Unfortunately, at some point in our lives most of us have had some type of issue with our body. Rather its’ teenage acne, those arms that you worry jiggle too much, or the way you seem to think your ears stick out farther than they should. Most of us have been through it or are currently in the midst it. No matter what stage you’re in, one thing is for sure. It sucks!
With the new year right around the corner, now is a good time to prepare yourself in bringing in the new year on a positive note. So we reached out to an expert for some advice.
Lisa Beasley, is a Mindful Eating Coach, who turned her life around after years of struggling with weight and self-esteem problems. She now teaches other women that its’ less about diets and more about loving yourself. What a perfect person to ask for advice from, wouldn’t agree?!
Here is what we asked and here’s what she said…
What struggles have you had with your body?
Where to start! I have spent much of my life feeling dissatisfied with my body. I grew up in the 70’s and my Mother was a big dieter, so I quickly learned how many calories were in the things I ate and learned from her eating behaviours that food was something to be controlled. I had quite an unhappy childhood, with my parents divorcing and my mum then remarried someone who was emotionally abusive and very controlling and I sought comfort in food. So, I would eat a lot to help me cope and as a result I put on weight. Thus made me feel bad about myself and ashamed so my body image struggles were about feeling ‘out of place’ and like I should ‘do better’-Eat better, diet better, be thinner and then I would feel better. Or at least, that’s what I thought at the time.
What made you want to change the way you viewed yourself?
It wasn’t an active choice at the time. I didn’t want to change the way I saw myself, I was just stuck IN the behaviour. I didn’t understand why I was overeating every evening and why I couldn’t just stick to a diet. I had a constant feeling of failure, of self loathing because I felt like there was something wrong with me. This went on for years and I eventually saw something online asking ‘do you wonder why you can’t stop eating?’ And ‘want to feel normal around food?’ and I started looking into Mindful Eating as a way to approach my eating behaviour. When I learned to Eat Mindfully, this had a massive impact on me. It meant I understood why I’d been eating the way I had been, then I understood that I wasn’t abnormal and that other people had the same issues. That gave me a big confidence boost. The accepting my body and my Body Image work came later for me. It stemmed from a realisation over time that actually, I’d been buying into the messages we are exposed to all the time from the media and the society we live in.
How did you overcome those obstacles?
A big factor in my learning to accept the body I have, rather than the body that I thought I ‘should’ have, was my involvement with Body Image Movement and the Body Image film ‘Embrace’. This is a very powerful film that exposes all the myths we are told about what we should be striving for as women and it was hugely powerful for me. This is why I am still holding screenings of the film- to get the message out to as many people as possible. So, I saw the film, and I started to immerse myself in more Body Positive works. I read a lot of Body Positive material, I’ve been on Body Acceptance conferences, I hang out in Body Positive social media circles. I have also learnt to question the thoughts that still pop up from time to time for me. If I catch a negative thought, I notice and I reframe it. I remind myself that the women we see in magazines aren’t real- that the image may start with a real person but then they are altered digitally, retouched, bits are erased and skin ‘flaws’ are removed or lightened. The final image often bears no relation to what the model looks like in the first place. When you realise that you are being sold a lie, that you don’t have to conform to what society says is ‘ideal’ it sets you free.
What keeps you motivated?
I dont need motivation. Motivation feels to me, like something you need to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. I’m not on a diet, so I don’t need motivation. I listen to my body and I move it (‘exercise’) it to feel good. I like to feel good about myself. Now I eat Mindfully (most of the time!) and I have sorted out a lot of my negative thought patterns around my body, so I feel good. In fact, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.If you mean what keeps me motivated to do my work? Motivation isn’t a problem. This is my life’s work, my passion. I know what a life changing gift Mindful Eating and Body Positivity have been for me and I have no choice other than to share it. This is important. It changes lives and helps us develop to our true potential.
What tips would you give others that also struggle with this issue?
For people who are struggling with their bodies,1. Go and see ‘Embrace’. I did this and it was a total game changer for me.2. If you are eating in a way that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, get some help.3. STOP dieting and start listening to your body as it can guide you about what and how to eat.4. Remember, the images you see aren’t real.5. Start questioning the narrative around weight and dieting. Think about what your life could be like if you didn’t worry about your weight and your size. What else could you do with your thoughts and your life?
If you want to keep up with Lisa, you can get more information on her blog. Have you struggled or have you struggled with body issues? Share your thoughts on these tips or share your own in the comments…
Stay Fearless 💋