This may be the best $4.99 I've ever spent on Amazon. Body Image Remix by Summer Innanen is FUNNY, insightful, and practical. This is the juicy, life-altering body image discussion I'm always hoping to hear in all those podcasts I listen to, but then they end up talking about Nutella and Instagram and never quite get there.
This is a short book that gets right to the point with no filler or fluff. You can read it in an hour or two. Every section ends with journal questions to help you begin to shift your thinking and behaviors. There are so many amazing ideas and quotes!
Here are two ideas that I can't quit thinking about now that I've finished it:
That negative, super-critical, bullying, fat-shaming voice in your head is in fact trying to protect you! It wants to keep you safe, doing the familiar, preventing risk-taking and possible embarrassment and failure. It means well. This blew my mind! It's one thing to say, my thoughts aren't true, I'm not going to believe my thoughts. It's another thing to recognize that these negative thoughts are serving a (misguided) purpose. They are never going to completely go away, and may in fact increase when we push our comfort zones. The key isn't making them stop, but 1) understanding when and why they show up (getting ready for a date, stressful work presentation, jeans shopping, deciding not to count calories) and 2) getting some separation on them. The thoughts are not you and not true. Happiness isn't getting them to stop but giving them less attention and credibility. They're just something that pops up when our comfort zone is being challenged. So, if you feel yourself thinking negative and critical thoughts, get curious about how your safe ways are being stretched and what you might be afraid of or trying to protect yourself from. She mentions bad body thoughts as a kind of displacement. We attack our body to avoid thinking or feeling something else.
The other thought that hit me is that perfectionism is about the desire to please or be accepted by others. Whoa! Because we always think of it as an internal OCD control freak thing. It's not. It's all tangled up in how we hope to be perceived. Perfectly, of course! If we just stick to the diet, do the workouts, count the grams, lose the weight, and fit in the jeans, nobody will suspect we're a vulnerable human with feelings who makes mistakes. They'll be too awestricken! But there's a real dark side to trying to maintain that front. We start to believe any misstep with our size/weight/eating means that we're unworthy, unlovable, total failure, rejects. So no wonder we lose our shit when we weigh one pound more than we're "supposed to," or eat one unplanned cookie. For a perfectionist, that creates a visceral fear that our life is crashing down and no one will love us. Again, wow!
A few amazing quotes from the book:
"Your body will not limit you from being lovable; only your hatred of yourself will limit you from being lovable."
"You’ll start to realize that the tools you were seeking happiness with—dieting, restricting, tweaking, obsessing—were really the main source of your misery."
"I want you to challenge any bullshit assumptions that say your body dictates your happiness in life. Once you can do that, you can start to see that your ideal body was really just assassinating your freedom. The dream of finally reaching perfection has likely been the reason you’ve spent hours upon hours thinking or saying negative things to yourself, obsessing over whether you ate too much peanut butter, and dragging yourself to the gym instead of enjoying a luxurious sleep-in day."
"What you struggle with is the negative voice in your head that is telling you there is something wrong with you. Changing your body is not going to make that go away. The feelings of pride that we get from losing weight are generally artificial and fleeting. While your self-loathing may dissipate momentarily with your body’s changes, it’s generally a false sense of validation that is not intrinsic or long-lasting. When I was at my thinnest, I would feel good for about 3 hours and then go back to feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I’ve seen this happen over and over in myself and the women around me. Unless you deal with the shit going on inside your head, thinness is not going to be the catalyst to your self-love. This change needs to come from within, and you get there by changing your mindset."
"Ultimately, when you embody self-love, you don’t really think about your body anymore."
Has anyone else read this? I'd love to talk more about it.