Someone called me skinny this morning. It made me angry, because I have a real issue with that word. So much so that I will not even order a skinny cappuccino at Costa! It just has so many negative connotations. And this made it important to me to jump straight onto my computer and write about the #screwskinny campaign.
Who cannot say that they don’t relate to this? The campaign is awesome, and of course, will empower many. But, let’s challenge ourselves and ask, “are we fully understanding and embracing this concept? Or are we merely comforted by it?” I want people to truly understand and embody this; to 100% love yourself with your self-perceived faults and imperfections. A difficult thing to do. How many of us truly stand up against perceived expectations upon us? Who takes on judgment from others, even on a subconscious level?
It has been a hard journey to get to where I am today, but to be here I makes me truly proud of myself, and I am so very okay saying that. For 20 years, I struggled with anorexia. Now, I am in no way saying that this was caused solely by a poor body image or an ideation gleamed from the images in the media. Eating disorders are complex issues and the causes run deep. But, I will be honest here, as an impressionable teenager, the images and messages of what I “should” look like to be successful did not help build my self-esteem.
I was a high achieving, perfectionistic kid. I do not remember a time that I was confident in myself and constantly looked for approval from others. As my sense of self continued to dwindle, my need to achieve, to be approved of increased exponentially. Again, I stress the point that the media doesn’t cause eating disorders, as if it did, surely everyone would have an eating disorder. It was, however, a trigger. My self-esteem was non-existent. I couldn’t acknowledge myself so needed to gain any identity through others approval. I thought I was unacceptable. I saw from many sources around me that skinny was desirable, approved of and successful. So, cue the thought pattern in my head…. “If I am to be acceptable, I need to be skinny. And the skinnier I am, the more acceptable I will be.” It made perfect sense. And I ran with it…… I made sure I made the best job of it that I could. That thought pattern never truly went away and after I had Kiki (my sweet daughter), boy did it kick back in with a vengeance. My guilt at making mistakes and not being enough for her took me over the edge.
Now, this may have been the extreme, but was I really that different to anyone else? We all constantly criticize ourselves and I am sad to say that many people I know, both men and women, believe that if they were skinnier, they would be happier with themselves and their identities. I use my language carefully here. They want to be skinnier, not lose weight! Be thinner, skinnier….
When did it become okay and acceptable to see ourselves from such a negative perception? Do we judge others on what size clothes they wear? So why is it okay to do the same to ourselves? Why do we never celebrate our achievements, our triumphs, the fact that every day people are trying their hardest without the answers in front of them.
This is something that I am truly passionate about. And I guess that is because, through recovery, I have grown in more ways than I could ever imagine. I know myself, I accept myself, I am proud of myself. I know I am FAR from perfect, but that is okay. Others opinion of me does not matter. Ultimately it is only my own value of myself that changes anything. Everything else is other people’s “stuff” that they bring to the table and you let it roll off you. And I am passionate because once you are in this place, it is the most liberating and powerful space to be in. Nothing and I mean NOTHING can hold you back.
#screwskinny is more than just a hashtag and we need to really think about what it means. I desperately want others to embrace all that it encompasses a really see their true value and worth, not a number on a scale or a clothes size. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, out of this, people begin to see their individuality, not feel the need to compare themselves to others. To love themselves for who and what they are, with no expectations. To be nothing other than authentic to themselves and what matters to them. Because when you are there, you can love and live beyond your wildest expectations. So join with me and fully embrace this concept. Love your body for what it allows you to do, not hate it for what you look like. Love yourself. Be proud of yourself for all that you aim for and achieve. Give yourself grace that you are not perfect. No one is perfect. By definition, perfection means the constant process of improving. With this in mind, are we not all perfect?
Because when you are there, you can love and live beyond your wildest expectations. So join with me and fully embrace this concept. Love your body for what it allows you to do, not hate it for what you look like. Love yourself. Be proud of yourself for all that you aim for and achieve. Give yourself grace that you are not perfect. No one is perfect. By definition, perfection means the constant process of improving. With this in mind, are we not all perfect?
Written by: Shona Fletcher, Hot Mama & Franchise Owner
Hot Mama Health & Fitness – Northallerton, UK
To connect with Shona, please email firstname.lastname@example.org