I don’t remember exactly when I started hating my body. I remember when, as a senior in high school, I spontaneously lost five pounds as a result of being nervous and excited about a boy while simultaneously starting my job at Ben and Jerry’s. (In lieu of any free ice cream ever, the job offered frequent standing, walking, and scooping, and occasional lifting, minimum wage and an edict from management not to let homeless people purchase ice cream. You can’t make this stuff up.) The ultimate appetite killer was glancing at the door every. single. time. it opened on one of the first gorgeous spring days of the year for an entire eight-hour shift, waiting to see if said guy would show up to grab a cone because he said he “might try and stop by.” (He never did.)
I remember stepping on the scale and feeling a high wash over me when I saw the number. It was lower than it had been in well over a year. I was shrinking and I felt like I was on top of the world.
Up to that point, my weight was just something that the nurse measured once a year at the pediatrician’s office and the number meant as much to me as the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since then, a quick glance at the scale had the power to determine my mood. If I liked the number, it meant all my hard work (e.g. the anxiety-provoking micromanagement of my food and exercise) was WORKING. I was thin enough, which translated into good enough. Basically, I was WINNING AT LIFE.
If I didn’t like the number, then obviously I was lazy and I deserved to have the bad day I was now doomed to experience. I would resolve to work harder, to summon the discipline I knew I possessed.
I haven’t weighed myself in almost a year.
My feelings about my weight are more neutral than they’ve been since 1996. (I still couldn’t tell you where the Dow Jones is.)
Here are some of the resources I’ve found incredibly helpful in shifting my mindset around body image.
She’s a “non-diet dietician” (which is totally a thing, I’ve discovered. There are tons of them on the interwebs, so if she doesn’t resonate with you, check out #nondietdietician and you’ll probably find someone who does). I love her blog posts and her “Ditch the Diet” Facebook Group.
I feel happy when her inspirational posts pop up in my Instagram feed. She reminds me that diet culture is everywhere, trying to take away my power, but I don’t need to let it.
Another non-diet dietician I love to follow on Instagram. She’s straightforward, funny, and Jewish.
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Trible and Elyse Resch
This is the bible of how to eat if you want to stop dieting and stop being at war with your body.
I love this book, written by two dieticians in the 90’s about the groundbreaking idea of letting your body, instead of a diet, tell you what to eat. It has lots of research on why diets suck, case studies, and practical tips. I admit, I read it a few years ago and thought, “Meh, that’s nice, but it’s not for me.” That’s not a knock on the book; I just wasn’t ready to change at that point.
Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David
Guess what? There’s nothing wrong with emotional eating. This book explains why, and a whole lot more. It’s a quick read.
Her tagline is “Be More, Not Less.” She’s all about helping women become strong through weight lifting and mindset shifts. I am currently using one of her weight lifting programs and I love it; well worth my $20/month. I love not having to think about what my workout is going to be AND I’m definitely getting stronger in the gym! (I don’t get anything in exchange for endorsing her.)
The Fuck It Diet
If Intuitive Eating and Amy Schumer had a baby, this would be it.
And… one resource from me to you, a habit I am adopting that I find hugely helpful in improving my body image. If you try it, let me know what you think! CLICK HERE
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