Sunday, November 16, 2014

"I feel guilty but I hate my body" article

Quite an interesting read, but it is about eating disorders, disordered behaviors, etc, so a bit triggering if you struggle with that.

The article addresses something I think about a lot - that feminists preach you are supposed to love your body no matter what, but this current culture makes it very hard to do that. That even staunch feminists can struggle to accept their bodies.

"“The current obsession with health, image and fitness is way out of kilter [with] self-care.” It raises the question: in our seemingly flaxseed and clean eating-obsessed Instagram culture, just how many women are hiding an eating disorder behind a healthy lifestyle obsession?"

And, being a part of this blog world, I always run into blatant examples of this. I try to stick to reading blogs by women who are great examples of actually focusing on health, but there is an inundation of disordered behavior on many blogs.

And because I know I have a history of disordered eating, I also try very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle without it itself becoming disordered. To find balance in body and mind. To practice what I preach!!

I do believe that part of loving yourself means that you must take care of your body, but it is easy to cross the line and become obsessed and then harmful. 

Again, I'm sharing this because it is better to be aware and self-aware in order to pursue a truly heathy (mind/spirit/body) life.

Namaste <3


  1. These types of articles, and blog posts dissecting the topic, would be a lot more meaningful if our society was not nearly 70% populated by obese and overweight (90% of those that way by choice) adults. The numbers of people (women) who take positive steps to properly nourish and exercise their bodies and make health a priority who "hate their bodies," I would venture, is fairly small. We are visual beings. We like what we like and shouting from the rooftops that we think the cellulite on the back of our thighs is ADORABLE is just as fruitless as trying to convince ourselves that we find the Elephant Man sexually attractive would be. Everyone will always find things they don't love about their own appearance, and, if they have half a brain, will use some version of The Serenity Prayer to deal with that. Face it, though, blogger: most women who say "I hate my body" are actually quite okay with their bodies, apparently, as few make any significant or lasting changes in their habits, preferring to wait for FDA approval on that next magic pill. Being aware of the caloric and nutritional value of the food one eats is not necessarily disordered eating. Throwing unlimited quantities and varieties of "food" down one's gullet in an effort to "enjoy" occasions, fit in, comfort oneself, etc. is disordered eating. And one can accept one's physical flaws without professing to "love" them; i.e., the mom accepts that pregnancy destroyed her abs; she doesn't have to pretend to "embrace" her stretch marks and loose skin; rather, she lives a full life in which that area of her body is a small bit of "meh" right up there with the fingerprints on the refrigerator and not being able to save as much for retirement as she knows she should.

    1. As someone who has been at a normal, and even lean, weight for years.. I have to say I think you're very off here. Being at a "healthy weight" in this society doesn't automatically protect you from the disordered ideas and misconceptions and behaviors that surround us. I think about what I eat and how much I exercise more now than when I was obese, it sometimes consumes me to a point that life is no longer fun... It is something I battle, a lot of people battle, in a pursuit of health that is NOT disordered.

    2. Also, just because a majority of the population is overweight does not mean we should ignore the problems that the rest of the population might be facing - read the article thoroughly for examples (eg. anorexics that cannot receive help because they are still at a normal weight). For me and others (not EVERYONE, of course, but that does not mean my experience is not still valid), I am not JUST aware of caloric values, my imperfections are not just a small bit of "meh" in my life. These are overwhelming, all-consuming thoughts that have taken me years to try and overcome (and I am succeeding in it now and that is why I share my story and my experiences).

    3. Maybe I wasn't clear.

      For the most part (other than being involved in an accident, or born with a physical disability), we create our own bodies.

      And I do not agree that the majority of women/people who live active, fit, health-focused lives "hate" their bodies. Yes, they may wish their biceps would develop more or be picky about a little cellulite, but they also thrill in the knowledge that they are strong, flexible, and doing their best to create health. They don't "hate" their bodies. They may not love every physical aspect of their appearance, but they practice self-love by eating for health, exercising for fitness, and treating their bodies like the miraculous machines they are.

      Conversely, a lot of women/people who treat their bodies like garbage dumps and then burst into tears in the fitting room when the size 16W jeans won't button DO hate their bodies...and they practice self-hate by practicing health-destroying habits like overeating and spending six hours at night on their couch with a laptop and a TV.

      The actresses/models who feel obligated, in interviews, to find fault with their appearance do so in a humblebrag way.

      Let's all grow up, take responsibility for our health, set high standards for how we take care of ourselves, and stop reading supermarket checkout magazines.

