We’ve talked about the first rule of body club – don’t talk about your body and don’t talk about the bodies of others. Yet recently I found myself breaking this rule, which is what brought me to the realization that there’s a second rule of body club. And that’s to have at least one safe trusted person that you can talk with about your body.
On vacation recently with three of my closest female cousins we discussed our body struggles. I shared my inner struggle with feeling fat regardless of my actual weight. Of hating my body much of the time. Of judging my worth based on my weight even when I know how ridiculous that is. Of how all my personal growth and professional expertise can be eroded with one waistband that’s too tight.
My body anxiety and dysmorphia had been heightened by the approaching summer weather. Despite improved habits it’s clear that the ten pounds I estimate to have lost two years ago are back, and they’ve brought ten of their friends. Despite my body being normal for a woman my age, especially a woman whose genetic heritage is curvy, it is sometimes hard to face.
Talking about it with a few trusted women helped. They listened and supported me. And they shared their own fears and struggles with aging, illness, pain, and having bodies that don’t respond as wished. We grieved together and laughed together. I didn’t weigh less after this sharing but I did walk lighter.
If body acceptance is also a struggle for you, know that you aren’t alone. Know that it isn’t actually about your body having unique flaws, but about being human. And know that while you will feel better if you don’t talk about your body in public, that sharing with a trusted friend, coach, or counselor can help you sort things out.
Lindsay Kite’s admonition that our bodies are instruments, not ornaments has become my mantra. My body is no longer young and firm. My curves are no longer in all the right places. But my body is working overtime to power me through life. And so is yours.
At the end of our time together my cousins objected to a goodbye selfie fearing we all would look old and fat. Next year they pleaded. But I insisted on taking it anyway. And I treasure that photo of us together, our faces reflecting wisdom, strength, and humor. In my eyes, my cousins couldn’t be more beautiful. And this helped me get in touch with my own beauty.
If you would like to talk about your body struggles, get on my schedule here. If you need other times, use the contact form linked below.
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This week I’m reading Brave Girl Eating – A Family’s Struggle With Anorexia by Harriet Brown. In her beautiful style she describes her journey as the parent of a teen with anorexia. It brings up many questions about our obsession with thinness, and how the voices in our head drive us to behave in ways that aren’t in our best interest. Harriet is also the author of Body of Truth – How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight and What We Can Do About It which is one of my highest recommended books about diet culture.
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