Young Champion Kirsty reflects on her experience with body image
"Apologise to your body and let the healing begin." - Volunteer Young Champion Kirsty reflects on her experience with body image.
Raise your hand if you've ever looked in the mirror and been left feeling utterly
deflated. Believe me you're not alone, I have both hands raised too! Thinking
about it I don’t really know anyone who is completely satisfied with their body,
it's either too big, too small, to short. Blotches, pimples, wrinkles and hair in
the wrong places.
We are surrounded by a society where body shaming yourself is more socially
acceptable than saying “wow I look amazing!” without being seen as boastful
or arrogant. Walk into any newsagents and you will see a shelf filled with
magazines continuing to perpetuate highly unrealistic expectations of both
men and women, despite years of controversy.
From the fashion industry to the workplace, we are constantly facing
backwards representations of ‘ideals’ which continue to influence our daily life
style. If I think about my average morning I probably spend 75% of my time
focused on covering up my imperfections with makeup, thin hair with
extensions and recycling my outfit millions of times before I go out still feeling
For someone who is recovering from Anorexia body image is something I
battle with frequently. Having had to gain weight in a 6 month hospitalisation
last year just to restore my physical health managing this drastic change still
affects me daily. I find looking in full length mirrors incredibly difficult and
knowing it can ruin my day or even set back my progress by weeks - I try to
avoid them at all costs.
This avoidance isn’t healthy the same way compulsively body checking isn't
either and it's questionable why I’d give a sheet of glass such power over me…
Recently in therapy we covered the topic of perception being the mental
representation one creates. Naturally, I was sceptical - believing it was a hoax
just to make me feel better.
But then my therapist said this to me…..
“Look at the wall, it’s just a wall, right?....Now notice that tiny grey scuff and
quickly turn away”
I did just that, wondering what an earth he was on about.
“OK now turn back and try to look at the wall as a whole without noticing the
See, this is what we do to our bodies, we scan over them viewing each
perceived flaw until this is all that is left. Scrutinising the size of our forehead,
nose, thighs or stomach until we are internally labelling ourselves “one big
But surely this could be easily changed with surgery or a simple diet?...
WRONG in fact this fuels the obsession itself.
In my experience I have spent years trying to change certain aspects of my
shape and body. I devoted so much time, becoming so miserable, yet never
once despite all the weight loss did I ever look in the mirror and see anything
other than what I wanted to change. It's a toxic cycle that no amount of
surgery, dieting or covering up will ever permanently fix. It’s like trying to
make a Bull Dog look like a whippet - inhumane and certainly impossible.
What we need to do instead is to learn acceptance, find out the route of what is
making us reflect badly. Is that image subject to distortions from a lack of self
confidence, overwhelming emotions, attitudes influenced in childhood or
maybe just that overdue assignment. We should tackle this first because how
you feel on the inside is what truly reflects in your eyes.
Body confidence for me has never come from trying to achieve the “perfect”.
It's more of a combination of self love, compassion and embracing the reasons
you were given it… Now that I understand living is more that just existing in
physical form, I am dedicating my time to believing it and slowly gaining back what I lost to my illness!
...Apologise to your body and let the healing begin….