How Getting Called Fat Actually Improved My Body Image
I got called fat this week. I was having a deep conversation with a friend, and I opened up about some insecurities I used to have about my body. I mentioned to her how I’ve never been super skinny and when I first started health coaching, I was worried people weren’t going to take me seriously since the whole “skinny=healthy” thing is stuck in our minds.
As our conversation started unfolding, she mentioned how someone had once told her that I must be a bad food coach because I am not skinny enough.
At first I wasn't surprised by this response, as I had been telling myself that for years, but this is the first time I really heard it from someone other than me. It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow.
My mind started racing and I thought, “Wait, am I a bad coach? No, they're just insecure. Should I get really skinny and prove to the world that I can do it?”
Part of me laughed about it and the other part of me was almost in tears over hearing this.
The fact is — I am not skinny.
The truth is — I once struggled with an eating disorder. Usually after I emotionally binged on something to mask the insecurities I was feeling about my weight and my body, I would induce a panic attack so I could throw up in the bathroom.
I was paralyzed and dictated by the road society paved for me: you have to be skinny in order to be beautiful and wanted. Because of this, my inner mean girl kept saying the same thing over and over again: “If you aren’t skinny, you're worthless.”
For many others, the voice can also show up and say things like:
If you don’t have a six-pack, you aren’t trying hard enough.
If you're too skinny, you're anorexic and sick.
If you're too white, you are pasty.
… and the list seriously goes on and on and on.
In all of this, we spend so much time checking in with the outside world, we forget to check in with ourselves. We care about others thoughts and insecurities, that we put our own aside. We let others define us.
And the moment we let others define us is the moment we lose ourselves.
I will admit it, I lost myself for a while. Dieting for days on end. Obsessively worrying about the number on a scale. Insecure in my being. Ashamed of going out in public. Suffering from social anxiety. Uncomfortable in all of my clothes. And constantly comparing myself to everyone around me. (Wait, are they skinnier than me?)
My body once again became a mere puppet doll that someone else was directing, telling me how to move, what to say and how to act.
Let’s start cutting off the strings and performing our own show for once. Here are ways to cut the ties and be more of who you are:
1. Throw out the scale.
Seriously. Throw it out. Smash it. It does not define you. Stop relying on a number to tell you that you're worthy, beautiful, fit enough, good enough, brave enough or perfect enough. You are enough, just the way you are.
2. Quit comparing yourself to friends, family, celebrities, and strangers you don’t even know.
Comparison kills, literally. Get off Facebook for a day if you find yourself scrolling and comparing. Get outside. Connect with nature. Embrace the qualities that you love about you. Be around people who uplift you. Do more of what you love.
3. Recognize the BS!
Seriously, everyone deals with this crap. I'm no different. We all think these thoughts. We all have those moments. I don’t care if you're Gandhi, Mother Teresa or the next big guru in health and wellness — these insecurities creep in from time to time.
We're in this together. And we need to collectively start changing our views when it comes to health and beauty. We need to pave a new road of norms and quit following the broken, shallow and empty path we’ve been continuously led down. Practice lifting other women up. Check your words. Say nice things. Be kind.