So 21 days (or a few more) is up on the challenge I threw out about body image when I posted the video ‘Why Thinking Your Ugly is Bad For You’. I took the challenge, telling myself in the mirror every morning: “I love my chin. I have a great chin!”
Did it work? To be honest, I’m still not in love with my chin (maybe I need 21 more days). Half way through the challenge, I thought, “Hmm… I now love my chin at certain angles in certain lights with a filter. Does that count as progress?” But I have come to view it in a different way than before the challenge.
The truth is, we will find something to hate about ourselves even if nothing is wrong. The other truth I’ve learnt, or remembered these past 21 days is that getting to a better place about body image is a process, a journey.
I started thinking how much it would suck not to have a chin at all, and that made me thankful for mine. And I realised that tiny little curve from your lower lip leading into your chin … everyone has it. That’s kind of what a chin is. After that I felt somewhat stupid for hating my everyday, run of the mill, some would even say boring, chin.
In the house I’ve moved into recently, every time you walk into the bathroom the first thing you see is the scales. I started weighing myself every day (sometimes even twice a day) in the last couple of months, and was frustrated with the fact that even though I was eating fairly healthy and running a lot, I was either staying the same weight or even gaining it.
It wasn’t until later that my friend Gen made me realise (something I should know from years of being a runner) that running can actually make you put on weight—muscle weight!
A couple of nights before this I was standing on the scales yet again and all of a sudden just froze, staring at myself in the mirror and thought, “What am I doing!?”
All these years and little baby steps toward getting to a healthier place mentally about weight and body image and here I was about to take a giant leap backwards.
I wanted to throw the scales out the window then and there, but after unsuccessfully trying to fob them off to the first person I tried, I gave them to one of my friends, to whom they were not a burden, but an encouragement. To me, scales are my slippery slope, and I now remember that I’ve avoided them for years for a reason.
Another one of my good friends has lived without a full length mirror in the house for about the last 4 months or so, and said she noticed how good she was feeling about herself.
Lesson to be learned from this: if there is something obvious that is hindering positive self-esteem for you, get rid of it.
Throw it out the window. Take it to the op shop. Give it to a friend who it’s actually going to bless. Because you are worth so much more than what the scales say you weigh (which doesn’t indicate healthy body weight anyway) or what the mirror reflects.