By Brazen Edwards

When I hit middle age, one of the big revelations I had was a sense of confidence about my weight. I stopped caring what other people thought and just decided to hell with it. Life is short. I will eat what I want (within moderation), travel to exciting places and live my life how I want. 

Compared to my youth, I’m no longer vulnerable to societal expectations about who I should be or what I should look like, and it’s very empowering. 

Being thin is a social construct instilled in us through advertising, and misogyny convinces us that if we look a certain way and weigh less, we are more worthy of love and respect. This is simply not true. 

It’s perfectly fine to feel empowered and confident in your appearance, but only applying this to thin people is a falsehood. The number on your scale isn’t synonymous with happiness. 

When it comes down to what matters most in our lives, it’s being healthy, not about perfection. But sadly, most of the images you see in magazines and on social media are photoshopped, which promotes a false sense of self and increases eating disorders and depression. Perfection is an illusion

Stop looking at Instagram and obsessing over being thin because comparison only robs you of joy. Beauty is not defined by your weight. The only way to be happy is to be comfortable within your own body, which I know is easier said than done.

In a culture that states our self-worth is determined by our appearance, going against this can be challenging, but here are some helpful tips to stop obsessing about your weight.

Focus On Positive Influences In Your Life

Who you surround yourself with significantly impacts your overall happiness. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognise the importance of liking yourself just as you are. If loved ones put you down and judge you based on your appearance, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate their presence in your life

Put Down Your Smartphone

When scrolling, we are constantly exposed to unrealistic and unachievable beauty standards, advertisements, and selfie culture, which can drastically affect our mental health. Taking a break from social media or following more body-positive images is a great step forward. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body and unfollow, protest or boycott them.

Lean Into Healthier Habits

Even the medical establishment can be hyper-focused on slim being healthy when that’s not entirely accurate. We do ourselves great harm when we zone in on weight as a proxy for health. Eating less processed foods and exercising is the only real measurement you should use to determine if you’re doing well. There is convincing evidence that staying at a higher, stable weight and appreciating your body is better for your overall health. Ironically, stressing about your weight can result in you actually gaining weight. So, be mindful of the pressure you’re putting on yourself to stay thin.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Therapy

It can be hard to deprogram yourself from the everyday pressure and messages attacking us from all sides. Even how we were raised can trigger how we love and view ourselves. Seeing a therapist to help heal some of those triggering emotions can be wonderfully freeing for your self-worth. If Self-Help is more your jam, then here are some great books to get you started on the road to recovery.  

Practice What You Preach

If you’re trying to be more body positive, what you say about yourself matters, but also how you interact with others. How you talk about people needs to change, as we often don’t even realise how damaging it is to comment on someone else’s appearance. It’s ingrained in our culture. Why not try to compliment someone on who they are as a person vs what they look like? Some suggestions are “you’re a good friend” or “that’s a nice colour on you” instead of physical comments.

Do Something Nice For Yourself

Self-care is an essential part of learning how to love and accept yourself. Create a “Top Ten” list of things you like about yourself that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Take a bubble bath, go for a nature walk, or relax with a good cup of tea and remind yourself that “true beauty” is a state of mind, not the state of your body. 

When you feel good about yourself and who you are as a person, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that radiates positivity which is far more beautiful than what you weigh.