From Seeking the ‘Perfect Body Shape’ to Finding My Body Perfectly Beautiful as it is…

By Susan Lee, Norfolk.

I have always had an ambivalent relationship with my body – I compared it and judged it against what I felt was the ideal shape and size as presented by the media, celebrities and the world around me. Even as a young girl I felt this dissatisfaction and was aware that my body was pear shaped and I was always wishing that my legs would miraculously change – and this was an underlying preoccupation that was always running just beneath the surface. I was deeply dissatisfied with myself and I am now realising that it was very painful to reject my own body in this way. At the time I had no idea how important my relationship with my body could be – or that in fact I could have an intimate and meaningful relationship with my body. I also felt that if I had ‘the perfect body shape’ then life and my relationships would likewise be ‘perfect’.

Later in my life I began to lose weight and change shape – my ‘pear’ was disappearing and I was delighted! I found it easier to buy clothes and felt more attractive and sexy. My diet had changed too as I was beginning to look at how I lived life and the effect that food had on my body and the way my body metabolised what I was eating. Looking back on this stage of my life it was more about control, so that I could look a certain way, than really feeling into what would support my body. I listened to the advice of others and did not trust myself to know what would support me to change the deep dissatisfaction I had about myself.

The consequence of not listening to my body.

The consequence of not truly listening to my own body was that I lost weight to the point that I felt that I did not like looking at my body; my clothes were just hanging off me and I would comment to myself when I saw myself in a mirror that if I didn’t know better, I would think I was anorexic. I was still eating quite regularly but I realised that the way I was living was not supporting my body. I held my body in constant tension and anxiety and so was burning off the calories at a higher rate than my intake. My metabolism was all over the place – and I felt powerless.

My past relationship with my body and food.

When I look back on the first three or so years of my life, I can feel the connection to this awesome child that embraced life and had a sense of wonder and love that was joy-full and vivacious – and yet could not quite understand what was going on, as the world around me was not confirming this. I became disillusioned and then gradually I found myself succumbing to all the ideals and beliefs that our current world and systems feed us, and gradually ‘my sense of self’ was undermined and it was at this point that I gave up and abandoned myself to food.

I was offered food by way of consolation for the lack of love that I knew was a natural way of life. Love was not openly expressed in my family and I recall as a child giving a member of my family a hug and it being shrugged off and I was told that ‘an ounce of work was worth a pound of pity’. I found this very confusing and painful.

As a family we were brought up to believe that you ‘live to eat’ and it became an element of family life that drew us together and was a common bond. It took on an importance that put everything out of perspective – and was also used as a reward at the end of a long hard day, or offered as a solace when you had emotional pains and hurts. At the time I had no conscious idea that I was using food as a comfort to dull down my senses and ignore everything that was taking place around me. It became a focus for me and took over from any true connection with what life was truly all about.

I began to realise that there was something fundamentally unhealthy about my relationship with food when I was about to undergo a procedure where I had to fast for 24 hours and realised how much of my day was taken up with all-consuming thoughts about food. This certainly felt very unhealthy.

Something else that felt true for me and was apparent as I grew up was that food is used to numb, dull, stimulate and distract us instead of having a true relationship with it – it can be a big diversion that allows us to become lost in a sentimental and rather emotional journey that is nothing but a diversion away from feeling what is truly taking place.

There is nothing wrong with food when we keep its importance in perspective – we need food to sustain us in our human life – but it does not feel healthy or rational when it becomes the whole meaning of our life.

I became very aware that my relationship with food was not healthy and not supporting me to evolve. I was also aware that when people discussed eating disorders I was relating to many of their behaviours and habits, such as secrecy and obsessive thoughts.

Seeking true support.

When I began to address my weight loss and my relationship with food, I went to see the doctor and a dietician. At the same time, I had great support from Esoteric Practitioners who supported me to change both my perception of myself and food. This is still an ongoing process as I am forever learning, expanding and developing.

