Once when I was running,
from all that haunted me;
To the dark I was succumbing,
to what hurt unbearably
Searching for the one thing,
that would set my sad soul free;
In time I would stumble upon it,
an inner calm and peace;
and now I am beginning,
to see and to believe,
in who I am becoming,
and all I’ve yet to be
~ Self Love, by Lang Leav
I have felt compelled to write this, for a long, long time. For a while now I have tried to keep the blog as light, and actually somewhat rather impersonal, as possible. But as I grow and feel more comfortable being open about things on a public forum, I have wanted to share with you something that has been on my mind…
You may have noticed in the past few months, body image has been presented in various forms of media, set with particular ideals. Of course this has been happening for years but recently it’s taken a different turn…
The focus on health and fitness has risen, which is awesome. But somewhere along the way, looking healthy and fit has become more important than actually being healthy. And just like the model-waif movement, girls are resorting to drastic measures in order to fit this cast “ideal” mould.
Lately, it really does feel like eating disorders, masked as being “healthy”, are being celebrated instead of actual, honest health. And it is an issue that is still being swept under the rug.
Did you know that on average, 4 people die every single day from eating disorder-related complications? That’s in Australia alone. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with a 15-20% death rate of all sufferers. Almost 1 millon Australians were reported suffering with eating disorders last year, and this is a gross underestimation of those that go unreported and undiagnosed. And yet only 10% of sufferers get any help at all. Last year over 1,800 people died from eating disorders in Australia alone – a figure higher than the 2011 annual road toll.
So why are we just trying to hide this shocking statistic, and trying to label it as “healthy?” Every year the figure is rising, and something needs to be done about it. Now.
I get emails every single day, from beautiful, lively girls saying things like, I wish I was where you were with recovery …I always reply with an honest response along these lines,
I don’t choose to share every single part of my life on social media. Only some parts – the parts that inspire me to live the healthiest and happiest life, and that I hope will inspire others. That is why I post them. That is the entire purpose behind my Instagram, behind this blog. It’s giving back, in the hopes that it will inspire someone, like others had inspired me. I am in no way trying to tell you that my life is perfect, but that life is beautiful when you choose to make it that way. Only a year ago I was struggling to eat and live the life that I wanted, and yes, I am extremely proud of how far I have come. But mostly, I want to show that if I can do it, a n y b o d y can. You can choose to live life how you want to live it.
There are still days where you won’t 100% love how your body looks, of course. That is natural,we’re human. This happens.
What I’m saying is that on days when you may not fully love your body , it’s vital, so very important, to still treat your body with love.
I never said recovery was easy. It’s not, it’s something you have to fight for. But recovery, life, is so, so, so worth it. You are worth it.
“To be yourself in a world
that is constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A healthy body is a beautiful body. Not one that just looks healthy, but truly is healthy. I don’t understand how anyone can promote one type of body shape as an ideal.
I’m not saying that very slim girls are necessarily always unhealthy, some girls are created like this naturally (albeit only 5% of women in the entire world), but that true health comes in all shapes and sizes – it is a cliché for a reason. Seriously, I know girls who are by some standards, labelled ‘fat’ at the size they are, and yet they are some of the fittest and healthiest, and most beautiful girls I know.
It’s funny that, although I was modeling far more when I was ill than I am now, at a healthier weight, I still get more compliments now than when I was at my thinnest. Why? Because real health is real beauty – You feel far more vibrant, glowing, and energetic when you’re nurturing your body than when you’re fragile, weak with lackluster skin and no energy. Trust me, I’ve been there.
On the other hand, saying girls with ‘no curves’ aren’t “real women” either is so ridiculous it’s difficult to fathom. All that is doing pushing the ideal into one other box as well. Its just creating more labels, more aesthetic ideals.
Just stop judging people on how their bodies look – everyone is created differently, and everyone is the most perfect version of themselves when they are happiest and healthiest – regardless of shape or size.
Recently, a photo of me in a bikini was posted on another person’s Instagram account. It received some beautiful, kind comments, but even over a year on from deciding recover, it was two negative comments that stuck out – one in particular from a mother of two daughters herself. Now, how would she feel if someone was saying that about her beautiful children? Think before you write or speak… be careful with your words. They have the ability to impact on other people’s lives more than you know. So stop judging – let go of these aesthetic ideals.
Another thing people often ask me how I recovered from my eating disorder, and what was the key to body confidence… It’s amazing to have support around you, but what helped me more than anything in the world was feeding not only my body with nourishment – which is so, so vital – but also my soul. Because health is not only state of body, but also state of mind. Do the things that make you whole, whether it be painting, reading, writing, anything. And trust in nature… a good friend of mine always speaks about her favourite word – biophillia – which means the healing power of nature…Without the ocean and the wind and the sun and trees, I would not be here today. Breathe, soak it all in. Be grateful to be alive, to be blessed with the gift of life. I took 3 weeks off when everyone was studying in year 12 to go back home to Byron and surf, because my soul needed it. Remember that your health – that of body, but also, mind and soul, is the most important thing. So do what makes you happy and whole, and life will become more b e a u t i f u l than you ever imagined, I promise.
Learn to love and accept yourself, and let go of any preconceived ideas of how your body should look. Yes we should all feel comfortable in our own skin, but a huge, huge part of truly achieving that, is to let go of any ideals and just nurture, treasure honour and nourish yourself for the beautiful being that you are, when you are truly at your healthiest.
So I have a mission for you. Go, and write down ten things you L O V E about your body. If you struggle to find 10 things to write down, think about what parts of your body you are grateful for, like to things you are grateful for like “I love my legs because they are strong and make me able to do the things I love most, like going for nature hikes, and running on the beach.”
And every time you hear that voice that tells you you’re not good enough because you don’t look a certain way, or you feel any negativity creeping up, read these out loud. Because just like certain words have the ability to impact negatively, they have the power to do so positively also. And it’s in your hands.
Imagine if we all loved and accepted ourselves, as well as eachother at our healthiest – what a beautiful, happy and peaceful world that would be.
Making truly healthy choices and treasuring yourself for the unique, beautiful creation of the earth and the stars that you are, is the key to unlocking happiness, body confidence, and true health.
I want to thank the incredible, beautiful souls around me who have inspired this post… who are all strong, inspirational and truly amazing women, I have so much love for you all – you know who you are. x x x
I also want to especially thank Lex from Gypsea Love for “giving me a sign” to post this blog as it’s been on my mind for a while now – you are an amazing soul and I cannot wait to collaborate with you. It’s amazing how souls can be so on par and synchronized! x x x
All images in this post are shot by photographer Mikala Wilbow and are property of The Goodness Goddess blog. If you choose to use any, please be kind and credit the source x