5 Days of Body Positivity: Day Two


"It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see." ~ Gabourey Sidibe

Body Positivity and the Self

The Story

Picture it, Virginia 2019. I go to Roanoke Hospital to have a Sleeve Gastrectomy, a weight loss surgery where up to 80% of my stomach would be removed. The surgery was counted as a successful one because other than some post anesthesia tachycardia, I had no problem before or during my surgery as well after while in recovery at the hospital the day after. Recovering fully from this surgery was difficult yet I was so excited to shed these 200 lbs.! My starting weight was 411 lbs. (my highest weight being 423 lbs.) and my goal weight was 200 – 225 lbs. I began losing weight extremely fast in my first month. I was ahead of schedule and my doctors were very impressed for a few months following. Then something happened; well actually, a lot of something's happened, and I stopped losing weight. The pandemic hit, I lost around 5 close family members back-to-back, I left a toxic relationship where there was a significant amount of narcissistic abuse, and the home I had grown up in as a young adult was broken into in which thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff had been stolen. It's not like I hadn’t experienced traumatic events before but having so many things happen at once resulted in me having my first visible manic episode.

As you can imagine, dealing with all of these significant events prompted me to obtain a therapist and a psychiatrist. Both were extremely helpful in helping me get out of crisis and stabilizing my mood however I had already begun using my most powerful and long-term negative coping skill, emotional eating. Even though it was difficult to eat much, I was still eating consistently. After speaking with my psychiatrist, I was put on Vyvanse, the only FDA approved medication for Binge Eating Disorder (and ADHD/ADD) and on Sept. 13th, 2021, I would join a women’s group that focused on negative coping skills and addictive maladaptive behaviors such a binge-eating. From there, I would discover my connection between disordered eating and body-based trauma. I am still in group therapy, individual therapy and seeing a psychiatrist to work through childhood trauma related to my relationship with food and my body.

The Problem

It has been found in numerous research studies that body image, a multifaceted construct that refers to how we think about, feel and act towards our body (Cash, T. F., 2012) is huge risk factor for not only eating disorders but also mental health if our perception is negative. Some of the components of negative body image include but are not limited to:

  • Body Dissatisfaction
  • Overvaluation of Weight/Shape
  •  Body Preoccupation
  • Body Checking
  • Body Image Avoidance
  • Fear of Weight Gain / Loss
  • European Beauty Ideal Internalization
  • Body / Muscle Dysmorphia

 According to the UK 2019-2021 Body Image Survey Results, over 60% of both adults and minors (under the age of 18) feel negative about their body at all times with the pandemic making it significantly worse over the past 2 years.

The Solution

As I mentioned in my Pageant Platform, While the solution to this issue is simple, it is still easier said than done. Reversing the effects of societal programming on millions of individuals will not only take time and money but also complete dedication from those wanting a change. Each person, including you (the readers) and I, will constantly need to keep our biases in check, self-reflect and do our work to combat these negative internalizations we’ve had our entire lives.

So, what are some simple ways we can work towards combating these internalizations thus increasing our body positivity? Here are few steps you can start with !

  1. Goal Setting – Identify the problem, imagine success, and create goals to solve the problem
  2. Daily Practices – Take time each day to check in with yourself about what you are thinking and feeling regarding your body.
  3.  Habit Tracking – Create habits to accompany your goals and track your success
  4. Techniques and Tools – Incorporate tools and techniques (i.e., mindfulness and gratitude) to combat negative thinking as well as to keep you grounded so you can accomplish your goals.

Not sure how to keep all of these steps organized and/or how to track your progress? Purchase the My Healthy Sexual Self Workbook, a guide that helps you to increase your confidence, gain coping skills, and incorporate daily practices into your schedule so that you can start fostering self-love and care! 

The Challenge

How do YOU think about, feel and act towards your own body? Comment below and tell me what tools, strategies or coping skills you’ve used to work on a more positive body image! Don’t forget to share this post with others and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for more content!

With Love,

~ Nijeria J.

P.S.: Are you interested in learning more? Join Sexhale’s privateonline community for only $8/month and get exclusive access to our podcasts, live Q&A’s, tutorials, resources, monthly community challenges and peer support!


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