Why am I tagging all my posts this week “B(M)I Week,” you might ask. It’s because after sharing all about what I eat, what I read, dieting in general, and how I view myself, I’ve come to some conclusions.
There are hundreds of conflicting voices both inside your head and out in the world, trying to tell you ultimately what is healthy. Personally, I’m convinced that how you view yourself mentally is far more important than focusing on the numbers on the scale. Body Image (B.I.) trumps body mass index (BMI). Get it? I don’t know, I thought it was cool. (;
This will be the last post on this topic, but I wanted to leave you with some practical advice on how to deal with those unavoidable voices.
I’m no expert, so I reached out to some of the coolest girls on the internet and asked, what is your top piece of advice to girls who are bombarded by negativity in the media, girls who feel like they need to be skinny/in shape/xyz in order to be good enough?
1. Focus on the intention behind behaviors
I originally found Daniell through this pinterest quote which really resonated with me for some reason. Since stumbling upon the quote, I’ve discovered her blog called the Internal Acceptance Movement. She’s such a powerful writer and graciously shared tons of practical advice, ranging from realizing that happiness isn’t tied to body size (hello celebrities) to talking back to negative thoughts.
“My best advice would be to focus on the intention behind behaviors. For example, there’s a difference between exercising to feel good and just move your body or have fun, versus exercising to lose weight/ become smaller/ fit into a certain size or dress. I would say that the former is healthy and rooted in self-acceptance, while the latter is more disordered and rooted in feelings of inadequacy,” said Daniell.
Another of her ideas is to think of something you would say to a discouraged friend struggling with their body image. Then, turn around and apply those words to yourself. “If you would extend that kindness to a friend and someone you love, you deserve it too,” she said.
2. You don’t need to look a certain way to have worth
This wise piece of advice is from Emilee, editor of Anointed magazine, and personal friend. It’s one of those things that’s easy to say but hard to fully accept since it’s rather counter-cultural. “Society tells us that being a certain dress size and a certain number on a scale will make us feel better about our self-worth,” said Emilee.
“Your worth is not determined by your weight. My doctor was actually the person who told me that when I was upset because I wasn’t losing weight. She told me that my weight is not a measure of my worth. Your value isn’t measured by a number on a scale.”
I was encouraged to hear the same message coming from a doctor, someone whose job it is to make sure you are physically healthy when it comes to weight. Physical and mental health are definitely intertwined.
3. Consciously seek out good
Alexa works for Brighten, an app that allows friends to send each other anonymous compliments. Media is a big part of the push to look/act/be a certain way, but Brighten is a pretty genius social outlet that does the opposite – it allows people to compliment each other for who they are. Totally not sponsored; I’m just a bit in love with the idea.
“If we live our lives accepting the media we consume as fact, we have no choice but to assume that the world is bad. But it’s not,” said Alexa. “There’s two sides to every coin. There’s a silver lining in every situation. When the media shows you the bad, it’s up to you to seek out the good. It’s always there, sometimes you just have to search a little harder to find it.”
4. Your worth is not measured in what the scale says
Grace writes a blog as a part of the Enough Movement. As Christians especially, we have something to fall back on when we aren’t feeling like we are good enough. “The beautiful thing about God is your worth is not measured in what the scale says or what guys think of your body,” Grace said.
“God could care less if you have abs, and does not care if your boobs are a DD. God gave us hands, feet, and a body to worship Him. Our bodies are not meant to be idols, and worshiped by ourselves and guys. To the girl who thinks her worth is measured in her body–there is good news for you, it is not. Your worth comes from the Lord the one who says ‘come as you are’.”
I’m so thankful to Grace and everyone else who shared their motivation for knowing they can be enough.
In the end, there’s a balance being the healthiest you can be while still accepting yourself for who you are. It’s a daily struggle for me, but it probably is for everyone else as well. My hope is that some of these ideas encouraged you.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! I so enjoy hearing what you have to say.