Are you tired of feeling trapped in a cycle of negative body image and struggling with societal beauty ideals? Keep reading to discover valuable tips to help.
Meet Ally Duvall and Cara Bohon, two people who are working together to help others heal their body image and live a life of freedom and recovery.
Ally is the Body Image Program Manager and the Senior Program Development Lead at Equip Health. She’s a recovery advocate and fat activist who uses her lived experience with eating disorder recovery in a larger body to help others on their healing journey.
Cara is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has dedicated both her academic and professional careers to helping people with eating disorders. She’s currently the Vice President of Clinical Programs at Equip, and she helped develop the Body Image Program that Ally now manages.
In a recent episode of Equipped to Recover on The Recovery Warrior Shows podcast channel, Ally & Cara shed light on the journey of body image healing and dismantling societal beauty standards.
Below are the key takeaways from their inspiring conversation.
Recognize The Root Causes of Body Image Struggles
Ally and Cara opened up about their personal and professional experience with eating disorders and the impact of societal beauty ideals.
They recognized that media, advertising, and entertainment play a significant role in shaping these ideals. However, they emphasized that family and loved ones, particularly parents and grandparents, hold immense power in internalizing these beauty standards.
Well-intentioned parents often try to conform to beauty norms to protect their children from potential suffering, without realizing the harmful messages they’re sending.
Harmful messages can come from the people who love you the most.Cara Bohon
Recognizing this, Ally and Cara encourage parents to participate in body image programs themselves to better understand their own relationship with beauty so they can positively influence their children.
The Power of Body Neutrality
One of the key concepts discussed in the episode was body neutrality. Ally and Cara explained that body neutrality is a mindset where you acknowledge your body’s existence without attaching either negative or positive judgments to it.
This approach offers an equal ground for self-acceptance and can serve as a starting point or a resting place. The acknowledgment that your appearance is just a part of who you are helps you break free from the harmful impact of negative body image.
Ally and Cara also expressed that, while some individuals may choose to stay in a state of body neutrality, others may explore feelings of positivity or embrace fat liberation.
There’s no right or wrong, embrace what feels authentic to you on your body image healing journey.
Explore Fat Liberation
The concept of fat liberation aims to celebrate your body at all sizes and find joy in expressing oneself as a fat person.
Ally and Cara highlighted the importance of embracing fat liberation, following diverse voices, and challenging the negative connotation of the word “fat.”
Fat isn’t a bad word. The more we say it, the less power it has.Ally Duvall
By frequently using the term in a neutral or positive context, its power as a harmful word diminishes, further helping you along your body image healing journey.
They also recommended following people with larger body types to unpack what it means to be in a fat body and challenge conventional beauty standards.
Take Action Towards Authenticity
Taking action and being true to yourself can lead to transformative changes in body image and self-perception.
Ally shared her personal experience of going through a body image program that is similar to the one she helps run now. In the program, she was given the assignment to embrace body discomfort. She did this by wearing overalls, something she always wanted to do but felt reluctant because of her struggles with body image.
Despite her fear of negative comments, she purchased and confidently wore overalls. This act of self-acceptance made her feel more authentic and true to herself. The story resonated with others in the program, as they witnessed a remarkable transformation in self-perception and confidence in challenging the beauty ideal.
Body Image Healing is Possible
The Equipped to Recover podcast episode featuring Ally Duvall and Cara Bohon offered powerful insights into the journey of self-discovery, embracing body neutrality, and challenging societal beauty ideals.
Their experiences highlights the need to recognize your own relationship with beauty while also acknowledging the influence that loved ones and the world around you have played in your body image journey.
By promoting body neutrality, challenging negative thoughts and actions, and embracing authenticity, you can embark on a path towards self-acceptance and liberation from damaging beauty standards.
We want everyone to recover. We know it’s possible.Cara Bohon
Celebrate your unique body, challenge society’s norms, and truly appreciate the incredible diversity that exists in our world.
Click here to learn more about Equip.