Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

“Loving My Body” saved my life


I was going to stay out of the fray regarding Jess Weiner’s Glamour article.  The now infamous “Loving my body almost killed me” article.  Too many people have questioned my silence, asking if I was in agreement with Jess Weiner.

There’s a lot to say about that article; “agreement” is not one of the words that come to mind.  “Confusion” is, so bear with me for this entry as my thoughts strive for some type of order as I type.

Let me start off by saying that I know what it’s like to get medical tests result back that say “there is the potential for future harm here.”  I’ve gotten those same results back.  And yes, they did warn me that my heart could be in (more) future danger if I didn’t change my lifestyle a little in order to change those numbers. And yes, I did change some things in my life.  My heart’s rather important to me, and seeing as how there is so much I can’t do to stop future harm, I will do whatever I can do to help it.

So if Jess Weiner was focusing on those numbers for the entirety of her article, I suppose I would be more empathetic.  Instead, she is choosing to focus on her weight.  But here’s the problem: those numbers are not dependent on weight.  If they were, my numbers would never have been off.  If they were, my doctors wouldn’t be asking about my parents’ numbers or my brother’s.

Aside from that is the confusion–no, not confusion but the downright fear and worry I feel at the title of the article and the content and what these are going to do to the eating disorder community.

If I were still sick, caught up in the throes of the eating disorder, and saw that title, I’d feel a freedom to go ahead and continue destroying my body, all with the perverted logic that I’d be healthier my way, “because, see, even Jess Weiner admits that she weighed too much and so all I’m doing is trying to prevent that.”  I would have felt a freedom to continue hating my body, and I would have scoffed at someone who told me I needed to appreciate my body, let alone love it.

But here’s my real problem with the article: her focus on numbers.  Not the numbers from the medical tests, but her weights.  We know how much she’s lost and how much she’s disappointed with that number, even though the medical tests all came back in normal range.  If this were solely about health and medical tests, her focus would be on those numbers and she would have been happy that she was out of the danger zone.  But we know she wants to lose more, that she won’t be happy until she’s lost a certain amount of weight.  And she’s specific with those weights.  Knowing that she’s speaking, in part, to the same community she was speaking to before–a community that she was trying to convince not to focus on numbers in terms of weight and size.  A community that looked to her as a role model.

Here’s what I would like to say to Jess:  There is no magic number at which happiness occurs.  You can lose those thirty pounds, but they won’t determine your happiness.  You run the risk of finding out that thirty pounds wasn’t enough.  That you need to lose more and then you’ll be happy.  Except you won’t be happy when you get to that weight either.  And then you’ll want to lose more.  And you’ll start a cycle of forever dropping that magic number, thinking happiness will descend upon you if you reach that number.  The very cycle you were trying to prevent people from starting. The very cycle that can, unlike “loving your body”, kill you.

Here’s what I would like to say to people who are tempted to let go of recovery because they read this article:  If I hadn’t learned to love my body, I would not be alive right now.  It was the hatred I felt for my body that drove me to jump into the cycle of “lose more weight and then I’ll be happy” thinking.  It was that cycle that almost took my life.  My heart, my physical heart, was not strong enough to withstand that cycle.  It took numerous ER and ambulance trips and a week on a cardiac unit for me to finally learn and accept that if I didn’t start caring for my body, I would become another statistic.  Another loss.

My physical heart demands the care of my metaphorical heart.  There are days when I still wish I had an escape from the difficulties life will, inevitably, throw your way.  But there is not a day that goes by when I’m not thankful for all I have gained in recovery.  The difficulties are still there, but they’d be there no matter what my weight is.  Except now that I’m healthy, I can actually handle those difficulties.  Sometimes with more grace than others, but I can handle them.  And now that I am recovered, I can also enjoy the blessings that life throws my way, something I couldn’t do while I was sick.  Something I fear Jess Weiner has lost in her decision to focus on weight.  Something I hope she is able to find again.

 

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August 11, 2011 - Posted by | Body Image, coping, Eating Disorders, health, heart, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Great post. To me, loving your body means that you love your body enough to work toward health, not that you never want to change. Body acceptance doesn’t mean that you never want to change, but to accept where we are. Denial kills. Self-hatred doesn’t save lives. People might hate things they’ve done to themselves. They might hate the situation they’re in. But they have to love themselves to make positive change.

    And, I agree that her focus on the weight number is very disheartening.

    Comment by Rachel W. | August 11, 2011 | Reply

  2. Виж тук
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    Comment by zaw12929 | August 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. Lovely 🙂
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    Comment by Syed Qarib | August 26, 2011 | Reply


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