It’s a few days before Memorial Day Weekend, and “Swimsuit Season” is about to begin. Will you venture out to the beach in a bikini, will you be seen in a swimsuit at the pool? Or, will this be yet another summer that you “hide” underneath long-sleeved t-shirts and ankle-length crop-pants, hoping that no one will look at your body, which you deem “disgusting”?
As an eating disorder clinician, it breaks my heart when I hear my clients criticize their bodies in ways that they never would say to another person – not even their worst enemy. Sadly, some of my clients were told by their parents, siblings, or so-called friends that they were “chubby,” that they “needed to get the fat off,” or that they were “such a stick” and needed to put on some weight. If it’s not people my clients know, it’s the “comparing game” played with models, celebrities, and other “ideal” images portrayed in the media.
As someone who has struggled with body image issues, which only fueled the fires of my eating disorders, I am so grateful to be free of the extremely detrimental effects of body shaming. I’d like to share a few things that helped me to improve my body image, so that I could feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit. Guess what – it had nothing to do with changing my weight, or anything else about my body. It had everything to do with changing my MIND.
Having a positive body image has nothing to do with how you look and what you weigh. It has everything to do with what you THINK about how you look and what you weigh. How else can you explain a situation where you “felt fine” and then suddenly “felt fat”? Did you instantly gain 50 pounds? No! But you may think you have. Or, that you have 50+ pounds that you think you “should” lose. Perhaps you think you’re “too skinny and scrawny.” The key is to imagine feeling good in your body. Size has nothing to do with this.
As previously mentioned, it’s a few days before Memorial Day. I invite you to CHALLENGE the body myths that you have. Gently notice where these judgments came from? Are they helping you to live the life that you truly desire? Who set the “rule” that you have to look a certain way in order to wear a swimsuit – isn’t that why there are so many sizes and styles? Who determined the “weight criteria” to lay in the sun or swim in the ocean – will there be a scale at the beachfront?
BODY IMAGE TIP: TRY THIS VISUALIZATION: Read through it first, and then guide yourself through it. Close your eyes and just breathe, relaxing into the moment. Imagine the last glimpse you had of yourself in the mirror. Now, get a deeper sense of your body, beyond the image in the mirror. What physical sensations are you aware of in your body? Notice the beating of your heart, the movement of your breath, and any other sensations amidst your body’s seeming stillness. What are the various things that you can do with your body? Imagine all of the different ways your body can move – walking, bending, stretching, running, lifting, climbing, and so much more. How does your body serve you and others? Get a sense of what your body allows you to do and be, and you interact with people throughout a typical day. What is the purpose of your body, at its current size? Move beyond any judgments about your body’s size, and notice the advantages of being exactly the size you are right now. How can you be your best Self, in your current body? Pause now, and reflect about what it means to be in your body, in this moment. As you imagine wearing a swimsuit, notice the immediate thoughts that come up. Just notice them, without attaching to them. Reflect about where you learned these thoughts. Imagine what it would be like to be free of these thoughts. After all, these are not really YOUR thoughts. And, if you are going to claim a thought which is not your own, how about this one: “YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO WEAR A SWIMSUIT YOU LOVE, AND GO TO YOUR FAVORITE OCEAN (lake, river, pool, backyard sprinkler), AND LOVE YOUR EXPERIENCE!” Why “weight”…
Article may be reprinted with the author bio below.
©2019 by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey. Dr. Dorie is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Addiction Counselor who is passionate about training professionals to effectively guide clients in recovery from eating disorders, through her Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ Certified program. She also provides sessions for clients who struggle with these issues, either in person or by phone. Learn more at: https://www.drdorie.com
Dr. Dorie’s UnDiet™ can help undo the damage that diets can do – including negative body image.
Want more that this “taste” of EDIT™? Dr. Dorie is passionate about her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ to help people overcome eating disorders and addictions. She provides customized programs for people in recovery from eating disorders and who struggle with weight issues, and EDIT™ eating disorder training and certification for coaches and clinicians worldwide. CALL 303-494-1975 – EMAIL DR. DORIE – GET CERTIFIED