I know it has been a while. My holiday was busy flying back and forth from family so I needed a little extra recovery time. I have also been finishing up the last and starting up the next installment of Attuned Eating for Attuned Living 8 Week group, so as you can imagine, my brain was feeling a little squeezed dry.
But will be back to usual next week. For today, I have a special word of encouragement for you. My awesome, I couldn’t- do -it -without- her facebook post contributor had some powerful words to express that I wanted her to share.
Caroline Young Bearden is completing her masters degree in nutrition and dietetic internship and works part time as a writer, social media manager and yoga teacher. If you follow me on facebook, she is responsible for the awesome content we post regularly and we are on the same wavelength, so when she had something to say last week, I said, heck ya lady, let’s hear it!
Without further ado, here is Caroline.
It’s everywhere, literally. In the car, in my living room, on Facebook, in my email… it’s everywhere.
By now you are wondering “What?… What is everywhere?!”
I am referring to the constant messages we hear throughout our daily lives, telling us to detach from our
bodies (figuratively speaking).
“Lose those last 10 pounds,” “Indulge over the holidays? Lose it now!” “Get back into your skinny jeans!”
My heartbreaks for anyone listening to these constant messages and having them trickle into their psyche,
planting a seed of unworthiness
self- loathing. To me, these messages tell people, “If you do this [lose weight], you will be happier, you
will look better, and you will be liked more.”
On the contrary, when people become so fixated on every single morsel that passes their lips, there is very little
room left for joy. I know from experience. I am someone who struggled with disordered eating as a teen,
punishing my body until I decided I just couldn’t waste my life anymore. No, these media messages were not the root of my struggle but they frustrate me years later, as I think of the possible effects they may have on anyone
currently in a painful relationship with food and the body.
For example, I usually love reading my nutrition news that comes to my email inbox everyday. Unfortunately, from November to now, the majority of the articles listed are based on how to control yourself during the holidays and how to lose all the guilt after they are over. Day after day, each headline read something like, “How to get
through a holiday party without eating too much” or “How to fight that holiday bulge.” I just can’t help but
wonder why do holiday parties and gatherings have to be about this. Sure, the food is a major part of the holidays but what happened to conversation, to our friends and families, and spending valuable time with them? And
why is the word “guilty” so often used? Isn’t this supposed to be a joyous time of celebrating our abundant lives?
No wonder our society has developed such a warped attitude around bodies and what being in good health truly means. How about listening to our body’s natural cues and giving it what it needs when it needs it? That is truly what we need to be talking about, in my opinion. We were born with the ability to give our bodies what they
need, whether it is chocolate, a big salad or a slice of pizza.
What happened to balance? I believe these constant messages, which are especially emphasized during the
“new year,” can potentially play a part in throwing people so far off balance that they end up on an extreme
(and unhealthy) end of the spectrum. They certainly do not help people to learn what it means to be in tune with the body. And for anyone in recovery, these messages will obviously be of no help. They could potentially
create an interruption, and take them away from the path to recovery, the path to learning to love the body
exactly as it is now, to nourishing the self with food not just for fuel, but also for pleasure… for the soul.
As I have listened to these messages and watched the morning news feature a special “new year detox”
or “shedding holiday pounds” every single day, I feel for those who are trying to find recovery from
an eating disorder. These messages do not make it easier to heal. It is important for anyone struggling
to remember they do not need to serve you in any way or have in any place in your life. They are just
words, just background noise… static, if you will. They are words that deserve to have absolutely no power over your life or your soul. Just as the eating disorder thoughts are just THOUGHTS- nothing more.
From a person who gets it, I have one piece of advice: Do not let the constant messages filter in and
throw you off your path. Do not give them the power to engulf your life. Take your power back. Own it.
Protect yourself and honor your body, your mind and your spirit.
Continue on your path to freedom.
With love, Caroline