Life continues to challenge and to change as I gradually open up to loving my body more – I have always had an aversion to my legs and the other day I looked at them and felt how beautiful they were, no longer wishing to change them but appreciating them for the way they support me – this feels quite awesome to have changed what seemed like a very ingrained dislike of my body.

It has been a long journey to learn to support my body to become more healthy and alive – and to find a way of living that is slowly but surely bringing more joy and fun. It also feels like a way of living that is more than just about my body – it’s about beginning to live a life that is more encompassing of all and aware of all the little details that add up and support us to live life more in harmony with and acceptance of ourselves, life and the world around us.

We each need to find our own unique and unfolding way where we begin to love ourselves and life and become more fully engaged and empowered, as it is certainly awesome when we begin to realise how truly precious and amazing we all are within beneath the surface, no matter what shape we are. Rather than seeking the ‘perfect body shape’ (which is a complete illusion) I now accept my body shape as perfectly beautiful just the way it is!

 

Read more:

  1. Universal Medicine helped me heal Bulimia. 
  2. Eating patterns and comfort eating. 

 

 

 

 

697 thoughts on “From Seeking the ‘Perfect Body Shape’ to Finding My Body Perfectly Beautiful as it is…

  1. It seems that it is only when we are forced into being more aware that we finally clock underlying patterns of behaviour that have been running us and harming us for years.

  2. Our ‘sense of self’ gets chipped away so consistently that eventually our sense of ‘self’ bears no resemblance whatsoever to the expansive and unified sense of self that we were all born with.

    1. As I realise how long this process has been going on it’s no wonder it takes a while to shift – and from my own experience this feels much longer than one lifetime – quite ancient in fact.

  3. “I listened to the advice of others and did not trust myself to know what would support me to change the deep dissatisfaction I had about myself.” – This statement is surely a powerful one. Lately, I have noticed just how much I still go to others for advice about how to proceed or respond to ‘this or that’, which on one level is healthy in that it is great to look for support when needed, but when it is done in a way that you are really just looking for someone to tell you what to do without deeply feeling what your own body is telling you it needs or would work best for you, it most likely will result in a situation that you may regret. Because in looking outside ourselves for the answers we are not honouring ourselves and taking responsibility for our lives and our choices, and thus this disconnection with our body actually seems to weaken our natural ability to feel the truth of any matter that arises.

  4. If only I had…. it would be the answer to my problems. I remember especially in my teenage years feeling like this too about my body shape – wishing and hoping that certain parts of my body would be slimmer or fatter. I was miserable and constantly thinking about the shape of my body; the thoughts controlled my life. My teenage years didn’t have to be this way as I have come to understand and realise that how I feel about myself on the inside is what truly matters. Back then how I felt about myself was not good – I never felt I was enough and no amount of changing my body shape was ever going to fill that hole. As I have learnt and continue to do so, acknowledge and claim the beauty within myself, the relationship with my body has completely changed. I no longer seek the ‘perfect’ body shape that I was once chasing but accept the shape I am because the love inside me is far greater than any picture I was once holding of how I thought my body ‘should’ be.

    1. When we realise that we are innately beautiful this opens the way not only to us accepting our own inner beauty but we also realise the beauty of those around us.

  5. I really appreciate your comment about addressing your relationship with your body at the same time as your relationship with food. All too often we do not pay attention to why, when and how we eat, merely focusing on what we eat which is such a compartmentalised way to view our behaviours.

    1. Especially when we realised that we everything about our body is interconnected and this opens us to the notion that maybe it doesn’t end there and that we are all imperceptibly connected to the pulse of the Unverse.

  6. If we don’t listen to our body, it really makes sense how the body would be in constant unsettlement. It’s very likely that it would be put in a situation and/or movement that it wishes not be in, and we would want to be anywhere but where we are at, be anything but that which we are.

  7. I also had a picture of what the perfect body shape was, and I didn’t have it, or so I thought. That thankfully has all changed and I am more accepting of my shape and size.

