Your Body: Can You Kind AND Honest?

I had an interesting interaction with a friend recently. We were chatting at a party, and I made a comment to the effect of I’m just too fat right now.

My friend was mortified. She rushed to my defense, one woman supporting another.  “Don’t say that about yourself,” she admonished, “you’re beautiful!”

In many ways, she was right. I was being unkind. In our culture, a woman saying she is fat is layered with negative self-esteem and cultural expectations. I began to backpedal.

Then I paused. Wasn’t there also truth in what I was saying? 

Self-Talk vs Self-Deception

At the time, I was drinking too much wine, eating an extra dessert, and not moving my body in a way that supported my age. My weight was creeping up, my blood work was suboptimal, and my symptoms of unhealthy aging were ever-present.

The only way to change course was to accept the truth that I wasn’t doing the things necessary for my best health. The ME that moves her body and eats well most of the time has a different body–one that has less fat and feels a lot better. The ME that doesn’t do those things also has a different body–one that has more fat on board and feels worse.

There was, I realized, no way to entirely separate the two. Each of us has a unique body. But each of us also has a connection between that body and our lifestyle. How could I speak to one without acknowledging the other?

My statement about being fat wasn’t a comment on me as a woman. It was a comment about my habits as a human. My goal wasn’t to be unkind, it was to be honest so that I could approach the part of my body and life that I control. 

Self-talk matters, of course–how we speak about our bodies changes how we see our bodies.

But self-deception matters, too–how we speak about our bodies also impacts our ability to change.

Somewhere between the two is a kind AND honest middle ground. A place where we tell the truth about our habits and are kind to the body and health that those habits deliver. 

Healthy Comparison

Admitting that I was overweight didn’t victimize me. Instead, understanding MY unique body-lifestyle connection empowered me to take charge and focus on making change. 

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. There is much truth there. Comparing your body to a magazine cover, or your home to your neighbour’s, can be a sure path to unhappiness.

But in healthcare, there is a form of healthy comparison where you compare YOUR body with healthy habits and YOUR body without. You compare the YOU who takes care of yourself and the YOU who doesn’t. 

That’s both kind AND honest.