Although every day could be Love Your Body Day, for many disregulated eaters, this is far from the case. Sadly, one of the myths that pervades our society and keeps us shackled to food problems and weight obsessions is that our bodies are imperfect, contemptible, ugly, and mercilessly uncooperative in looking the way we wish them to look. To counter this mindset, I propose that for 24 hours on Wednesday, October 19, Love Your Body Day, all of you give loving your body your full attention and affection.
Let’s get straight what loving your body entails. First, it does not mean that your body is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect body. Collectively, culturally, we’ve decided what a “10” body means, but that’s only a trumped up standard which alters according to time and place. Some cultures revere round bodies, others muscular ones, or tall, thin ones that are fleet of foot. So, understood: there is no one type of perfect body.
Second, you can love your body at any size. The media has taught us differently, mostly because big business has to make us disgruntled with our bodies in order that we buy whatever they’re selling. If we loved our bodies, they’d go broke. Every time you shell out money for cellulite cream or join a diet program, you’re being manipulated by a an industry that’s getting rich off your desire for unattainable perfection. Love comes from the inside out. Many people with ideal bodies are grossly dissatisfied with them and some folks with less than ideal bodies like them just fine. You could be one of them!
Third, loving your body, whatever its shape/size/weight, does not mean you don’t want to be healthier or more fit. Nor does it mean accepting that there’s no need for change. Accepting your body as is and wanting to improve it are not mutually exclusive. I accept and value my literary and therapeutic skills, but I still take workshops to grow in both fields. Acceptance means this is where I am now and that’s okay as I work to improve.
If for 24 hours on Wednesday, October 19th you can’t love your body, then at least quit dumping on it in your thoughts and words. Neutrality is a step in the right direction. I can’t stress enough how important loving your body is to overcoming food problems. Everyone who has recovered has had to shift from body hatred to body love (me included). There’s no other way and you are no exception. If you want to move beyond eating problems, you have to learn to love your body—its grace, strength, functionality, prowess, or agility. Love it because it’s part of you and you love yourself. Love it because other people do. Find a reason, any reason, and give body love a chance.