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Negative body Image. Does the Bathroom Scales really determine the perfect body?

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

I think we can all agree that in 2023 we should be giving the bathroom scales the middle finger. I spent many years obsessing over the number on the bathroom scale. I was conditioned and convinced that the bathroom scale dictated how worthy and how lovable I am in society. I was so consumed with chasing being "skinny" or a specific weight, that I didn’t even realise that the entire time I developed body dysmorphia disorder. For many years I struggled to embrace and love myself- my body was always the problem, I never felt comfortable in my skin. I finally made peace with my body. Released chronic body shame and began to embrace me for me. Here I am eating a pizza slice bigger than my head and not worrying about the scales, and you can too!

This article will explore ways to tackle your negative thoughts around your body.

What to expect:

  • The development of a negative body image

  • The impact of society and social media on women and their bodies.

  • Why negative thoughts about our bodies dominate how we feel about ourselves.

  • How to stop worrying about the number on the bathroom scales.

  • Positive self-talk

The development of a negative body image:

Oh, those bathroom scales. I cannot tell you how many times I have battled with the number on the scale. I can confidently and honestly say that the bathroom scales have had such a negative impact on the way that I viewed myself, and how I felt about myself in general. I used to think that the number on the scale would determine how I would fit into society, or if I could attract a loving relationship. I conditioned myself to believe, that my weight would dictate how people would accept or treat me. Once I started to heal my relationship with my body and food, I realised that the bathrooms scale did not and could not shape me. I have been on a journey for the past 6 years learning to tackle my body dysmorphia disorder and I have learnt heaps. I want to share this journey with you, so you know that there is someone out there who also relates to you. People may think that therapists are “perfect” and have their lives together, but that is not always the case. I always say, “my therapy is done differently”, because I want to be as raw and honest with you as you are with me. Before we get into it, I want you to know that you are loveable and perfect just the way you are.

The impact social media has on our bodies:

To feel or be insecure is a normal process for us humans, especially during puberty when our bodies are changing. We live in a society where we see “the perfect body” or “beautiful” people everywhere we look. Society and social media platforms “control” what is perfect, I mean I am not even surprised as to how my body dysmorphia disorder started to spiral out of control. It is impossible to escape, especially when the “perfect” woman or man is marketed on all platforms of social media- it is literally rammed down our throats as to what is beautiful. Like I said during puberty, insecurities are normal, the problem is, is that if our insecurities begin to intensify, around our bodies or appearance in our adult life, this can become problematic. It is important that we work on ourselves to diminish these negative thoughts. We were born beautiful the way that we are, so why do our thoughts tell us otherwise? This was a question that has always circulated my mind. I struggled so much to make peace with my body. Growing up I was always known as the chubby kid, I mean I used to indulge myself in cookies, cakes and every treat that was out there. I was pretty much babied as I was the youngest sibling at the time. Anyways I loved food (I think I was supposed to be a food connoisseur). I felt uncomfortable wearing tight clothing, every friend around me was slim, but to make things worse is that being a child, my two older brothers would always make comments about my weight. I was called things like “biggie” or “porky”, and I personally believe that because of these comments it really imbedded into my subconscious mind, and I believed it growing up until now.

Why our negative thoughts about our bodies dominate how we feel about ourselves:

Our subconscious minds are extremely sensitive and retains 95% of information daily. Can you imagine as a child being judged for your weight, or social media constantly marketing what is beautiful and acceptable in society and what kind of impact that has on your self-esteem? That's why I say it is normal for us humans to have these insecurities. We spend our time worrying about our weight, constantly standing on the bathroom scales praying and hoping we could weigh 8 stone or less. You are not the problem; the influence of social media is. You were born beautiful, and you ARE beautiful. Our thoughts are so powerful, and like I said, our subconscious mind absorbs 95% of information, if we’re constantly affirming negative thoughts such as “I am so fat” “I hate my body” for example, these will become your dominant thoughts and you’ll internalise and believe them. Why not tell yourself a better lie? Be gentle with yourself and know that you are more than your body.

Listen there is nothing wrong with wanting to change your physical appearance but hating yourself during the process can be detrimental to your mental health. Trust me, I have been there, and all that has done was triggered my body dysmorphia disorder and helped me develop such hate for my body. I do not want that for you. I want you to diminish those negative thoughts and believe that you are more than just the number on the scales. I have spent the majority of my life worrying about the bathroom scale, and it has done me no justice. This time around working on my physical appearance I am loving everything about my body and what she does for me. There are some days when I want to go into self-destructive mode and consume my mind with hateful thoughts, because trying to rewire my brain and condition it to love myself so much will not happen overnight, but putting the work in daily has helped me to embrace me for me.

How can I stop worrying about the bathroom scales:

It is always easier said than done to just focus on good qualities about yourself. However, dealing with any form of eating disorder goes beyond this.

The first thing I want is for you to be gentle with yourself. Sounds simple right? Oh, I know. Being gentle with yourself is an important component to embrace yourself- even if you are not at your desired body image. When we build on being gentle with ourselves, we cultivate self-compassion and room for a growth mindset. We learn to recognise that humans are not perfect, but we are perfectly made.

The next phase is ditching the bathroom scale. Yes, stop using the bathroom scales. You may start panicking thinking about “how will I know if I lost/gained weight” “if I don’t have my scales, I'll lose control of my goals.” I used to weigh myself throughout the day- I was obsessed. I would weigh myself first thing in the morning, after eating trying to ensure that the number would never change on the scale. When you stop using the scales, you will experience freedom and peace within. The only time you need to use those bathroom scales is to only weigh your luggage before you travel.

People will always have uninvited comments on your body, and this can be extremely triggering. Throughout my entire life, there has always been someone in my life having an opinion about my weight. As a child I was too overweight, as a young adult I was too slim and now it’s you’ve put on a bit of weight, or you’ve lost too much weight. I realised I could never please anyone. I became so sick and tired of everyone having the final say of my body, so I decided to change that narrative. Let them comment and say what they want, as long as you can remind yourself that your body is perfectly imperfect just as it is. Let's stop justifying our bodies to people. Let people know that you did not ask for their opinion on your weight, this can enforce boundaries with people who are constantly making comments on your appearance.

Finally, positive affirmations. Fill yourself with so many beautiful affirmations that you learn to internalise and embrace them. Instead of standing in the mirror hating your body, stand in front of the mirror and look at the beauty within you. When we affirm who we are and what we want to experience in our lives, it helps to build the foundation of self-worthiness. When we feel worthy, we step into our true essence and learn how valuable we are, and other people’s opinions on our bodies/appearances, can no longer shape us.

With Love,

Your raw & honest therapist Dee

-Diandra Rivelino| Embody You Therapies-



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