You’re in the bathroom or raiding your wardrobe, trying to find something to wear. You turn to the mirror and there it is, that same thought, “I should be thinner”. The thought shows up so quickly you may not even notice it. You’re immediately swept up in the visceral experience of the hopelessness, despair or anxiety that can accompany mental loops about needing to look different to how you do.
Whether we’re horrified by our stomachs, our thighs, our bottoms, our breasts or our skin, we get trapped in the momentum of a cycle. We can’t see that what is causing the distress in that moment, is not in fact our body, but our thoughts about our body.
The key is to learn to question the thought “I should be thinner”. Is it true? Of course our judging minds, the billboards, the glossy magazines and perhaps even our medical doctors might say yes. But what’s the reality of it? Isn’t it a fact that right in this moment we can’t actually be thinner then we are?
Believing the thought “I should be thinner” usually backfires. We immediately feel a tension in our bodies because we’re here but want to be over there. This stressful dilemma makes us do one of two things. We either open the fridge and eat or we start a rigid diet/exercise plan that is born out of fear and is guaranteed to fail.
To break the cycle start accepting where you are right now – which doesn’t mean that things won’t change. Rather than “I should be thinner”, try on the thought, “I shouldn’t be thinner”. Find 3 genuine reasons why this might be true. If your mind is convinced that you’re where you’re meant to be, you’ll notice your body soften and relax. This shift is the answer to a sane relationship with food and weight.
Find your own 3 reasons for why “I shouldn’t be thinner” is true for you, though perhaps these will give you some inspiration to get you started:
1) WHAT I’M REALLY WANTING ISN’T THINNESS BUT LOVE
I’m wanting to be thinner because I think a perfect figure will get me external validation which I’m confusing with love. I’m hoping admiration will make me feel valuable. The irony is that the love and peace I’m craving are already here inside of me – I can feel them as soon as I stop chasing what my mind believes it needs.
2) THIS BODY GIVES ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Since all bodies age, sag and decay, even the most beautiful are going to be forced to let go of their looks. The more we’re identified with our bodies, the more the ageing process is agonizing. A so-called imperfect body is an opportunity early on in life to let go and discover that who we really are has nothing to do with the body.
3) I NEED TO BE LIVING THE CHANGE I WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD
It’s not enough to blame the fashion and advertising industries bombarding us with images of an unobtainable beauty ideal . If I want them to stop airbrushing photos, I need to stop wanting to airbush myself when I look in the mirror. If I don’t want my children to inherit body-image issues, then it’s my job to embrace this body fully.