    1. I have recently realised just how ridiculous it is when I go into comparison – it feels like comparing a rabbit with a donkey – both are here on this planet for a purpose and it is for us to discern.

  8. If it wasn’t so normal we would feel how astonishing it is to dislike our own bodies. In our own way what we are probably feeling when we hate our body is that because we don’t fit the ideal we won’t be accepted, loved, or perhaps have a good life because we aren’t good enough. No one likes to feel rejected or sidelined. What this understanding offers us is how abusive ideals are, that they encourage us away from loving and accepting ourselves exactly as we are, and actually enjoying being in our bodies.

    1. That is so true, “if it wasn’t so normal we would be astonished:. Sadly it is normal and so we think it is astonishing when someone actually enjoys and appreciates their body. I have learnt that this means being aware of how I move, how I touch myself and what I put on it and in it and the more attention I can pay to the detail, the more my body responds.

    2. And with the Ageless Wisdom we are gradually returning to a way of living whereby our body is a temple to be honoured and respected from the very core. We are perfectly imperfect.

  9. In a way we are addicted to have issues. Can you imagine having no problems? How life will be? Just bringing our joy to Every situation that needs care and love. No need to make things heavy or dramatized.
    We live light, eat light and evolve from our ill momentums, patterns in which we were dwelling.

  10. ‘I listened to the advice of others and did not trust myself to know what would support me to change the deep dissatisfaction I had about myself.’ Listening to others without discerning for ourselves often leaves us empty because we have to connect to what is true for us. Other people may be well-meaning but at that time our bodies may need something else.

  11. ‘We each need to find our own unique and unfolding way where we begin to love ourselves and life and become more fully engaged and empowered.’ This is certainly true Susan Lee, it is the unfolding journey to a deeper sense of self love. Recognising that the tension we feel is not resolved by seeking outside of ourselves for solutions, it is resolved within us.

    1. We spend lifetimes avoiding this tension until finally we surrender and the tension becomes our friend – and our connection back to the root cause. We can’t avoid reality – at least not forever.

      1. So true, we run from tension and yet the tension is simply a communication that something is not settled within. The moment we give up the fight is when true healing happens and we clock that the tension is our friend to ensure we never go back there again.

  12. This is so true Susan Lee “We each need to find our own unique and unfolding way where we begin to love ourselves.” Accepting the greatness of the love we are can be a challenge for some, but well worth the choices that can take us there.

  13. “I was offered food by way of consolation for the lack of love that I knew was a natural way of life. ” This was so common in my childhood too – and still is today it would seem. There was still rationing after the war when I was young so when sugar became more available it was a real treat. Ably abetted by the Sugar Bureau in the UK there is still denial about the part sugar plays in obesity. So much of the media bias is quite obvious and sadly laughable. This shows me I need to look inside myself for answers as truth is rarely presented – on account of funding issues and bias, My body knows so I learn to trust what it tells me – more so than the so-called experts.

    1. Food has become so tantalising – with a constant flow of more indulgence to numb the pain that we feel of being so disconnected. Sugar hence becomes another drug to dull our senses.

    2. That is so true, the funding issue infiltrates so many industries that we have to look to our own bodies to be the marker of what is true for us, or not. That way we are more aware of what we consume and why, taking full responsibility for the outcomes.

      1. And from this seemingly loveless way of living whereby we are manipulated at every turn we can appreciate that in the long term we are being lead back to a way of living that connects us to our body and the wisdom that it constantly shares. This is as ever the body offering us an opportunity to return to a more loving way of living with our body leading the way.

  14. It’s very clear to see how our obsession with body size, weight and shape traps us in the world of ‘self’ and distracts us away from the bigger questions in life, like why am I here and how can I be of service to humanity?

    1. Our obsession with self has become so intolerant that we are now being presented with the truth of the way we have been living. The time to accept responsibility is a wonderful offering to humanity to turn things around.

  15. There is a big difference for me when I feel my body is less dense and lighter energetically as opposed to dense, sluggish and ‘heavy’. This has nothing to do with body shape or weight but how my body actually feels.

