Three Reasons You Should Never Have to “Learn to Love Your Body”

Three Reasons You Should Never Have to “Learn to Love Your Body”

 

My body will never be the same.hands-918774_640 copy

Three months ago I welcomed my sweet daughter, Natalie Grace, into this world and this week I am excited to return to my practice and accept new clients as well as reconnect with my current clients and colleagues.

In my recovery from my eating disorder, I have learned –sometimes painstakingly—to nourish, protect, and nurture my own body and my self. I now have a little one to take care of, and she is teaching me the deep joy and responsibility of being a parent in ways I could never have imagined.

 

In the past year, my body has undergone a significant transition. Becoming pregnant and growing a child within me was never something I imagined I could do when I was struggling with my eating disorder. I discovered that my body is truly amazing in the way it was able to create this little being  and give birth to a healthy bouncy little girl. The journey continues as my body feeds her and heals from all of the changes it has undergone. This renews my hope for my clients who yearn to heal their bodies and perhaps have a family someday as well.

 

The sobering truth is that my body will never be the same as it was prior to pregnancy. And I am 1000% okay with that. Honestly. What irks me is when I read blog posts online about “learning to love your postpartum body”, which are synonymous with those other posts you’ve seen about “learning to love your body at any size”, or “learning to embrace your imperfect thighs”.

 

I think that these posts have good intentions, but what I took from the underlying meaning of them is that they are implying there’s something inherently wrong with your {insert adjective such as ‘postpartum’} body that you need to learn to cope with. And this feels shaming to me.

 

Why must we be told there is something wrong with our bodies in the first place? Because we don’t all look the same? How boring would that be if we did!?

Stop Learning to Love Your Body

heart-700141_640 copySo here’s my somewhat “controversial” idea: why don’t we stop “learning” to love our bodies in whatever form they are in and instead celebrate them for the unique, magical specimens they are this very moment? No learning needed.

 

I can’t imagine telling my daughter there is something wrong with her tiny little powerful body. I LOVE all of the fat rolls that cover her legs, her arms, her chin. Adorable! Unfortunately, she will get told that there is something wrong with her, and she probably will think that herself someday, too.

What can we do? We keep fighting. For acceptance and love. Now moreso than ever!

Here are my Three Reasons You Should Never Have to ‘Learn to Love Your Body’:

 

  • Learning to love your body implies that you are imperfect (which you are, we all are, and that’s perfectly okay!) and that there is inherently something wrong with it that takes time and skills to accept. It’s a sneaky way to add to the shaming that surrounds us. How about instead: find three things every day that you are grateful your body does for you.
  • “Learning to love your body” also implies that there is a better body type than others. Typically the thin body type is most celebrated. Some people are naturally thin, some are naturally heavier than others. When we try to manipulate our bodies in unhealthy ways to be something they are not inherently meant to be, we can get into a danger zone of developing an eating disorder or deeper body image struggles.
  • It perpetuates our society’s twisted relationship with food and bodies. The diet industry feeds and thrives on our dissatisfaction with our bodies, to the tune of profiting more than $50 billion a year from it. By implying that we need to “learn to love our bodies”, we contribute to the diet industry’s message that we must change ourselves before we can love ourselves.

 

I want my daughter to grow up accepting herself inside and out and will do everything I can to support this in her. Of course I will mess up…I’m human.

 

We all deserve to live a life knowing there is nothing inherently wrong with us. Unfortunately we are constantly bombarded with advertising that tells us the opposite. Whether we are three months old or sixty three years old, we all have an opportunity every day to heal our relationships with food, our bodies and ourselves.

 

I am so excited to continue to do the work I love doing, with the added ferocity of a new mother! If you or anyone you know is looking for support in healing disordered eating or body image please contact me.