It is Eating Disorders Awareness week and a chance to examine our beliefs about our bodies. To get started read Megan Bruneau’s honest blog post on a yoga class experience of making friends with her body just the way it is. Below the article is a video from the National Eating Disorders Centre that challenges our myths.
What helps you to feel comfortable in your own skin and accept yourself just the way you are? How would you help yourself or a friend if you thought that their body-shaming or eating preoccupations were becoming worrying?
START ACCEPTING YOUR BODY TODAY
I crisply remember the day I realized I could choose to stop hating my body.
I was in a yoga class, which is usually an escape from the chitter-chatter in my brain, but this time was different. For those of you who’ve practiced different styles at different studios, you’ll know that some have mirrors and some don’t. I get it, it’s for the alignment, yada yada, but it can sure add an extra element of challenge to that whole “be non-judgmental” thing.
On this particular hot yoga day, I saw my makeup-free, minimally-clothed reflection, and I was repulsed. I spat insults at myself, cursed with disgust at the image I perceived. I wanted to get out of my body. I wanted to be anyone else in the room but me, doing anything else but inhabiting my limbs. But, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t change the reflection in front of me. I couldn’t get out of my body. I couldn’t become the willowy, top-knotted beauty next to me. I couldn’t make myself invisible.
But the great/awful thing about being in the setting I was in was that I couldn’t leave without drawing attention to myself, and knew I would beat myself up for it if I did. I closed my eyes for a second, which was a bit of a reprieve, but that wasn’t practical for dancer’s pose. So, I thought about what I could do to manage this feeling of disgust, given that I couldn’t walk away from it. I literally had to face it, head-on, and I had a couple options: I could continue hating on myself, rejecting and shaming my current reflection with the intention that it would somehow change me into what I expected myself to be (it hadn’t worked so far); or, I could accept myself as I was that day–perhaps not at my best (we wouldn’t have a “best” without everything else in between), with all my uncomfortable feelings, with all my inward and outward imperfections, and let myself know that it’s okay to be me.
A favorite quote of mine is by Adyashanti: “Just for a moment, let yourself be here. Let yourself stop becoming more, better, or different. You are not a walking mistake. You are not a problem to be solved.” Isn’t it relieving to allow yourself to exist without judgment for a minute?
This doesn’t mean you can’t desire to change your body moving forward, or that you have to love it or be happy with it. Rather, it means that you have a choice of rejecting or accepting the current state that you’re in, and one is much less painful than the other.
Remember, you do have a choice. You can either reject yourself and beat yourself up, or you can acknowledge that this is where you are today and make space for future change. I’m guessing rejecting yourself thus far hasn’t transformed your reflection into the one you demand of yourself. So ask yourself which way serves you better, and, as Pema Chodron says, “start where you are.”
Megan Bruneau is a BCACC Registered Clinical Counsellor in Vancouver, B.C. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University, supplemented by a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of British Columbia. As a former personal trainer and yoga and nutrition advisor, Megan combines her personal and professional knowledge and experience in the health and wellness industries to bring you strategies for creating a more constructive and fulfilling way of life.
Website: One Shrink’s Perspective
Here is a video on the myth’s around eating disorders and the national toll free number if you want help or info:
p.s. one of the myths is that its not just females dealing with disordered eating!
1-866-633-4220 http://nedic.ca/ National Eating Disorder Centre
“Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness.. . . . One of the most deadly symptoms of eating disorders is SILENCE. Talking saves lives.”