I originally wrote this video blog for Recovery Warriors which is a phenomenal community and resource for anyone looking for additional support in their eating disorder recovery. But you don't have to have
an eating disorder to have crappy body image. So if you'd like to feel better about your body, this one's for you.
Key Point: You cannot talk your way to better body image. If you treat yourself with hate you will continue to feel hate towards your body. In this
video blog I share with you the why and the how to improve your body image through actionable steps.
After you view this video blog, I hope you will share what you plan to start doing that feels good to your body. What action step or steps will
you start making today?
Photo Credit: I discovered this photo from my friend and colleague Leslie Schilling's facebook post. Check out her blog-
you'll love her sensible and sassy nutrition expertise.
This time of year is all about giving. So I thought I’d be a little subversive and talk about taking. This post is all about healthy selfishness.
What is healthy selfishness you ask? Well, it’s a term I made up. And I think the term is both awesome and useful. Yes, we have all heard
the whole airline analogy- in case of an emergency you have to put your oxygen mask on before your child’s. But it’s so much more than that!
Health selfishness is about becoming clear on what you need, owning what you need whenever possible, and not apologizing for it. In essence,
it’s about becoming attuned to your own sense of what is right for you. And the really amazing thing is that when you are attuned and responsive to your own needs, your capacity to give to others grows.
It may be helpful for us to break this down into categories. And when you are a tad OCD like me, breaking things down into categories always feels
like the right thing to do! Let’s think about your wellness in three areas: physical, mental, emotional. You can imagine them like a Venn diagram
because they are separate but have areas of overlap.
In order for you to become more clear about ways you need a little more healthy selfishness in your life, consider answering the following
1. When it comes to my physical, mental, or emotional health what do I need more/less of?
2. What would it require for me to get more/less of that thing?
3. Am I willing to take what it requires?
4. If I have trouble justifying it for myself, would I think it seemed reasonable for someone else?
I’ll share with you one example but this type of “taking stock” can work in any area of your life. I’ll stick with food and eating since that’s
what I know best!
1. I need to take 20 min and eat a balanced lunch during the day.
2. When I’m swamped at work, it may require keeping a co-worker waiting. At home, it may require me taking a break from paying attention to my
3. Hmm, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. If I stop and eat I may feel like I’m losing time but there is a chance that having brain fuel will actually
allow me to be more productive at work and may also prevent the frenetic snacking that happens in the late afternoon. I’ll try it out once this
week so I can better assess the pros and cons of taking more time for myself.
4. Yes, I think it would be reasonable for pretty much anyone to stop for 20 min during the day and eat.
Happy Holidays and cheers to more healthy selfishness in each of your lives.
**Note if you are reading this and currently suffering with an eating disorder, your capacity to sense your own needs may be a very difficult task.
In fact, the very act of recovering from an eating disorder is learning of how to listen and effectively respond to your inner needs and requires
the support and expertise of a treatment team. If you are a research nerd like me, you may be interested in checking out this article entitled
“Body self: development, psychopathologies, and psychoanalytic significance.”
Body Positive. It seems to be a term that’s getting a little more press these days. As a self-described “body positive dietitian” you’d think I’d be
thrilled! Truthfully, I’m conflicted. I’m conflicted because “body positive” began as a term used to promote body inclusivity, meaning all bodies
(fat, thin, short, tall, able-bodied or not) deserve respect AND don’t need changing. Yup, body positive means I’m going to take good care of my
body just as it is today and love it fiercely, without any agenda of making it look different.
And now, “body positive” has been swallowed whole, contorted, and used by every weight loss agenda out there. Just as I’ve seen Special K try to trick
you into the idea that they want you to love your body as it is (nope they want you to eat it twice a day as part of some stupid diet scheme so their
stock prices soar, hate to break it to you, they don’t actually care about your health and well-being), dietitians are hashtagging their instagram
posts with #bodypositive #weightloss.
Let me say it loud and clear. NO NO NO NO. Body positive is not loving yourself thin. That is a big load of BS which I refuse to eat for breakfast or let
slide in my Instagram feed without saying anything.
To me, Body Positive means I make choices that serve my overall health and well-being from the inside, not the outside. Body Positive doesn’t worry whether
improved self-care results in weight loss because every body is different. Sometimes improved self-care leads to body changes and sometimes it doesn’t.
Body Positive is about being your own unique self, not making changes to make yourself look like every other idealized image we’re forced to contend
with. Body Positive is expansive and inclusive, not reductionist or “better than.” Body Positive is an experience, not a number.
