“I feel fat!” How to Begin Healing Body Image

]body image - close up picture of figure laying in grass with hands extended upwards and sun shining brightlyWelcome to the first installment of my BIG Breakdown on Body Image.  A blog series that aims to help you:

  • understand the complexity and sacredness of body image
  • develop and maintain peace with your body and food
  • enjoy your unique life to the fullest
  • inspire and empower you to live your dreams

Body Image

In my previous post I shared some about my personal and professional experiences with body image, and spoke to the concept of embodiment which names the body as the container of the soul. This begs the question, if our bodies are so sacred why do so many of us so often feel bad in and about them?

No doubt body image is multifaceted, the main aspect I think we fail to acknowledge though is this spiritual foundation and all that it’s about. Hence why I love the path of yoga as an adjunct to traditional approaches. It’s basic tenant is that we get a body to bring our greatness to earth, and serve in healing the world by simply being who we truly are. Yoga postulates that we’re all “atman: spark of the Divine.”


  1. the spiritual life principle of the universe, especially when regarded as inherent in the real self of the individual. A person’s soul.

Special note! Yoga is NOT a religion. It is spiritual though and can compliment any religious beliefs and practices. However whether you define God, The Divine, Source, etc. is up to the truth that lives in your heart.

The system of yoga is designed to support us in this process of living as etheric, time transcendent bliss that is densely bound in a body for a limited period. It’s a way to help us harmonize these two polar opposites.

Yoga’s about learning to be happy in the harness. – Todd Norian, Ashaya Yoga

Flesh is a different story

As atman we know nothin’ but love. Painful emotions aren’t even on the radar. Once we take to flesh (incarnate) however, it’s a different story. The human experience is hard! We all have things happen to us here that really hurt. When they do the soul naturally wants to contract, it resists being in the body because embodiment becomes really uncomfortable.

This is where The FAT Experience is born.  That icky, heavy, trapped, gross, worthless feeling that makes your skin crawl creating what’s called in the treatment realm “drive for thinness.”  We literally want to make our bodies disappear.  Just listen to the language used about our bodies; “get rid of,” “burn off,” “lose it,” “work out,” etc.

Using the FAT Map™ to explore body image

To help illustrate my theory and approach to healing I’ve created The FAT Map™.  A model that uses a set of acronyms for the word fat. My clients are often irritated by the constant reference to “the F word” but it works! The first one is: Fear, Anxiety, Tension.

When we get hurt we develop fear. Fear that it will happen again. In yogic philosophy there are two basic emotions or energies: fear and love.

We are love.  We learn fear.

Fear expresses as anxiety; a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety creates tension in the body and mind leaving us living in the dis-ease of the original hurt long after the situation has passed.

Exploring your body image

Next post we’ll explore The FAT Experience even more.  Until then, your B.I.G. OM Work is to make your own FAT Map™. Do a timeline of your painful body image experiences starting with the first time you remember feeling fat. Write about it, create art and talk with your healing team about what was happening in your life at those times. Peace On Warriors!

More from Julie Norman, BS, E-RYT
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