As a therapist, I often work with women who are dealing with body image and issues relating to health, and in particular their body weight. I am acutely aware that women of all shape and size struggle with creating and maintaining their ‘ideal body’ which is normally not the one in which they currently live.
As a woman, I have also battled with the demon of ‘never looking good’ and the feelings of guilt associated with eating and heaven forbid enjoying food!
I was thinking the other day that I have been waging war with my body for over 35 years as I recalled hating my body as a teenager. I remembered the shame I felt about going to the beach and the avoidance of bikinis and other fitted garments like jeans. I caused myself much grief and missed out on so much fun! (By the way, I weighed 56 kilos at age 15 and was 165 cm at that time – hardly overweight)…
As I mused over this, it got me asking myself about how young I actually was when I first started to hate my body and in turn hate some part of myself? I searched my memory bank and actually found memories of feeling ‘fat’ and being told I was ‘chubby’ as young as 8 years old. I remember going to Dence Park Pool in the 1960’s in my orange 2 piece cozzie and not wanting to get out of the water in case people saw my ‘fat tummy’. I was 6 years old. How sad.
I found memories as young as 5 years old when I was told I was like my overweight aunt (who is a gorgeous person actually – but this was not the focus in my family). I remember my mum talking negatively about her weight then and still (she is now 80).
To my astonishment, I found recesses in my mind that held memories of feeling ‘fat’ and that there was ‘something wrong with me’ as early as 4 years old. I remembered being told I was ‘cuddly’ which was nice but also referred to my body fat levels as I recall. I remember a very cute little dress with lilac trim and when I saw a photo of myself wearing it outside Sunday school, thinking that I looked fat. I was 4!
I have always considered myself to have been a ‘fat baby’ and when I look at baby photos, I still see a behemoth looking back. I wonder if I was a fat foetus???
So when I listened to Naomi Woolfe talking about the beauty myth and how we have swallowed (pardon the pun) all this rubbish about our looks mainly so corporations can sell us stuff to control them (our looks that is), I wake up to the truth just a little more.
When I hear my clients talking about their ‘weak wills’, it breaks my heart to see all of these beautiful women raging war against their own flesh and I realise that the more we all hate our bodies and loathe ourselves for being ‘weak willed’ the hungrier we feel! I reckon eating eases the pain… How ironic!
So thank you Naomi for reminding me that we are all beautiful women and that it is ok to eat and it is also ok to love clothes and makeup as long as we remember that they are toys and not about our real beauty.
From now on I am going to focus on ‘good health’ rather than ‘size 10’ because I believe that self love is the basis of good health. When I love myself, I meditate and come into alignment with my heart and when I do this, I begin to eat, move and live in alignment with my highest good and what the size reads on the label is less relevant than what my heart says and my spirit knows which is summed up in this great quote… ‘We are all already perfect, just in different stages of not knowing that ‘. Rob Crowe
Love to all
Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney. Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.
Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.
Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.
Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.