Letting go of the fantasy body
This week’s blog is a biggie so listen up huns. Such a huge part of body acceptance is grieving your 'fantasy body'.
You know the one - the one you've had as a poster in your mind forevs. Your 'dream body' when all your problems will disappear!
I know how it feels to daydream over transformation photos wishing (more than anything) to look like that.
Imagining a future when you'll be thin/toned/sculpted and be able to frolic naked free from insecurity. Or buying clothes too small as 'motivation' for your future body. Ugh. These days need to stop.
It’s time to let it go.
Easier said than done though right?
Letting go can be painful, full of despair and loss of hope (but hang on in there babe!) Despite all these quite frankly, ick, it’s important to acknowledge this as part of the process on the road to loving yourself.
It can be scary to let this idea go of what you wish you looked like. And I totally understand the fear that if you let go then you might think you’ll never want to stop eating ice cream or get off the sofa (I promise this isn’t true but let’s acknowledge the fear).
Your body, yup the you have now, is 100% worthy of love, kindness and acceptance without changing a single thing.
Remember that it’s only diet culture that says we're all meant to look the same. It's only the media that shows us one body of 'worth' on our screens, and the beauty industry that tells us there's only one way to be beautiful.
This body is the only one you'll ever have. You may as well wave the white flag and see if you can stop the war with yourself.
Letting go of a future imagined body is hard. But please don’t think this means you’ll never change. It isn't the end of happiness. It's the start of freedom, remember?
Just think about how much brain space it’s taking up wishing yourself looked different. Imagine having all the freedom to eat what you want, wear what you want, life how you want - and not giving a single precious fuck about what anyone else thinks of you. That is true freedom.
Letting go doesn’t mean you’ll never want to eat broccoli again or exercise, of course not. Letting go of the often HYPER thin version in our minds, simple means being kind to the reality of your existence. It means, in my case, acknowledging that I will always have thick thighs that touch (a lot). But that doesn’t mean I have to cover my legs up forever because I don’t need to subscribe to the ‘thin ideal’ anymore. When I’m being kinder to myself - healthy habits are so much easier to keep because I’m doing them to feel good (not to lose weight).
Breaking free from diet mentality and societal expectations that you need to be thin to be happy? That’s real joy.
This work isn’t easy. And as I’ve said before, self-love in a hard world is courageous. You’ll need a rebel heart, but I believe in you.
Activity: Visualisation loss of the fantasy body.
This exercise needs a pen, paper and some time where you can use your imagination. We’re all busy people so carve out about 15-30 mins and then revisit the visualisation as often as you like. You can even do it in two parts, the lists and then the visualisation. (Why not drop me a message to tell me how it went).
Write a list of 5 things you’ve been holding yourself back from doing because of your body hang ups or because you haven’t got your ‘dream body’ yet. Think about how your life would change if you could let go of this fantasy goal.
Next, write 5 things you would like to do more of if you could embrace the body you had right now. (Yeah baby, rolls and all.)
Once you’ve got your two lists (one list is what you’re moving away from and one list if what you’re moving towards) sit somewhere cosy and close your eyes. Time to let go of the fantasy body. I know, it’s kinda painful, it may be emotional, but don’t forget what we’ve learned so far. It doesn’t mean giving up on being happy, fit and healthy. It’s just about ridding yourself of a vision of yourself, that’s likely unrealistic and makes you feel bad about yourself.
Ok, so find somewhere quiet and close your eye. Think about the things that are holding you back and then in your mind, turn them black and white and make the smaller and smaller. Think about the dream body you’ve been measuring yourself up against and also begin to make this version of yourself smaller and black and white, until it’s almost disappeared.
Now begin to think about all the things you want to do more of. Make them brighter, more colourful and fill your mind. Block out the black and white images with these colourful ones. See yourself as you are now, but living your best life doing all the things you want to do more of. Bring the feeling of having found this new love of yourself into your body as you sit there. Say goodbye to the fantasy (blow her a kiss as you make her disappear) because the joy you feel in yourself in this technicolour reality is way, way better. Smile (actually) because you’ve found ways to feel happy and healthy that don’t involve the guilt and shame that the old fantasy body used to give you.
When you’re ready, come back into the space and write a few notes about the feeling. Use this to visualisation to motivate you further on this path.
Tips: Whatever comes up, no judgement. It's all part of the healing. Do everything with curiosity & compassion. Stop as much as you need to. And explore how it feels to show yourself some kindness.