Let me start out my body image post with a picture of food because I feel it’s appropriate. If you have not tried this you have not lived. I spread some on bread and paninied (it’s a verb, I just made it up) it and had it with some fruit salad at my group yesterday. And honestly, it was more like a dessert than a sandwich. But who’s to say you can’t have that for lunch every now and then?
We always begin meals with what we call centering, just to clear our minds and help us be more present in the moment to really experience the meal. I am currently reading a book called Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David, and I found reflecting on this quote during our centering really helpful.
“In changing the way we eat, we change the way we live. By focusing attention while eating, we learn to focus attention in any situation. By enjoying food, we begin to enjoy nourishment at all its forms. By loosening dietary restrictions, we learn to open up to life. By accepting our body as it is, we learn to love ourselves for who we are. And by eating with dignity, we learn to live with dignity.” – Marc David
After lunch we began our group by talking about sex for an hour and a half. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into that (although I bet quite a few people would keep right on reading if I did…) After that interesting conversation, we shifted focus to body image. I don’t really like the term body image, because it only encompasses one aspect of an issue I think is much more than visual, so I am going to use the term body relationship instead.
You don’t have to have an eating disorder (or even be female for that matter) to struggle to a degree with your body relationship. I found it really helpful to dive into the issue and see where maybe I can improve, and I want to share that with you.
Like I mentioned earlier, body image isn’t the only aspect of a body relationship. It’s probably the one that receives the most focus which in my opinion, isn’t necessarily helpful. Learning to appreciate my body for different things other than how it looks has really helped me shift. I thought listing the different aspects of a body relationship could help me describe those aspects to you.
- Function- My body is awesome because my heart beats, my lungs exchange oxygen, I can walk, talk, run, play, have a baby, etc.
- Expression- Basically describes who I am and how I give myself to the world. I can choose to invest time in meaningful things, do arts and crafts, and be authentically me through my body. I can dance and sing and express myself in a variety of other ways that make me unique.
- Spirituality- Through spirituality I know my body is a vehicle from God which I can live out my life’s purpose. I can experience God through people and events.
- Pleasure- I am able to taste wonderful foods, smell amazing candles, coffee in the mornings, seasonal things at Christmas time, feel warm sunshine on my skin, hear beautiful music. Bodies would be pretty dull if we never experienced pleasure.
- Image- how I feel about my body and how it looks (not always great, but when taken into consideration with all of the above gifts is really able to change.)
I read this quote (also from Nourishing Wisdom) before dinner and I also found it meaningful.
“I agree to the necessity of being an eater. I recognize that at its deepest level, eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat, I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. As a human being on earth, I agree to be an eater. I choose life again and again and again….”
For dinner I made us tilapia with buffalo crumbs and red pepper, grilled vegetables, and beans and rice.
1. Which area of body relationship do you feel strongly about? Which one is hard for you?
2. Have you tried the Laughing Cow spreadable cheeses?
- No one should answer “no” unless you follow it with “but I am driving to the store now to get some to make my life more complete.”