A Dietitian’s Self-Image Perspective
Being a dietitian for 15 years has taught me many lessons about self-image. Also, as I navigate my own path through life’s twists and turns, my challenges have taught me most about myself. When I saw this video on Facebook, it really moved me. Radical Self-Acceptance: An Experiment/ Performance by Amy Pence-Brown. It made me think about my own self-image, but also how my role as a dietitian and coach can help others to improve their self-image. I wanted to post my thoughts on Facebook, but then I realized I had too much to say. Here are some of the lessons this video reiterated to me and reminded me to continue working on.
- We need to love ourselves no matter what size we are and no matter what the numbers on the scale say. Too often women won’t be happy with their bodies until “I lose these last 10 pounds”. I have seen mental transformations in my clients. When they love their body at its current size and accept it, then, the pounds seem to drop.
- We don’t appreciate our bodies. Ladies, we have the ability to grow humans. We are strong and sometimes don’t realize the extent of our strength. We can do many things, no matter what the size on your pants say.
- We compare ourselves to everyone else. Well… since there is only one “YOU”, why are you comparing yourself to other people? I feel that God made each one of us different. Embrace it. Media’s examples of beauty is misleading. The cover of magazines, red carpet events, and underwear ads tell us that if we don’t look like the model or celebrity, then we are not pretty or not good enough. Low self-esteem, lack of confidence and unhappiness stem from comparing yourself to someone else.
- We need to look at our intentions. When we focus on losing weight or fitting into that smaller pair of jeans… sometimes we don’t reach our goals. I encourage my patients to focus on other benefits of weight loss: lowering your cholesterol, improving your blood sugar or being able to play with your grandkids. How about this for an intention- becoming overall healthier people and living LONG, healthy lives.
- We judge people based on what they look like. What I have learned is- unless you have been in my shoes, you don’t have any idea what I am going through. I think anyone that has been through a trying life situation will agree. I know that the months following my separation, I looked like hell. (Well, that’s what my mother told me years later. Thanks, Mom, for your honesty). Life went on and I worked on making lemonade from those lemons.
- We want to be perfect, but we all have flaws. We need to embrace them. We don’t like parts of our bodies. Our imperfect teeth. Our big butts, our small butts, our thick thighs or our chicken legs. Let’s look at it this way… your crooked teeth, they chew your food and provide nourishment to your body. Your “thick legs”, they can run 5 miles or maybe ride 100 miles on a bike. Your chicken legs can too! If any of you have ever dealt with injury or illness, how much did you miss being able to do certain activities? We take for granted what our bodies can do.
Every day our heart beats and pumps blood through our body, our lungs inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, our muscles and bones get us out of bed and walk us around all day, our GI tract digests and absorbs food for fuel, etc. Our souls are contained in this amazing machine. With all this being said, this does not mean that we should put less emphasis on making healthier food choices and exercise. We need to feed our bodies nutritious foods and be active (whatever that means for you). We were given these bodies. It is our job to take care of them to the best of our abilities. We should have personal, physical goals and strive to reach them in order to be an asset to our family, friends and community. Be the best version of you. Respect and value your body.
Here is a link to Amy’s Blog!