The impact of body shaming experiences in your life

July 2, 2021

In today’s article I want to share some examples of comments received when I was quite young, and the way this experiences of body shaming triggered a very difficult relationship with my body.

This, along with the constant need to seek validation from others along the years, as a teenage and young adult.

I’m going to start with a quote from the fabulous book ‘More than a Body’:

“Desiring validation for your looks isn’t bad – it is completely normal and that positive attention can be very affirming. But experiencing and valuing yourself as a whole, embodied human, means making sure you aren’t prioritizing validation from others above your own well being, health, and happiness, and not prioritizing an external perspective of who you are.”  – Linsay & Lexie Kite Phd

Body shaming in real life

The comments and remarks I received about my weight and my body hair when I was only 13 or 14, created and reinforced my belief that there was something terribly wrong with my body, and ultimately with me.

🗣 “Fat Dona!“, “Time to do something for those hairy legs!” are among the comments which I recall.

🗣 “Less chocolate, more steps, or you won’t go anywhere!” said once my PE teacher when I came last at a running contest with my classmates.

Back then, I didn’t know this was Body shaming. The expression ‘Body shaming’ was actually unknown in the 90s and the messages from the diet culture to get in shape, get a beach body, certainly rampant.

Today with a quick Google search you get this definition: 

“Body shaming is the act or practice of subjecting someone to criticism or mockery for supposed bodily faults or imperfections.”

Sounds pretty much what I experienced in my teens, right?

These comments received when I was a teenager, lingered in my mind until my thirties, without me realising their impact on my own experience of my body and my self-confidence.

It’s unbelievable the amount of damage that comments on your body or your lifestyle can do when you’re so young. And yet, they are made so lightly sometimes.

Connecting the dots and learning to let go

After many years, I took the time to look into them and connected the dots between those words and my constant race for validation from others.

👉Curious enough, I didn’t need to prove those words wrong to feel better. It wasn’t necessary anymore.

👉But I needed to understand and let go of them; no need to cling on to them anymore because they never served me well (‼️This is a hard but critical step).

What also helped a lot to move on from those comments, was understanding the I don’t need anyone to tell what my body looks like and whether is good or bad. There’s no need to desperately look for that validation outside of me.

What about you?

I wonder, what are the external messages and experiences that have shaped the way YOU think about your own body?

Learn what other women have shared about their experience of body shaming in the comments of this Instagram post. Can you related to what they say?

If you do, much love and compassion to you. I hope that learning from others about the same experience helps you feel less alone and give you the courage to challenge those messages. Because letting go of them is absolutely within your reach.

With kindness,

Dona 🌷

 

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Written by Donatella Porceddu

I am a registered psychologist and life coach specialised in binge and emotional eating, body kindness, and mindful eating. I empower women to become the best version of themselves through my comprehensive approach, which combines personal coaching and psychology, leveraging my client’s strengths and building around their opportunities.

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Donatella Porceddu Psychologist & Eating Coach specialised in Binge Eating, Overeating, Emotional Eating, Food freedom, anti-diet approach. 1:1 support through my Make Peace with Food program.

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