How’s your relationship with your body? Are you getting along? Are you adversaries? Do you ever feel like your body betrays you?
How do you speak to your body? What do you tell it? Do you ever thank it for all that it does for you? All it makes possible? Do you ever tell it there’s something wrong with it, ask it to change? Treat it like a problem that needs to be solved?
What do you deny your body? How do you strive to keep it under control? What would happen if you let go of that control? Does your body act in your best interests? Do you trust your body?
What is your body communicating to you with its desire?
I went through a really big body change at the same time I went through a really big life change: becoming a mother. After being in labor for 64 hours at home, my son was born via C section at the hospital. There’s a clear before and after that event. I became a different person when I gave birth, as all parents do. The change was physical as well as spiritual and social.
At the time, I had a whole lot of resistance to the physical parts of that change. My body was bigger and rounder than it had ever been. My core was bound up with scar tissue, and some nerve damage from the surgery had made parts of my belly numb. I had been raised, like most of us, in a culture that values smaller bodies over bigger ones. I had done a “good” job of internalizing that message. So I was feeling weak and inferior to my former self, who had always been able to keep my body within “an acceptable size range” through rigorous diet and exercise.
But my old tricks weren’t working anymore. My body had a plan for me that wasn’t my mind’s plan for me, and they were duking it out. I made what was already a challenging life transition a whole lot harder on myself as I fought and fought. At a time when I could have been marveling in the sacredness of all my body had done, I was filled with self loathing.
As I type those words now, I feel rage and deep grief for the experience I was robbed of, and the way I was taught to feel poorly about myself. I can see it so clearly now because I’ve walked a complete circle around it, and now my body and I stand together on the same side. It was a lot of hard work, getting from there to here, and it began with learning some science.
At the upcoming Good Medicine Confluence, a conference for herbalists, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned that helped me stop being at odds with my body and start trusting it. My class, “Rethinking Elimination Diets In The Name Of Body Liberation,” will debunk popular myths about elimination diets, body size, health, weight loss, and what constitutes “healthy eating.” Students will learn how to separate weight loss from health, the basic principles of implementing Health At Every Size in their practices, why diets don’t work, and what’s possible instead.
I have deeply discounted tickets available for sale. Regular tickets cost $399, I have some available for $250. There's a long list of world-class teachers scheduled for this conference! Attendees will be able to watch classes for two months after the conference starts, so this is an opportunity to attend many more classes than an in-person event can offer. Reply to this email if you want a discounted ticket!
Creating this class gave me the opportunity to really take stock of how far I’ve come, how much has changed in my relationship with my body. The truth is I live in a different world now. In the old world, I thought I had to punish and will-power myself into being healthy. I thought I was inherently bad and dirty, and that I needed to jump through hoops to be clean and good. I kept myself very busy feeding a beast who was never going to be able to know satisfaction.
Now, I feed myself instead of the beast. Now, I’m allowed to be satisfied. And satisfaction feels so damn good. I’m free to enjoy my one wild and precious life. I know that I’m alright, a sacred part of everything, just the way I am. Now, to me, healthy means trusting my body and working together, because we love each other.
Thank you to my son for forcing me down this path. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What body changes have you experienced with a clear before and after? Did those changes also affect the shape of your personality? What did you learn?
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P.S. Want to read more on this topic? Here are some of my past articles:
I also can't recommend these books enough:
The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole