Changing the Narrative on Body Image

Many of us think of weight-loss as good, losing weight is good, and that’s all we want to touch on the subject.

Though, diet culture will always exist on one way or another, we’ve levelled up on research in the last 20 years or so.

Not only have we levelled up on nutrition research, but as a society we’ve all had a lesson on mental health; how we treat ourselves and others.

I noticed the fold in generations when an elderly person told my one-year-old daughter that gaining weight is bad. The sentence was, “The only time in a woman’s life when gaining weight is okay, is when she is a baby.”

As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to change this narrative for my daughter. Though the words were meant as a silly joke, this is where things ad up in our minds… and also….. where we can make a change!

Jory Donovan agrees.

The 22-year-old from Montague has two younger sisters, age 9 and 12, and she wants to protect them.

It’s easy to complain, but I really focus on not doing it around them, says Jory, I don’t want that to rub off on them.

“I notice if I do complain about feeling “fat or gross”, I’ll see them do a workout five minutes later or choose a different snack.”

This is Jory Donovan!

Jory’s sisters are following in her footsteps and are already amazing athletes.

I really try to tell them it’s all about performance, says Jory, it’s not about what you look like.

“Better performance isn’t about body image, it’s about your mental state.”

She is the coach of her youngest sister’s soccer team and says she watches her words during practices.

“I started coaching so I could teach the girls to play THEIR best, not BE the best.”

She makes sure their head is in the game by sharing her wisdom.

“I tell them all the time, don’t try to look like other people, just focus on being better.”

Jory with her sisters

It’s been a wild ride for Jory and it all started in elementary school.

She grew up playing soccer, ringette and was also a dancer.

Each sport came with its own load of comments from coaches and teammates, she said.

“Everyone had a comment about the size of my butt and my strong thighs.”

She was very strong and fit but she thought her body didn’t show it.

The comments drove her crazy and she even quit ringette after her dance teacher said something.

She said she felt pressure to look better for dance so she quit ringette.

“My dance teacher said I had hockey thighs. So I quit ringette for three years because of it.”

When she reached her third year of university, she was still involved in school sports but couldn’t compete.

She says she couldn’t handle the pressure.

“I stopped playing competitive because I kept comparing myself to other players.”

That year she was diagnosed with ADHD and started a medication.

The medication made her very quickly lose weight. In one year, she lost almost 50lbs. Yikes.

She had a hard time with her medication because not only was it a new adjustment, she struggled with the lack of appetite, one of the side effects.

“I felt so tired and weak, but I liked losing the weight. I really wasn’t myself.”

Jory said people continued to comment on her body, but this time it was about her weight loss.

Without knowing what was actually happening people congratulated her.

So to congratulate someone on their weight loss and not know what is actually happening, is a lot like commenting on the size of someone’s butt or thighs without knowing their fitness level.

She’s learned that listening to people is a waste of time, she’s back at the gym, she’s back on the ice, she’s regulated her medication– and she’s doing it all from her heart.

Jory during hybrid class

Now she jokes about her butt aka booty.

“Everyone made fun of my big butt but now everyone wants one.”

Her mission in life is to become a teacher and help kids with their mental health so they don’t have the same problems.

Really proud of you Jory!!!!!!!!!!!