I didn’t know I needed to make peace with my body.
In my college years, I was determined to be a certain weight and wear a certain size.
I was living in the greater Long Beach area in Southern California, and the ideal body image was to be thin. When people would compliment my thinness, it made me happy because it fulfilled some of the insecurity around my relationship with my body.
I would compliment other women on maintaining their thin bodies by saying, “You look GREAT!”, “Have you lost weight?”, “Are you working out?” Because we all wondered what was the secret to staying thin. Some women would not eat all day and then gorge during dinner time. Other options were diet pills or spending countless hours at the gym.
During those years, I did not think that my relationship with food and my body were unhealthy because I wasn’t classified as being anorexic nor was I bulimic.
So, in that case, I didn’t think I had a problem.
I was simply restricting my calorie intake and depriving my body of the necessary nutrients to function. Oh…my poor mental health.
It wasn’t until later in life and moving away from Southern California that I realized my unhealthy relationship with my body. The negative self-talk, frustration, and disappointment when I would gain a few pounds led to an obsession with jumping on the weight scale every morning.
I have been on a healing journey to make peace with my body, build a healthier relationship with myself, not give in to the diet culture beliefs, and focus more on feeding my body when it is hungry.
I, unfortunately, put a moral value and sense of worth on my clothes size and what the weight scale said.
I’ve been fortunate to learn through education and finding mentors to support me in understanding that weight loss does not equal health. Health is more than a weight number.
Books on this very topic like health at every size, and learning to eat based on body hunger cues, while respecting and treating yourself with kindness has helped me in my self-care and mental well-being.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the following books:
Body Respect – “The key is to switch goals: Instead of continuing the deprivation-waging, a frustration-inducing uphill battle called dieting, make it your new intention to look after and enjoy your body (and life). A side effect of this will be improved health and weight regulation.”
Health at Every Size – “We eat not because we’re hungry, but because we’re sad, guilty, bored, frustrated, lonely, or angry. In doing so, we’re ignoring those internal hard-wired hunger and fullness signals.
You don’t have an eating problem. You have a caretaking problem. You’re not taking proper care of yourself…this is what an emotional eater does.”
Intuitive Eating – “Diet culture worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, which means you can spend your whole life thinking you’re irreparably broken just because you don’t look like the impossible thin ideal.”
The Body is Not an Apology – “Our freedom from body shame demands that we look at how we have perpetuated shame in others. We will need to be radically honest on this journey.”
This journey has not been easy because challenging system beliefs that go against what the television commercials, social media, and magazine images say about body image can stir up some deeply hidden feelings and fears.
However, I am beginning to feel more empowered in redefining what health means for me and gaining a new sense of freedom away from body anxiety.
I have recently joined Mente Counseling as their Nutritionist. If you’d like to work with me and discover how you can make peace with your body, I’d love to chat. Book a consultation <<HERE>>.
Check out more of my anti-diet culture journey in this blog post: How I Got Pulled Into Diet Culture.
Bacon, L. (2008). Health At Every Size. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-935618-25-6
Bacon, L., & Aphramor, L. (2014). Body Respect. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-940363-19-6
Taylor, S.R. (2018). The Body Is Not An Apology. Oakland, CA: Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc: ISBN: 978-81626569768
Tribole, E., & Resch, E. (2012). Intuitive Eating. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN: 10:1250004047
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