Embrace: the Futility of Hating Your Body

This past weekend as I was catching up on my blog reading, I came across Samantha Angela‘s post, “Why hating your body is futile”. I’m a fan of her blog, and this post is no exception; I was really happy that she was kind enough to grant me permission to repost it as part of the Embrace:Me project. Her message in this post is, in my opinion, one that is often overlooked: the negative messages we receive about our bodies can often keep us in a vicious cycle of self-loathing and poor self care. Ironically, accepting who we are can be just what’s needed when it comes to losing weight (if you are looking to do so) and feeling better about ourselves overall. I’m not looking to lose weight, but I am going to remind myself of the ill-effects of negative self-talk the next time I find myself falling into that trap. 

woman in mirrorI’d venture to say that most of us overweight women are not happy with our bodies. Images of glamorous women praised for their ability to hide behind a matchstick are unavoidable. As are the advertisements for weight loss regimes and rapid weight loss schemes. I’m not thin enough! I get it. Enough already.

We’re suffering from some serious anxiety issues. No wonder we’re all on prozac or self-medicating with pints of Haagen Dazs and retracting to unhealthy lifestyles. We’ll never be good enough anyway.

But what if you learn to accept who you are and what you’re capable of? What if you learned what triggers your eating and how to deal with it? What if you started to believe that you were beautiful? Would it help you become a healthier person?

Researchers at the Technical University of Lisbon say yes.

So there’s this study that they did says that hating your body is futile.

Well, okay, so it doesn’t say that exactly but that’s what it implies. If you’re a large and in charge woman you’d best be putting down them diet books and swapping ‘em for some body love mantras because that’ll get you to shed more pounds.

Overweight women were enrolled in a weight loss program for a year.The control group was given“general health information about good nutrition, stress management, and the importance of looking after yourself,” while the treatment group attended “30 weekly group sessions where issues such as exercise, emotional eating, improving body image and the recognition of, and how to overcome, personal barriers to weight loss and lapses from the diet were discussed.”

The study found the women on the body love plan lost more weight over the year than the control group– 7% compared to 2% of their start weight.

woman in the mirror

(source: etsy)

The results aren’t that surprising though.

I mean, we’re overweight women, we’re not ignorami. We don’t sit down to a meal of potato chips, deep fried chicken, and a pint of ice cream and think we’re eating healthy. We don’t binge in the middle of the night when there’s no one around because we think it’ll help us shed a few pounds.

It takes a lot more work to recognize why I want to eat yet another cookie than it does to list off nutritional information about why it’s bad for me. Maybe I want the cookie because I’m bored, or maybe because my body is craving sugar, or maybe it’s because I think I look like shit anyway, so I might as well indulge in something that will make me happy.

I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I know when my behaviours and eating habits aren’t healthy but I often don’t really understand why I am doing them.

So maybe we should shelve our diet books for good and start learning more about ourselves than what’s on our plate. …maybe we’ll end up looking better in the end anyway.

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5 comments

  1. I really love this post, and am doing my best to change most of these things. When you’ve been told something about yourself for so long it’s hard to change how you think about yourself.

    I’m hoping to change how I feel about myself, and how I think about myself, by getting some custom vinyl stickers for my mirror to remind myself that I just need to be myself, and such. Possibly including one saying “This is what a triathlete looks like” and eventually change it to “This is what an Ironman looks like” when it comes time for me to change to those distances. 🙂

    1. I hope you don’t mind if I steal your idea and put “This is what a runner looks like” or “this is what a marathoner looks like” on my mirror–I think that’s genius! Good luck on your quested to become an Iron(wo)man!

      1. I actually saw a picture of this on another blog. I believe it was from katierunsthis.com and it was like a picture taken at an expo???

        I still thought it rocked, and thought it could be something different to remind me I’m always awesome, even if I don’t feel like it.

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