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I Hate My Body- Freeing Yourself From Bad Body Image

Updated on August 20, 2012

Poor body image is an epidemic in this country- especially among women. Count how many times in 24 hours you say something negative or unkind to yourself about how you look. Do self-critical thoughts interrupt your breakfast, your appointments, or your work? If this were a problem among a small demographic of people, you might think it was a problem inherent in the individual. But when the majority of women cannot walk by a mirror without muttering something obnoxious- it’s a sign there is a problem with society and its influence over how we feel about our bodies.

In a bathing suit and proud
In a bathing suit and proud | Source

Has it always been this way?

No. In fact, overweight women used to be the standard of beauty. If you were skinny and tan, it highlighted your poverty. Those who were rich and well fed remained curvy and pale. This was the pinnacle of beauty. You see, culture places that which is most unattainable- at the top of the pyramid. If it was hard to be fat- that was the goal. Now it’s hard to be skinny- that is the goal.

The diet industry is a monster!

Billions of dollars pour in every year to people who sell books, pills, videos, and other items all designed to make you something “better”. The only reason this industry flourishes is because it doesn’t work! If diets worked, than we’d all be fit as fiddles and not in need of their contraptions. They are making money off of self-hatred. It is fueled by the negative talk and criticism that murmurs in your ears.

Here is the truth

Self-Contempt does not inspire lasting change.

It’s a lie. All of it. The media, fashion industry, Hollywood, and the dieting capitalists want you to think that your dissatisfaction and hatred of yourself will fuel a great life change. The initial zeal you feel at the start of a diet or new exercise program tricks you into thinking that this time will be different. It will not be different- your negative feelings about yourself are what caused you to overeat. The problem that causes overeating is not going to then turn around and then solve the problem of overeating!

When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies

This book should be on every bookshelf in every home of every family raising a girl. Mothers should read it for themselves and book clubs should discuss it. It attacks this country’s food and weight obsession and offers real solutions to the problem of overeating.

True and lasting change

People who set out to make a difference in their lives, succeed when the motivation for change is born out of a place of self-acceptance and nurturing love. The problem of overeating can be dealt with- but only if you can first accept and love yourself as you are- at the weight you are.

Impossible!

You are arguing with that statement at every turn. It is unfathomable that you could love your body in the condition it is in.

“But what about my blood pressure, my diabetes, and my inability to fit on an airplane seat? How can I love myself like this?”

The litany of screaming thoughts only proves that you have a very bad case of Bad Body Fever. You cannot imagine anyone loving you in the state you are in- and this is the root of your problem. You are lovable and accepted- in exactly that state.

Bad body fever is rampant

So pervasive is this sickness, most of us cannot even recognize the symptoms. When Women Stop Hating their Bodies takes you on a journey of self-discovery and understanding of why you have failed to stop overeating. It is not because you are not “good enough”. It is because you haven’t realized just how lovable you actually are.

What does the book talk about?

It is divided into three sections: reclaiming your body, reclaiming your appetite, and reclaiming yourself. In it you will discover how to:

  • Identify symptoms of bad body fever
  • Befriend your body
  • Legalize food
  • Know when to eat
  • Reevaluate your standards
  • Become a self-caretaker
  • Speak up
  • Know the difference between mouth and stomach hunger
  • Abandon diets forever

Imagine yourself a small child

If you are a parent, you understand that it is not enough to simply scold and punish in order to raise a healthy child. In fact, that is a sure way to help them become miserably sad and failing adults! You know that acceptance, nurture, and love are the key components to producing a stable human being. Why then do you think that your constant barrage of insults and dissatisfaction with yourself will solve the problem of overeating? If you were a small child, how would you expect a parent to help you?

But I diet because I love myself!

People are masters at denial. You claim that your 1200 calorie diet is a sign that you love your body and want to care for it well. You are lying to yourself. People who love their bodies don't need to restrict themselves to the minimum amount of food necessary to keep your body from entering starvation mode. In fact, people who love their body are far too concerned with their own greatness to be bothered with calorie counting and food obsession! Food is necessary for sustenance, but the world is calling them to big dreams.

Most of us cannot even see the level of criticism and judgment so deeply ingrained in our pysche- that we are unaware of our motivations. It is like the person who tells you fifteen times that they are not trying to be judgmental but.....

If you aren't judgmental, there would be no reason to say it over and over again. If you loved yourself, food and weight and diets would not take up so much brain space.

