Hello! Today we are talking about body comments — the comments we make about our own body, the comments that other people (family or loved ones) make to us about our body or their own body, or the comments we make to others about their bodies.
On the podcast, I share with you the stories I have experienced about body comments, as well as stories my clients have shared with me.
In my own life, I remember around 2010, when I started healing my body and beginning my journey with intuitive eating, I naturally gained some weight. This weight gain was much needed and necessary after years of controlling every single aspect of my body and what I put into it. During this time, one of the neighbors of the family I was nannying for pointed out that I had gained weight, and said that I looked “good” and “better” with the additional weight. He meant this as a kind and positive comment, but the way he said it felt so insulting and negative to me, and I felt so exposed (more on that feeling in this episode). My identity was so wrapped up in my weight and how I looked to others when I was dieting because I thought it showed others that I had it together, I was disciplined, I was successful. So when he made that comment, I felt so vulnerable and upset. I did later tell him that the comment made me upset, and he apologized and said that he had meant it as a positive body comment. However, going from “you look so skinny!” to “you look so healthy” meant to me that I had gained weight, and it felt awful to hear people say that. Slowly over time, I worked on my thoughts in my healing journey so that when someone said that, it was a neutral comment. It no longer had the effect on me that it did that specific day. But that took time and work to get to that point.
Another example I talk about on the podcast is the conversation about dieting before a wedding. There were so many comments about dieting made towards me before my wedding. Instead of focusing on dieting, I focused on taking great care of myself while preparing for my wedding. Outside of that, I let it all go. I made daily choices that made me feel good, but it wasn’t 100% perfect, and I was completely okay with that. Taking great care of myself and choosing to not diet before my wedding allowed me to release soooo many expectations and external pressures that I was experiencing during that time.
When we make comments about someone’s body, no matter our intention, everyone is internalizing our comment to mean something to them, and we have no control over how they will interpret that comment. So, in my opinion, it is best to just not make a body comment. Because of years of having my identity wrapped around what others would say about my body, I no longer even comment on someone’s weight loss, because I don’t know their story. Instead, I say “you look so happy!” or “you are such a positive light in my life”.
Not commenting on other people’s body allows me to focus on being encouraging of what feels good to my friends. Because of how I know the body comments made me feel, I now actively avoid diet talk or body conversations, and instead shift the conversation to what feels good to us.
Listen to the podcast to hear more about how to work through body comments towards you that might feel good in the moment but not long term, body comments during and after pregnancy, and action steps you can take with yourself and others to start shifting the conversation away from body comments.
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