It’s so weird to hang with women (and men) who trash talk bodies now. It used to feel so normal to dissect celebrity bodies, discuss them, debate them, compare them, rate them etc. Things have changed. :)
I try to remember that it wasn’t so long ago that this kind of thing was as much a normal part of girl-hangout communication as guys, the weather or any other topic. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a situation where it was so fervent. I’d forgotten that many people don’t see it as a bizarre ritual.
Trying to change the subject proved very difficult the other night (and it wasn’t the right time/place for a full on soap box moment. I pick my battles carefully: you can’t help people if they hate you, afterall). Nor did I really want to be the party pooper, and I got the feeling my comments were coming off kinda “judgey”. So I left early. Wasn’t my thing.
These days, I’m surrounded with body positive peeps (or at least they’re cautious with language/topics around me. Awesome either way). Wasting energy & time talking about who’s too skinny, too fat, too muscular, too ______…. well, it doesn’t interest me anymore. I find it weird and it reminds me of my own bad body image times.
If you’re making an effort to stop speaking negatively about women’s bodies (including your own), try to surround yourself with people doing the same. Be kind to those who aren’t quite there yet (our OWN journeys in our own time), but it’s important to protect your environment. It’s harder to make changes to your thinking/life when the people around you aren’t on the same path. (note: this isn’t license to get all superior on them, lol).
And the BEST way to encourage more body positivity is to model it yourself (even “faking it til you make it”). I’m amazed and grateful that so many of my friends have embraced a body positive stance - applied to all bodies - and/or they make an effort. I’ve watched their journeys progress alongside my own and it’s been inspiring.
Thoughts? Can you relate?
So, so sad. But at least it’s blatant and obvious. Not all thinspiration comes in as clear of forms.
Found the excerpt below compelling and wanted to expand on one point: the fact that many instructors (and trainers) often use body shaming language as motivation during class as motivation for their students.
“Bye bye saddlebags!”
“No more muffin top!”
“This will target those gross, flabby arms”
“You can FEEL the fat melting away”
Granted, many women sign up for fitness classes with EXACTLY those intentions. But I can’t help but feel that there have to be better ways to motivate than to point out flaws that may (or may not) be an issue. What if someone’s just fine with the way their arms look? What if they didn’t think about saddlebags until you brought it up?
Saying ‘target your glutes’ & ‘make you stronger’ are both good. So’s ‘get our guns ready for action’ and ‘boost our heart rates’ and ‘YOU GOT THIS’. There are LOTS of ways to stay motivating, get results and keep your participants sweating hard… without body shaming language.
The takeaway: while it may seem that your students are there to target certain body parts, what they really want is to feel better about themselves. And pointing out flaws may not be the best way to motivate them to reach the next level.
Excerpt via Intent Blog
Of all the ways to motivate me to do anything, calling me fat isn’t one of them. Showing me photos of underweight underwear models is more likely to make me hungry than inspire me to hit the gym. And while thousands of people over the years have sought my advice on how to become more fit, lose the baby weight, or sculpt a certain body part as if it were a fashion accessory (this is one part of my job, and I happily oblige), I have told people they should lose weight precisely this many times in my career: never.
Why would I bother when there are so many other voices telling women and men that they need to whittle more of their bodies away in order to feel worthy of living inside them? I wouldn’t, and it’s a shame.
But people find inspiration in different places, and, while disconcerting, thinspiration is a thing—a style of motivation that ranges from cheeky mantras like “Sweat is your fat crying,” to downright dangerous behaviors in support of eating disorders.
I remember attending a fitness class taught by a popular teacher a few years ago at a swanky Boston health club. It was a strong class, and I liked the teacher’s sense of humor. But when she encouraged us to eek out one more rep of an upper body exercise to incinerate the “disgusting flab on the backs of our arms,” it didn’t make me work harder. I wilted. I worried about all the ears hearing those words of disgust about their hardworking bodies in the room (some of whom were also my yoga students), and I wondered how they would be internalized.
Body Bash Friday is happening over on FB. Join in & let us know why YOU love your body!
