Photo by, Anthony Delanoix
I was cruising my usual social media when I came across a picture of a large woman who had tipped over the motorized chair she was using as she reached for a bottle of Pepsi. The meme indicated that I was supposed to find this amusing.
What does it say about us, the viewer, if we do laugh? Does that derisive humor conceal our own fears about someday landing in a similar situation?
It is a sobering thought, that our current lifestyle may lead us straight into that chair, where we will endure the snickers of others whose fear also lies just below the surface. So, we marshal our resources, give ourselves a good talking-to, and go on another diet, one that may do more harm than good in the long run. (See Dr. Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size for information on the effects of repeated weight loss and gain, or weight cycling.)
But is another round of deprivation really the answer? If those old approaches didn’t work the first seventy-two times, who’s to say number seventy-three is the charm? With the old standbys looking less appealing by the minute, another tack is in order; that of compassion.
Can you summon up enough care for yourself to treat yourself well? Not for swimsuit season, but because it is the right thing to do. Your body knows no better than to do its best for you every day. Whether that body is fat, thin, blind, muscled or not, it gives you one hundred percent of what it has. That makes your body an excellent, loyal friend.
In treating our good friends well, we give them the best of what we have, listening to them carefully, providing a welcoming environment for their visits, and offering them good meals.
In my experience thus far, the real key appeared when I began treating my body like the ally it has always been, foibles and all. As rapport between my inner and outer self grew, I discovered my body had great wisdom. Her messages ran like this:
See if you can remove the idea of health-food-as-punishment for being (or getting) heavy, and instead feed yourself well as a form of gratitude. Forget the scale for now. Eat the most vital, nutritious foods because you are worth it, because you deserve to feel empowered and energized.
Leave off dieting as a means to gain the acceptance of others, they are going to judge, regardless. Try looking at healthful habits as a peace-offering, a way to form bonds of love and trust between you and I.
Nary a veiled insult, no accusations, nor a scale or tape measure to be found in any of these exchanges.
In attempting this shift in attitude for myself, I have discovered a new inner landscape, one that has nothing to do with the size of my hips. I wake up smiling because I just feel that damn good, instead of relying on an outside source (The number on the scale, the fit of my jeans.) to tell me whether I am worthy of happiness that day. What an incredible rush!
I want you, reader, to feel the same amazement, gratitude and love for your own body. No matter the shape it is in, your body is an incredible work of living art, teeming with insight, just waiting for you to reintroduce yourself to the most loyal, generous, closest companion you could know.