eating disorder

Feeling Good in Your Body

Last week I had an opportunity to give a presentation on Feeling Good in Your Body at a Self-Care Event put on by Calgary Goddess Groups. The evening was full of inspiration with what I experienced as women looking for deeper ways to connect and care for ourselves. Isn’t this what we all need?

I think this concept of connecting and caring for ourselves in a deeper way can apply to so many areas - including the topic of body image. I've been working with women struggling with body image issues since the beginning of my career when I started working at a trauma/addiction treatment centre in Australia, and I am very passionate about this subject. So many of us are disconnected from our bodies - it's no wonder there are so many women with body image issues. After all, how can you feel good in your body if you aren't in tune with it? I believe that we must respect, love and nurture our inner-selves to be able to respect, love and nurture our outer-selves (our bodies) – and vice versa!

There is so much emphasis in our society on body image, especially for women. This can lead to obsession with appearance, weight, food, exercising & dieting with a goal of body satisfaction & higher self-confidence. However, research shows that what this obsessive and unhealthy behaviour leads to is less confidence, lower self-esteem, less satisfaction with your body & appearance. Why?? Because when you are only treating external issues, you can’t fix the internal issues – which are the real cause of the external issues in the first place. I’m not saying don’t exercise and make mindful food choices – I’m saying have a look at what’s going on and if what you are doing is a part of a healthy lifestyle or if it has become and unhealthy way of trying to change or to fix something.

Having a deeper look at your self-esteem & connecting to your emotions are essential aspects of feeling good in your body. If you don’t feel good about yourself from within, you will never feel good in your body. Some things that I have seen impacting self-esteem in my work with clients experiencing body image issues: Shame, perfectionism, control issues, boundary issues (more blog posts to come on these topics!). Does any of this sound familiar? So what’s the answer? How can you reach a place where you feel good about yourself from within, and start feeling good in your body?

Becoming aware of your emotions is the first step, and the next step is giving yourself time to actually feel, process, and share your feelings. Stop holding it all in, stop stuffing, distracting, and suppressing . This is SO much harder than it sounds.

To become aware of your emotions you must first start re-connecting to your body. So many of us are disconnected from our bodies because our world is full of distraction and disconnection.  But our emotions are stored inside of our bodies and so we need to re-connect and re-establish our awareness of our bodies to be able to really access our emotions.

You’ll probably find that when you start taking the time to do this that a lot of memories will be jogged that are painful and difficult to manage – so make sure that you take your time and get lots of support so you don’t have to do this alone. Becoming aware of your body and getting in touch with your emotions isn’t the ONLY thing that you need to do to feel good in your body, but it’s a really good place to start.

What do you think of this perspective on Body Image? What do you do to connect, care for & feel good in your body?

Jen is a counsellor and psychotherapist in Calgary, Alberta. If you are interested in booking a session with her or attending one of her groups or workshops, visit The Essence of You website or Contact Jen directly.