My mum has spent her life believing that she’s fat and hating herself for it. Her dearest wish was to spare me that fate.
With the very best intentions she closely monitored my developing body, talked constantly about the perils of weight gain and policed my appetite in a way that she never did with my brothers.
She didn’t realise that she was helping to instil in me the very thing she was trying so hard to avoid: body hatred. When you’re taught that your body weight is central to your worth and happiness, and that snacking on anything other than celery sticks is shameful, developing body insecurity is almost inevitable — regardless of your BMI.
Body hatred isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel about how you look.
I have interviewed women with supermodel physiques who loathe their bodies and are obsessed with losing the ‘last five kilograms’. And I know of women with bigger bodies than me who haven’t a shred of body hatred. One acquaintance recently exclaimed ‘I wish somebody would make jeans that fit properly’. In her view, the problem resides with Levis, not with her larger body.
Having the ‘right’ body doesn’t inoculate people from body hatred. That can only be achieved by having the right thoughts. With my daughters, I’m determined to do things differently. I’ve adopted the following strategies for avoiding body hatred.