I declare today a new day, a day you can give yourself permission to LOVE your body.
What better reason to take the day off from criticizing, comparing or hiding your body. How would you feel if you truly rocked what your momma gave you? Even if just for this day? Think about it, take this day and practice, it will make it easier tomorrow, and the next day, and eventually it will just be normal to wake up and love your body.
“Discover your Inner Goddess”
This is not a diet guide. Nope, I know Thanksgiving is coming up and you would like to lose 10 pounds. It will not show you how to lose ten pounds by Thanksgiving. It will not introduce you to a new set of “miracle ab crunches” or rave about the latest liposuction advances. And there will be no butt pads, silicone, or fat-free recipes to share. No adding protein powder to a matitol laden sugar free dessert.
I’m writing this because I, like many women, used to diet until I was dizzy. It’s time we as women declare WAR on the nasty 4 letter word.. DIET…
For years I looked at my body and hated the parts that stuck out, and the ones that didn’t stick out far enough. And I believed that having the so-called “perfect” body?at any expense?would guarantee success and eternal happiness. You know, that bariatric surgery would FIX it all, and change my life.
I was misled. I was deluded.
As women, our relationships with our bodies are dysfunctional at best. Then we wonder why our relationships with “others” fail. With multibillion-dollar diet and cosmetics industries barking at our heels, and even role models like Queen Latifah caving to the “thin-is-in” pressure, loving our bodies is no stroll in the park. It’s especially hard when our friends complain about their bodies, and our moms have been on diets since we were in diapers.
But this is a matter of life. Call it a fact of life if you wish. When we don’t feel comfortable in our bodies?Our natural bodies? We don’t feel comfortable in our own skin? We deny our spirits everything from dancing to delicious food to lustful abandon. We miss out on all the sensuality and joy that life offers. Yet we deserve to have it all, and we continue to punish ourselves.
Here are seven TOOLs to add to Your DIVA tool box, because when it’s all said and done… we are polishing ourselves up to shine. We just need the right tools and the right attitude.
1) Go inside your physical self and consider the “Inner Goddess” I call my inner Goddess “Dolly”
You can name your lil inner goddess whatever YOU chose.
At 385 pounds I used to tear pictures of models out of magazines and tape them to my fridge. I said it was to inspire me to not look at the food in the fridge, not eat when I wasn’t hungry. So I could become thin like the magazine models.
One day I took a long look at the rail thin figures and wondered how inspiring could it be, to surround myself with pictures of people I could never actually look like? (At least, not without the help of surgery, an airbrush, and some DNA scrambling. Sure Katherine Zeta Jones is hot, but I don’t look like her, and who is to say that makes me NOT HOT?
I used to hide all photos of me, swearing the camera took bad photos. THe lens made me look WIDE. It didn’t make any sense that my mother looked like herself, but I looked like I was 385 pounds. Oh, wait, that is what I weighed. So it wasn’t the camera afterall, well I bet I blamed it on the scale too in those days.
Take a look at the images you surround yourself with. How do they make you feel? If it’s inferior, ugly, imperfect, or bad, a ceremonial ripping-down may be in order.Rip them down and burn them, it is time for a new attitude.
Once I took these photos down, I then filled my room with images of voluptuous, full-hipped goddesses, who were not only considered beautiful, but powerful. Consider creating a “wall of inspiration” with pictures of women from your family or your online family who had loved and supported you for who you are.
How do you find that inner goddess? Start with a full-length mirror. Many women play a love-hate game with mirrors, gazing at the parts we like, and avoiding the ones we don’t. We never looking at our bodies as they are. Today I invite you to preform lasik surgery and take off the rose colored glasses. Instead of picking ourselves apart like chicken dinners, scrutinizing our thighs, our breasts, and our legs, what we see in the mirror is often no reflection of what is really there.
Find some private time, even if it’s just a few moments. Then take off your clothes, and look at yourself. Let the hateful thoughts run their course, then pass. It will clear space in your mind for positive ones to replace them. Don’t turn away from your reflection — try to clear your mind of judgment and keep looking.
Now look closely at those parts you struggle with most. Do they remind you of anyone? Perhaps those full hips once belonged to your great-great-grandmother. If not for them, you may not even be here? That size could have helped her to survive pregnancy and childbirth. Our bodies are living family albums. Pay homage to your ancestors by loving the body they gave you and the legacy it represents.
When I did this the first time, I took a beautiful scarf and I would drape it over my arms, and then tie around my waist. I liked the way the silk felt on my skin, it made me feel feminine.
2. Think Inside Out
When you picture your body, do you think about your heart, your brain, your kidneys? Probably not. More than likely, you think about your thighs, your hair, your stomach. I recall the day I went for my preop seminar, all the possible side effects of sugery INCLUDING DEATH.. yet all I could remember was that my HAIR might fall out.
