Ep. 14 Celebrating Body Diversity w/ Sarah Landry (The Birds Papaya)

 
Photo by Sarah Landry

Photo by Sarah Landry

 
 


In this episode, we have the lovely Sarah Landry joining us from The Bird’s Papaya! Sarah is all about body confidence and loving yourself on and offline. We sit down to talk about her journey, the dangers of diet culture, and how we can benefit from body neutrality.

In today’s digital world it’s important to follow accounts that uplift and empower us, and Sarah’s Instagram is just that! She shares photos of her natural, unphotoshopped body in hopes that women will be inspired to love their bodies, no matter their size, shape, and ethnicity.

At 19, Sarah got married and had 3 children by the age of 25. She weighed 225 pounds at age 28, and wanted to make a change. Unfortunately, this change stemmed from self-hatred, not self-love. She began losing weight (100 pounds), but still wasn’t happy. Like so many of us, her mind equated happiness with thinness.

A painful divorce sent Sarah over the edge, and she dropped to 114 pounds. At that point, it was no longer about health, but how small she could be and how praised she was for thinness. Despite concerns of a potential eating disorder, Sarah shared her weight-loss journey online and was proud of her progress. What she didn’t share was the tremendous pain and pressure she felt.

One year ago, Sarah decided to change her image online. She spoke up about her insecurities, and grew a supportive community. Now, she’s part of the body confidence movement, and spends time educating herself and others on women’s bodies, diet culture, and body types.

So how DID Sarah feel posting that first unedited photo on Instagram? Surprisingly, not bad! Turns out, the mirror perpetuates a worse image than what the camera captured. Slowly, she’s moved away from the highly curated Sarah to the natural Sarah. No doubt, posting is still terrifying, but she is grateful for her amazing support.

We have to understand that society has morphed the way we think about our bodies. The fashion industry flaunts size 0-2 women in ads, while putting size 6-8 in the plus size section. No wonder many women experience intense body dysmorphia! We have been conditioned to believe our bodies are not normal, and in turn, become fat phobic and obsessed with weight loss.

While body confidence is great, some days it’s hard to attain. Body neutrality, however, is an easier approach. It means you’re neither confident nor self-loathing, but somewhere in between. It means identifying with the fact that our bodies aren’t everything.

Bodies are constantly changing, just like our lives!

Recite some motivational mantras. Sarah uses the Love Powered Co. cards to inspire herself and her children to think positively. Brene Brown’s work is another great resource. Even refraining from judging others’ bodies can spark change. Remember: if you were not happy before weight loss, you won’t be happy after. The change comes from within. Instead of “bouncing back” to previous numbers, why not “bounce forward” into acceptance?

What’s the culprit fueling this negative dialogue, you ask? Diet culture.

Companies profit off our emotional pain, yet we have the power to say no. Educate yourself on these “health” products and know your boundaries. Not everyone can afford clean eating or workout plans.

Diet culture can also spur eating disorders.

For those struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating, check out the I Weigh movement started by Jameela Jamil. She empowers women daily, while breaking down diet culture.

So, how can we move away from diet culture and toward wellness?

Sarah believes creating awareness is key. Understand that diets are not cure-alls, and they never work.

You are choosing to get off the bus of dieting; you’re not “falling off the wagon”.

Thank goodness for recovery, body confidence, and for Sarah’s amazing work! We are all worthy of the self-love message she is spreading.

#ANDSOITIS

If you or someone you love needs help, go to alorecovery.com