We Are Not Alone

9 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

This crazy idea I have, that women can attain better
health, wellness and happiness by loving their bodies instead of
struggling and hating them, is a message we don't hear very much in our
world. No, the advertising industry is too invested in keeping us
dissatisfied so we'll buy their products. The multi-billion dollar diet
industry would go straight down the tubes if women decided our bodies
can be trusted to know when and how much to eat. There would be a
reduction in the number of gyms and work-out facilities if women
decided it was permissible to simply go out and play!

Sometimes I feel like that "voice crying in the wilderness," when all around me I
hear women berate themselves and criticize their bodies. But then I
hear some new voice speaking out to remind us of the destruction that
has been created by our diet and exercise mentality, and pointing to a
new, more positive alternative.

I found one of those voices this week while scanning the stacks at the library. Jessica Weiner's book,Do I Look Fat in This?, is a great little book that can awaken women to all the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways we denegrate ourselves every day. Weiner's premise is that women speak "The Language of Fat" as a bonding ritual - that we
can discuss our fat and cellulite (and untold numbers of other "flaws")
with complete strangers, but we don't share our deepest pains and fears
with our close friends.

Each chapter in Weiner's book looks at a different phrase from the Language of Fat and decodes what it really means. For example, one of the things I hear from women desperately
trying to lose weight is, "But I'm just trying to be healthy." Weiner
offers one translation as being, "I want desperately to believe that my
punishing way of restricting and obsessing is somehow good for me and
what I need to do in order to really achieve my goals." One quote from
this chapter that spoke to me was this: "You have to be responsible for
what you put into your body and what you put into your mind (emphasis mine)."

So thank you, Jessica Weiner, for helping us put healthier things into our
minds. Thank you for your passionate commitment to girls and women and
our wellness and self-esteem. And of course, she is not the only one.
In fact, I continually update the "Free Resources" link with videos,
articles, websites and a recommended reading list that continues to
grow. My passion is to create a paradigm shift in our world and I can't
do it alone. I have my partners - like Jessica Weiner - who are out
there making a difference.