Body image and success don’t necessarily rise together.
Work success? Yes. Body image success? Not so much.
You worry about your weight. You stress about being taken less seriously because of your size. You think bias works against you with promotions. You stress about meetings, tilting the laptop so Zoom can only see your neck and head, and in-person meetings have their own worries – will there be a chair you can glide into unnoticed or one with boxed-in armrests that you’ll have to squeeze into?
And if the world wasn’t so biased, and weight wasn’t so stigmatised, perhaps we’d still mind. Because thinking about food, and wrestling with our relationship with food, can really drain our relationship with ourselves dry.
Sometimes our success comes with our self-care as collateral damage; and sometimes we feel we deserve a reward for all our efforts.
In specific ways, female conditioning sets us up for struggles when we apply the things that have made us successful at work, to our bodies and our eating.
Some of us may even heap our ambition on our bodies, with perfectionistic pressure.
It helps to see the origins of these reflexes, both in society and within our female-conditioned personalities, because we can stop being ashamed of our perceived weaknesses.
For successful women, having poor body image is normal.
Wishing your weight were different or your health better or your eating more controlled, is not unusual.
And is not worth an extra second of self-judgment on.
Let’s just assume and agree that, even if we don’t know the reasons yet, if we have been overeating there are important, valid, emotional reasons behind it.
And, we may have developed some maladaptive ways of coping with the rigours and pressures of work life. It’s understandable!
And, since overeating is a learned behaviour, it can be unlearned.
Take heart. Being awry with food doesn’t mean anything about you personally or morally. It just is as it is, and we can get to work on it when you’re ready.