Author: Ann Grandchamp, Mental Health Editor
91% of women hate their body.
As I was scrolling on LinkedIn the other day, I came across a post by a journalist I follow that caught my attention. It was about the fact that we are now into bikini season (well, that’s debatable with the weather we’ve been having in Switzerland) and that she doesn’t like summer because of this. Her post was honest and from the heart and I felt empathy and kindness for her because I used to be like her.
What about you? Do you wear bikinis? Do you wear a one piece bathing suit? Do you choose not to put on swim wear and instead stay in shorts or jeans and watch the others in the water? Maybe you love your body and rock it. Maybe you hate your body or parts of it. Wherever you’re at today, it’s okay. We are all on a journey, hopefully towards accepting and even loving our body just the way it is. We’re all in this together.
From Body Hate to Body Love – My story
Before I give you some practical steps you can take to move forward on your journey towards body love in my next article, let me tell you a bit about my story to encourage you.
Today I weigh 70kgs for 165cm. This is the lowest weight I’ve been that I can remember and it’s the first time ever that I tell anyone other than my husband and kids. I only started telling them my weight a few months ago, when I came to the point where I loved my body and myself just the way it was, at 90kgs. Oh, I had tried so many diets in my life. My parents put me on several diets growing up. I did some for my husband. But it was never ME who chose to do them for ME. I was always dieting to fit into someone else’s box of what I should look like and what I should weigh.
I hated going shopping for clothes. I would stand in the changing rooms sending loathing towards my body and myself. “Why are you so fat?”, “I hate you”, “You’re so ugly”, “No one will ever love you like this”, “You’re gross”, are just some of the things I used to say to myself. Little did I know back then the negative impact this was having on my biochemistry, my mental health and my nervous system. That was the reality I was stuck in.
Then 5 years ago I did the Lightning Process training. I was there to find a way out of depression and anxiety. Which I did. But it also helped me find a way out of body hating myself. On the second day of the 3 day training, I had to choose a challenge for myself. Something I would do before coming back the next morning that would take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to practise using the new tools I’d learned. I chose to go shopping for a new dress. Now to some of you this may sound really easy. To me it was a deep pit. So before I went out that afternoon, I practised the tools I’d learned. I set myself up. I chose what state I wanted to be in. I started sending love to myself and talking to myself kindly. And off I went. I had to use the exercise several times in the various changing rooms I was in. As soon as one of the usual thoughts popped up – and believe me they did! – I stopped them and replaced them with a more life-enhancing thought like “I love you”, “You deserve to love yourself”, “What part of your body do you already love?”, “What does your body do for you that you’re grateful for?”
That day I bought a dress. A turquoise dress with beautiful colourful birds on it. And I wore it to day 3 of the training, proudly sharing my positive changes. What a defining moment. I had done life differently and as a results I had achieved something new and beautiful. That was the very first defining step towards self-love. There were others.
As I continued to use the tools I’d learned to grow my love and appreciation of my body, the documentary Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt was released in New Zealand, where I lived at the time. It’s one woman’s passionate journey worldwide with one mission: change the way we feel about our bodies:
“Our body is not an ornament. It’s a vehicle.” – Taryn Brumfitt
It moved me. It spoke to me. As a result I shed even more limiting beliefs and thoughts and chose to embrace my body fully. If you haven’t seen this documentary yet, go and watch it. Share it with others. Show it to your daughters.
Then in 2019 I was chosen to participate in a photography project, “21 real women”. 21 women were photographed by the passionate Zori from Zori Art Photography and resulted in a moving and heart warming exhibition in Lausanne, Switzerland. Before posing for Zori, I thought I truly loved myself and my body. I thought I had gone full circle. Yes, I had come a long way already but that day I found out that I still had progress to make. As I found myself in front of her camera after having tried on several dresses that were too small for me, my inner voice, the inner critic, got busy. “Huh Ann, who do you think you are posing for this project?”, “You’re so real you’re too ugly to be photographed”, “Your pictures will be the worst”. Thanks to all the work I’d already done, I recognized what my inner critic was trying to do and was able to talk to it in a compassionate way and ask it to stop, which it did. But it showed me that I still had a way to go on my journey, which I was so grateful for. This is the photo of me that was used at the exhibition. It’s me, and yet it’s not me. However I can look at this picture, at all the bits of me, and appreciate what I see.
After the photoshoot, I continued to work on my inner voice, on taming my inner critic, on changing my limiting beliefs, on loving ME entirely.
Once I got to the point where I had let go of more limiting beliefs and I had transformed the way I saw myself. Once I truly and deeply loved ME just as I was, did I authentically and wholeheartedly choose to change the way I was eating in order to be healthier and to look after and cherish this body I so love. That is what resulted in weight loss. Losing weight was a side effect of loving myself.
Is my body “perfect”? Heck no. It’s got stretch marks and extra fat and wrinkles and dimples, but it’s perfect to me.
So. Where are you on your journey towards self-love? Take a moment now to reflect on that and take stock. Decide on whether you’re happy where you are or if there is room for improvement. If you want to progress on your journey, then don’t miss my next article, which will give you 6 practical steps you can take towards improving your body love.
Until then, take care.
Ann Grandchamp, Lightning Process® practitioner,
Advanced Master NLP practitioner, Life Coach
- have fatigue, anxiety, depression, burnout, or ongoing chronic health issues,
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- feel that your healing is prevented by sympathetic nervous system over-sensitisation,
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