By Lynn Okura
Kristin grew up in a family that was critical of her weight. At age 49, she still finds herself plagued by the voices in her head. Hoping to finally end the vicious cycle of body shaming, she turns to spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant on “Help Desk.”
“What’s happened to me as an adult is their criticisms and their voice has become my voice,” Kristin says of her family. “And so, my voice in my head is very critical of my body. Even at my desired weight, I still look in the mirror and look at every lump and bump and think I’m too fat.”
Iyanla says we remain loyal to family patterns. “So it sounds to me like you’re remaining loyal to the family. And there just comes a moment, Beloved, when you’re going to have to make another choice,” she tells Kristin.
Rather than criticism, Kristin says she wants to hear a kinder voice in her head. “That I have a beautiful, attractive body,” she says.
Iyanla has a more tell-it-like-it-is approach. “Or maybe you don’t,” she says. “Maybe it’s ugly as hell. Maybe it’s distorted and lumpy and bumpy, but it’s mine so I’m going to accept it.”
“I accept whatever it is — that’s the voice I want to have,” Kristin agrees.
Iyanla understands all too well that acceptance is easier said than done. “I saw my first lump of cellulite and I really wanted to have a nervous breakdown,” she laughs. “And then it invited friends over, and then they had a whole little picnic on my thigh.”
“But you know what?” Iyanla says. “I was so grateful to have a thigh to have cellulite on. You get to make a choice about how you feel about the body you have. And it’s work. Do your work.”
“And forgive yourself for believing that you’re anything less than beautiful,” Iyanla says.