Grieving the Thin Ideal

grieving the thin idea is a process to think through
Alison Hall
Alison Hall

Try Freedom Founder and Intuitive Eating Counsellor

Grieving the Thin Ideal: A Path to Self-Acceptance and Body Positivity


In a society dominated by images of the “perfect” body, grieving the thin ideal has become an essential step toward fostering self-acceptance and body positivity. The relentless pursuit of an unrealistic and often unhealthy body image can have serious consequences on our mental and physical well-being. In this article, we’ll explore what the thin ideal is, why it’s harmful, and provide actionable steps on how to grieve this harmful concept to embrace a more positive relationship with your body.

Understanding the Thin Ideal

The thin ideal is a societal construct that glorifies a specific body type: a slim, toned, and often unattainable physique. This ideal is perpetuated by media, advertising, and cultural norms, creating a narrow and unrealistic standard of beauty. Many individuals, especially women, feel immense pressure to conform to this ideal, which can lead to harmful behaviours such as dieting, over-exercising, and a distorted body image.

Why Grieving the Thin Ideal is Important

Grieving the thin ideal is essential for several reasons:

    1. Mental Health:

      The relentless pursuit of the thin ideal can lead to low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction and even eating disorders. By grieving this ideal, you can protect your mental health and well-being.
    2. Physical Health:

      Dieting and excessive exercise to achieve the thin ideal can harm your physical health. It may result in nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and a weakened immune system.
    3. Improved Body Image:

      Grieving the thin ideal allows you to shift your focus from external appearance to internal well-being. This can lead to improved body image and greater self-acceptance.

Steps to Grieving the Thin Ideal

  1. Self-Reflection:

    Start by reflecting on your own beliefs and attitudes about body image. Consider how the thin ideal has influenced your self-perception and behaviours.
  2. Recognise Harmful Messages:

    Pay attention to the messages perpetuated by media, advertising and even people in your life that promote the thin ideal. Recognise these messages for what they are – unrealistic and harmful.
  3. Reject Diet Culture:

    Challenge diet culture, which perpetuates the thin ideal. Understand that restrictive eating are not sustainable and can be detrimental to your health.
  4. Practice Self-Compassion:

    Be kind to yourself. Remember that your worth is not determined by your appearance. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend.
  5. Seek Support:

    Surround yourself with a supportive community that values body positivity and self-acceptance. Connect with friends, family, or support groups that share your journey.
  6. Limit Exposure:

    Reduce your exposure to media and content that perpetuates the thin ideal. Unfollow social media accounts that promote unrealistic body standards and seek out content that celebrates diverse body shapes and sizes.
  7. Focus on Health:

    Shift your focus from weight and appearance to health and well-being. Embrace a holistic approach to health that includes nourishing your body with balanced nutrition and engaging in physical activity you enjoy. Here is the first review article to address the issue that weight does not equal health.


Grieving the thin ideal is a powerful step towards embracing self-acceptance, body positivity, and overall well-being. Recognising the harm caused by the unrealistic standards of the thin ideal is the first step in breaking free from its influence. By practicing self-compassion, seeking support, and shifting your focus from appearance to health, you can foster a healthier relationship with your body and learn to appreciate it for all that it does for you. Remember that your worth is not determined by your size or shape; you are uniquely beautiful just as you are.

Help with Grieving the Thin Ideal

Contact Alison at Try Freedom for a free initial consultation.

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