On September 28 and October 19, at 7:30 pm, I will be hosting screenings of the documentary EMBRACE. This film is encouraging women around the world to love their bodies. I am very proud to be a partof this experience and to be spreading the word about how challenging having a good body image can be and what we can do about it. Maybe you already saw the movie and that is why you are here reading this? I could probably write about a dozen blog posts on all the things going through my head getting ready for the Embrace movie screening. I’ll try to keep this to one topic.
Why did I want to share this movie with my community?
I wanted to share this movie because the trailer resonated with me deeply. I can relate to being sucked in to what society said I should look like from a very young age. I didn’t know any differently and I didn’t think anything of it. Of course I would want to change myself if I don’t look like the women on the pages of Seventeen magazine, or later Cosmopolitan. Isn’t that what we are all striving for?
Bring on the meal plans, bring on the diets, bring on low fat, no fat and Brummel and Brown yogurt butter. Bring on carrot sticks and diet coke. Bring on the daily vow to get up and run or work out in some fashion, hello Jane Fonda! Let me start snubbing my nose at those that eat cake in public, knowing full well that I will go home and eat all the cake when no one is looking.
I remember my mom taking a picture of me in a leotard as motivation for working out. I remember standing there sheepishly in the front hall while the picture was being taken. I was about 12 or 13. It wasn’t her fault, a nutritionist suggested it. I remember being both excited about the prospect of my imminent change and slightly humiliated at the same time that I wasn’t good enough just as I was.
And that is the insidiousness of our world’s “healthy” messages. As we try to change ourselves, we are constantly telling ourselves we are no good without even realizing it. Then we are reinforcing that message to ourselves over and over with every diet that ends and every new one that begins. I am not perfect and therefore I must change.
A couple years ago, my odd diet behavior was escalating and it was getting harder and harder to keep the weight off, so I kept trying harder and harder. I was eventually only reading non-fiction books at night like This is Why You are Fat, Grain Brain, Wheat Belly, the Anti-Inflammation diet, the Zone diet, Paleo, The Flat Belly Diet, The Sonoma Diet, The Fast Metabolism Diet, The 8 hour diet….you get the idea. I will admit that some of these diets have valid and legitimate advice. But…..
The problem is, if you are reading any of these with the only goal being weight loss, they will not help you get where you want to go. They will only perpetuate the cycle you are in and possibly make it worse. The problem is, you are not starting in the right place when you are hating your body and think your life will be perfect if you could only lose 5,10,25, 50 pounds.
With this mindset, your body will be in a constant state of stress and you will most likely be overriding everything she is trying to tell you with something that a book said you should do. Eventually you will rebel and as Newton’s law of motion says - if one object exerts a force on another object, then the second object exerts an equal and opposite reaction force on the first. Chances are, your diet is not going to end well.
As luck would have it, during my quest for non-fiction literature that would “fix me” or “solve my problem”, I stumbled across Intuitive Eating for the first time. I have to admit, the premise sounded pretty amazing. Eat what I want and be happy in my body? Get out – not possible. I also immediately thought “hell no – I’m not giving up yet!”. Wow – I can’t even believe I was in it so deep that I couldn’t even see it. Giving up what? Misery? Self flagellation? The desire to never leave the house again?
The idea of Intuitive Eating percolated for awhile and my non-fiction reading started taking a turn. I moved onto Health at Every Size and realized there was a whole genre of non-dieting books out in the world. A non-dieting book? What??!! I was intrigued and dug in. Slowly I got past my reservations with intuitive eating and decided to give it a try. Holy moly. Powerful stuff.
I eventually realized that food was not a problem at all and the simple fact that I kept trying to control it is what was sending me back to food over and over again. It was a self fulfilling prophecy.
Long story short, (?) that is why I wanted to bring this movie to my community. Because there is another way, there are a million ways, there are infinite ways that you can choose to live your life and write your story that are so much more rewarding and satisfying than the narrow minded world of weight loss would have you believe.
I wanted to share this movie as a part of my healing. I am still scrambling out of the hole I have been hiding in for years and years and sometimes I start to slip back. This movie is like a lifeline reminding me that I didn’t make this all up and it’s a real and big problem with our world. This movie reminded me that I am not alone in my struggle and that I am 100% on the right path with my journey through intuitive eating and health at every size. When I present this movie, I will be standing up for myself in a way that I never have before. It feels powerful and emotional and it’s all I can do not to get all teary eyed every time I think about it. I am so appreciative and so grateful that I found my way out and I have never been more excited for the rest of my life.
I wanted to share this movie and my experience on the off chance that there is anyone else out there who knows how I feel or is going through the same thing or who may need some extra support to get out of the hole she has put herself in. If you identify with dieting mentality or any mentality that says you are not worthy the way you are right now, today, then it’s that mentality that has to change.
My hope is that at a minimum, women walk away from this movie feeling better about themselves and that they recognize their worth as human beings. It would also be awesome if they would walk away improving how they talk to themselves. And when they improve how they talk to themselves, they will improve how they treat other people too and whammo – the world just became a better place.
So yeah - I guess I brought my community this movie because ultimately I think it will make the world a better place and I am proud and honored to be a part of the movement.