I was just reading a beautiful and remarkable blog post about loving our bodies so we can model that love for our daughters. It got me thinking about how there is a certain level of body hatred that most people can agree is not healthy. But what about the subtle body hatred?
In the understandable body love scenario, there is a middle aged woman who has been fighting her weight all her life and has been on more diets than she can count. Her weight has gone up and down in the process and she has put off doing things in her life based on how she feels about her body. Everyone can agree that this is not healthy, and get on board with helping this woman accept herself.
The ones I worry about though - are the ones who don't know they are struggling. They are the ones in naturally thinner bodies who think that what they eat and how they move is keeping them in those smaller bodies. They are wearing their Fitbits and eating their grilled chicken but they are not dieting in their minds even though they have anxiety around food and body.
They fit in to the ideal that society has created and they agree on all levels that being healthy is imperative and that what they are doing is exactly what has to be done. Secretly, or not so secretly, they think that bigger people just need to work harder to look like them and doesn't everyone want to look like them?
It makes me really glad that I have had to think twice about my weight. If my struggle to make my body smaller in the past were not so pronounced, I'm not sure I would have ever woken up to the ways I was tethering myself to a societal expectation. If I had continued to fit in or had ever fit in to the expectation as naturally as others do, I'm not sure I would have fought the status quo.
I would have gone on to my dying days thinking I had achieved the pinnacle of success. I was thin and I looked how people expected and wanted me to look. I was admired for my appearance and who needs anything more then that?
This is not to say that for all naturally thin people, that this is all they aim for in life. I am not calling them out as being shallow and vain, but possibly they are a bit brainwashed. Because as I move about the world, I find it's often the people who fit the norm that don't know they are still being held hostage in some way.
They don't know how they are perpetuating the myths that all you have to do to be thin and healthy is what they do AND that that is the most important thing - to be thin and healthy.
I can't think of anything more freeing and rewarding than to have a physical trait like fat - that forces you to go deeper and to experience life on a richer and more complex level and to realize what is really important in life.
A woman who fits in might have nothing to awaken her to become aware of what is happening to other bodies, genders and colors around her. A woman who fits in might not know what she is passively accepting by fitting in and seeming to play by the rules.
In ways big and small the woman who fits in will work to maintain that status quo without knowing what she is doing. By going to the gym, declining dessert, having some botox, or buying all the latest products to fight aging. She might feel pangs of panic if the scale goes up a pound or two or the clothes start getting a little tight or if she has a cold and can't go to the gym.
Without being consciously aware, she is imprisoned and she is doing it to herself. It's these people that I feel for because they don't know what they are missing. I often see these people and remind myself "They know not what they do."
So today I am considering myself lucky for having a reason to examine my surroundings. I am grateful that I have been able to see that for many years I had actually been trying to hold myself back. I am grateful that ultimately I failed to do so.
Instead, I had an awakening. I have also since realized that this is actually a part of our adult development. To realize that the internal is more vital to our peace and happiness than the external. To question what we always used to believe was true. To move from the black and white into the gray.
To that end, I am humbled and honored and grateful for my what I have learned and how I have grown while on this quest to make peace with food.
Learning Intuitive Eating is much more than exploring what to eat, it's exploring how to live and I am eager to keep practicing.