Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Few Steps To Better Body Image

I often am asked, almost 10 years out of my eating disorder, if I still "struggle" with body image.
Since an eating disorder was a by-product of bigger things that have happened in my life, the triggers, that pushed me into my eating disorder, will sadly always be there. However, I'm happy to say that they now have less and less of an impact. But, certain messages that were spoke to me as a child will always be a hard pill to swallow and I may always struggle with those insecurities. Whether I am at a grocery store or in the safety of my own home there may always be things that trigger me. But, thankfully, over the years I have found better ways to cope with these triggers and ultimately how I feel about my body. 

I am no longer a 16 year old with an eating disorder. I am 31 years old and have given birth to two babies. Things have changed, my body has changed, and I have changed. Thankfully, I have never been more "ok" with it. As I said above, this didn't happen overnight. Moreover, although I can't control all "triggers," there are a few things I did differently when I came out of my program in 2007 that I believe have helped free me from body shaming.

Quit the life

This is one of the biggest things I did when I started my recovery process. I quit modeling, acting, watching "America's Next Top Model," dieting, and anything that made me body conscious, including going to the gym. Surrounding ourselves with people, jobs or extracurricular activities, in which how we look is of importance, can be incredibly deteriorating to our self-esteem. So, at that time, I gave up on everything I felt would bring up insecurities about what I looked like, or I looked like in comparison to. At first, it was not easy. But I began to spend more time filling my head with things that mattered to me, more time in a job where I could give back and more time with people who shared the same interests as me. The cumulative effect was to both insulate me from anything triggering and give me purpose and value beyond how I looked. Eventually, my triggers became less trigger-some. Therefore, Once you get a point you feel very confident you can face those triggers without the negative messages and thoughts attached to them, you can start adding them back into your life because who doesn't like a little "America's Next Top Model?" And we all know going to the gym is a healthy part of life. Everything in moderation though. Most of those things don't trigger me anymore but it took a long time of taking them out of my life to get here (let's remember it has been 10 years). 

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Find friends who are like-minded. If you find friends who are consumed with body image you most likely will as well. It's just like gossip, or people who compare. If you spend time with them, we often grow to be like them. This doesn't mean ditch your friends, but be conscious of the amount of time you spend with them and the influence they are making on you. Also, find people with whom you share hobbies and interests that are outside of what one looks like just physically.

Know Your Value

Said best by Alessia Cara: "You should know you're beautiful just the way you are, and you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart."
I am well aware we live in a culture and time where beauty is found in a size, a skin color, a hair color, a build... but it is all garbage and the world has it so wrong. Some of the most beautiful people I know are those with kind, generous, authentic souls, despite all the things I listed above. We are much more than what we look like. We come with kind hearts, generous hands, incredible brains, passionate souls and more. The world really does need to change its heart on this matter and maybe one day it will. We all have a purpose on this earth and we all come in different shapes and sizes... know you are "beautiful just the way you are."

4 comments so far

  1. Thanks so much for sharing Julie. I love how you write from your heart, it takes so much strength. You are so inspiring to share your struggles and encourage others. Love of love girl.

    1. Thank you so much Codi. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. This is such a powerful post. I had no idea what went on inside someone's mind when they are struggling with an eating disorder. Thanks for opening up a dialogue. <3

    1. Reg! Thank you so much for your comment. I am so happy you enjoyed it and found it beneficial. Thank you for reading!


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