My Body, Myself 

mindfulness

I spent the last two weeks in Paris eating French food, drinking French wine, and talking about life with French women. It just doesn’t get much better than that for me! With all the discussion about body image and diet culture in the United States, I was fascinated to learn that the average French woman doesn’t have the same issues around her body image and eating that the average American woman has. While French society does put pressure on women to be thin, your average (not eating disordered) French woman does not hate her body, does not diet, and is not struggling with the same obsession and anxiety around food that most American women experience. 

As my French cousin Martine explained, “We enjoy good food every day, and we move on to other pleasures in our lives; we are not obsessed with eating.” I wanted to figure out what was going on in the minds of French women that could account for the way that many of them successfully navigate their body image and eating. We clearly could use some French Eating Lessons on this side of the Atlantic.

We all know physical appearance is just a part of who you are.  Clearly too much emphasis has been placed on appearance in Kardashian Culture. So, if appearance says little about your value as a person, what does say something about your character and value as a person to you?  How do you define yourself?  Is it in terms of being a loving mom?  A kind friend?  Capable at your job? It's probably a combination of these things that make up your whole you.  

We are not aware of most of our thoughts about our bodies. They live deep down, close to our idea of who we are at our core. When I lead Body Confidence Workshops, I ask attendees to go excavating: What are you saying to yourself when you look in the mirror? What about when you see a picture of yourself? What thoughts come up in when you are getting dressed, going to shower, or working out? Most women find they focus on one or two aspects of their body that really bother them.