There are certain pieces of clothing that I hate—jeans, “trousers” (ugh, the worst!), turtlenecks, bras, anything with sleeves (I will never understand the people who like Fall) and itchy fabrics. I do everything in my power to stick to wearing shorts, leggings, sports bras and tank tops. I probably should have been a basketball coach if it weren’t for the fact that I’m Smurfette-sized and my head works better as a magnet for balls than my hands.
When I put on jeans or “trousers” (even writing that is making me want to gag), I feel really uncomfortable—I hate the way my body feels.
It’s the same kind of feeling I get when I’ve been sitting on an airplane for more than 10 minutes, have slept in an uncomfortable bed or haven’t been able to stretch sore muscles.
This is a stark contrast to the times when “I hated the way my body felt,” and what I really meant was “I feel inferior, I’m afraid of being judged and I do not like feeling out of control.”
An important part of body image work and eating “normally” – a.k.a like a grown-ass woman – is being able to differentiate between physical and emotional discomfort.
Hating physical discomfort, such as actual pain, ickiness or feeling your body (like feeling rolls or things rubbing and squishing together like normal human bodies do) is different than hating the way you feel about your body.
Often when we say, “I hate the way my body feels,” it’s not the physical discomfort we’re referring to—it’s the emotional discomfort brought on by a fear of weight gain (fatphobic beliefs), negative associations between weight and your value as a human, and our tendency to deflect any kind of “negative” emotion (i.e. anxiety, sadness, stress) onto our bodies as a way to avoid feeling them.
Knowing the difference between “I hate the way my body feels” and “I hate the way I feel about myself” and acknowledging when it’s actually emotional discomfort will help to address the real issue.
It will help you stop blaming the way you feel on your physical body and thinking that dieting is the answer—which it never is (in case you needed a reminder!).