What do you notice first in this picture? On automatic negative thoughts

What’s the first thing you notice when you look at yourself?

Does your thoughts automatically turn negative or positive?


The first thing I noticed in this video was my stomach sticking out. My “lovehandles” (is there a word for this area of the body that doesn’t sound so yucky??). Logically I know a flat stomach has nothing to do with health, and that most people (especially girls) can’t have a flat stomach. But at the same time, being conditioning to think a flat stomach is the only acceptable stomach still sits with me.

Most days my stomach actually looks bigger, sticks more out than it does in these pictures. Depending on the lightning, bloating, clothes and posing, I am capable of looking both thin and fat.

This is not a discussion on whether or not I am fat, because I am not. By fat I mean overweight, not having fat, because everybody has fat. I fall into the category “normal weight”, which, like “overweight”, is heavily moralizing language, and I could yell a lot about how problematic that is, but that’s not what this post is about.

My purpose with the post is to make you think about how you look at yourself. What type of thoughts automatically pops up? Are they negative and destructive? How do they affect your mood and the rest of your day?

Earlier, when I looked at a picture like this, it would get deleted immediately – because there’s probably another one where my stomach looks better from another angle and then people will like me better. But I don’t want to focus on whether or not my body fits into the beauty standards.

I mean, my body can do awesome stuff like deadlifting, why don’t I focus on that?!!!

My thoughts and ideals are still very controlled by unattainable beauty and body standards, but I’m working on recognizing when they’re sending stupid, destructive whispers my way. I might never be able to fully get rid of them, but I don’t have to listen to them or take them serious.

Let’s try to be more critical of our critical thoughts.

Ask ourselves, is this what diet culture wants us to think or is this what I genuinely think.

When the thought “I look fat in this” pops into your head, don’t argue with it, don’t try to determine whether or not it’ true. Instead, ask yourself “Why does it matter if I look fat? What’s so bad about being fat? Does this in any way affect my ability to have a fun day?

If the thought, whether it’s true or not, doesn’t add any value or meaning to your life, let it go. It’s not easy, but it gets easier with practice.

I’m sitting here in my bed, listening to Jack Johnson and rereading this post. I’m not sure I get my point across at all.

I’ve wanted to write more about self-love and body positivity on the blog, but whenever I try, it ends up sounding more like self-deprecating body shaming than a dismantling of diet culture. I want to talk about my thoughts and feelings on weight gain, but it just seems a bit empty and hollow, because I went from being borderline “underweight” to in the heavy end “normal weight”, depending on how it’s defined. I’ve never experienced fat shaming, and while I do feel a strong pressure from society to be skinny, my experiences faint in comparison to those of a person in a fat body.

I’d love if you could share your thoughts on how to navigate talking about weight and body positivity while still acknowledging my thin privilege. Any insight is welcome!

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx

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What do you notice first in this picture? On automatic negative thoughtsWhat do you notice first in this picture? On automatic negative thoughts
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  1. says: Jennifer

    What I always find interesting is how we see totally different things when we look at a picture of someone else vs a picture of ourselves! When I looked at this, the first thing I noticed was someone who looks strong and confident lifting weights. The activity was far more the focus of the photo as far as I was concerned, and not how you look! What I think is sometimes helpful is to notice what we see in photos of others and recognise how rarely we spot “flaws” compared to when looking at ourselves. This helps me feel far more confident when I brave sharing pictures of myself online.
    Jennifer x

  2. says: Ice_Badger

    I think you get your point across very well 🙂 you are right It is hard to write posts like these without sounding self deprecating, but I think you succeed.
    I am not sure thin privilege should be a thing, the whole assumption that you because you are “thin” you must be happy with yourself. It is as damaging as saying that because you are “fat” you must be apologetic and miserable all the time!
    I am not thin but I have been…very thin and I wasn’t happy with it. I have been bigger than I am now and I wasn’t happy with it then either. I am working really hard on all the things you say about appreciating my body for what it can do rather than what it does or doesn’t look like! I would say I am closer to self acceptance than I have ever been…or I was until the last month or so when I relapsed into negativity…I am working on it!
    There is a huge problem with societal expectations and views driven by the media and the diet industry! Thank you for writing this because the more people (of every shape and size) who stand up and say F*** you societal stereotypes the closer we get to changing the world!!
    I didn’t mean this comment to become an essay…

    1. says: Anne

      Thanks I appreciate that!
      Also, thin priviledge is a thing, but it doesn’t mean thin people can’t struggle with body image – but there’s a big difference between feeling personal shame over your body (thanks to stupid diet culture) vs the way fat bodies are shamed and dehumanized by society like not being treated with respect, not getting proper medical care and so much more simply because of fat. Thin people never experience that kind of fat stigma, which is what thin priviledge is. But yeah how you feel about your body and how your body looks is two very different things – and it’s amazing how many people are putting their foot down and no longer buy into the idea that thin is happy!
      I wish you all the best x