"BODY CONFIDENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR BODY"
Today I'm bringing you the second instalment of our interview-type blog series for Core Confidence: Insights from Advocates. I've asked body image and mental health advocates a few questions about their personal journeys. You can find the first instalment, here, featuring the lovely Jessica Smith. Thank you for all your responses and feedback from the first article. You've suggested some very inspiring people for future instalments, I can't wait to hear from them myself!
To follow up Jessica's interview, we've got 'No Bull$hit' Body Confidence Expert Dr Katherine Iscoe sharing her insights. The series hopes to showcase just how different everyone's experiences are with body image concerns, disordered eating, eating disorders and mental health. Join the conversation in the comments below, via our Facebook or Instagram pages. Want questions answered? Know someone we should interview? Let us know - we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Let's get cracking. With no bull$ of course.
What does healthy mean to you?
That’s a tough one. I was taught health is the absence of disease, which on the surface, makes sense. But that’s the thing – it only scratches the surface. For me, being healthy is a feeling of balance throughout my life, including of my physiological and psychological health, but also things like social well-being, relationships, mental stimulation and growth, and lots of shoe shopping.
When speaking about our health, wellness and lifestyle - is there such a thing as balance? Why or why not?
People picture balance as being happy every day with clear skin, lots of energy and a perfect morning poo. What a load of crap (literally). My analogy with balance is like holding a glass of water throughout your life and keeping it level at all times. That would be pretty boring, and we wouldn't learn anything.
What does being a body confidence advocate mean to you?
For me, body confidence means not relying on your body for your happiness. Often times people think I’m telling people to be happy at any size – this is NOT true! Who am I to say what someone should or shouldn’t look like?
"My job is to help people realise that their self-worth is related, but not dependent, on how their body looks, feels and functions".
How did you feel about your body as a
- 15 year old : Hatred.
- 25 year old : Super duper hatred.
- now? Understanding.
What (if anything) did disordered eating take away from you?
Ah, a trick question. That was my issue for a long time. I was pissed off and angry that I spent so many years focusing on my body by focusing on what I ate and how much I exercised. It took a long time to realise that that anger was exactly what my demon wanted. As hippie as it sounds, letting go of hate make a lotta room for love.
Did body dissatisfaction impact your physical health?
Oh lord yes indeedy. My digestive system is a nightmare, I’m on daily medication and will likely be for the rest of my life.
As the creator of the “Forever Approach” and a Body Confidence Expert, do you ever “fall off track” and allow negative thoughts about your body to linger?
Yep, all the time. The Forever Approach isn’t about making things perfect, it’s about making things manageable. I do have those thoughts, but now I know how to deal with them in an efficient way. Sometimes the negative thoughts win, but most of the time they have absolutely no chance!
Scenario: You’re working on your body confidence and decide that you want to minimise the conversations you have with others surrounding weight and body dissatisfaction. You’ve told your friendship group but at the next catch up they’re diving straight into guilt talk about what they’ve eaten that morning. How do you navigate the situation without losing all your friends?
That’s a tough one, and I was in that situation. To be honest, I distanced myself from the group. Whether that was the best decision or not, I’ll never know. But it was the best decision for me at the time. I needed space to get my head right. Eventually, I re-connected with the group when I was ready.
Do you feel that there can ever be too much focus on body love and body positivity? Why or why not?
That’s a hard question to answer in general terms, because everyone’s at a different point of their journey. Sometimes we need to immerse ourselves in it, and sometimes we don’t. It’s whatever is right for you at the time.
If you could tell your 15-year-old self anything, what would it be?
It’s all for a reason. The pain is great, but the rewards are high. One day you’ll understand.
Favourite self care practices? Napping and shoe shopping.
Favourite way to move your body? From one shoe store to the next shoe store.
Best tips for getting out of a funky head space?
- Call a friend and ‘fart out’ what you’re thinking. The negative emotions you’re feeling is likely caused by feelings of shame
- Have a nap
- Get outside, even if it’s just to sit
Who inspires you? My clients.
What motivates you? I don’t want anyone to every have to go through what I did.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Or are all pleasures guilt free?! Shoe shopping is my vice. As for food? It’s all the same for me – food is food, I aim to eat more of the nutritious stuff, and aim to eat less of the not-so-nutritious stuff. Simple.
What is one thing you wish people knew about what it means to be body confident? That body confidence has absolutely NOTHING to do with your body.
Favourite insta accounts to stalk *ahem* follow at the moment? I’m obsessed with Inner City Dog Walking. Ari, the owner, posts the best photos of the dog walks, and does the best captions. Her Instagram stories have me rolling with laughter. She is a rare gem.
Huge thanks to Dr Katherine for her time and insights. I personally love the way she incorporates her expertise with personal experiences into the education she provides, and her no bull$ approach is refreshing to say the least. The water glass analogy is such a great one to consider when you're trying to keep all those balls you're juggling in the air. There's still tickets available for one of her Body Confidence talks this Wednesday 8th Nov. Check out all the details here. For our teen audience, Dr K has recommended ages 16 and up for this talk and the accompaniment of an adult (there will be some swearing and content is of the emotional nature).
To find out more about Dr Katherine and where to find her, visit her website : http://www.drkatherine.com
Cheerio beautiful beings x