Size and Moral Judgment – Is It Time To Let Those Beliefs Go?
Last week I caught myself referring to ‘fat-jeans’ and a ‘beached whale’ (not aimed at anyone else I might add).
These phrases, and many others, are habit.
Despite having worked on my beliefs and mindset around size and shape judgments, they still slipped out of my mouth before I realised.
It’s ongoing work in progress.
I like many others have been brought up with certain expectations of size and body shape, labels around ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, a life on diets, and judging the appropriateness of clothing for sizes (and ages).
What Are The Results Of This?
We have become a society where we are encouraged (putting it mildly) to morally judge those that are deemed ‘too skinny’ or ‘too fat’ (the irony).
We are repeatedly told that our natural body shape is not okay, that we are somehow meant to be smooth and thin and long and more.
In fact, we are more comfortable judging people’s weight, as being morally unacceptable, and commenting on it, than other behaviours which ought to be called out and challenged i.e. aggression, discrimination.
We even come together to body bash in a way we would never do about other things.
We incorrectly associate laziness, incompetence, lack of self care, poor health, food choices, and more, with certain body shapes.
We incorrectly associate strength of character, good health, and success, automatically, with other sizes, and yet often project jealousy or hatred at the same time.
We also apply that same moral judgement to ourselves. Often using awful phrases when we talk to ourselves.
We judge our own natural body shape and have bought into the lie of a perfect shape we should attain.
We believe the myth of diet culture that “willpower” is the key to weight loss.
And indeed that we ‘should lose weight in the first place (and shouldn’t age) rather than it simply be okay that we are different shapes.
The truth, long term diets typically don’t work and do more damage.
And ironically not only are they a product that doesn’t work in the long term. But when they don’t work, you don’t get a refund.
Instead you get judged, even when you did everything they asked of you.
If diets worked, the majority of people would lose the weight they wanted, and with only minor fluctuations, would sustain the food lifestyle they chose with ease. Yet, most people cycle in life with weight variations, and many of us have food disorders of different degrees. Anything that places rules around food and body shape rarely helps.
When a client talks to me about goals, and mentions weight, that automatically falls into a different psychological category, to other goals.
We Project What We Fear
We judge and we comment and we criticise our own bodies and others.
When we judge others, it is often because we are scared of what we might become(!) if we ‘let go’. Such is our judgment. Or we judge ourselves as superior or a failure, usually control related.
So we stay stuck in a cycle of diets, and food, and weight thoughts that occupy and drain us.
We stay stuck in judgment of others at work, in our homes, as we walk through town and shops, or see them on television.
Isn’t it tiring?
Calling them, and us, names, most likely since childhood.
We won’t believe that people who have certain body shapes are happy. We think they are only saying that to hide behind it.
Yet there are many people who have healed their relationship with food and their body, and are happy. Perhaps not as many as we would like, but still.
Is It Real?
Yes, we may know some people who have a body shape that fits what we have bought into as the ‘ideal’.
They may also be ‘fortunate’ enough to have held onto a natural relationship with food, so that it isn’t an issue.
However, look around you. The majority are every shape.
And of those that fit your ‘ideal’? Many are battling to sustain it.
We don’t expect to all have auburn hair.. so why with our bodies?
Why are we trying to fit into a body of a certain height, size, smoothness, length, age, shape?
A New Way
Is it time to let go of these stories that are shouted at us in magazines, papers, social media platforms.
Let go of the falsehoods of willpower, and what can be achieved, or that it even needs achieving.
These stories that serve little purpose other than to perhaps perpetuate lies, create divide, cause mental and emotional anguish, vitriol and even hatred. And if being cynical, sell certain products and services.
Our own body healing takes time. How deep it is, depends on the person.
For those of you who have never had to heal this, wonderful. That doesn’t make it untrue for the millions of others.
Whatever our own body healing journey, we can quickly realise the judgments about others, and start to change our language and responses.
As soon as you notice your judgment, catch it, and let it go, or change it to something positive.
Look at what is the reality of a range of shapes and stories. Humans are of all shapes and sizes and heights and colours and abilities. It’s wonderful.
Life is too short to be angry about something the media and others are using and perpetuating (knowingly or unwittingly) that make us feel bad about ourselves and isn’t supported by evidence as working long term, realistic, or necessary.
(Plus willpower is not the way and is not sustainable even if it were, there is far more to it.)
There may well be a need to adapt food choices for medical reasons, but they are different, and again. If it we only focus on the food and not the psychology behind it, little is gained in some areas.
I hope your body healing journey goes well, whatever it may be.
I invite you to delete anything that strongly feeds into this, and read books and articles, watch online webinars, join online groups, and learn from those that are trying to be heard above the noise.
Those that are trying to break the truth behind diets, remove rules around food and shape, and help heal the body talk, whilst calling out the lack of evidence behind what perpetuates the judgments.
Be kind to yourself and to others as always.