This book found me just when I needed it.
I have struggled with an eating disorder since I was 12. My teen years were difficult, as I didn’t participate in life because I was obsessed with food and not eating it or purging what I did eat. I finally went for help when I was 20 and it was a long, slow struggle.
I felt my best in the years I was pregnant and when my girls were young. I felt powerful, strong. I was proud of my body and the two babies that it made. I seemed to be able to easily maintain a normal weight with minimal effort.
I am 46 now and my body is changing it is has been presenting some serious issues for me. I have been a vegetarian on and off for almost 30 years and as long as I focus on a whole food, plant based diet and do yoga several times a week, I am fine. I can get myself to a place where I can accept my body and my natural aging process. But it’s so easy to get caught up in…I should lift weights for bone density or I should do cardio for heart health and to burn some of the fat around my middle. It all just seems to settle around my middle at this point.
Several months ago, I stopped eating Grape Nuts and fruit or a smoothie or toast and almond butter, banana and flax seeds for breakfast and started eating either a bowl of watermelon or a grapefruit. I also cut out the crackers, almonds and piece of dark chocolate I enjoyed with my salad at lunchtime. I made plant based dinners and took one helping and no more. I had no dessert, no snacks. I started doing pilates and Kettle Bell in addition to my almost daily yoga. I thought I would lose weight. NOPE. After several months, my pants are TIGHTER not looser. And I am angry and have become obsessed with eating, food, my diet and exercise. Yoga is something I love to do and I have stuck with an almost daily practice for over 16 years (I started right after my youngest was born), but kettle bell and Pilates…not so much. I don’t enjoy it, but I force myself to do it because it is good for me. And yet I see no results and I am angry. Also, my diet consists of watermelon or grapefruit for breakfast, a kale salad with either tomatoes, onions, beans, cucumbers and avocado or unsalted pumpkin and flax seeds, dried fruit and avocado for lunch and a plant based dinner – lentil tacos, chick pea chili over sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable and grain Buddha bowls, a veggie and tofu stir fry, etc. No snacks, no dessert. Lots of water. No results.
I was defeated, depressed, upset…and then I saw this book on Netgalley. Honestly, I had no idea what it was about, but I love yoga and I figured I would review a yoga book. I did not expect it to be EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED to change my perspective.
The authors contend that we often think of change on a large scale, in terms of events, but it starts with language. What we say to ourselves shifts our perspective. We are bombarded with fad diets and before and after photos and that shapes how we view our own bodies. But the author contends that “body image is a perception and not fact”.
The authors have mapped out a path to having healthier body narratives, with a step by step approach to learning to love yourself and your body. They encourage you to listen to your body and know yourself, to learn about what makes you feel good or bad, Love: practice new guiding principles for your inner life and Live: share what you have learned with others. There are personal stories from the authors and people they have worked with over the years. There are also questions at the end of each chapter that the reader can use to journal and come to a deeper understanding of their own narrative and how to transform their inner life so that it can heal their body image. Change starts from within.