriarchy .
Build a relationship with your body. Build body gratitude, respect, trust, acceptance, & maybe love. It takes education and rewriting the diet values most of us have been erroneously taught. You can do this fam!
Therapy and tacos for all,