Free those arms!!
If there’s one thing I know about, it’s the feeling of body shame.
And I don’t mean comments from other people, I mean the shame we feel about certain aspects of our own bodies.
The shame that makes you cover up your arms because you can’t bear to show them to the outside world. The shame that means you don’t go swimming with your children, or refuse to buy a bikini.
If we exercise, we might run in the dark because we feel self-conscious about our size, or, always run in long sleeves even when it’s really hot outside.
I used to do that.
We cover up, don’t do things, refuse opportunities for fun because we think what we have isn’t good enough.
But why do we feel like this?
I asked this question on my FaceBook page (link to MBP) and got some amazing, thoughtful answers. Yes, it’s partly about societal norms. Our society values youth and slender bodies and these beliefs drive the diet industry and the cosmetic/cosmetic surgery) industry. We think we need to be ‘fixed’ to be worthy and we think we have failed when we can’t stick to a diet or don’t have the slender body ‘ideal’. We rarely see other body sizes in popular media, so we are conditioned to think our arms/size/age/skin/body are ‘wrong’.
These feelings stop you fully engaging in life.
Because that is what happens when you feel shame about your body.
Why do I think it’s important we change this?
Because, once you see past all the BS and understand the reasons WHY we feel like this, you realise we have NOTHING that needs hiding.....
Our arms work (if we are lucky).
My upper arms might wobble when I move them but that doesn’t make me any less of a person. When you start to work out what is going on, you realise how ridiculous it is to feel this way. It's about learning to think about how our body works (Body functionality) instead of how it looks (Body Aesthetics). This technique is KNOWN to help us navigate the sometimes tricky relationship we can have with our body. And there are other strategies that can help as well.
When I run, I get my arms out deliberately (!) partly because it feels nice to get the air on my skin and also, because the wider world needs to see them!
My arms are JUST as deserving of sun as anyone else’s!! If I hide them, I’m not demonstrating that women come in all shapes and sizes. And I firmly believe that all shapes and sizes are okay.
Also, what message do we send our children if we refuse to bare certain parts of ourselves because we don’t feel good enough? As I said to the women on my 'Food Freedom and Body Acceptance' course a couple of weeks ago,
“What happens if our bodies never get slimmer and we just have what we have now?”
It’s worth thinking about, because otherwise we can spend our lives hating what we’ve got and covering it up. For what?
I run workshops to help women feel better about their relationship with food and themselves.
If you'd like a FREE, no obligation 30 minute chat with me over Skype about weight/dieting/body image, book yourself a slot here.
My next 8 week course starts 6th September 7-9pm in Bristol and if you book by the end of 20th July, you save £50.