By Lori Hanson
With all the publicity and events centered around national eating disorder awareness week it brings us back to that sad realization that there are millions of women, men and children on this planet that have extreme shame and even hatred of their bodies. Individuals who simply cannot find a way to be happy in the wrapper they came packaged in.
Conditioning certainly has a lot to do with it. From the time we are young children we receive messages from our parents, teachers, youth leaders, the media, ads in magazines and on the streets of what we’re supposed to look like to be ‘glam and gorgeous’. The images haven’t changed much in the past 50 years. It’s still tall, long-legged women sans hips, with a gorgeous face and big boobs. The real live Barbie. From a very young age I had an awareness that this is what men were attracted to. And unfortunately it gets implanted deeply into some of our brains.
But there is a double standard when it comes to men. It’s okay if they have a “beer belly” or put on a few pounds, even fifty. Why? Why is it woman are held to the standard of perfection and men can be overweight, unhealthy and still be acceptable?
This is of course only part of the issue. But it’s a big one. Everywhere we look, everywhere we go we are bombarded by images. Recently I was in a high-end department store and they were dressing the three manikins in the picture at the top of this post. I stopped and stared for a few moments and had to take the picture. Seeing the actual size these manikins without clothes really hit home, I mean OMB! If this is the mark I was striving for in my 34 years of bulimia given my petite muscular build I would have never achieved it without becoming emaciated or anorexic. It’s pitiful. Very few women that I know have a build like these manikins!
And the statistics on eating disorders continue to escalate. Sadly there are many individuals who have yet to tell someone or come out of their dark comfortable haven of numbness to look for help. My mission and goal is to help teens and college age kids avoid the trap of addictions and eating disorders. But as a result of my recent publicity tour I’ve been contacted by several women much closer to my age in their 40’s and 50’s who have struggled with an eating disorder since their teens, like I did. After so many years of the chronic cycle of abuse it’s hard to know where to turn and even more difficult to think you might actually be able to get help. There is so much talk of anorexia, but there are equally devastating numbers of individuals struggling to gain control over their bingeing bulimic behavior.
But you certainly don’t have to be diagnosed with a clinical eating disorder to hate your body, obsess about food and be miserable with the way you look. People that eat fast food and sugar on a regular basis have an unhealthy relationship to food aka disordered eating. Many individuals have an addiction to food. It’s such an easy way to self-medicate. And it’s a socially acceptable addiction. No one will ridicule you for enjoying a large plate of pasta or steak and potatoes followed by a delectable desert or quick sugary snack.
Our bodies do so much in an effort to care for us. They trudge on through all kinds of ups and downs. Deal with our stress and lack of exercise. Put up with the low-grade fuel and sludge we ingest and call our diet. Continue to try to perform at the optimum level with or without sleep and proper nutrition for as long as they can…. till one day there you are with a host of medical issues and ask why me? Our bodies and brains need downtime! We cannot expect our body to function with high energy when we don’t provide the proper rest, nutrition and exercise required to stay healthy.
So what is the best body? What is perfect? How can we be satisfied? A starting point is to eliminate as much processed food and stimulants as we can from our diets. When we eat sensible portions of fresh produce and fruits in combination with healthy proteins that aren’t pumped full of antibiotics and add natural supplements that may be lacking in our system our bodies will land at that “perfect” place. Perfect for your body.
For more information on how to find a balance that’s right for you visit www.Learn2Balance.com.
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