Is your mindsets about our body stoping you living the life you want? (and deserve!)
by Livvy Giblin, 17th May 2023
If so, you’re not alone…
Of all of the negative messages we see around us, the ones surrounding our bodies can be some of the hardest to navigate. They infiltrate so much of what we see - from the marketing of our food, to the celebrities we follow, the standards we see in shops, and the judgement of those we know too.
We know that so much of the negative mindsets about our bodies also means that we often feel like we can’t live life the way we want to. Self-judgement, comparison, worth and shame can all come into play. And with this powerful toxic mix, it can be really hard to shut out the external noise.
When we surveyed over 600 women about how they felt towards their bodies, we weren’t surprised by the results. We were incredibly sad and angry, but not shocked. Whether it’s living through the peak of diet-culture, the peak of social media comparison or billboards urging us to get “bikini-ready,” its hard to escape the mounting pressure of what a body “should” look and feel like.
Here’s just some of the adjectives women used to describe their bodies…
Hideous, frumpy, past-it, ashamed, blobby, betrayed, disappointed, unworthy, mumsy, invisable, old, incompetent, embarrassed…
The list goes on, and on.
And they described the ways in which their mindsets about their bodies affect their ability to live the life they want to.
Some talked on how they weren’t applying for the jobs they wanted to, going to the events they’d like to, having the sex they wish they could, or be around the people they love too. Some even talked about delaying getting medical advice for fear of having their bodies scrutinised.
All of this points to one simple fact: we must support women’s mindsets about their bodies so that they can live their lives as they deserve. But what does that mean?
To us, that means living a life without the limitations created by your thoughts. We can’t always control all of the messaging going on around us, but we can control how we think about it. We can learn to question it, to find healthier thoughts to think, to create boundaries that protect you and keep you feeling ok.
So, how can we do all of this?
Here’s some things that can help get you started…
First up, be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s hard to instantly change thoughts and beliefs that we’ve held for years and that are being reinforced to us by what we see in our everyday life. Let’s try not add in the weight of chastising ourselves for having these thoughts and feelings to start with.
Recognising that we have a negative belief system about our bodies is a big first step, and one that should be praised. It’s common that we coast through not even realising the way we think, talk and treat our bodies, so simply observing what we’ve taken in is important in its own right.
Practising self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a loved one. This may not always feel easy, but we have a session to help guide to towards kinder thinking. Our “Let go of self-judgement” session reminds you that you’re only human, and that is ok.
You don’t have to jump straight to positivity
Body positivity is a wonderfully embracing movement focused on loving and accepting your body as it is. But it’s also ok to not go straight towards such positive feelings towards your body, especially if you’ve spent years with a negative mindset.
Body neutrality is less about loving your body, and more about accepting it without judgement. It's about recognising that your worth is not determined by your appearance, and that your body is simply a vessel that allows you to live your life.
This may be an easier transition to lean into. And gratitude can help with this too. When we start to notice and feel grateful for the way our bodies can function, we’re already on the path to feeling more neutral about it, rather than negative.
Set up some eas(ier) boundaries
Boundaries help us feel more safe and protected. Simply put, they’re the line between us feeling “ok” and “not ok.” When it comes to our body mindset, there may be some easier boundaries we can start to employ which means we see less of the negative external messaging that only strengthen our own negative believes.
Social media isn’t the sole destination for harmful body and beauty standards, but it is a hotbed for social comparison, dangerous filters and mostly unrealistic ideals. 70% of young people have been exposed to content online that promotes weight loss, and this is just one of a handful of shocking stats that show us how careful we need to be with what we consume.
Having a social media audit where you unfollow, mute or perhaps even block certain accounts can be a great first step in setting healthy boundaries over what you see. In the process, you might start to find accounts that share the kind of mindset you want to have about your body instead. Why not give those ones a follow so that you’re reducing the noise of negativity and amplifying the noise of realism instead.
Perhaps even setting up screen time restrictions to limit your exposure to social media could help too. Research has showed that reduced social media use significantly improved appearance and weight esteem in the young adults that took part.
Overtime, and with practise, more and more boundaries can be set up to help protect you. We have some amazing boundaries sessions that can help you on your way, and feel supported as you define and practise using them. Give them a go here.
Here's some extra support
It’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that you don’t have to tackle your body mindset alone either. What’s wonderful and positive to know is that there are some amazing movements, communities and support networks out there, all helping us combat societal standards on our bodies.
Following our survey, we knew we had to create therapeutic sessions to help guide and support people to change their body mindset. Which is why we’ve created a whole course around this topic. Because we get it - it can be so divisive and hard wired - so we wanted you to feel as supported as possible. We cover 7 topics from your sense of self-worth and self-comparison to guilt around food, fears around movement, sex and even your own reflection.
They’ve been recorded by cognitive hypnotherapist Hazel Gale and approved by renowned psychotherapist and body image specialist Holli Rubin, and we’re currently opening up the course for everyone to try for free with our latest Body Mindset Challenge.
We want to say a big f-you to all of the rubbish messaging we say and embrace you getting to decide to think about your body in whatever way means you don’t have to limit the life you want.
So give it a go here - it’s free to enrol. Plus, you could be in with the chance of winning some gorgeous undies from our friends at Lemonade Dolls who’ve kindly gifted us a beautiful bralette set for one winner. Challenge enrolment closes Tuesday 23rd May 2023. You can access the course here after that date.