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Archive for September, 2011

The majority of my experience with negative body-image, be it my own body-image challenges or talking to others who have problems with their body-image, relate to fear of being or becoming fat. While I understand that feelings about one’s weight/size is of course only one topic within the subject of body-image, it is a topic I am passionate about and plan to explore in more detail over the next few blog entries. (But please know that in the future I will also be exploring other body-image topics that are not related to feelings about weight or size).

One of the bloggers I follow here at wordpress, Raegen at danceswithfat, wrote an amazing post about how fat and the fear of it affect most people in our culture today regardless of whether they are actually fat.

A huge, grateful THANK YOU to Raegen for so clearly summing up the thoughts that have been swimming around in my head. At this moment in time I am fat, but weight/size/fear of fat isn’t an issue that only affects the body-images of fat women. My female friends are all a variety of different sizes, all thinner than me, and 95% of them either:  hate their bodies in some way, are trying to lose weight and/or are terrified of becoming fat. I’ve also been in a position of losing a signficant amount of weight, keeping it off for almost 5 years, all the while fearing regaining the weight and becoming fat again. I know me and my group of friends does not a sample size make, but I challenge you to look around your own circle of friends and see if you don’t  notice similarities yourself.

I will be back on Wednesday to talk more about weight stigma as part of the weight stigma blog carnival. I have lots more to say on this topic and look forward to engaging in honest discussion with others who also care about this issue.

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I’ve been thinking a lot this week about health and self-care as it relates to body image. What is health, at the most basic level?

It’s all to0 easy when you hear the word “health” to lock onto certain images in your minds eye–  a lean, muscular person in spandex after a run or weight lifting session; a vegetarian living in the mountains or by the ocean who meditates 3-5 times per day; exercising for an hour daily and following a specific diet etc.

For me, health is doing the best I can with the circumstances I have at any given moment to take care of and honor my body.

This week it has meant focusing more on sleep.

Although I’m not a teacher, my job follows the rythyms of the school year. The summer is a time of peace, ease and relaxation for me. Self-care and balance are often as natural as breathing for me in the summertime. Yet as the nights grow longer and the temperatures drop in the fall I have to make self-care a conscious priority as my stress level and to-do list increases.

In the past I would just push through the stress and exhaustion with the aid of caffene and  weekend sleep binges. This year I am attempting for more balance. A small cup of coffee in the morning, in bed at a reasonable hour most weeknights and up for more of the day on weekends so that jumping back into Monday morning isn’t such a challenge. I am at the very beginning right now, so only time will tell how well this works, but in the short term it has been helpful to pay deliberate attention to how much sleep I’m getting and how my body responds to different amounts of sleep.

Food for thought — What is one aspect of self-care you can focus on this week? How do you feel it will affect your health? Your body image?

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I recieved a wonderful comment the other day from a reader named Kay on my What Is the Body Image Blog? page. 

“no matter what a woman looks like, if she is happy on the inside then it will show through to the outside”

My heart shouted an excited YES! when I read that comment. Too often we are told that how we look on the outside will dictate how we feel on the inside.

 

However, in the reality of our lives, this isn’t necessarily true. Most of us know from expereince that it’s possible to look externally beautiful and still not feel happy on the inside. Also, many of us have experienced moments of being so internally happy that we seem to light up from inside. In those moments, how we feel shows through to the world more clearly than how we look. Sadness can be hidden, but genuine happiness cannot be hidden or faked.

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