Because it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week right as I type this, I guess the subject of health at every size, beauty in all shapes and sizes, and body acceptance and respect is just really on my mind.
Whether we suffer from an eating disorder or disordered eating, have social anxiety that is body-related, or simply feel hampered or hindered in any area of our life due to a lack of comfort with how we are made, the simple fact is that body image issues plague nearly 100 percent of us.
I was talking with a friend today about a cool conversation she had with a health care professional who wanted her to come in and talk to their weight loss support group about healthy eating. She told this professional, “I am not going to address healthy eating. I am going to address healthy relationships.”
She shared that she said this because it is about the food – in the sense that we all need to ingest a certain amount of nutrients in order to survive – but then again it isn’t about the food at all – because food is just food, and it is designed to nourish, nothing less nor more than this.
It isn’t a surrogate partner. It isn’t a friend to lean on. It also isn’t an enemy that is out to get us. It is just food.
I truly believe that we will start to see a shift away from the ultra-thin-is-in culture to a more healthy, balanced definition of beauty in our lifetimes, with a corresponding shift in eating habits. To be honest, I think we already have. But that shift comes only in a very small part from venting on Facebook (and elsewhere), a bit more from education, still more from passing new legislation, and most of all when we shift our perception of our own body – and the bodies of others – from within.
For instance, I have noticed that as I work hard to see more beauty and feel more body acceptance within myself, that shift just naturally radiates outward and informs the thoughts I think, the feelings I feel, the words I speak, the company I keep, the actions I take, and the way I live and relate with both food and people.
It also helps me to see more beauty in the bodies around me, and in the world that surrounds those bodies.
It reminds me of the quote from Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
But even more it reminds me of the quote from Mother Teresa, “”The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Issues of faith aside (since we may not all share a faith basis), in this quote I see the mechanism for Gandhi’s quote to come true. When wanting isn’t enough anymore – when we are so determined to love and take good care of our bodies and to see beauty in ourselves and others that we will do whatever it takes to get there, then THAT is when true change unfolds.
Today’s Takeaway: Are you content with merely wishing or wanting for our society to embrace body acceptance and health at every size (as defined by eating in such a way to maintain health at whatever natural weight and shape your body is designed to function best at)? Or are you past wanting and determined to make it happen? Wherever you are, this is the week to evaluate what achieving personal body acceptance, respect and love could add to your life, and to the lives of us all.
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Last reviewed: 3 Feb 2012