Did you know that if a person is overweight or even obese, it doesn’t automatically make him or her unhealthy? I’ve been reading a great blog lately: Ragen Chastain, who strives to stamp out discrimination, shaming, and stigmatizing based on what people weigh, speaking with wisdom and clarity in step with the Healthy at Every Size Community, “...based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body, (HAES) supports people in adopting habits for the sake of health and well-being" (rather than weight control).
Speaking of unhealthy—as an impressionable teen, driven to be uber-thin by media images and pressures from my dance teachers, I fell victim to anorexia. Fortunately, I recovered from that insanity by my mid-twenties, but not from the obsession with my weight—I dieted on and off, down 30 lbs. then up 35 lbs, for 30 years, until 2 years ago...
After reading Hungry by Crystal Renn, Unbearable Lightness by Portia DeRossi, Woman Afraid to Eat by Francis Berg, and the best book of all time on the subject of why diets don’t work, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family by Ellen Satter; I heard a new and consistent message—“Try listening to your body for a change.” With fear and trepidation, along with a hint of naughtiness, I threw away my forbidden food list and my bathroom scale. Gradually, I learned to read my body’s signals—when it was hungry, when it was satisfied. The first 6 months I got a little bigger. My clothes got a little tighter. I hung in there. Then, almost miraculously, over the next 6 months, my appetite moderated and I got a little smaller. My clothes got a little looser. Had I at last found my body’s “natural weight?”
It seems so, because I'm still the same size 2 years later. I never weigh myself. My body can be trusted to be the weight that it needs to be and my appetite continues to faithfully guide me about what, when, and how much to eat. I walk or ride my bike most days. I do a little yoga for flexibility and isometrics for strength. Sure, I’m fatter than the “ideal” but my health and fitness is great for a 57-year-old gal.
I’ve done it before, and I could do it again. Diet, that is. Except I won’t. I’d be miserable and cranky. I’d have trouble sleeping. I’d probably go back to having food nightmares... waking up at 2 a.m., starving, dreaming of hot fudge sundaes and French fries.
Nope. 2 years ago I quit dieting. And I’m not about to go back.
But if I get tempted—longing for that long-lost thin body that only semi-starvation can provide—I’ll reread all those sticky-note marked pages in Ellyn's Secrets and I’ll check Regan’s blog. What a great champion for the fat and fit!
Here’s an article from Women’s Health, "Can you be Healthy at Any Size?", that states both sides of the issue.
This post is one of a series entitled: "Let's Eat: Befriend you Body and Your Food", posts based on my life as a disordered eater and how I finally found order—got off compulsive dieting, got on normal eating, and reached a place of peace with my body and its natural weight—which is not exactly not thin, not exactly fat—but exactly right—for me.
-Enjoy your food, celebrate your body, and be healthy and happy no matter your size.
For a jolly-good cookbook, chock-full of tasty, wholesome, real-food recipes click here to order your copy of "Pea Soup: Recipes for Body, Mind, and Spirit from a 'Kitchen Table Gourmet,'" by Beth Spencer.