Because our society places so much emphasis on appearance, and so little on our inner selves, the balance between the two has been thrown off. Have you ever had an upset stomach, a rash, or a giant zit because you were stressed? Has your heart literally hurt when you experienced emotional pain? We forget that our bodies are simply the canvasses upon which our internal conditions express themselves. Guess who the artist is that is creating that portrait..did I hear you say “god”… look inside yourself.. you will see God knows that place.
I sometimes laugh and call myself a holistic bariatric professional, thats because I am chosing to treat my WHOLE self and heal from obesity. The surgery did its part and I healed physically LONG before I started healing my mind and spirit..
I had eating disorders since I was around 5 or 6and body image issues. I felt at an early age that my body betrayed them because I could not t sculpt it into some ideal form. Oh, did I mention I am a control freak, only I was trying to control MYSELF, even at an early age.
By the time I was in the fourth grade I had started to prematurely develop, and I also had BOOBS, it was quite embarrassing, I did NOT look like any of the other kids in my class. I was ashamed and felt dirty and ashamed, and I was a little girl. I handled it as best as I could, I stole little Debbie Snack cakes from the fridge.I ate to nourish and comfort the little girl inside.
As women, and even young girls (because we get the programming at an early age) controlling our appetites or looks gives us a false sense of control over our lives. As long as we can focus on “fixing” ourselves, we can avoid thinking about the fact that we’re unhappy, or that we have unmet needs we’re afraid to address. For years I was scared to stop dieting because I knew I might have to face a bigger issue than my dress size… and that would be the empty feeling I had inside.
Feelings are made up of energy, which flows through our bodies. Compulsive eating and dieting blocks that flow, repressing the feelings we don’t want to deal with. Hence the emotional eating, and then the compulsiveness and bingeing.
The places where we feel heavy are often where we hold in feelings. So I would look in the mirror and see my larger thighs and immediately want to RUN them off, but maybe I should have just asked myself what I was holding in.. A heavy feeling may mean there’s a buildup of energy or feelings there and it makes sense, although it doesn’t.. it does…Instead of dieting to ‘fix’ it, try to understand what the energy means, or how it’s serving you. It could have been my bodies way of alerting me to something I needed to know about myself.
Instead of thinking negative thoughts about your body, try doing something to feel more in touch with it. Talk a walk, write down your feelings, breath, sing. DANCE… I HOPE YOU DANCE… If you get the chance to sit it out or dance… what are YOU going to do??
Getting energy moving restores the flow even if it leaves us crying and raging, we have to get it out and let life happen. The more the culture gets obsessed with denial, the more we overeat and indulge.
SUPERSIZE ME PLEASE?? OH yeah, we BEG for it.. Biggie Fries and Biggie COKE UPSIZE ME…
3. Exercise your MIND give it a work out
Imagine what would happen if women decided that building mental strength was as important as pumping up our biceps. We could start businesses. Earn degrees. Travel. Uncover new talents. Shoot I could wear Gucci shoes and Hermes scarves and have Tumi luggage.
Just imagine the economic power we’d have if we stopped giving our money to Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and started saving, investing, or spending it on life-enhancing adventures.
I have a theory that dieting is a way to make women disappear, the less space we take up, the less power we have.
Men are becoming more conscious of their bodies these days, but it seems men work out to get stronger, to take up more room in the world. Yet women continue to try and get smaller, daintier, until we just turn into pretty little things who can only think about how many grams of fat we’ve eaten today. Or we sacrifice vegetables, fruit and whole grain to avoid the dreaded evil carbs. I think this is what Michael Jackson means when he tells us to take a look ate the man in the mirror and CHANGE!
You are responsible for taking care of yourself? This may mean adding some activity and healthy foods into your life. But to neglect your inner self and favor your body is a waste of your gifts.
4. Tell Your Critics to Shut Up What’s up with them?
Well-intentioned or not, families and friends can be a major source of body stress. They’re often the first to criticize your appearance, or to let you know how pretty you’d be “if you just lost 20 pounds.” OR “you have such a pretty face…BUT, oh its always the but that gets us.
Why don’t they realize how hurtful and destructive this is? Oh, but wait, when we question and ask WHY, we too are being judgemental. Not allowing them to feel or say what is on their mind. Maybe healing begins when we ask what it is that makes them feel that losing weight would make us more attractive. I bet we would find an insecure and wounded, maybe even frightened person.
The people closest to us should build up our self-esteem, not knock it down. They may think they’re offering helpful suggestions, but they’re not. So let ’em know: it’s my body and my business. Stop projecting your hang-ups on me. Go eat a Twinkie and leave me alone deep fry it if they have to.
Of course, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. But man is it getting easier for me, I think I can turn someone from a rooster to a hen in one shot now…
One of my dearest friends left home and got married, her father was quick to point out the fluctuations in her weight with every visit. She began to dread going home, expecting another comment that would send her running to the mirror to reconsider her attractiveness.
