Sunday, April 19, 2009
Chapter 12 - Respect Your Body
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of you reading this blog find the body acceptance part of this process a little difficult. Okay, maybe a lot difficult. An important thing to keep in mind as you read this chapter and ponder it is that this part of Intuitive Eating takes concerted effort for a long, long time, but is absolutely essential to becoming an intuitive eater. I can talk, because I've been working on this for years now. I've come a long way, but have a long way still to go. I can say now, with full confidence, that I feel better about myself and more comfortable in my skin than I have in a very long time.
A few weeks ago a cousin-in-law of mine posted on her blog about her experience of being a fat girl. She was a chubby kid and by high school was sixty pounds over weight. She lost the sixty pounds slowly over several years and has managed to keep the weight off for a long, long time now. I have a hard time even believing that she was once over weight because she is very small and her eating and lifestyle habits show no signs that they once were a problem. Her life has changed.
One thing she said in her post struck me very deeply because it was the first time I had heard anyone else express my philosophy of weight management. She said, speaking of her years of being overweight..." Most importantly, those years taught me an appreciation for my body, no matter it's size. I really had to learn to accept and acknowledge qualities that made me beautiful on the inside, until eventually, I felt beautiful on the outside. I had to accept where I was - and the frightening prospect that I might always be that way - BEFORE I could go on and change it." Thanks Brittany, I hope you don't mind that I quoted you.
In our book the authors quote another book, Body Traps by Judith Rodin. Here is the quote and I really think this is the magic key to learning how to take care of ourselves they way we should and the way we eventually get to a healthy and natural weight and stay there..."You don't need to lost weight first in order to take care of yourself. In fact, the process actually happens quite in the reverse!"
I really, truly believe that if we can learn to like ourselves first, before we are the size we think we should be, than we will start to treat ourselves right and that will mean eating right and exercising, giving our bodies what they need, but not more than they need. You see where I'm going with this?
I ask the questions again that the authors ask at the beginning of chapter 12. Has all the self-loathing because of your body helped you to actually make permanent change? Has dwelling on you imperfect body helped you make peace with your body and food? Maybe it's time to try something totally different?
It's true that it's hard to escape the body torture game when the whole country is playing it. This is why it takes so long to overcome, but that should make us even more determined not to play with the rest of them!
Keep in mind that body acceptance and respect for yourself are not the same thing as giving up or not caring about your body or health. I think we all picked up this book partly because we wanted to be more healthy, but, and I have to say this clearly, body acceptance may mean not being the size that you have dreamed about in your head. Sometimes the size we want to be is unrealistic, and not one that our body can sustain without major work and vigilance. The hard truth of the matter is that body acceptance will include for some of you, having to settle for a normal weight which might be somewhat more than your ultimate ideal?
I would love to hear what you guys think of this chapter and some of your ideas in the area of body respect. Any feed back would be great because I know all of us are stuggling with this.
It's very late and I've got to go to bed, but one last assignment. If you can find a way, I want you to watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear. This is a style show on The Learning Channel and was very helpful to me as I was working on learning to love my body. This show is all about loving the skin your in and learning to dress the body you have NOW, something the authors of Intuitive Eating suggest is very helpful. For those of you who have seen the show you'll know what I'm talking about. So whether you like clothes and style or not, I think you'll learn something from watching an episode or two. If you have time of course.