This weekend, I read a supremely frustrating an honest account of one woman’s experience of feeling trapped in her self-described “food prison”. A couple of things really came up for me, which I’d like to present to you in true word vomit form:
- OMFG. If only 11% of (adult, aged 45-74) women are satisfied with their bodies, what’s really wrong? My thoughts: it’s not our bodies, it’s our beliefs about our bodies or something else that’s going on. What’s making it this way and how the heck can we change things so this isn’t our default?
- Just because this whole body dissatisfaction thing is the default or the norm doesn’t make it the only option. Given the effort it takes to be skinny (and miserable, apparently), what if that hard work was directed towards embracing our bodies instead? We might piss off the diet industry but I’d say sanity and freedom would be worth it. Do you agree?
- Thinking about how distracted and unhappy (read: bitchy) I get when I’m feeling down on my body, it’s hard not to wonder how the world would change if more women were loving their bodies. Where would the energy people spend building these “food prisons” go?
- This isn’t an issue that we should confine to “middle aged” women. The sooner we can get our shit sorted out, the better, in my opinion. Several women I know have commented on how great it is that I’m working on and talking about this while I’m young. I know that it’s important and the less time I can waste worrying about this, the better. I hope that my shit is sufficiently sorted out that if I have a daughter (or a son, for that matter) down the road, I don’t have to worry about passing on delusion. Do you think this issue has an age?
- I liked the question about what you’d like to be remembered for. In our lives, I don’t think anyone else really cares about how perfect our bodies are. I’d be surprised if when I pass away anyone remembers whether I was a size 11 or a size 3 when I was in my 20s, but if I spend all my time and energy obsessing over my body at the expense of living my life, I won’t have time to get out and do the things worth being remembered for. That—far more than being “imperfect” by some non-existent person’s standards—is depressing. How would you like to be remembered when all is said and done? How important will what you weigh be to you in a year? 10 years? 50?
- A therapist once asked me if I’d still want to be recovered if it meant being fat. She didn’t sugarcoat the question and ask me if I’d still want recovery if it meant “stabilizing my weight” or “gaining a few pounds” or “maintaining a healthy weight”…she bluntly asked me if I was willing to get fat to get out of the prison. Even though part of me was terrified and wanted to say no, I knew what that meant. I also knew that in saying yes, I was committing to myself and to health rather than to the status quo—and I knew that was a powerful stance to take. Where do you stand?
The article made me sad. I don’t like to hear that the majority of women out there are busy hating their bodies. I know what it’s like to be in that prison. That being said, I’m also hopeful. I know what it’s like to start to make your way out of that place. I know what it feels like to decide to change the way you think about yourself. And even though it’s hard and filled with ups and downs, I don’t see another option worth choosing.