Five principles of Body Security

Welcome to the second edition of Light Post Monthly – the monthly newsletter that is about all things Body Security and inclusivity. Last month, I introduced readers to the idea of Body Acceptance and Body Security, with the promise that this month, we would take a deep dive into what I mean when I say Body Security.

**Please note that in this edition, I share some of my experiences regarding the harmful impacts of diet culture. These topics may be triggering for some readers. If you choose to read on, please know that you are not alone, and your body does not define your worth.**

The concept of Body Security was developed when I realized that even though I strongly believed in Body Acceptance and HAES, I was also caught in the middle of a fatphobic and fat-stigmatizing culture. These realities caused me to feel shame and guilt about my body, regardless of the empowerment and strength I had internalized from the Body Acceptance movement. I felt shame when I sat in an airplane seat and felt my ass rubbing up against the ass of a stranger. I also felt shame when I thought about buying a new clothes for work. This particular point has been enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic, where restrictions make it difficult for me to try on clothes that make me feel good instead of clothes that make me appear to look thinner (as diet-culture prescribes for us larger bodied people). The take-home here: even though I live the ideals of Body Acceptance, I feel pulled toward diet-culture because, despite the mental and physical health detriments, it would be easier to move around the world in a smaller body.

The temptation to live in a smaller body was worrisome to me. I didn’t want to belong to the diet obsessed, food restricting masses, while at the same time, I felt like I wasn’t living the anti-diet ideals because my fantasies about thin-privilege were pulling me toward the dark side. When I began to unpack some of the critical thoughts swirling around my mind, the concept of Body Security came into view. This month, I’d like to share the five main principles of Body Security. These principles provide the backdrop for how to live within the Body Security framework.

The five principles of Body Security:

  1. My body size and shape does not determine my worth.

  2. The thoughts that I have about my body are the result of a cultural system that idealizes a specific body type.

  3. Considering principle #2, it’s understandable that I have doubts about my body image.

  4. I can give myself permission to have difficult thoughts and feelings about my body.

  5. When I have critical or dismissing thoughts about my body, it doesn’t mean these thoughts are true in reality.

Living the principles of Body Security provides space for all kinds of thoughts and feelings about body image. It also allows space to unpack and unhook from the shame that often comes from living in a fatphobic culture. The bottom line is that these thoughts are not going anywhere- they are messages that have been thrown at us from birth, and will continue to permeate our thoughts for years to come. To this day, I often find myself repeating the mantra, “it’s ok to have this thought” on days when messages about my body are swirling in my head. I try to be gentle and compassionate with myself and remind myself that these thoughts will pass.

If you find yourself captivated by the idea of Body Security, I invite you to come back next month, where I’ll be breaking down the five principles of Body Security, detailing how I came up with the principles and how you can get started living within the Body Security framework.

The information contained in this document is not intended as a replacement for medical care/advice, or mental health care. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental wellbeing, I encourage you to reach out to a trusted healthcare professional.

Please contact Jessica Curran for a list of references used in the writing of this article at [email protected], or visit our website at lightposttherapy.com