Sometimes I search the hashtags on instagram for eating disorders. It’s scary just how many people, from all walks of life and ages, find themselves living through such nightmarish and debilitating challenges with food and body image.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a movement that’s rapidly gaining momentum for body positivity, loving your body, embracing your body and not bowing to socially dictated concepts of beauty. Thank goodness for this side of the coin. These women are truly inspirational and a great source of positivity, reassurance and acceptance. @bodyposipanda is one of my favourites, she is just the coolest!
But, I literally have outer body experiences when I switch between these two situations. Whilst the posts shared by those brave enough to speak about their challenges in the midst of an eating disorder break my heart, and those shared by body positive advocates restore my faith, I can’t say that I feel completely comforted by the body positive messaging.
I realize that’s not going to be a popular opinion on first glance. But here’s why.
Before I explain, let me say for the record that I am an advocate for loving your body, just the way it is. This is medicine, and much needed in todays obsession with body perfection. There is no monopoly on beauty, nor is beauty bound by limitation, weight or dimension, on any level.
However, to say that you accept and love your body is one thing, but then what? How do we put that ‘love’ into action? Does loving your body and rebelling against the obsession with thinness mean that there is no room in the conversation for consciously choosing how to feed your body in a loving way? So much of this movement is focused on the statement of ‘I love my body’, but how does that manifest into how we treat our body, with food and exercise specifically?
This is a topic close to my heart as I made the journey from one extreme to the other, and then found my way back to my Self. In my book, Your BeUtiful Body, I help to bridge this gap, introducing an approach to nutrition and eating that is full of LOVE, inspired by body wisdom, and with the intention to nourish your LIGHT.
Being conscious of your diet does not automatically mean that you don’t love or accept your body, or that you’re trying to change it. In my experience, conscious choices around food can be either completely devoid of love and restrictive, as in typical diet mentality and disordered eating, or love filled when approached with a clear intention to nourish.
The food you choose to eat can be either a tool for self-love or self-harm. What makes the difference is your awareness and intention.
Unfortunately, we’ve been so harmed by a dieting epidemic, and all the fear and judgement left in its wake, that ‘body positivity’ and ‘self love through food’ don’t seem to be compatible in the same sentence.
But I believe this is where an evolution in our relationship with our body and food can really be achieved in a way that would empower women and nourish the divine feminine in each of us.
Embracing and loving your body, just as it is, whilst also loving and appreciating your body in a way that inspires you to want to nourish it with conscious choices. Understanding that the food you choose to feed your body is a direct reflection of how much you are actively loving your body.
It feels to me that at one end of the spectrum there is an obvious lack of self-love, and at the other a more subtle lack of self-love as we are in the midst of recovering ourselves from a damaging and disempowering rhetoric of ‘I must be skinny to be worthy, desirable and beautiful’.
Yet, in the middle of our rebellion and recovery from harmful dieting is an opportunity to reclaim, not just our BeUtiful body, but our divine feminine power as we re-Member not just how to love, but how to RECEIVE love and nourishment, from our Self and from Mother Nature, through food.
This is my intention for all of us. To be receptive to our own love and care, allowing our powerful LIGHT to shine from withIN.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Martin Luther King Jr.