Mutiny

As a woman who has been subject to our society's version of what a beautiful woman is, I am on a mission to overthrow this wretched system- one woman at a time. I am on a journey to discover how beautiful my body is- exactly as it is right now.

I am 5' 4" and 160lbs. This is considered unacceptable.

It takes a lot of hard work and introspection to learn to accept yourself when others say you aren't okay in the form you are in. But I promise you- it is worth it.

-Julie DeNeen

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    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Well done Julie! I could relate, what woman couldn't relate? And I'm sure there are men also who are guilty! Thanks for creating this hub!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I think this is a much needed hub. Women for some reason are targeted more than anyone with images of perfection while men for the most part are okay unless they are really unsightly. But either way, it makes no difference. Your body is yours and yours alone and no one should dictate how you look or why. Maintaining a healthy body weight should be key but not starving yourself to fit a specific image because more often than not those images are false. Great hub!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      A good post and I agree with what you have said.

      Isn't it sad how that sounds exactly like comment spam? Writing a comment but actually saying nothing that isn't generic. I should fix it.

      I'm too obese to be in denial or just wrong about my body image. But, the complicated bit is that even when you lose weight you still feel like that fat person. It becomes part of your identity.

    • k2jade31 profile image

      Kimberly Shelden 5 years ago from Idaho

      Bless you, great article-great subject matter to bring the light to. Well done! ~Kimberly

    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      Hi Julie DeNeen,

      This hub shares a lot that most women need to hear about. There is a need to banish Bad Body Fever from our minds if we are to live a healthy life. How can we love others if we don't love ourselves first? I agree with you about the curvy rich vs the skinny poor perspective. Puny people need real food. Useful / voted up

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      So glad you wrote this. My niece has been somewhat obsessing about this and I have had amny a long talk to her about it.

      I told her, once you reach my age, you sort of learn to cary your body, face wrinkles and every thing else as a badge of honor.

      I so enjoyed this and think it is wonderful insight.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Glad I ate that doughnut! LOL. That picture of you on the lounge chair is just gorgeous! Are you by a pool in LA near Hollywood? It looks like it.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Whydthathappen- I agree. If we worried more about the art of self-care, we'd find a lot of the overeating problems lessen. And besides- some people are just built to be bigger and more curvy!!!!!

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

      Fantastic article- too bad building self-esteem isn't in the place of the diet industry- but if their products actually helped people, then they wouldn't have any customers left- shared

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      She has a whole chapter on legalizing food. It'll completely shift your paradigm!!

    • profile image

      ScRuTTy 5 years ago

      I loved this hub! Thank you for sharing it!

      I was feeling pretty crappy before I read this hub as I felt guilty for eating fast food.. but you just made me realise that I shouldn't feel guilty, because I go to the gym everyday and every now and then I'm allowed a naughty treat.

      Thanks again for reminding me to love my body!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      To billyuc, alur, collegedad, and cooleconnections- Thanks for taking the time to comment on a topic that is very "sensitive". Kudos to the guys who chimed in! :)

      Keeping a healthy body image in this culture is so difficult, it takes a lot of time and energy and concentration to be aware of our own motivations.

    • coolenconnections profile image

      Suzanne Coolen 5 years ago from Toronto

      Wonderful Hub! This topic has been on my mind lately as my daughter recently became a teenager and is starting to worry about things like weight and self image. I am working on getting her to love her curves but I think I am in for a good fight against the media. I saw this book featured at the library. I am going to have to go back and grab it. Thank you!!!

    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 5 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      The body image movement scares me. People need to be themselves not what society wants them to be. I agree that we are an unhealthy, over weight America, but to me having a few extra pounds is far better than being under weight. Just think those models that are nothing, but a skeleton with a belly button will be the first ones to go if we have a worldwide famine!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A beautiful piece of writing about a subject that needs to be written about. Bravo to you, Julie! You are beautiful just the way you are, as is my Bev and the other women in my life. I applaud you for your words and I hope many others read this, internalize it and live it.

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 5 years ago from USA

      I often look in the mirror with a sigh of regret. I do believe beauty is both inside and out. So often rather than beat myself up for weight gain(it is an abandonment of the vessel if you're not eating right), I forgive myself for the "oops" moments.

      Instead of my body image, I look into my eyes in the mirror to remind me who I am and that I must reflect the love and beauty!