Oh yeah, it’s about to get real in here. As most of you know, my job is working with people who want to end their struggles with food and body image so that they can have fuller, richer, happier lives. This is a journey that I’ve been on myself. I dieted for 24 years. I obsessed about food and weight. And I came out on the other end a completely changed person because of Health At Every Size ® principles.
But I think we need to let go of the idea that once you’ve learned to accept your body and eat intuitively that you never have little setbacks or moments where things aren’t so easy. Those moments of doubt or setbacks happen less and less over time, but they’re still part of the journey, even for people who have been practicing body acceptance and intuitive eating for years.
So, I’m about to share some truths with you that are not necessarily easy to share. My hope is that you’ll read these and will know that you’re not somehow failing at accepting your body or changing the way you eat just because you have moments (even long moments) where you struggle with these things.
Five Totally True Facts About Yours Truly:
1) I get self conscious. Most days, I feel good about my body, but I have my moments. Going on TV or talking in front of a big crowd or seeing a picture of myself that I really don’t like can trigger it.
The Good News: Nowadays, these moments last only a few minutes, instead of a few hours, days, weeks or years, like they did before.
2) I’m not always perfect with intuitive eating. Even though I’ve been practicing intuitive eating for years, I have my moments where I don’t feel like checking in. For example, I always want to have dessert when I watch Top Chef: Just Desserts. Even if I’m full, I start feeling really deprived if I don’t at least have a piece of fruit while watching this show. By doing this, I break two intuitive eating guidelines — stop eating when you’re full, and don’t eat while distracted.
The Good News: I eat intuitively nearly all the time, and when I don’t, I don’t beat up on myself. My practice of self acceptance to accept the fact that watching a show I like is more important to me than being 100% perfect with intuitive eating.
3) I have health issues. I have PCOS, as I’ve written about before, and a touch of fibromyalgia that comes and goes. My weight, however, has never affected these things. They never got better when I’ve been thinner.
The Good News: Because of body acceptance, I’m better able to accept myself and these health challenges. And because I’ve found HAES ®, I know I’m not weird for not finding a cure in weight loss.
4) I have perfectionistic tendencies. Like a lot of people who grew up “struggling with their weight,” I spent a lot of time believing that I had to be perfect in other ways to deflect attention from my imperfect body. I’ve had to unlearn the idea that it’s bad to be a beginner, to not be able to do something, or to not do it perfectly.
The Good News: I’m still sooooo much kinder to myself now, and it allows me to actually try new things even if I might not be good at them.
5) In my private life, I sometimes fall short of being a good advocate for HAES ® and body acceptance. I sometimes struggle to explain HAES ® and body acceptance to people in my life. I work a lot at setting loving boundaries and working to have them see why I do what I do, but it’s not always easy, and I sometimes feel like I haven’t’ done as good a job as I would like.
The Good News: It gets easier all the time, and I’ve come to realize that it’s just another skill that takes time to master.
This list could be much longer, but I’m sharing these with you to show you that it’s not easy being a non-dieting, self-loving fatty in this world, and even someone like me, who’s been working at it for years AND supporting others through it has her moments. It’s not about being perfect, and it’s rarely a straight and direct route from BodyHatredVille to BodyAcceptanceLand. Your train may get derailed. Your GPS might fail you. And even once you get there, you may take a trip or two back, particularly if some well-meaning friend or relative or doctor tells you that BodyHatredVille changed its name to PositiveLifestyleVille and has a water park now. You haven’t blown it all just because you’re struggling. That’s just some diet mentality bullshit getting in your way.
In my group program, the Empress Club, I encourage the Empresses to allows themselves to be real with their fellow Empresses. We make a lot of space to share our good and our struggles, big and small, and to let that vulnerability with one another be a healing force. So let’s share some of our real struggles with body acceptance and intuitive eating in the comments section below.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!