Thursday, December 30, 2010

Women and Body Image

         I write a lot about cooking, canning, baking, and - of course - eating.  As we rapidly approach the end of the year, many folks are thinking about going on a..............  I've been on so many diets I couldn't possible list them if my life depended on it.  Sigh.  And, so...

It is often difficult to deal with aging, says the white-haired lady
 This morning I was reading online about women and their body image;  I wanted to print out the article and refer to parts of it on this blog, but I couldn't find it again... Have y'all ever had that happen?  You read something really meaningful and then can't find it when you look for it later...
     Well, anyway, that particular site was about various eating disorders and about how women are terribly hard on themselves about their body images.   Even slender women, when asked, say they would like to lose about ten pounds.  Of course, as we all know, there are women and girls who suffer from anorexia... this is an extremely complicated set of problems... distorted body image,  poor self-esteem, psychological problems... Also, according to this site, the media and the existence of pornography are fueling womens' feeling of inadequacy as to their appearance.   I will say a healthy "Amen!" to that! 

Moshe and me a few months ago
      I took a "Body Image Quiz" on that internet site.  There were ten questions, and if you answer three or more with a "Yes", you have body image problems.  Well, duh,  I answered "Yes" to eight or nine of them!  (No, I am NOT surprised!)
     There was a time, before my disability, when I was fairly athletic... very fit! Then, came the illness, the immobility, the pain, the medications with their side-effects.   And, of course, I'm getting older.  All of this has resulted in the full-bodied woman rather than the thin one.  Sigh. I wish I didn't care so much about it.  I wish I didn't worry about it.  I wish I didn't eat cake and ice cream out of frustration about it.  And, I  KNOW  that there are millions of other women out there who feel exactly the way I do.
     What to do? What to do?  The way I am approaching  this problem is  as follows:
     #1: I am trying to be honest, but kind, with myself.  Chances are I will never again be a size 6 - or anywhere near it, unless I am terribly - maybe terminally - ill.  Now, exactly how does that make me less of a person than fifteen years ago?
     #2:  I have started taking pictures of myself every day.  Maybe if I see how I actually look, I can "grin and bear it"???  I don't know, but, I think it is healthier than avoiding the camera the way I tend to.
     #3: Write about it.  Well, yes, that's what I'm doing right now.  There is something very healing about putting one's thoughts, fears, vulnerabilities out there.  Hey! After you've come out with it, there's no turning back.

animals love me, fat or not...
     That's about all I've come up with so far.  I imagine I will touch on this subject again soon.  If you are, like so many people, thinking about dieting for the new year, consider this:  Why not, rather than dieting, try being really nice to yourself.  Think about all the people you've ever known and respected... people who have made a difference in your life for various reasons.  Did they have physical perfection?  If so, would you have liked them anyhow?  If not, what was it that you liked about them?  Most likely, most of  the best folks you've ever met are far from perfect physically.   So, treat yourself with the same respect you would treat them.
     Lastly, if someone in your life thinks you are undesirable because of your weight, they are the one with the problem - not you!

            Shalom Y'all - Twyla

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