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Body image: a new relationship with myself and food

Mindful eating and body image coach, Lisa Beasley, learned to let go of counting calories and accept that how she felt was more important than how she looked

by Psychologies

Body Image

3 minute read

Interview: Rin Hamburgh

For as long as I can remember, I thought I was too big. Over the years, I’ve had many periods of trying to lose weight, and of looking at myself and feeling terrible. At school, I genuinely thought that, if I was thinner, I’d be more popular. And there were periods when I was thinner, but I still wasn’t happy. And there were times when I’d overeat to the point where I wondered whether I had an eating disorder.

Then, about three years ago, I came across a video on Facebook. A woman was asking, ‘Do you eat for emotional reasons? Do you feel guilty about what you eat? Do you find it hard to stop eating?’ And I thought, ‘Yes, that’s me!’ My mother had died a few months earlier, and I’d been signed off work with stress. I realised that my overeating was wrapped up in not knowing how to cope and using food as a way to try to deal with that. I bought a book on mindful eating and started my training programme to become a mindful-eating facilitator.

The programme flipped everything on its head for me. It’s not about trying to lose weight, it’s about not focusing on weight at all and instead looking at why we do what we do. As I immersed myself in mindful eating and body positivity, I realised that not everyone is meant to be a size 10; it’s OK to have a larger body. My journey began on a mindful-eating path, but it turned into a journey about body image, too, because you need both if you want to resolve these issues. It’s not a quick fix. You have to unlearn diet thinking – ‘I can’t eat that, it’s too many calories’ – and learn that we can manage our food ourselves without being told what to eat. This is very empowering.

Today, my angst around food is gone. I used to always feel either deprived or guilty; now, I feel neither. My weight did drop when I first started the programme because I found I really enjoyed exercise, but it’s gone up a bit since, and that’s OK. I accept that my body changes over time and this is natural. I’m more accepting of it now – I know that there’s so much more to me than what my body weighs.

Image: Getty

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