Body

Grace Victory Shares What She’s Learned About Accepting Your Body

by Julia Gibson

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Body

Grace Victory Shares What She’s Learned About Accepting Your Body

You deserve to be kind to yourself.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve struggled with accepting my body the way it is. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others, and despair about the ways you think you’re not good enough. Not thin enough, not pretty enough, not curvy enough; whatever it is that we’re insecure about, it can be tough to overcome. But you know what? It’s not impossible. Case in point: Grace Victory. As a prolific blogger and YouTuber, Grace has used her platform to share her story of recovery from an eating disorder and to explore what it means to live in a society where we’re taught that so much of our worth is tied to our appearance. We got to chat with Grace about her journey, and her self-care, and her best advice for those of us who are striving for body acceptance.

JG

Tell us about your body acceptance journey. When did you begin struggling with body image and eating disorders and what happened that helped you begin to recover?

GV

I have had issues with food for as long as I can remember. Growing up at a performing arts school as well as enduring childhood trauma impacted my sense of self. And let’s not forget diet culture and society’s obsession with being thin! I genuinely believed I wasn’t good enough so over time, I developed unhealthy thoughts and coping mechanisms. It was rough and some days it still is. I started eating disorder treatment in 2016, which in hindsight was just the tip of the iceberg. My eating disorder was a manifestation of trauma. When my eating disorder was healed, there was still a deep dark sea of other stuff that I didn’t even realise was within me. 

JG

What does your relationship with your body look like today?

GV

I’m still on a journey, not with food anymore, but with myself. Unlearning, re-programming and developing self-soothing tools takes time. I would be lying if I said it’s easy. It isn’t. It’s really hard. I’ve had to face so many demons head on, one of them being my body: what it looks like and what it doesn’t look like. Some days I love it, some days I dislike it, some days I feel nothing. My feelings towards every part of me ebb and flow and I am learning to make peace with that. I am learning what well-being looks like for me, and it is so much more than just the physical. It’s how I think of myself and others, it’s what I read, watch and digest from the media. It is my sexuality, how I’m responding to my projections and triggers, and how well I’m sleeping. If my experiences have taught me anything it’s that I am more than my body and that the opinions of others can only penetrate me if I let them. And I won’t let them.
grace victory

JG

What have you changed or implemented in your life that has helped improve your relationship with your body the most?

GV

I stopped dieting. I stopped listening to my unkind thoughts. I challenged my own bias about bodies. I went to therapy. I started to do more and more things that gave me joy. And I started to have fun with wellness instead of using it to dictate my worth. I also searched for the meaning of existence and began really developing my spirituality and philosophical beliefs. When you fill your life with things that uplift you, you don’t tend to have time to hate on yourself.

JG

What does self-care mean to you in relation to body acceptance, and what does self-care look like in your life?

GV

Self care is multidimensional and self-defined. It is how we nurture and parent ourselves day to day. For me personally, looking after myself is about creating stillness, nourishment, and contentment within my mind, body, and soul. Some days that means getting up early, meditating, exercising, and drinking my smoothies. Other days that means a lie in, avocado on toast with chili oil and eggs, and spending the entire day in my pjs. When you look after yourself in a wholesome way, you start to appreciate your body for looking after you and keeping you safe, not for what it looks like. I also adore skincare and body care, so smothering myself in a bougie body oil makes me feel sexy as fuck!
grace victory

“When you fill your life with things that uplift you, you don’t tend to have time to hate on yourself.”

JG

What do you think is the biggest challenge to finding body acceptance?

GV

Personal body confidence problems are usually a manifestation of the societal — we must remember that. One day a white man in a suit decided that he’d like to get rich by telling women what was wrong with them, and then telling them he had the solution. From Slimfast to Slimming World, we are constantly being told that we aren’t enough but if you cough up some coin you will be. The biggest problem is how poorly educated everyone is around health and that fat shaming is still accepted – even though its outright discrimination. For example, general practitioners have 0-2 months of training on diet out of their entire 5 year degree. “Health” organisations are often funded by fast food companies and food bloggers claim to be nutritionists. The resources are lacking and true wellness is inaccessible to most. We are all so misinformed due to the mass media and their portrayal of what we should all look like. Until we see a huge change in education and change the conversation about what it actually means to be healthy, and happy, we will continue to fall short. Body confidence usually stems from a fear of being fat (this may differ for cis men), regardless of how those body confidence issues actually manifest. Eating disorders are on the rise. Mental health problems are rife. Everyone is sick, stressed, and at the brink of burn out. It’s not enough to say “just love yourself.” This shit needs to change at a systemic level.

JG

How do you get through tough moments and stay strong when internalized messages about weight and worth get loud?

GV

I take a step back and re-focus. What I’ve learnt over the years is that it is never about my body. I like to sit down and think about what’s really going on. Is this about my trauma? Is this about a feeling of lack? Am I trying to self sabotage? Am I seeking validation? I explore the many options and I allow them to rise within my awareness. There is no quick fix for me. I explore, I cry, and I turn inward. My self-care toolbox is my number one – so I will delve into that. I might book a massage, have a shower with essential oils and candles, and really love on myself. I might talk to my boyfriend or friends about how I feel. Ultimately and importantly though, I do not run from my feelings. I confront them because you cannot grow without vulnerability.

JG

What advice would you give someone who is working on their relationship with their body? 

GV

Be patient, be gentle, be compassionate, and be curious. Regardless of what you look like, you are worthy and good enough.
grace victory

Interview courtesy of Grace Victory.

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