Love our Bodies, Love Ourselves: Perfect is Boring! Part 2

The Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign is a BC Province wide effort to raise awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem.  The initiative is led by Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention Program at Family Services of the North Shore in collaboration with Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, Looking Glass Foundation, St. Paul’s Specialized Adult Eating Disorder Program, BC Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program, and Healthy Minds, Healthy Campuses. 

Visit the Love our Bodies, Love Ourselves page on Facebook:

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We are humans who live in a world where physical, mental and environmental stress is sometimes beyond our control, where more time is spent looking at some sort of screen, image, or number, but less time valuing, respecting and loving our bodies and minds.

When I hear the phrase Love our Bodies, Love Ourselves I often get confused. Does it mean I love my body and that means I love myself? Or does loving myself include my body?  It can mean whatever you want, but to me NOW it means I listen to my body.  There are things I am great at, and some that I am working towards.  I have sometimes failed, made mistakes, done the wrong thing. But I also have overcome many obstacles, the main one around my relationship with myself. I love that I am strong. I love that I can confidently talk openly about my feelings, ideas and concerns. I love that I have goals and dreams and passions.  I love the nose I have broken three times and my scars and scratches from being an active, athletic girl! 

After attending a session in Vancouver where Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters spoke via Skype, I left with powerful wisdom in my hands.  Courtney asked, “What can we do as individuals to promote a healthy self image?”  This is one of the ideas I strive to bring both inside and outside the community based fitness centre where I work.  How can I help my friends? Family? Youth? Elderly? Class participants?

Here is what I took away from Courtney that evening:

  1. Ask with whom and when do you feel happiest and most beautiful?  Surround yourself with these people. 

  2. Change the conversation from weight to well being.

  3. Shift the paradigm of success from achievement and appearance, to relationships, joy and fulfillment.

And my own:

  1. Be honest with your relationship to your physical and mental self.

  2. Challenge yourself by setting SMART goals.

  3. Celebrate and recognize your successes and achievements, big or small, more often than you usually do. 

  4. Ask for help if you need it.

And last but not least:

Save a little of all the love you give out for yourself.  You deserve it.

Natalie Willson is a personal trainer and teaches cardiac rehab classes. She lives in Vancouver, BC.