I’ve spent years and years hating the way I look. I’ve dieted and exercised and had some success in getting smaller, but, since I really view the whole procedure through a lens of massive resentment, it’s never really stuck with me. I end up gaining weight, I hate myself so much, I diet, and the whole cycle repeats itself.
Eventually enough is enough and I’ve reached that point. I’ve pretty much decided that the way forward for me is to like myself the way I am, right now.
Turns out though, that’s not so easy to achieve. I don’t like the way I look. I mean, intellectually I know that I’m OK, pretty even, the way I am right now, but when I look in a mirror that’s not what I see. I see, well, I’m faaattt!
WHAT YOU SEE IMPACTS HOW YOU FEEL
It turns out there a reason I find it difficult to look at myself in the mirror and see beauty is because I’ve trained myself not to appreciate those images. I’ve created endless vision boards with slender, toned women who look nothing like me. I’ve drooled over gorgeous clothes and never realised I was cementing in my mind my own ugliness.
You see, the images you consume, the things that you see, really do play a role in the way that you view the world, including yourself. This study by Lynda Boothroyd from Durham University in the UK found that by showing women pictures of anorexic women they became more positive toward slender body shapes. Conversely showing images of plus size bodies improved the woman’s opinion of plus sized bodies. By changing the images consumed it was possible to change the opinions of the participants.
Perhaps that’s why we’re so obsessed with thinness, even if most of the people around us are found to be larger. We’re constantly fed images of very slim actresses and models, all beautifully dressed. All you have to do is watch five minutes of TV and you see more thin bodies than you would all day on the street, Boothroyd says.
This makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t often see people shaped like me in magazines or on TV. Or if I do see them on TV then they’re not positive images, which in itself further reinforces the idea that people, women, shaped like me have no worth, an idea that I’m keen to let go of.
FINDING NEW IMAGES
So to change the way I feel about myself I’m going to change the images I’m looking at. Instead of images of slender women I’m going to look at images of women who look like me and I’m turning to my friend the internet to help.
Pinterest in fact. I’ve created a board onto which I’m stuffing lots and lots of pretty pictures of plus size women, otherwise known as women look like me. It’s actually really fun and rewarding to look at so many fabulous photos and I definitely feel I’m seeing the beauty that’s really there.
I’ll let you know how it works out for me. In the meantime, check it out – follow me on Pinterest!