or actions are self-deprecating, your
child will start to question their own
wisdom: If their opinion of you as
beautiful is so clearly wrong, what
else are they wrong about? Is their
body imperfect, too? By relating
positively to yourself, you allow
your children to continue their
unconditional belief in you and in
themselves. In so doing, you provide
them with a strong antidote to the
image-based messages they will face
in later life.
You can never reclaim this
summer. In the blink of an eye,
your children will be grown and the
thighs that you detest will be too
frail to allow you to wander through
picturesque villages. Determining to
accept your body right now allows you
to live your life more fully, to support
your children more completely and
to act in a manner more aligned to
making positive, healthy choices. If
years of dieting and self-abuse have
got you nowhere, how about trying
something a little different this
Love Food Live Life is designed to help those who
wish to move away from emotional eating, and
Nicolette Ray welcomes informal enquiries from
those who are concerned about their relationship
with food
Steps to acceptance
Try the following exercises to help you to develop a more positive relationship
with your body.
Use a piece of string to create a circle on the floor that corresponds with how
large you think your waist is. Hold the two ends of the string and wrap them
around your waist. Is the circle you formed the same size as your waist, or is
your perception of yourself different from reality?
Stand in front of a mirror naked, or revealing a part of your body that you
feel uncomfortable with, and, if only for a few moments, try to view yourself
without judgment. Can you see the colours in your skin, the undulating pattern
of your body, your freckles and skin markings? Can you look at your body
without comparison to a media-led ideal? If you are willing and able to do
this, you will start to reframe how you see yourself.
Try to become more aware of your self-destructive body thoughts, and
then: Put those thoughts into words and repeat them out loud to fully
appreciate how abusive they sound. Do you allow anybody else to speak
to you like that? Ask yourself where these thoughts have come from. As
a mature adult, do you need to hold on to cruel words spoken to you by
others? Is it wise that your opinion of your own body is defined by idealised,
airbrushed images of teenage models? Become conscious of how much
time and energy you use brooding on self-abusive thoughts. Negative
introspection can leave you fatigued and empty, with an emotional
hunger that no amount of food can satiate.
Write a letter to the one part of your body you detest the most – for example,
your thighs – allowing yourself to express all your feelings about them. Don’t
hold back! Now place the pen in your non-dominant hand and write a reply
from your thighs, to yourself. Continue this dialogue between yourself and
your thighs, swapping between your dominant and non-dominant hand, until
the conversation comes to a natural end. It sounds crazy, but try it and you
might be surprised by the results.
Summer 2013