So the next time you wonder whether or not Body Positive and a weight loss agenda can co-exist, you can hear me say “No.” Body Positive is inherently weight
neutral. Those of us in the Body Positive movement have so much more on our minds than the number on the scale.
Trying to lose weight (or at least talking about trying to lose weight) is a popular thing to do. It's culturally acceptable and even socially obligatory
to be dissatisfied with the size and shape or your body. One client recently said to me "I feel like a freak because I'm the only grad student
NOT on a diet." Say WHAT!?!
On the daily, you'll see diets being advertised and sold with a vengeance. If you have been reading my blog and don't already believe me when I
say diets don't work, check out this stellar postby rock star dietitian Evelyn Tribole. She nails it with research and practical advice.
So you may be asking, what does work? It's not sexy, but slow/sustainable changes you can manage over a lifetime does work. In fact, my
brother said it best as we were enjoying some cinnamon rolls over the holidays. "So Marci, what you are talking about on your blog is eating one of these
cinnamon rolls, rather than skipping it or eating three?" You've got it!
So here are some more specific strategies to get you started:
1.) Start listening to your body. You can use this scale as
a guide. Notice how often you are in the white zone. Strive to steer clear of that zone as often as possible.
2.) Prioritize your health by committing to at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Learn more about how sleep affects your weight here.
3.) Move in ways you genuinely enjoy and NEVER with the intention of providing pain or punishment. (Here's my article about falling in like with exercise)
So dare to be different by letting go of body and weight obsessions. Dare to be different by taking care of yourself, trusting that as you do so,
a healthy body will naturally follow. Dare to be different...and you just may find a much happier and healthier you.
Many of you will identify with some of what Amy has to share about her journey to making peace with food and her body. I hope you'll enjoy reading it. I know I did!
I'm a pretty impatient person. I don't really understand people who enjoy the journey... I just want to get to the destination. I just want to be THERE ... that illusive place where satisfaction and contentment live. I've learned that is part of my nature and I'm best served to learn how to work within it and manage it, and stop fighting it.
When I started working with Sarah @ MarciRD, I had that same mindset. I wanted my struggle with food to end – like after a visit or two. :) I wanted to
be fixed, healed, whatever – I just wanted to be done with 30 years of battling with food. Imagine my surprise when 2 years later, I am still walking through that door to a neat little office in Cambridge to talk with Sarah.
My first ever visit I was introduced to Intuitive Eating and what it meant to let go of the diet mentality. Of what it meant to give myself permission
to eat anything I wanted (at this point I felt scared to death and giddy at the same time!). What do you mean I can eat what I want? What kind of diet
it this? Where are the rules, the restrictions? Oh so thankfully, they are out the door with IE. I have found peace with marshmallow fluff. Oreos no
longer hold power over me!! I learned to sit, eat, and enjoy food. To really taste food – and use all my senses at a meal. To slow down. And to listen
to my body, and trust that it would tell me when I was full. All of this is the complete opposite of what the diet industry tells us – that we need
"them", their plan, and their regiment and without it we'll never do it, or we'll fail. It's a lie! There is piece inside of us that knows what we
need. We just have to be quiet and listen for that voice to come out! And really, we have to be willing to take the journey ... ugh. And do the work.
I have shed a lot of tears in Sarah's office, doing the work. I have laughed, gotten frustrated with myself, fallen back into old habits, been angry with
myself and so much more, more times that I can count. Eventually, I listened. I learned. I changed the way I talked to myself. I started paying attention
to how different foods made me feel after I ate them. I dug in and figured out why I had struggled for so many years in the yo-yo diet world ... why
I binged on certain foods. I forgave the little girl who started sneaking food when she was only 10, and the mom who put her on a diet at that same
age. It makes a lot more sense now. I started living true to my nature and honoring the woman I am today. I began being grateful for my fat! Imagine?
Because for all the things I went through as a little girl into my teen years, all I got was fat... and it could have been so much worse. I stopped
fighting against my fat and started being grateful for all that I am and all I have learned along the way. Aye yiyi ... I started enjoying the journey.
I want to leave you with a paragraph from one of my favorite books, Imagine Heaven by John Burke. What if you saw yourself in a way that was loving, full
of grace and full of forgiveness?
"Knowing how God sees you, sets you free to accomplish the things that God created you to accomplish. It sets you free to use your unique gifts, time and resources to make an impact that lasts for eternity – not to prove that you're worth something, but because you're worth EVERYTHING to God. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this, it is a gift from God... For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10".