Recently, after listening to the Love, Food podcast for this week, I started to think about where I am in this process. I feel like it has been relatively easy to embrace the idea of intuitive eating. Despite the fact that I hear people talk about their food restrictions all the time, I really understand the science from the book Health At Every Size, and understand why restriction and dieting aren’t effective tools for managing health (or weight, for that matter). I also happen to be very lucky in the sense that the man I have been dating for the last few years has never thought about food the way that I did, and has been able to help me and be supportive in my learning to accept all foods.
Where I am really struggling is with body image. As I have refused to restrict, or diet, in any fashion – my body has definitely gained weight. It has been scary. It is uncomfortable, physically I don’t love the way my body touches itself (kinda weird, I know). I worry sometimes that I’m allowing there to be too much stress on my joints because of the extra weight.
But I’ve been trying to learn body kindness and acceptance. I’ve been trying to accept that fat is not actually a bad thing, and for most of human history (until the 1950s basically) a bigger body was more appreciated than a smaller one. I’m trying to allow myself to be ok with myself.
And it’s hard.
I’ve started to follow people on Instagram who can expand my worldview. HAES dietitians, and people who are on track with body kindness, body positivity, and with fighting fat phobia. I’m hoping that being able to see more and more of what’s out there, as well as removing people who fit into the fitspo and thinspo areas, will help me feel like my body is normal.
But it’s extra hard when all the people around me are so immersed. My coworker is doing a cleanse and while she doesn’t push it on me, she explained how she feels so much energy now. Some distant family and some of my friends now talk regularly about their “summer bodies” and what foods they’re not eating so they’ll be ready. It’s everywhere, and hard to accept myself when the people around me are all focused on being thin or losing weight or if they fit the standard.
I wish more people had the information we have, about how bad diets and weight cycling are for you. I wish diet culture wasn’t such a large financial benefit for so many people, so we could go back to believing in our bodies to regulate themselves.
And I’m gonna sit here every day and work on accepting who I am today.