In honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Amy Grabowski is sharing an excerpt from her upcoming book, "Imagine Being at Peace with Food, your Body, your Self." This is from the last chapter and is one of the ten tools to Make Peace with Food and your Body. Amy will be leading a workshop, "Make Peace With Your Body" on Sunday March 6. Please see info at the end of the article.
...Think way back, why did you start your very first diet? For most of you, ‘Feeling Fat’ and being uncomfortable in your own skin was something you’ve felt since you were a kid. In the majority of cases, feeling bad about our Body was the first symptom of our Eating Disorder. And sorry to say, it is usually the last symptom to go. You know this – because even when you have managed to lose weight, you still ‘Felt Fat’.
Or maybe as a child you felt fine about your Body; but sadly someone, your father, mother, doctor or coach put you on a diet. Like I pointed out already, once the dieting started, then the rest of the Eating Disordered symptoms, including feeling bad about your Body, followed.
Part of recovery is going to be learning to not trust the negative feelings you have about your Body and relearning to feed your Body as if you did not have these negative feelings, which you also need to learn to be untrue – even though you will still have these negative feelings for a while. Huh?! Clear as mud – right? Don’t worry I’ll try to make this as understandable as I can.
In today’s society, with our size negative-0 actresses/actors with their perfectly chiseled abs and thighs that never touch, plus the availability of cosmetic surgery to chop off or suck out parts of your Body to achieve the perfectly chiseled abs and thighs that never touch, it is very hard not to have a negative Body Image. Only 3% of the population of the US naturally looks like a supermodel. Does that mean that 97% of us should spend each day hating our Body? I choose to disagree! And I encourage you to disagree as well!
Interestingly, in a research study about the effect of a mother’s Body Image on her daughter, anyone in the control group who had a positive Body Image was eliminated from the study because liking your Body was considered abnormal. In another study, subjects who preferred larger Bodies were also eliminated. So in our culture, having some degree of dissatisfaction with one’s appearance is considered normal and liking large Bodies is considered abnormal! How absurd!
If hating our Body actually worked, if it actually motivated us to stop overeating, then everyone would have an ideal Body. We have to admit to ourselves, "Hating my Body doesn't work!" It just makes all the other symptoms worse, much, much worse!...