Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting Uncomfortable

My honest opinion- no one enjoys feeling uncomfortable.  Being uncomfortable is something that most avoid at all costs. Confronting someone about a problem at work? Nah, I can just deal with it. Running outside when it is cold and snowy? Treadmill it is. Pants not your thing? Thank heavens for leggings.

The thing about getting uncomfortable is that it is hard. It brings to light the things you may have avoided or hidden from the world. Not because your ashamed or embarrassed but just because talking about it makes you a bit uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable is where change happens. That's the great thing about getting uncomfortable.

I have to force myself to get uncomfortable. To be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Today I want to talk about something that makes most (including me) uncomfortable. Eating disorders (ED) and body image. For me, this is a personal issue as I have struggled with an eating disorder since my teens. Looking at me you would have never known. That is the thing about ED it can come in all shapes and sizes, it does not fit into one mold and it not something many discuss. It is not something to be ashamed of or keep quiet. 

Nearly 20 million women will suffer from an eating disorder at one point in their lives. Eating disorders are a silent disease that a lot of the times start with an unhealthy body image and body dissatisfaction.  I eventually want to share more about my struggles and recovery. For now I am sharing an article in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness week. This article speaks eloquently about the body image struggle many have when battling ED. 

By: Geneen Roth Source: NEDA

For many years, I was convinced that by changing my body, I would change my life. Because I was certain that my suffering was due to my size, I believed that when the weight disappeared, it would take old wounds, hurts, and rejections with it. I thought that changing the shape on the outside would alter the feelings on the inside. Silly me.

Consider a milk carton. No matter what you do to change its shape -- switch the spout to the other side, round the corners, cut off the top -- you know that what's inside is milk. Not apple juice, not vegetable soup, but milk. But somehow we don't know that changing how we look on the outside -- shedding pounds or cinching in our waists a few inches -- doesn't change what we are, either.

We mistakenly believe that altering our bodies will fix everything. That's because we think that body size is the cause and, therefore, the healer of all wounds. Perhaps the worst part is believing that being thin equals being loved, being special, being cherished. We couldn't be more wrong.

Think of the women who live in Samoa. Legend has it that a woman there is not considered attractive unless she weighs more than 200 pounds. Size is relative: Samoans might equate being fat with being cherished, and being thin with being miserable. (Forget about booking a one-way trip to Samoa. It's too expensive.) The truth is that beauty standards vary from culture to culture, but no matter where you live or how big your body is, some things remain the same. We still have to find a way to live comfortably inside our bodies and make friends with and cherish ourselves.

A woman once came to my class after she'd lost 100 pounds on a fast and then gained back 50. "They lied to me," she said. "They said my life would be great when I got thin. That I would be happy. That I would love myself and be loved. But that's not what happened. Sure, I liked being thin. I liked wearing clothes in smaller sizes. I liked that my body felt lighter. But I still felt unworthy, unlovable, damaged. I was so disappointed and felt so betrayed by everyone-- that I started to eat again."

This lack of finality--the fact that our relationship with food and body size is an ongoing process, not an end point--is the most elusive insight to sustain. Even people who've lost weight 5, 10, or 20 times and always gained it back continue to believe that next time, it will be different. Next time, they will keep it off. Next time, being thinner will finally fulfill its alluring promise of everlasting happiness, joy, self-worth, and, of course, love.

But if it's happiness you want, why not put your energy and attention there rather than on the size of your body? Why not look inside? Somewhere in there are the clues to what would make you happy right now.

I often get letters from people who say that when they start my program of intuitive eating and pay attention to their inner lives, they quickly discover that losing weight is not their first priority. It takes them by surprise because they've focused their entire lives on becoming thinner. But when they begin to take even small amounts of time for themselves, when they allow themselves to rest or do nothing for 5 minutes a day, they realize that it's what they wanted most of all. They want permission to slow down and to live like they are special, valued, and belong here. This is what they thought being thin would give them; now they realize that it is something that they need to give to themselves.

The truth is that you deserve to be cherished and should cherish yourself no matter how much you weigh or how you look.

Being thinner will never do what you think it's going to do. But you can have whatever you believe that being thinner will give you, and you can have it now. The only way to do it?  By starting to live as though you love yourself. By making a commitment to be kind to yourself and by not letting anything stand in your way. By setting aside time for yourself daily. By being vigilant about acting on your own behalf. By beginning today.

For more information, help or support visit NEDA's website.
If anyone wants to talk more please don't hesitate to e-mail me.



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  2. Those statistics are just so sad. Especially about the 1st-3rd graders. To be so aware of fat or thin at that age is just horrible. I don't even think things like that registered with me when I was that young.

    I do think it's awesome that you're sharing this! I know it must have been really hard, but I'm sure this is going to help someone.

  3. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I just bought the book this week on Intuitive Eating. Thank you for getting uncomfortable and sharing this!

  4. This is so true. It's easy to get trapped in thinking that changing one thing will make every aspect of your life better. Great article.

  5. I am so proud of you for sharing this! I definitely have been worried about you, as you know. Glad you are taking steps to recovery and I hope you will keep me posted! Love you girly!


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