How I Went from Hating My Body to Being Okay with It

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Would you talk to this little girl the way you talk to yourself now? (and yes, I still sleep like that now!)

I have started to look for what is beautiful about other people’s bodies instead of comparing myself to them and tearing them down. It’s helped my body image in a big way (and I feel like way less of jerk since I’m not criticizing other people because of my own hate for my own body).

Improving Self-Image

It’s just one of many things I’ve been doing on a regular basis to transform the way I feel about my body. Loving or liking your body is a “practice.” We practice yoga, we practice sports, we practice before giving a presentation or dance recital. And yes, changing how we feel about our bodies or how we feel around food requires creating a practice of sorts.

I’ve started to picture myself as a little kid when an urge to say something bad about my body comes up. Sounds a little weird but read on!

A Child's Perspective

Every time a horrible thought about my body comes up or the urge to pinch, pick apart or tear myself down arises, I remind myself that the person I am saying that about is a little girl named Andrea. Andrea loves books, barbies, coloring and helping her mom in the kitchen. She loves Saturday morning cartoons, roller skating, riding her bike and playing in the woods behind her house with her friends. She’s affectionate, curious, and cares about how other people feel. She loves animals and laughing. She’s creative and has a wild imagination.

Would you tell her she’s fat? That she looks “wrong”? That she’s ugly? Of course not. So don’t do it to yourself now.

She’s just a kid.

Would I speak the way I speak to myself to little Andrea if she was standing in front of me?

Absolutely not.

I wouldn’t dare treat a kid the way I treat my adult self.

Why? Because she doesn’t deserve it.

I don’t deserve it either. We’re the same person.

I want to have higher standards for myself. If I wouldn’t talk to a little kid the way I talk to myself, then I can’t continue saying the horrible things I’ve said about myself.

Remember the Child You Once Were

I now immediately picture myself as a kid when these cruel thoughts pop in my head and it now helps me to stop them quickly. Remember the kid you were. How innocent, hopeful, kind, ambitious, gentle, unique and whole you were (and ARE!!). How worthy of love and valued you were (and ARE!!). You deserve better treatment. She deserves better treatment. You are the same now as you were then and you deserve love and acceptance—especially from yourself.

To keep your mind on this idea, try carrying around a picture of yourself when you were little or posting a pic as your desktop background and see if it changes how you think of yourself today. If a picture of yourself doesn’t make you feel compassion or sympathetic, try someone else you care about—a niece, nephew, a friend’s kid—someone else who you wouldn’t dare talk this way to.

Can you have the same compassion for yourself that you would give to a child? Why or why not?

Contributor: 

Andrea Quigley Maynard

Andrea Quigley Maynard believes that we have innate knowledge about what, how much, and when to eat, and that relying on restrictive diets to manage our relationships to food is a temporary fix for a larger societal problem. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, she helps women reconnect with natural hunger cues in their body, learn to feel emotions instead of eating them, and trust their intuition so that they can make peace with food and get on with their lives. She lives in NH and coaches women remotely. She also shares her work through writing and webinars. Learn more at aqmhealthcoaching.com.