Think back to when you were a girl.
How many times a day would you think about your appearance?
How many times a day would you compare your body to someone else’s?
How much time would you spend scheming ways to restrict and alter your body in order to better fit the beauty ideal?
If your experience was anything like mine, then these destructive thoughts dominated your psyche and drained your energy.
Looking back on this time makes me angry because diet culture stole from me years of my mental energy. Energy that I could've been using to expand my mind, learn and create. I can say this now because more often than not I don’t think in this way anymore. I love my body. I’m grateful for it, and I accept myself whole-heartedly. It took a lot of work for me to get here — I had to unlearn a lot of lessons to make room for new ones.
What angers me even more is that girls all over the world are resigned to having the same draining and debilitating experience that I did. Often times their experience will be far worse than mine, and quite probably, it will last a life time. A recent survey found that 97% of women have an 'I-hate-my-body' moment every single day. I view negative body image as one of the greatest barriers preventing women and girls from living balanced lives and from reaching their full potential.
When girls don’t feel good about how their bodies look 8 out of 10 will opt out of important life activities such as engaging with friends and loved ones. A further 7 out of 10 will not be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision. Not only does negative body image impact upon a girl’s holistic wellbeing it also limits her in terms of her education. When a girl doesn’t feel good about how she looks, she performs worse is maths and comprehension.
A year ago, I asked myself a question: why does our society accept this as an inevitable reality for girls?
It broke my heart thinking of all the girls that were resigned to go through this torturous process alone. Because how many of you, as a girl, voiced those feelings? Spoke honestly about your insecurities? Not in a ‘No, you're beautiful — have you seen my legs though?’ kind of way, but in a truly honest way. The experience of having a negative relationship with your body might be one of the most unifying and common place experiences amongst women. However, as girls we are taught to feel so much shame that we never dared share our true struggles.
I wrote Learning To Love Your Body for every girl. The girls who are beginning to experience the isolating, all consuming feelings of insecurity and worthlessness that, sadly, inevitably come. I wanted to comfort them, to assure them they are not alone and to guide them. I wanted to offer them my knowledge and with it a true representation of diversity.
Learning To Love Your Body is an empowering guide for girls to support the development of positive body image. In this book, girls are encouraged to view their body as an incredible instrument that allows them to do, see and feel. The concept of self-love is introduced and practical self-care tips are included to build resilience and emotional intelligence.
I created a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to self-publish this book. You can support the creation of this book by pledging for a pre-sale copy or by simply donating. Plus, if you share the campaign using the button on the campaign page you will receive a printable PDF of the self-care poster.
I hope you'll join me in raising the money needed to publish this much-needed book. It may not seem like much, but with books like these available to young girls, we're taking one small step towards helping them live happier lives in their bodies.