Do you ever feel like having body confidence is a dream within an elusive dream? Unachievable. Unrealistic. At least, for women, it seems to be the slippery goal we would all like to attain and yet the harder we try the more it disappears into to distant unattainable list of wishes never to be realized.
I have had many phases of life where I am disheartened by my perception of my own body. I’ve even had a few where I decide I am satisfied, but those are few and far between within the overall discontent.
Body Confidence In America
The funny thing is that I feel like I am a relatively healthy woman (as far as self perception is concerned) – except for this particular issue. And I know I’m not alone. In an article in Psychology Today entitled “Body Image in America: Survey Results” it is said that “When most people think of body image, they think about aspects of physical appearance, attractiveness, and beauty. But body image is so much more. It’s our mental representation of ourselves; it’s what allows us to contemplate ourselves. Body image isn’t simply influenced by feelings, and it actively influences much of our behavior, self-esteem, and psychopathology. Our body perceptions, feelings, and beliefs govern our life plan—who we meet, who we marry, the nature of our interactions, our day-to-day comfort level. Indeed, our body is our personal billboard, providing others with first—and sometimes only—impressions.”
In the aforementioned survey that included 4,000 responses from both women and men of all sizes, all socio-economic brackets, all levels of education, age, and that spanned many different states across our country, there were startling (but not surprising) results. 89% of all women want to lose weight. The next question they asked narrowed in on how desperate those women and men felt about losing weight. They were asked “How many years of your life would you trade to achieve your weight goals?” The findings are astounding: Fifteen percent of women and 11 percent of men say they’d sacrifice more than five years of their lives; 24 percent of women and 17 percent of men say they would give up more than three years….We can confidently conclude that a significant minority of you believe life is worth living only if you are thin.”
If you would like to read the entire article in Psychology Today, click here.
The Most Crippling Mindset Thrown at Women Today
We should be startled, troubled, and horrified by this statement as women and as mothers. It is one that we must take notice of and assess (truthfully) where we fall on this scale. This perception is one that will derail a woman’s forward progress. It will stunt her potential to do good in this world. It will cripple her children if passed on. If we, mothers, truly have the most important job in the world (to raise children); if we truly believe that it is a Godly duty to bring up these children, then we must see that this obsession with skinniness is straight from the adversary. It is evil and is the most crippling mindset thrown at women today. It must be identified as such and must be fought.
How then, can we who struggle so continually with thoughts of body dissatisfaction, fight back and create body confident kids when it is the very thing that seems most illusive to us?
Enter Dana Suchow
Dana Suchow is an eating disorder survivor who resides in New York City. “Since overcoming Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and exercise compulsion that resulted in permanent injuries, Dana Suchow has become an expert in the field of body image and eating disorder prevention. Offering a nonclinical and holistic approach, Dana works to teach parents how to put their child on a path towards body love, empowerment and self acceptance!” Dana essentially decided that she wanted to protect children from the pain that she experienced, and decided that educating adults about how to help children love their bodies was the best way to achieve her goal.
Creating Body Confident Kids
She shared many tools with us that will help to create body confident kids. To hear a full explanation of each of these and more listen in to the episode. Here is a brief taste of what we discussed:
- How to compliment your child in a way that doesn’t emphasize appearance
- We must get rid of the idea that thinness = health
- How to diversify media that your kids see. What is presented to them powerfully affects their perceptions of worth.
- Why it is so crucial for parents to heal their relationship with their own bodies, and how they can begin that process.
- How a parent can diet without hurting their kids.
- The effect of shaming YOUR body, on your kids.
- What to do if you recognize body shaming warning signs in your kids or in yourself.
Our Charge To Be
I cannot say enough about how much I loved Dana and her message. This subject is one I have agonized over and one that I desperately don’t want to screw up. Whether you struggle with body confidence or not, we live in a world saturated with messages of inadequacy. Our children are inundated with images, words, and impressions telling them that they are not sufficiently thin, not sufficiently beautiful, not sufficiently enough. They are told again and again, in essence, that life is worth living only if you are thin. As mothers, let us stand up to this philosophy of self-hatred and not be continually deceived and blindly led down a path of misery heaped upon misery. Truly, life IS beautiful and worth living. Truly, we ARE ENOUGH. We are women of God who are sent on a beautiful journey with a charge to BE.
BE a light
Let us see through the haze of the evil one’s distractions and stand up and BE in a world that needs light, truth, and sense. Let us BE for our children.
Your friend in the mess,
Mom Squad Challenge
Watch the online documentary “Miss Representation” available on Netflix and Amazon.
For a similar documentary for boys you can try “The Mask You Live In”.
To learn more about Dana Suchow and how to create body confident kids:
Visit her website www.Danasuchow.com
Or find her on all social media platforms under @DanaSuchow