At District Bliss, we love Katelyn Parsons.
She’s a certified Intuitive Eating and Body Image Coach with a passion for education.
I’ve had my own journey with body image, just like you.
I hope you find this blog post by Katelyn as informative as I did.
I’ve had a LOT of conversations with women about their personal body image stories over the past few years.
And there’s one common theme that’s stood out so prolifically: the influence of our environment on our own body image.
For those with body neutral-positive experiences, almost all are in tandem with growing up in a family or community that influenced similar beliefs + messages (friends, team sports, activities, careers, etc. AKA the place where most time is spent + the people’s opinions that you value the most.)
The opposite of this observation can be applied to body negative-disordered experiences.
We obviously can’t go back in time, but I’m a big believer in having an understanding of our own lived experiences so that we’re able to move forward more powerfully.
For me personally, it felt like a big “a-ha” moment when I was able to name some of the parts of my own story that had the greatest impact.
So in terms of moving forward, what can we do to foster a more nourishing relationship with ourselves? A more neutral/accepting/compassionate/positive relationship with the skin we’re in?
One of the most powerful actions that we can take is auditing & refreshing (if needed) our current environment + communities.
Before you start to panic – this DOES NOT MEAN ditching your friends, family, or favorite place to work out.
Like with anything I teach, this exercise is about getting intentionally curious about the way things are right now, and adding IN first vs taking out.
(Note: you know yourself better than anyone- if you know that someone or something does need to be removed from your life, that’s yours to trust and pay attention to.)
Here are some examples to help inspire:
Social Media: What type of bodies are popping up on your feed? Do they resemble yours? Do you notice yourself falling into comparison or “not enough” thinking? Consider “muting” any accounts that don’t make you feel enough while seeking out people to follow with similar body types to you + diverse in general.
Friends + Family: Do you feel safe + secure in your body with the people you surround yourself around? If not, what would help you create this feeling without letting go of the relationships? I find this often comes down to boundaries- removing yourself from food + body conversations if they come up, or proactively letting your people know that you would prefer to change the subject or not engage in conversations like this altogether- “there are so many other fun things we can talk about!” 😉
Community: Who do you surround yourself with on a daily basis- groups, movement, hell- where you get your morning coffee?! Notice if you’re exposed to similar and diverse body types to your own on a consistent basis. If not, consider expanding into more different circles- sometimes making a change like this is as simple as taking a different walking path.
Entertainment: What are the shows/movies/magazines/blogs that you read the most often and what type of bodies are you exposing yourself to? This does not mean ditching your favorite TV show (unless you think it might be helpful), but adding IN more diverse forms of entertainment that you enjoy. It’s no secret that finding diverse bodies in Hollywood is a challenge, but this is slowly turning a tide- which we can all choose to take advantage of.
Of course, this exercise is not limited to these 4 areas. What other part of your life feels relevant to you that is not listed above?
I see you and am celebrating the hell out of you.
Doing this type of deep, reflective work is tough but SO valuable for transformation.
BTW- if you’re reading this and feel triggered or like an exercise like this is more like a “should” rather than a “WANT”, take a deep breath and trust that you can always bookmark this and come back later if you feel called.
Sending you loads of love- I’m so grateful you’re a part of this community.
If this post resonates with you, we’d love to have you join Katelyn at our upcoming workshop, Body Image Resilience, on Tuesday, July 26, at 5pm ET / 2pm PT.
P.S. If you want specific ideas for expanding your body image knowledge, grab Katelyn’s free Body Acceptance Starter Kit. She’s linked favorite books, articles, videos, and podcast episodes to help support your journey.
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