Inside out, written by Anastasia Amour, is not your average body image book. It’s not about how to lose weight or how to look good in a bikini. It’s about changing the relationship that you have with your body. Personally I have struggled with my relationship with my body for the majority of my life, so when I began reading this book, I did not have a very positive attitude towards its ability to alter my perspective. Amour takes time at the beginning of the book to reflect on her relationship with her body and to show readers that she too has struggled to remain positive. I found this to be engaging and helped me relate to her this softened my outlook towards the book on the pages that followed. She talks about how she was able to shift her thinking and develop of love for her body and stressed the importance of helping the reader to do that for themselves.
The main purpose of this book is to help women (and girls) realize their self-worth and the importance of developing of love for their body, not because it is toned or because you have dropped two dress sizes, but because it is your body and it deserves to be loved just the way it is. Where many of us go wrong is that we believe a physical change will make our self-hate disappear. Amour points out that this is not the case, the change has to come from within by making positive mental and emotional changes. The 14-day challenge (and it was a challenge) was an exercise in self-reflection. It challenged the reader to think about their relationship with their body and what influences that relationship. An exercise ends each day asking the reader to put into practice what they had just read. These activities range from self-reflective lists to self-affirmations that, if you’re anything like me, is where you struggle. Once you get passed the awkwardness of looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself how amazing you are, you might just start to listen. At first I found these affirmations silly and futile. Saying words isn’t going to change how I see myself in the mirror, is what I thought. But by the end of the fourteen days of reflection, my outlook has changed. I’m beginning to listen to myself and reflect on the opinions that I hold about my body. More importantly I’m thinking about why I hold those views. What standards am I comparing myself to and why. One thing that resonated with me in this books was how Amour talks about relationships among female friends. We are our own worst enemies. As she states in the book, women bond through negative self-talk, this is so true! We relate to each other through judging and comparing ourselves. We have a distorted view of perfection and an unreasonable expectation of how our bodies should look. We need to let go of the negativity and become strong women who empower each other instead of tear each other down.
I began reading Inside out with a somewhat cynical outlook, thinking there is no way this self-help book is going to change the views that I have held for years. But you know what, it’s starting to. It has helped shift my perspective and helped me recognized how distorted my view of myself is. I have taken the opportunity to reflect on the why, why I dislike my body, why I hold myself to unrealistic expectations of perfection and why I care so much about what those around me think. This book has not made me love my body yet, but it has set me on a path where I am confident that with time, that is an achievable goal.
Inside out is written by Anastasia Amour: Amour is a Body Image Educator, Sel- Esteem Coach and anorexia conqueror, and all around bad ass woman.
This article was written by Tasha Rankin: Tasha is an educator with a passion for building her students up and helping them to become self-empowered individuals.