Friday, February 27, 2015

Todays Reason to Smile: Articles about Loving Your Body!

Within the past week, I came across two different articles that really spoke to my heart, and I want to share them with you!

Being Thin Didn't Make Me Happy, But Being "Fat" Does
Contributed by Joni Edelman I 02.18.15 1:37am

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My 185-Pound Body
by Nikki Gloudeman | 02.17.15 2:14am

I am thankful that there are more women writing about loving themselves, and their bodies, in ways that are not connected to the number of calories, the number on our jeans, the number on our bras.  I appreciate the central message of both of these articles: happiness is not inherently linked to a smaller waist size.

Now, until recently I've always been thin.  Of course I have had my issues with body images, they are not the same as the women in the stories above.  In college, I was the designated "skinny friend" who always sat in the b*tch seat (you know, the middle seat of the back!)  I have usually listened to my body about its wants and needs.  Although I have struggled with emotional eating in the past few months, I am cognizant of my habits.  I have a skinny-girl attitude loving my more curvy body.  

That said, I find compelling stories of women who are learning to accept themselves.  For me, part of self-acceptance is loving our bodies.  That doesn't mean we don't want them to be healthier; it means we love them where they are right now.  Why can't we love our bodies into health rather than shaming them into health?

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I recently went to a hosted meal at a restaurant for a team meeting of a start-up organization for which I have been asked to serve as a consultant.  

The host is an extremely health conscious gentleman.  Sitting next to him, with his veggie burger and water, I struggled to feel comfortable ordering the coconut shrimp with sweet & spicy sauce that I had been craving for days.  I noticed that I even had to make the excuse for ordering this amazing fried, sweet, deliciousness: "I just love food too much."  

I was not alone; a woman across the table commented on the fact that the restaurant serves wonderful milkshakes.  She then decided that she "really shouldn't" order one.  Another woman and I both asked, "Why not?"  Of course, we already knew the answer: a milkshake does not equal thin.

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I think that part of the reason I resonate with body-affirming, curve-loving stories from women is that they fight against the never-ending barrage of body shaming images, words, expectations, attitudes, and other social cues that we all face on a weekly, daily, hourly basis.

For the first time since I was 23, I am happy with my body.  I am happy with my wardrobe.  I am enjoying these new-found curves!  Yes, I realize that I need to take care of my body.  But I also need to take care of the rest of me - I am more than numbers.  

I wish that our conversations about weight, size, and health could be more about what we want and less about what we should.  As long as we allow ourselves to use the "I shouldn't" motto, we don't really allow ourselves the opportunity to consider what we truly desire.

If I really desire those crunchy sweet bites of delectable shrimp, then by golly, I'm going to order them!  But, maybe, what I truly desire is just something sweet!  Something sweet doesn't have to be fried.  It could be fruit!  If I'm so caught up with telling myself I shouldn't order the coconut shrimp, its harder to stop and ask myself, why do I want that?  Asking myself the question, allows a wider exploration of my own desires.

Now, I'm not talking about attending a therapy session to decide what you want to eat at a restaurant.  All of this can happen internally in a matter of moments.  Its just about taking the time and being self-aware!

I wonder what would happen for our health and our ability to love ourselves if it started with listening to what we actually desire?

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So, today's reason to smile: We are all beautiful, and we all can be happy with ourselves.  It doesn't have to be in the same way!