How many of us are embarking on the “New Year, New You” diet? Feeling sure that this is the one that is going to work, the one that is going to make us feel good about ourselves?
For me “body positivity” isn’t about one body type or lifestyle choice over another. I don’t think there is anything wrong in wanting to lose weight or not wanting to lose weight. But about being able to feel positive about all of you the bits you see in the mirror and the bits you don’t - who you really are.
The entry in the picture above was written in a diary by twelve year old me. Shockingly it didn't even mark the beginning of my body shame journey, months before I had written about my plans to cut out sweets and swap hot chocolate for hot water. It's heartbreaking to think that I felt that way about myself not only because my own beautiful daughter is now 11 but because of what was to follow -the lifetime of starting new diets, feeling a failure, crying in front of the mirror, secretly eating "forbidden" foods, missing nights out because I was sure I my arms & stomach were too disgusting, of putting ALL of my self worth in what the number on the scales said even though really it could never have been low enough and for missing out on so much joy in life because I didn’t know it didn’t matter.
The turning point was actually getting the body that looked pretty close to the one I'd dreamt of and the horrible realisation that changing the outside hadn’t changed the feeling I was still carrying inside of not being good enough. In the same way a millionaire can tell you from personal experience that “money doesn’t bring lasting happiness” neither does changing our bodies.
Getting that body - picture on left me on stage Oct 2014- forced me to choose to change the way I thought about myself. It wasn’t an easy choice, in fact it was terrifying. But it helped me discover the value of of who I was regardless of how I looked.
Smiling at my reflection instead of criticizing myself was the start and then saying thank you to this body for all the amazing things it does - including now as it creates and grows a little human!
When the pangs of insecurity - body or otherwise- hit me (and yes they still do), when something I try on feels a little too snug, when the nasty voice in my head starts telling me I need to do better at life , I find it loses power quickly when I add gratitude to the equation.
So if you are embarking on a new diet now or at any time of the year, I’m not going to tell you not to but I urge you to take up a habit along with the ones you are giving up and that is to say thank you to your body right now, to your life right now exactly as it is each and every day.
Nothing external in this life can bring us lasting joy, not our bodies, not money, careers, cars or achievements - it lives in the knowledge that you were born amazing and you still are.
#gratitude #bodypositivity #thankyou