Deconstructing the Concept of the “Revenge Body”

After a break up it’s completely normal to want your ex-boyfriend to see how well you’re doing without him. We all love entertaining the idea that our ex will be stalking our social media and regret ending the relationship for whatever reason. We all love the idea and enjoy the anticipated attention.

But when does it become a problem that goes beyond just making someone jealous? And actually start to affect our mental health and physical health? The problems start when you are no longer living your life freely, but changing your lifestyle completely to gain attention from someone who has made it clear the relationship is over. For instance, the idea of the “revenge body” or “revenge bod.” If you haven’t heard of the “revenge body” let me give you a brief definition: “A revenge body, or revenge bod, occurs from a person channeling his or her frustration over a break up into exercise. The fit body is intended to make his or her ex jealous and regret breaking up.” An example of this could be considered Kourtney Kardashian’s body after separating from Scott Disick.

There is an infinite list of personal reasons why we might want to attain a “perfect body” after the end of a relationship, for example:

  • Your ex cheated on you with someone half your weight, boobs three times the size of yours and beach blonde hair. Post break up you could become obsessed with your outer appearance more than ever before. It could start with a strict diet, contemplating cosmetic surgery and even just dying your hair, thinking it could possibly change the situation.
  • Your ex could have had an issue with the size of your thighs. Post break up you could become obsessed with the idea of changing the said “issue” and showing him just how great your legs have become since the break up! (Trust me girls, if a guy is complaining about the size of your thighs or any other body part, he’s not the one)
  • Finally, most of us simply want our ex to regret letting us go once they see how we’ve changed since the break up.

Instead of trying to focus all of our attention on our outer appearance, we need to be addressing all the issues going on inside of us first. The grieving, frustration, confusion and possible anger. But by focusing on the issues we think we can change with our body, we’re choosing to ignore our mental health. Which in the end can cause more damage than anything else. Instead of choosing to address these issues of anger, frustration, confusion, and loss, we’re brushing them under the rug (internalizing them) and using all our energy choosing to hate the body we’ve been given. In a way, we’re punishing our self for not being perfect, and ignoring the main issue of grieving and letting go of things that no longer serve us.

With all this being said, I am not saying that choosing to exercise in a healthy regard is bad for you. There is a huge difference with focusing on yourself after a break up and adding a fitness routine into your everyday lifestyle! Or even picking up an old routine that may not have been a big priority while in your recent relationship. However, when it becomes your sole purpose to change your body for someone else, there is an issue. The insecurity you are feeling will not disappear with your “revenge bod.” You will have the same demons you did before, just in a smaller clothing size.

Though the concept of the “revenge bod” has recently blown up (in entertainment media especially) I do believe it’s an idea that has been around for quite some time. But as someone who has dealt with her own struggles of an eating disorder, I know for a fact that acquiring or trying to attain a revenge body will do more harm than good. For this reason, I believe accepting the idea of a “revenge body” only adds to the infinite list of unattainable ideas we feed to not only ourselves but to the young girls who idolize the women they see on television and in magazines.

Eliminating “revenge bod” is the only logical thing to do for many reasons:

  • It makes restrictive diets/crash diets appealing
  • It gives the idea that as women the only valuable thing we can give in a relationship is our body (You are worth so much more than your body!)
  • It shows that we as human beings value what is on the outside more than what we have in our hearts
  • It says that disregarding emotions and internalizing them is a healthy option
  • It strains the relationship between your body and your self worth (which have no correlation, at all)

So instead of punishing yourself and your body for a relationship that didn’t work out, learn to digest everything that is going on in your life. Whether that means journaling your feelings, reaching out to your family or friends, even a therapist (mine helps tremendously!), choosing to explore who you are NOW, finding your joy or practicing any self-love activities you may not have been focusing on previously. There are so many more options to getting through a break-up than punishing yourself mentally and physically.

You are more than your body.

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