By Jessica Smith
The topic of weight can feel heavy, not only physically but emotionally and psychologically. Purported experts abound, eager to help you find your “ideal weight”. The internet has an endless amount of tools designed to tell you exactly how much you should weigh. A Western physician will typically turn to the BMI scale to provide you with a weight range they would consider healthy for your body. We are constantly receiving external messages about how much we should weigh. What our body ought to look like. The correct dimensions for our height and weight.
In a society that equates a smaller body with greater health and a larger body as unhealthy, using weight as a signal of health is both dangerous and irresponsible. It focuses on only one aspect of a person; the number on a scale. If this number is not satisfactory, the blame is placed on the individual, and other potential underlying medical issues, such as hormonal imbalances and chronic illness, are dismissed. Weight is simply the force of gravity on an object. The number on the scale is a reflection of that measurement. It is not a reflection of your lovability, your worthiness, your intelligence, or your beauty.
In addition, when we rely on exterior sources for guidance on our weight and body shape, we live life disembodied, cut off from our body’s infinite wisdom. As we seek and research and inquire, our body is desperately fighting to be heard above the noise. We expend so much energy and time seeking, when the answers lie within us.
“In a society that equates a smaller body with greater health and a larger body as unhealthy, using weight as a signal of health is both dangerous and irresponsible.”
No one is qualified to tell you how much you ought to weigh. Not a doctor, not a dietician, not a health coach, not the BMI scale. Only you and your body’s immeasurable intelligence will guide you to your natural weight and shape. By getting in touch with your body’s signals, you learn the subtleties of your hunger cues, and can respond to them in kind. Eating when your body is signaling hunger, stopping when you are full and satiated.
It is a natural evolution of life to experience various bodily incarnations, as our bodies naturally gravitate towards a weight and shape at various points throughout our lives. When we attempt to override or control our body’s wisdom, we suppress our true self. One of my mentors said it best when he said, “finding our natural weight is a function of being our best self”. Once we can free ourselves from finding our worth within a number, we can begin to live fully.
This is not to imply that the desire to or the act of losing weight is inherently bad, however exploring the reasons behind the desire to lose weight is where we can peel back the layers of societal conditioning which we may be believing as truth. We are taught early on to ignore our body’s innate wisdom, and to instead practice willpower around food and exercise. We are taught that if we simply had a stronger will or more discipline, then we could finally win the food battle. The truth is, the harder we fight against our body’s signals, the less embodied we are, and the more physical damage we do to our metabolic system, our nervous system, and more. Relaxing into our body and opening up our food options to unlimited potential is where we can finally find freedom within ourselves.
Experiment with identifying hunger cues. Close your eyes, listen to your body and wait for a response. So often our mind’s endless chatter rises up to fill any moments of silence, but be patient with yourself, welcome the silence and the stillness. Place your hands on your body, feel the life force energy pulsing through your veins. Your body is waiting to tell you that you are loved, you are safe, you are enough. Welcome to your truth. Welcome home, friend. -JS
Jessica’s personal journey towards recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphia have inspired her to share the power of mindfulness, body positivity, and self-care in healing negative body image. Jessica holds a B.S. in Behavioral Science and is a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). She is a practicing Vedic Yoga Thai Bodyworker and passionate essential oil advocate. She is currently a Mind, Body, Eating Coach in-training at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. You can connect with her via her website at www.jessaleighsmith.com, and via IG & Twitter at @jessaleighsmith.
Jessica’s personal journey towards recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphia have inspired her to share the power of mindfulness, body positivity, and self-care in healing negative body image. Jessica holds a degree in Behavioral Science and is a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). She is a practicing Vedic Yoga Thai Bodyworker and passionate essential oil advocate. She is currently a Mind, Body, Eating Coach in-training at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. You can connect with her via her website at www.embodied-collective.com, and on Instagram at @embodied.collective.