The most responses I have ever received to one of my blog posts was one I wrote a few months ago about my struggle with gaining weight entitled “My 10 Pound Crisis” (click HERE to read that post). I don’t know if it should have, but it shocked me. Really shocked me. I was shocked with how many people reached out to encourage me, shocked with how many ‘likes’ it received, and shocked to realize just how common the struggle is among not only my peers, but among women, young and old…STILL.
I use the word ‘still’, because we have all heard the statistics, had loved ones battle through disordered eating, and perhaps battled through it ourselves. Most of us can conjure up our inner ‘diva’ to speak passionately against the ‘Barbie’ stereotype, desperate not to pass down our inner demons to our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters. We have seen the woes of paper-thin-dom, obesity, yo-yo dieting, exercise obsession or complete avoidance, liposuction, and plastic surgery. Shouldn’t all of this brutal reality, of oppression and restriction, breed a mass rebellion? Shouldn’t our natural inclination be to rage against ‘the man’, screaming for such torturous practises and slick propaganda to stop?
You would think so… and yet…
I have attended countless female gatherings where desserts or rich foods are there to be savoured and enjoyed. However, instead of delight and abandon, you will hear woman, after woman, use loaded language full of moral judgement about what they are eating. Giggles and gossip are weaved with words and phrases like: ‘cheating’, ‘guilty pleasure’, ‘I’m being so bad’; as if a woman’s ‘goodness’ shrinks with every… delicious… bite… I wonder, if each time we participate, we unseemingly devour a lie about ourselves and a way of being that is far more potent and damaging than the food we eat? It’s bitter, unkind, and plans to erode us from the inside out and at the very least, steal our joy.
So what do we do about this oppressive dictatorship that wants to control us, our food, our body image, our emotions, our self-worth and ultimately our lives?! You may think I am being hyperbolic, but I know and love so many women who have crumbled or who are crumbling under the weight of their weight. (Pun intended). I believe we start by acknowledging there is a problem. (Shouldn’t be hard, right, since we all struggle?) I think we ask others to hold us accountable for the loaded, moralistic language that saturates our food discussions. I think we encourage each other to be bold, kind, and start thinking outside of the tiny Barbie sized box we so often find ourselves.
Perhaps the single most important thing we can do to counter the barrage of body bashing is practice. Practice what, you ask? Let me put it this way. If I were asking you to prepare for an Olympic event where your most famed rival would be there to pounce on your every weakness, would you curl up in a ball and expect to win such an epic battle without any training? NO! You would condition your body AND your brain so that your movements were second nature; fluid; natural. Practice being aware. Practice changing our emotional language around food and food discussions. Practice loving the incredible vessel that wakes up for you, takes care of your chores, walks up and down flights of stairs, folds laundry, gives cuddles, kisses boo-boo’s. Practice being you, right here, right now, instead of getting stuck on where and who we want to be.
It’s not easy. But I am a living, breathing testament that it works!
BECOMING ORDINARY: DAY 190