It’s great to see a growing conversation about being kind to yourself, loving yourself, etc. But have you ever asked yourself, “Um, how do I actually do that?!?”
Over the course of my body image journey, I’ve gotten to a point where I can detect diet culture seeping into my inner thoughts (e.g., “You were bad because you ate XYZ” or “Going for a walk isn’t enough” or “You need to earn those calories by exercising,” etc.). Although I can detect and pause a negative thought, I’ve realized that after YEARS of societal messages telling me the thinness, beauty and youth lead to happiness, that exercise needs to be hard core and painful to “count,” etc., I don’t always have the vocabulary to REPLACE the thought with self compassion.
Luckily, we CAN retrain our brains, and there are a lot of great vocabulary teachers out there. But it can be tricky to find what you need right when you need it. A few months back, I was putting away dishes when I noticed my pants felt snug. The pit in my stomach and anxiety over potential weight gain started to rear its head. I remembered, though, that I had read something awesome on Instagram about weight change (that I wanted to say to myself in that moment) but I couldn’t quite remember the message or who had written it. And it would have taken way too long time scroll to find it.
Although I couldn’t find the mantra I was looking for at that moment, an idea sparked. An idea that is helping me and now I hope it helps you, too.
I’m launching a series of blog posts called “A New Vocabulary.” Each post will focus on one body image topic and aggregate Instagram content that speaks to that topic. As I find more great content, I’ll add to these posts. My hope is that if you find yourself stopping your negative thoughts but lacking the self-compassionate vocabulary to replace it, you can come here, click on “A New Vocabulary” in the toolbar and quickly find the language you’re looking for. If there’s topics you’d like me to address, let me know!
Our inaugural ‘A New Vocabulary’ topic was chosen in honor of that moment a few months ago in my kitchen when I was searching … grasping for these words: Your Body is Allowed to Change.