Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Post: Body image, self-esteem, and Cravings

Unfortunately, many women struggle with issues related to body image, relationships with food, and self worth.  It's a reality of our society.  Despite stretch marks and extra fat, I've conquered many of my body image through having a baby and seeing what my body for what it can do and not for what it looks like.  But I still have my moments.  My sweet sponsor, Patty, is sharing what she's learned from a book she's currently reading, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self Image, and God


I have been seeing a lot in the ol' blog-o-sphere recently on body image type things.  And while I'm still working through my own version of the "skinny-ish vs. fat-ish" wars on the inside, I wanted to share with all you readers a new book I'm reading that is really helping me take good, hard look at my relationship with food, how that affects my relationship with God, etc.

I haven't yet finished the book, because I'm really trying to savor and digest (pun intended :) all this particular book is challenging me to.  But the reason for taking my time, is because I really want these concepts to sink into the deepest parts of my heart/mind/soul.

So here's the little gem I stumbled on...

As someone who has and still does struggle with my relationship to food and body image stuff, this book caught me eye; especially after recently reading Weightless by Kate Wicker too. (Check out Mandi's review of Weightless here.)

When I cracked the spine of this bad boy, and looked at the titles of the chapters, they really struck me, and as I began to read I LOVED the practical application/ideas at the end of each chapter and also the heart-felt, real stories of the author.  The titles include relevant ideas such as: "Dieting Delusion-Food is not the enemy" to "Feast or Famine-Changing attitudes towards how and why we eat."  I thought to myself as I was reading, "She gets this...Mary is someone who understands all too well the struggles many women face with self-esteem/body image stuff, etc."  I felt like Mary not only shared her personal struggles, but she was walking beside my through me own experience of the "skinny-ish vs. fat-ish" wars.

Here are my two favorite things I've come across in the first couple chapters of the book:

  1. Mary refers to a story where she was mindlessly eating candy while being stressed about a particular situation.  She writes, "Not because I was hungry.  Not because the candy was particularly good.  BUT because there was a void in my life begging to be filled, and food is my go-to, all-purpose filler" (pg. 7).  Story. of. my. freaking. life! I'm an emotional eater, and have problems at times eating for no reason at all, because of stress, or just because I like to eat...hence my relationship with the fine establishment of Weight Watchers.  Sometimes I turn to food for comfort instead of finding ultimate fulfillment in the Lord, my husband, close friends, etc.  It's one thing to "get" this idea mentally, but another thing to really believe it in your's tough work, but a book like this certainly is a good tool in helping de-bunk bad habits.
  2. This simple sentence made me want to jump off the couch and scream at the top of my lungs; okay, I over exaggerate, but for realz, it was quite striking.  Mary writes, " became the one thing I could have absolute say over" (pg.22).  I am a control freak; when things aren't organized or the way I like them or whatever, I flip out on the inside; it actually makes me anxious.  So as a young teen and even through to college, I felt like I could really have absolute control over my body my being exceptionally aware what I put into it.  No I never suffered from a full blown eating disorder, but my relationship with food was messed. up.  Still is in some ways, but mot as bad.  Let's just say when my parents began to grow concerned about my strict adherence to the Atkins diet, they told me no more.  I was devastated.  And how did I handle that?  By finding comfort in my old carb-a-licious desserts as I started working my first job at Panera and put back on all the old weight and then some.  In this one sentence, I am reminded, yet again, how having SUCH an extreme sense of control over my body/food really is not a very emotionally or spiritually healthy thing for me.
Whatever your relationship with/to food is or how however you feel towards your body, I think this is a gem of a book that can help inspire, empower, and encourage women in these issues.
Share below if you have read this book...what were some of the big things you took away from it?
If you haven't read this one yet, one are some of your favorite books/resources on issues related to this topic of food and self-image?

Wherever you are in your relationship with food and self-image, know and believe you that you CAN overcome the can beat the "skinny-ish vs.fat-ish" wars inside you to become more fully the beautiful, bodacious woman God has created you to be!! :)

Thanks, so much, Patty!  Guess what book is now in my Amazon wish list?  If you'd like to read more about (and by) Patty, check out her blog at Tales of Me and the Husband.

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