Author: Alison Ross, LMFT, CEDS
So, there's an exercise class that I enjoy and do often. The only thing I don't like about the class is that sometimes the teacher makes negative body comments. For example, she is fond of telling us that certain exercises will rid us of what she calls "annoying bra fat." Comments like these are so common in workout spaces. The teachers who make them are probably unaware of the damage they can do to the mental health and body image of those who train with them or attend their classes.
When a teacher or anyone else makes you feel bad about your bra fat or other aspects of your body they contribute to the eating disorder mentality, a belief that thinness can and should be attained at all costs. And, this can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and eating disorders – none of which contribute to your health and fitness.
I can forgive my teacher for making comments like these. I don't personalize them. Instead, I recognize that she too grew up in diet culture and has probably fallen under its toxic spell. She probably worries about her bra fat and is just projecting that stress onto us. But I'm not going to take it and you don't have to either. And I hope for her that she gets over her worry. Because at the end of her life, when she looks back over her years, I really doubt she's going to say, "I'm so glad I spent all that time worrying about my bra fat."
None of us want that.
If you are seeking support to navigate this tricky culture with your body confidence intact, check us out at nondietinghealth.com.
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