I saw the sign at the gym.
“BETTER BODY CHALLENGE” and suddenly, out came this rant:
“Really? A BETTER body? What’s wrong with my body as it is?!
I’m here at the gym because I want to care for myself!
I want to be strong and agile and you are telling me that my body is not good enough!
Are you freaking kidding me!!!
This is NOT the way to support women to feel good in their body.
This is NOT the language to use when it comes to our bodies!”
I see this kind of language frequently in the world of fitness and diet.
- Better Body – as though we aren’t good enough as we are
- Get in shape – I AM already in a shape! And no it may not be the societal ideal, but it’s MY shape!
- Beach body – as though my body can’t go on a beach until it’s a certain size
- Bikini ready – what? You’re not allowed to put on a bikini until you are ready? Which of course means that you are a very specific societally acceptable size small – oy!
All of this kind of language is body shaming.
It reinforces the societal pressure on women that we aren’t acceptable, we aren’t enough, we aren’t attractive unless our body is a certain size or shape.
Now, I’m not anti-weight loss. I’m not anti-getting-strong, but I am anti-women-feeling-bad-about-how-their-bodies-are-right-now.
All women deserve to feel good in their own bodies and how we talk to ourselves about our bodies has a big impact.
So, what I want to encourage you to do is to listen to the language you use when you talk about your body.
Is the language you use…
Does the language you use…
- Make you feel better about yourself, or does it increase stress and anxiety?
If you want to be stronger and eat more whole foods, then use these words:
- I want to be stronger!
- I want to eat more whole foods!
Be specific about what you want versus shaming yourself with I want a “better body” or a “bikini body.”
Speaking to ourselves with kindness is very powerful. It cultivates self-compassion and self-compassion is a much more effective way to cultivate self-care habits than self-criticism.
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Nina Manolson, MA, CHC, certified Health Coach and Psychology of Eating Coach believes that every woman deserves to feel good in her own body. She helps women create a healthy and positive relationship with their food and body so they can love their body and life! She’s the founder of NinaManolson.com and NourishedWomanNation.com
She helps busy women look and feel their best. She specializes in working with women over 40 who have tried other diets and approaches but are still struggling with their body and food. She helps women step into a new wellness paradigm that makes self-care real and do-able and turns it into sustainable healthy habits that
She’s the author of “Feed Your Kids Well In A World That Doesn’t: an everyday guide to make healthy food happen in your home and beyond”. She’s also the recipient of the prestigious Health Leadership Award from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
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