I bought this book on impulse after reading a comment on one of Sal’s posts on Already Pretty. You do read this, right? I can’t remember the post or the comment but one reader said that the book was life-changing.
Here is Wikipedia’s info on HAES:
How much do I love that it is written by a woman with the last name Bacon… I digress. I haven’t finished the book yet but my understanding so far is that we (more so as North Americans) either diet restrictively (and feeling deprived) or eat as a free-for-all (and feeling guilty). Either way we are not enjoying our food and eating experience. And we are getting fatter. Young children push their plate away when they are full. Even if there is food on it.
With exercise, we are working out as punishment for eating the chocolate cake or because we feel we “have to”. We aren’t being active because we enjoy it. Young children move because they are playing. We spend hours on a treadmill and wonder why we don’t enjoy exercise.
I love this idea. I am one who is overweight but not dangerously obese. My BMI tells me that I should lose at least 50 lbs. Could I do it? Maybe. Will I have to sacrifice enjoyment and will I gain the weight back? Very likely. So I can struggle to lose weight (feeling disappointed if/when I fail), or I can focus on eating to fuel my body and to celebrate life and, move in ways that bring me joy and get me a good night’s sleep. History tells me that I will likely weight the same (or more) in 10 years whatever path I chose. The difference is that one is filled with self-loathing and shame and the other with joy and contentment.
I ran regularly for about a year, 6 or so years ago. I loved it. I ran a few road races and met some interesting people because I was doing something new. I would come home from work and be DISAPPOINTED if my schedule didn’t allow me to run. Crazy, I know?! I eventually quit because I became dissatisfied with the numbers. Weight loss and race finishes. So stupid! I let the “you aren’t losing that much weight after all that work” attitude get to me. A brand new runner 10 years younger than me “beat” me in a 10K road race. I gave up that joy because I didn’t think I was doing it well enough. If a friend had told me that same thing about herself, I would have told her that she was happy running and she looked great because she was sleeping well and feeling vibrant. I didn’t speak the same way to myself. I called myself a “fat runner”. !?!
My commitment to myself now is to learn to eat to fuel my body and to celebrate. My promise to my body now is to move it in ways that bring me joy and allow me to experience things. Yes, I will eat pasta that my husband lovingly prepared with his homemade tomato sauce. Yes, I will put on records at home and dance all by myself. I WILL NOT PUNISH MYSELF WITH FOOD THAT I HATE AND EXERCISE THAT BORES ME BECAUSE I AM “SUPPOSED TO”.
I recently told a male coworker that I didn’t think that I would be more valuable as a person if I lost 20 lbs. I told him that I just didn’t believe that I would be worth more as an employee, wife, friend or daughter if I was a few lbs lighter. He said it was so refreshing to hear that from a woman. Sometimes (all the time?) women feel that we can’t be content with our weight and looks. I’m not saying that we don’t know that we have a thick waist or large thighs. (I also know that I am impatient and talk too much. We are more than just our bodies.) We just shouldn’t let our weight, big nose, frizzy hair invalidate us as people. Those that lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombings are not less valuable as people because they aren’t (what society deems) the ideal shape anymore. We as women over the BMI factor for our height are not less valuable. It’s time to treat ourselves with the love and care that we give the valuable things in their lives. The family and friends of those injured in Boston are happy their loved ones survived. No one is counting limbs. Let’s stop counting numbers, on a scale or treadmill, and making them determine our worth or the joy we allow ourselves to experience in life.
To try my best to keep this related to sewing, as this is a sewing blog, I will say that sewing for my true body has made me appreciate it more and, equally, frustrate me more. I wish I could cut a pattern straight out and have it fit. But it just doesn’t work that way. On the other hand, this is my body. I love my shapely legs and tall frame. I wish I had a classic hourglass shape. I also wish my walk to and from work were both downhill. That’s the way it is and we just work with it. My uphill walk home gets my heart pumping. My thick waist lets me learn about pattern grading. Silver lining? Pollyanna? No, just another (better?) perspective.(See my other rant about body image HERE.)
Thank your legs for carrying you around today. Appreciate your arms since they let you hug your kids. Take time to feel your heart beating, bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. It’s all you and it’s wonderful!
What I’m listening to: Whatever It Is by Ben Lee