I was accepted as a BIMGA a few days ago and I havent had much time to let it all sink in! BIMGA stands for Body Image Movement Global Ambassador, and the Body Image Movement (BIM) is an internationally recognised crusade that recognises the importance of body diversity by encouraging people to be more accepting of who they are, to use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritise health before beauty.
BIM was founded by Taryn Brumfitt, a mother and photographer from Adelaide, who was privately struggling with crippling body image issues. Close to resorting to plastic surgery to ‘fix’ her post-childbirth body, Taryn decided that what she really needed to change was not in fact her body, but her attitude towards it.
This was the beginning of the
Getting engaged was the turning point for me. When Nick and I decided to get married and plan a wedding together, I made the conscious decision to focus on being in good shape mentally and emotionally for our wedding, as opposed to wasting my energy on trying to lose weight. I wanted to be present during the planning process, and not completely consumed with trying to change my body to fit some mythical ideal that didn’t exist. My Blondie loved me and my body exactly as I was, so much so that he wanted to commit to me and spend the rest of his life with me and this body of mine! I didn’t want to stain the rest of our lives with my self hate, let alone potentially pass on this horrible attitude to our children.
I filled my FaceBook and Instagram newsfeed with positive role models of all body shapes and sizes, and this was when I came across Taryn and her Body Image Movement. It made sense to me. My body wasn’t going to change. Even if I obsessed over what I ate and how much I exercised, I would still have very wide thighs and a large ass! I would still have the same body, the same general shape and I would still hate it. I have historically been extremely skinny and relatively fat, and everything in between. The only consistent factor was my self loathing. I constantly compared myself to EVERYONE else around me and I ALWAYS found many many reasons why I wasn’t as good as the rest of them. And it was so unhealthy. It was a stain that seeped into my social life, my relationship with my Blondie, my friendships and my work life. I would have huge panic attacks when getting dressed to leave the apartment. I wanted to put my head through the wall, my fist, anything that caused me enough pain to change this reality that I was stuck with… As in my body.
So I made the decision that I was going to change my mind and my thoughts and my attitude. I wanted a healthier relationship with my body, with myself. I wanted to start my marriage loving this person that my husband loved so much. I wanted a healthier head space, I wanted to do things like eating better and exercising out of love for myself, I wanted to FEEL better about myself! And so my learning curve began.
This step is another step towards loving myself and demonstrating to all those around me what loving myself looks like. I am learning not to compare myself to others. I am learning that appreciating another persons beauty does not diminish my own. I am learning that appreciating my body for what it enables me to DO helps me to shift the focus from how my body LOOKS. In the words of Taryn Brumfitt, “My body is a vehicle, not an ornament.” I am learning to feel the fear of wearing a bikini or short shorts or a crop top, and do it anyway! I am learning to listen to my husband when he tells me how much he loves my body, instead of shutting him down or telling him he’s wrong.
I am definitely learning every day. I have my powerful days, and I have days when the self hate seems to seep into every inch of my day. And this ambassadorship with BIM is another way that I choose to fight the negative body image that is ingrained in me. Thats why it’s so important to me. And thus I make this pledge:
I am thrilled to share the Body Image Movement’s understanding that each and every body is special, gorgeous and worthy of love! I will declare to the world that acceptance and admiration of body diversity is so important and we need to embrace all shapes, sizes, colours and abilities! As an ambassador I will encourage people to rejoice in what their bodies enable them to do – to live and love life – and that happiness is not determined by body shape/size. I will support those around me to let go of negative talk by spreading information and resources that BIM have worked hard to collate. I will keep in touch with my community and share the positivity that we can all exude when we allow ourselves to love our bodies!
PS I was going to upload some photos of myself here but the connection isn’t allowing me to upload them onto my blog. Stay tuned for more body positive, self loving posts!