    4. I'm at work and can't seem to log in, but wanted to reply.

      I do hear your point, but I think you are missing mine. I do not think every woman who makes good health/fitness choices hates herself. I DO think that there is a percentage (and sadly, not a small percentage) of women who make these good choices and STILL struggle with body image, self love, whatever you want to call it.

      I am one of those women, I've struggled more in the past than now, but I still do. Lots of my "healthy" choices are still disordered (calorie counting obsession, restriction, over exercising, thinking about food 24/7... just as I thought about food when I was obese, I continued it in a different way).

      Just because there are fit women who love their bodies, despite flaws, does not mean there are not fit women who do not love their bodies, flaws or not. Your experience does not define mine. There are BOTH types of women/people in this world (and many more types who fall on a wide spectrum).

      I do not read supermarket checkout magazines, but I am IN this world, this society, this culture and I can't help but be affected by it. I am an anthropologist and have learned to look behind the veils and see that we are undeniably shaped by the society we live in. Even WHEN we know we are a part of a larger machine, it is very hard to change our mindsets.

      Whatever your thoughts or my thoughts are on the philosophy of all this, the fact remains this: I am fit and healthy. I struggle STILL with disordered eating and disordered thoughts. I do not always or even often love my body. I take care of it because I know it is right. Sometimes I take healthy too far. Obsession about food isn't good, no matter if the behaviors look outwardly healthy. No one in my life (husband excepted) knows how I struggle and the depression that it can cause because I look like the perfect picture of health to all my friends - I eat right, sleep well, exercise and am a healthy weight. My weight doesn't define me - not when I was obese, not now.

      I know others share my thoughts/feelings and even some experiences, that is why I wrote this post. To share, to discuss. But I never said all women hate their bodies - I am speaking to those who have struggled with it, no matter what their weight. I believe cultural norms are something that we don't question enough, and I just want to look deeper into it.

    5. A lot of what I read from the above comment is a little disturbing. I was a size 18 in January – and I didn’t LOVE my body but I certainly did not HATE it. And no I wasn’t “garbage dump” eating machine as a person above mentioned referring to size 16W. I actually thought I ate quite healthy compared to plenty of people I knew. When I was a size 18 I never stood in front of the mirror crying or judging for that matter – on the contrary I was quite happy with who I was. In January I decided to try Whole30 for 30 days, mostly to rid myself of headaches and see if I could stick to it for 30 days. I did – and since then switched to Paleo. I am now a size 12 and still a work in progress. Now that I am smaller though I see significantly more flaws in my appearance (explain that to me lol!). I have very few aches and pains, it’s much easier to get dressed and although mentally I know I look good – to me I see a person who doesn’t look all that hot. I think the point this blogger was/is making is that everyone’s experience is different and no one can universally say: “I don’t believe you hate your body” or better yet “you hate your body because you read magazines”. Come on now!

    6. Yeah, have to say I got a little rankled at that description - people of all sizes/shapes have the right to love their bodies!! (Though it's a shame many of different sizes/shapes DON'T)

  2. I've been reading your blog for a long time now and think you have come a long way with regard to your attitude to food and your body. I love that you focus a lot now on the good food you eat and you don't make very few negative comments. When anyone has been overweight and then becomes slim, it is inevitable that there will be some obsession - necessary I think to maintain a lower body weight in this food obsessed world

    I too try to avoid reading blogs that focus too much on obsessing about weight and diet. I'm much more about good foods and health now.

    1. Thank you - I have made a lot of great changes in the last few years and am so much happier for it! Still a struggle to stay on the right path and make the good changes, but worth it :)

  3. Did not read the article. I avoid that type of thing.

    But my personal feeling is whether on the overdoing it side or the undergoing it side, eating disordered behavior and thinking is two sides of the same coin. And I guess I think of it (both sides) as self sabotage.

    So I am looking, speaking for myself, for the daily habits that promote health with the lowest stress level possible. I am working on a life, for myself and my family, that is based in reality and is full of positive self help. A simple life. With simple habits that promote a very good balance between my inner and outer self. Part of that balance was getting my excess weight (which I thought of as a foreign object) off my body and cleaning up my habits to eliminate all my secondary health conditions. Part of that balance was learning and implementing priorities and boundaries (that was a big one and didn't really happen until I got the weight off and removed that protective layer of fat). Part of that balance was dealing with my anxiety so I would not ruminate and could sleep. All of those pieces were necessary for me.