  16. It takes a lot of clearing out and healing hurts in order to be content with our body shape – so I just love reading this blog and what it represents – the fact that the settlement comes from within and that we can truly love ourselves without comparison.

    1. Yes, the feeling I have about my body now is so vastly different to how I used to feel – never feeling I was the right size or shape. It is beautiful to feel a contentment with one’s body – but no complacency either.

  17. “I was offered food by way of consolation for the lack of love that I knew was a natural way of life.” Food is so often used as a consolation for the lack of true love, its no wonder that it becomes such a challenge for people when there is a suggestion that perhaps their way of eating does not support them.

    1. Thank you Sandra – what you have exposed here is very revealing of the relationship we have with food and how far away from us being true to our natural nurturing way whereby we honour our body with true reverence.

  18. I wasn’t brought up with hugs either but having lived in California for a while I came back and introduced hugging to my family. Although my mum was a little surprised she took to it very easily and it helped us to bridge the gap that had been there for many years.

    1. I taught my dad to hug too – when I was in my twenties. It made a beautiful difference to our relationship as he had never been able to express his emotions, although I knew he did love me.

      1. And this knowing can go deeper once we connect and feel the touch of another – we then understand the sensitivity and full beauty of being alive and in connection.

  19. When our self-worth and self-love have been corrupted by self-doubt, we need to heal this disconnection, and within this healing we can come to truly not just accept ourselves, but love ourselves

    1. I love the truth you present Chris when saying ‘When our self-worth and self-love have been corrupted by self-doubt’ as it brings clarity to our devious behaviour as we deliberately undermine who we are when employing self doubt. It allows us to take responsibility and to feel how deeply disregarding we are when we treat ourselves with anything less than the love and respect that we deserve.

  20. I used to think that accepting myself as I was meant I was settling for less, that I was giving up saying there’s nothing I could do about it. But what I realised over the recent years is that I didn’t even know what I was in truth in the first place, so it was a very unfair and unjust statement, yet in a way very true as the grandness of what I was was yet to be connected to and lived.

    1. Self acceptance brings to an end feeling less, self loathing,comparison and connects us to all that we are: our beautiful, precious and wise selves.

      1. A deepening self acceptance is revealing that there is always another layer of love to reveal – and that we are simply forever unfolding and returning with a greater understanding.

  21. When we make a cut off point of when we have an eating disorder, it ignores the little problems and allows us to say we are at least not that bad when we having troubles with eating according to what our body truly needs. Even though actually even the littlest dislikes of our body and the resulting diet we choose to eat is a disorder to our natural way of being with ourselves.

  22. Whenever we are being consumed by relentless thoughts about food or something else we need support yet we are not supported to express how we are feeling let alone seek the counselling we need. We grow up thinking there is something wrong with us for thinking unhealthy thoughts and then before we have turned round this way of being becomes the norm and we learn to put up with it. I am no longer obsessed with thoughts of food controlling my life. It is a choice I have made and are making to deeply love, accept and nurture the gorgeous woman I am.

    1. ‘Whenever we are being consumed by relentless thoughts about food or something else we need support yet we are not supported to express how we are feeling let alone seek the counselling we need.’ This is a crazy state of affairs that we have allowed our lives to be dominated by thoughts that are not our own – surely this is the antithesis of the innately tender beings that we are when deep down we know we are so much grander.

  23. I loved reading this blog as it reminds me of the importance of living first before it is about the pleasures in life. Food has certainly been classed as an indulgence and reward and its important to be honest about this and why we use food in this way

    1. I feel the development of this honesty is something that requires a period of loving dedication. Although I felt that I was being honest with myself I can now understand that it would take a while before I was willing to be truly honest and for me this began with self acceptance and self love. Being gentle with myself was a great start.

    2. Yes, we are sold very short when we are encouraged to think that life is all about comfort – and then one day we realise that the comfort is not so comfortable at all but in fact deeply detrimental.

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