Finally, shedeclared the topic of her appearance absolutely off-limits with her dad. She even threatened not to visit if he didn’t back off, and guess what…It worked. Then her father was forced to talk about other aspects of her life, her career, her children, and her interests.
It’s hard to stand up to our families and friends. But we have every right to set whatever boundaries help us live in peace. Boundaries, I can’t stress the importance of them..
5. Stop Hating Other Women
Sadly, we women can be our own worst critics. But consider the toll this has on sisterhood?And on you.
Criticizing another woman’s looks makes you look and feel totally insecure. It also makes you paranoid?If you do it to them, you’ll automatically assume they’re doing it to you. Dogging each other keeps us divided, and therefore defeated.
I hate to see a man call a woman a foul name, but even worse for a woman to violate the sacred sisterhood and call another woman vile names. Well, it speaks volumes.
Besides, we all have a unique beauty to cultivate, whether we’re thick or thin. I like to think of myself as voluptuous I may not look like a fashion magazine model, but no one else has my genetics. So I just try to be the best me I can.
Changing the mind and attitude has helped many stop regarding other women as enemies. “It’s not a competition,” but By working toward self-acceptance, and checking ourselves when we find insecurity flaring up, we will find that there is room to appreciate the individual beauty in ALL women, as well as in ourselves.
6. Healthy Comes in ALL Sizes (One Size Fits ALL maybe)
Although many people argue that being fat is unhealthy, this is not necessarily true.
Yes, we’ve seen the news reports about the “epidemic of obesity” plaguing America. And indeed, many people in our country have an unhealthy relationship to food — or eat artery-clogging, processed food that’s making them not only gain weight, but also get sick.
All that said, there is a rising “fat and fit” movement along with studies linking weight to genetics. In the crusade against fat, nobody bothers to mention those. But guess what? Every day, thin people also die from heart attacks, cancer, high blood pressure and all the diseases the media likes to attribute to fat Americans. In fact, yo-yo dieting — continuous weight loss and regain — puts stress on the heart and can actually be more damaging to the organs than maintaining a stable weight of say, 250 pounds.
Change your way of thinking and advocate a healthy lifestyle for all sizes: pleasure over punishment, a fresh, unprocessed diet and regular exercise. But good health is a privilege. America has yet to succeed at bringing this luxury to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Since fat people are often discriminated against in the workplace (stereotyped as lazy, slow, greedy), they are statistically more likely to earn less, limiting access to great healthcare, organic markets and other resources. Not making generalizations or excuses here. Still, has anyone else seen the price of cherries at Whole Foods? Or the price of a canister of Whey isolate protein?
So, before you look at a fat person and weigh in on her medical records, pause. She may very well hit the gym more than her skinny sisters do, have a clean bill of health, and eat a heart-smart diet. Don’t assume.
7. *Fat* is not an Insult It’s just a word
Many people consider being called “fat” the kiss of death. The fear of gaining weight or god forbid the fear of being seen as fat? The fear is real and its greater than the fear of destroying their health with punishing diets and exercise.
Fat discrimination, some activists argue, is one of the last truly acceptable forms of prejudice in America. “She can go on a diet and change that,” people say. “After all, there’s Slimfast, diet pills, and a gym at every turn.” Boy.. I wish someone would come up with a magic pill for “stupid”.
Is FAT less judgmental than overweight. “Over what weight?” that is my question. “Is there some perfect weight we are supposed to be ?”
Our bodies are all different because of our genetic makeup, embrace that fact! We are Unique, and we are built the way we are designed, I will never have small hips, legs and thighs, but my waist is small, only to make my already large hips look LARGER…. It is my body, the home of my soul. I embrace it.
As for the 120-pound woman who stares in the mirror and moans, “I’m so fat!” and yes, it was me for many years as a teenager. People who are not experiencing the struggles of society’s size discrimination should not call themselves fat. I was guilty of doing it, and I was wrong. I believed I was fat, and I became obese, Super morbidly obese actually.
Do all women suffer from some degree of body hatred? FOr me it seems there is a distinct difference between not fitting into a size 8 dress, and not fitting into a bus seat, a restaurant chair, or a movie theater aisle. Longing to lose ten pounds is different than weighing so much that you’re routinely denied health insurance, or discriminated against by companies who stereotype you as lazy and unemployable.
Diets simply don’t work. You can’t live in a state of deprivation forever, and who wants to? There is a person here. We need to be gentle with her, to allow her to feel pleasure. Be kind and gentle with your “inner Dolly”
My advice to ALL women is to walk with your head up, and to never, ever apologize for your size. Get into your body, treat yourself to a massage, an hour in a hot tub or a sauna. Dance naked in your room, or go out and shake what your mama gave ya. Take a walk for enjoyment’s sake? Leave the five-pound barbells at home with the clinging vines that are holding you back from living.
Be well, be love and be loved, and start by being KIND to yourself,
Love and Light,