Sadly, what I’m about to type is counter cultural. It goes against every message our culture blasts. But I’m saying it anyway. This is for all of the women and men out there trying to lose weight. For every person fighting the urge to nourish themselves. Ignoring their hunger pains, working out past exhaustion, and weighing themselves religiously. It’s time to stop shrinking and start putting your time and energy into more useful pursuits.
I get it. Trust me, I do. I spent decades focusing on my size and weight. We’re told in subtle ways all the time that we should try to shrink our bodies.
It’s nearly impossible to scroll on your phone, flip through the TV, walk past a magazine rack, or listen to the radio without being bombarded with the latest diets. Clean eating plans. Clenses. We’re attacked nonstop with the lie that thinner is healther and better. And that we should do everything we can to make our bodies smaller. Depsite the fact that 95% of the time diets fail. That lower weight is NOT in fact correlated with better health outcomes. And that dieting comes with a host of dangerous side effects.
If you’ve dedicated any part of your life towards making your body smaller (or keeping it from getting bigger) you’re not alone. But you don’t have to spend any more of your vlauable time on this earth putting your energy towards trying to manipulate your body size. Here’s why.
7 Reasons to Stop Shrinking Yourself
1. The Problem is Not Your Body
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your body, as she is, in the her natural shape and size. Your body has never been the problem. The problem is a society that teaches us lies. That says in order to be loved and accepted, we must be thin. And that we need to be a certain size if we are going to have the job, the friends, and the relationships that we want in life. The ultimate lie is that our worth is a result of our pants size. The problem our society give social power and priviledge to those in smaller bodies.
If your body is not a problem then shrinking your body is not a solution.
When you realize this truth, your recovery can shift. You can stop blaming your body size for any dissatisfaction in your life. Instead of focusing your time and energy on shrinking your body, you can focus it on the areas of your life you wish to improve. Invest your time and energy into self care, into your relationships, into your passions, and into yourself.
2. You Are Here for More
Every single person has purpose on this earth. I don’t know what yours is. But I do know one truth:
Your purpose on this earth is NOT to shrink yourself.
You’re here, in this body, in this lifetime, for so much more.
When you spend your precious time and energy resisting your instinctual desires (ie: your hunger) and fighting your body’s natural shape and size, you’re wasting your time. Every moment you spend obsessing over calories and macros, you lose precious time and energy.
Stop focusing on shrinking your body and start considering how you can contribute to the world. Whether it’s through art, science, sharing, inventing, connecting, healing, creating… find a way to make this world a better place.
3. The More of You There is, The More of You That Can Give
When you spend your days trying to shrink your body, it depletes you. Leaving you with nothing left to give to others. Whether it’s your family, friends, animals, the earth, or something else, consider what you’re passionate about.
When you leave this earth, what mark do you want to have left on it?
If you have no idea where your passions lie, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Often dieting and disordered eating takes over our entire psyche, tricking us into thinking we are nothing but our body size. This is simply not true.
Part of healing includes getting to know yourself. The real you– underneath the food fears, body image issues, anxieties, and obsessions. With curiosity, you get to explore your likes, interests, passions, and hobbies.
When you learn to take up space, you can fully ground yourself in your passions. Using your talents, your wisdom, and your voice, you can contribute to this world. You can show up and make a difference.
4. It Feels Better to Stop Shrinking
As human beings we are mammals. We have instinctual needs and drives. In addition to messing with our emotions, dieting and disordered behaviors affect us physically. Our bodies are naturally supposed to come in diverse shapes and sizes.
When we cast all our attention on fighting our body’s natural shape and size, even if we’re “successful” at it, it comes at a cost.
When was the last time you slept really well and woke up feeling refreshed? Or exercised just enough to feel more energized when you were finished? Have you sat in the sun and felt the warm energy flowing through your body while you’re alert and grounded? Can you remember a time when you didn’t worry/obsess/plan your meals constantly?
Do you know what it feels like to be at peace?
How about pleasure when it comes to food? Can you enjoy the pure deliciousness of your meal? Food is actually meant to be enjoyed. We’re biologically programmed to eat until we feel satisfied. This is no accident, it’s helped us survive throughout history.
Sometimes when in the depths of dieting and disordered eating, we don’t even realize how awful we feel. I remember resigning myself to the idea that I’d always be cold. That sitting on metal chairs would hurt, I’d get dizzy often, and I just wasn’t ever going to feel well rested. It wasn’t until a few months into re-feeding that I realized I was starting to actually feel good.
I had energy. And the constant buzzing of anxiety I’d grown accustomed to had actually disappeared. Suddenly I was able to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. I caught myself humming along to the car radio, dancing in my living room, and waking up actually looking forward to the day. I couldn’t have imagined any of these things happening when I was at my lowest.
5. When You Stop Shrinking You’re Standing Up to Oppression
Accepting your body and your whole self for who you are is counter to every single message diet culture sends us. Loving yourself and your body in her/his natural form is a way of standing up against the system that oppresses people in bodies deemed “too big” for society’s standards.
By choosing NOT to listen to the lies of diet culture, you are actually fighting it.
In a world where women are taught to shrink, we can fight the outdated gender norms and break free from the sexism that pervades our society. Stop biting your tongue and speak up for what you want. When you enter a room, command the attention of others. It’s hard to use your voice to help others if you’re focused on shrinking your body.
6. Little Eyes Are Watching You
Whether you’re a parent, sister, cousin, teacher, neighbor, aunt, or friend…. no doubt there are younger girls and boys in your life. And they are watching you. Children pick up on what their role models DO. They notice the little things. When you skip a meal, comment negatively about your body, or refuse to be in a picture, little eyes are watching you.
Do you want to teach the children in your life they should shrink themselves? That their worth is in their body size, and their time and energy is best spent obsessing over food? Or do you want them to know every human has inherent worth? Do you want them to spend their lives focused on shrinking their bodies? Or do you want them to own their talents and passions?
By simply living fully as your authentic self, you send a message to every child in your life. Show them it’s possible to accept, take care of, and love yourself at any shape and size.
7. There’s Nothing More Powerful than Authenticity
When we stop fighting our natural desires and make space for our true authentic selves, we unleash the power within us.
Whatever your goals are in this lifetime, connecting with your true self and allowing her or him to flourish is the most powerful act you can do.
Consider what it feels like to be around someone who truly knows and owns who they really are. It’s refreshing, invigorating, and inspiring. There’s an inner peace that accompanies the fire within us when we fully accept ourselves authentically.
So the next time you feel the urge to shrink into a corner, to cut back on your food, or to swallow your voice- remember that it’s time to stop shrinking yourself.
The world needs you. Fully, authentically, and completely.
If you’re ready to stop shrinking and want more support check out my work with me page.