I’ve always been very aware of my body. I was an overweight kid–I first figured that out when I was seven and I had to have my ballet recital costume custom-made because there wasn’t a size big enough for me.
I remember the first time I ever actively participated in a body bashing sesh.
I believe I was in third or fourth grade. Some girls with whom I wanted to be friends were talking about their bodies in a negative way.
I thought it was strange that they were talking this way. Mostly because I had nothing to say.
But I wanted to their friend, and it seemed like joining this conversation and spilling my guts about what I hated about my body was the way.
So I did it.
Even at this age there were things that I didn’t like about my body. I’m not sure exactly which came first: the bashing or the hate.
The weirdest thing is that I thought it was cool to bash my body.
And so did my little friends.
Well, maybe not cool, but I didn’t really think anything of it. It was natural.
It didn’t seem negative in any way.
I didn’t realize that talking about my body in such a negative way would perpetuate negative feelings toward my body.
Even if you don’t mean it, talking about your body negatively impacts the way you feel about your body.
“Neuroscience has shown that whatever you focus on shapes your brain. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts about your body, that neural pathway becomes stronger—and those thoughts become habitual,” Says Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist who specializes in body image.
Meaning that even if you don’t completely believe these thoughts– you’re engaging in the conversation for the sake of conversation– the negative body talk can shape how you see yourself.
So. Even if you’re not completely content with your body, I encourage you to cease the negative body talk.
Instead, focus on saying nice things, or not saying anything at all.
Try not to engage your friends in negative body talk…politely change the subject.
Even if you’re not content with your body, refrain from engaging.
Refocus on things you like about your body– like how strong you are, or how your eyes sparkle, or how cool your hair looks in a ponytail.
Eat Kale and Be Happy,