We’re spending the WHOLE day celebrating, accepting, appreciating, loving & pumping positivity up in this bitch. That means no body shaming, no negative talking, no judging ANYONE’s body (including yours), no comparing, no ‘fat’ talk and no ‘once I lose 5lbs’ etc.
YOU can participate by…
1. Letting me know what YOU love about your body.
2. Offering tips on how others can help beat back negative thinking.
3. Doing the post-it challenge (coming up: snap a pic & tag me in it!)
4. Sharing body positive sentiments your followers/fans/friends etc. All bodies (please, no skinny vs. curvy. Not body lovin’).
We focus TOO HEAVILY on fixing & hating our “flaws”, but who decided what was considered a flaw? The word ‘flaw’ is totally inappropriate: a better word? ‘Hangups’. There’s nothing flawed about cellulite, scars, muffin tops, stretch marks, birth marks, bra fat, arm jiggle or anything else you might fixate on. That’s the point. Imperfection is normal. The fact that we’re so desperate to “fix” these imperfections is the problem. And we spend TOO much energy doing so.
Today, millions of women will spend time treating their bodies hatefully. They will berate themselves, compare themselves, starve themselves, overfeed themselves, feel shame, feel anger, feel hopeless, buy products to ‘fix’ themselves, mask their ‘flaws’, comment (even in their heads) on other women’s bodies etc, etc, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had ENOUGH. No more.
What our bodies DO is more important than what they look like. ‘Healthy’ doesn’t have a size or a number. It’s okay to love your body, as it is, for what it does. Other people’s opinions are between them and their self-esteem (thanks Mama). Most importantly, NO ONE can hate themselves happy OR healthy. It doesn’t work that way. Body love starts from the head down, not the body up.
Imagine waking up in a world where you didn’t feel the need to change a THING about your body? And, even if you did, imagine that desire coming from a place of self-love and not hate? Imagine if we all stopped ‘fixing’ what isn’t broke, and started re-inventing ourselves instead?
I know I sound like a broken record, but NO ONE hates themselves to the body they want. The only way to get the body you want is to LOVE the body you have. Treat it like a best friend. And best friend’s don’t talk shit about each other.
Every time you shit talk your body, you’re reinforcing the idea that you’re not good enough. That you’re not worthy. That you’re not ‘perfectly imperfect’ as you are. It’s not about having a certain body size, or losing your cellulite: body love STARTS with changing the way you speak to yourself and changing how you view your body. It is NOT an obstacle: it is a vessel.
Treating your body respectfully and lovingly is strongly correlated to healthier behaviors, healthier choices & greater overall satisfaction REGARDLESS of what a person looks like. And you can love your body and want to change it: the difference is wanting to change it from a place of love as opposed to hating it along the way. It makes a big difference.
Don’t forget to tighten & tone your body lovin’ too. It starts from the head down.
Thanks to Sweatandasweater for sending this in!
Making negative statements about your body, such as “I’m so fat,” and “I need to work out more,” may be deleterious to your body image and mental health, a new study finds.
The results show engaging in “fat talk”; the ritualistic conversations about one’s own body or others’ bodies predicts lower satisfaction with one’s body and higher levels of depression, the researchers say. “These results suggest that expressing weight-related concerns, which is common especially among women, has negative effects,” said study researcher, Analisa Arroyo, a communications student at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
In one study, 33 women and 24 men, all undergraduate students, answered a series of online questionnaires administered over three weeks. Participants responded to questions about their body satisfaction and perceived pressure from society to be thin, level of depression and self-esteem, and how often they or their friends engaged in fat talk.
Examples of fat talk included comments about what the respondents’ eating and exercise habits should be (“I should watch what I eat”), fears of becoming overweight (“I’d really hate to get fat”), perception of their own weight and shape (“I’m so fat”), and comparisons with other people in these areas (“I wish I could eat as healthy as some of my friends do.”) The more often someone engaged in fat talk, the lower that person’s body satisfaction and the higher the level of depression after three weeks, the researchers said.