I’ve become a total home-body this winter.
Actually every winter season I tend to hibernate like a bear, resting and storing up energy for a productive spring and summer. Lately I’ve been nose-deep in several mindful + intuitive books as I prep for my big lecture at the Annual Conference and Expo (ACE) for the dietitians of Georgia. Big BIG honor and super excited!
The interesting thing is that when I received the initial email about ACE, I opened it and thought (for the first time since becoming a dietitian), “I want to talk about mindful + intuitive eating at the next ACE meeting!”
WOW, what? Felt like a professional bucket-list thing.
Now normally a big goal like that would definitely produce a nervous stomach. Just the very thought of a big goal like speaking in front of my colleagues (!!) = anxiety. But this time, my butterflies were replaced with steady confidence and a desire to speak about something I’m super passionate about → healing my relationship with food by utilizing the valuable and powerful skills of mindful + intuitive (M/I) eating.
Well, I won’t be talking about MY journey so much – the focus will be on the research and evidence behind M/I eating to stop destructive diet behaviors and obsessive food thoughts and patterns dead in their tracks.
We now know that dieting and restriction leads to binging-like behaviors and a very disordered relationship with food + the body and can negatively impact so, so many areas of life.
So I mentally threw the thought of lecturing “out to the Universe” and low and behold, several dietitians as well as my future intern, Casie (read her experience here), would recommend me to the head honcho dietitian organizing the speakers for ACE.
And it was perhaps 4-6 weeks later, if even that long, that I received a message on social media from another dietitian asking for my contact info to speak on mindful eating at ACE. I SWEAR – I was excited + speechless at the same time. Did I manifest this? I think I did.
So let me loop back around to why I’ve been hibernating because it all kinda ties in together. At least in my head it does.
Winter + TV + Taylor Swift.
I know, I know super odd combo. But I’ve been getting into documentaries and some binge-worthy shows like (in case you needed some recs below)
Sex Education (twice; simply brilliant choice of music + fashion + storyline)
On my list per my brother’s recent recommendation: Messiah
I’ve also watched some pretty provocative documentaries like Wild Wild Country, Bikrim: yogi, guru, predator and Game Changers. I’m a sucker for well-written documentaries, as long as they’re not based on unbiased propaganda.
I want to absorb the information presented to me and make a decision for myself, based on my belief-system, morals and values. NOT the writer’s opinion, not the director’s or anyone else’s. I don’t even like “reality” TV because it’s so staged, like wrestling.
Now The Real World on MTV, season one with Julie and Eric from 1992? Legit reality tv.
But today. Totally faux.
ANYWAY, my other half was in the shower and that meant I had total control of the remote. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to watch because I needed to work on my lecture, but I stumbled on a Netflix Taylor Swift documentary, Miss Americana.
So let me just preface this with a confession: I’m not/HNAT a big TS fan. I love her drive and dedication, but I’ve been more of an alternative music junkie since high school. Duran Duran, INXS, Adam Ant, the Fixx, pretty British boy bands were, are my thing.
But IDK something made me watch it because she’s dedicated to her craft and I respect her for that. Also, call it intuition because I had no idea that it would resonate hard core with my life’s work (and weave it’s way into my ACE lecture).
And roughly half way through the show, I hit pause and grabbed my laptop. The mindful-eating body-positivity inspo hit while watching TS and her personal diet/body dysmorphia. She still struggles and works on it constantly to find peace. I was impressed with her vulnerability, especially for being in the public eye constantly. Mocked, shamed, praised, loved. I don’t know if I would manage it as well as she has.
They showed pics of her in a double 00 body (I know I’m HNAT supposed to mention body sizes since it can be triggering for some people in recovery and I apologize, but holy moly I think I might, MIGHT have been that for a hot second in middle school, maybe). And I’ve had thin privilege* for most of my life.
But TS had that Hollywood-level of thin privilege due to highly restrictive and unchecked disordered eating behaviors because I’m constantly being scrutinized in the media. The scary thin privilege due to the pressure to attain a certain level of thinness that is just NOT sustainable.
It’s good to see that she’s accepting of her “size” now after a lot of deeper inner work. BTW her current size is totally normal. But due to her extreme thinness and body dysmorphia, even a normal size takes constant mental work to recognize that. I wish she self-disclosed what worked for her because I’m curious if it was mindful + intuitive eating.
She did confess that seeing pictures of herself and being shamed for looking “pregnant” can still trigger her to default to her previous disordered eating behaviors – to starve and stop eating. So she has to constantly monitor (be mindful of) and re-write her inner narrative.
In case you’re reading that and thinking “okay that’s all I have to do is stop eating to look scary skinny” here’s a spoiler alert: it’s NOT sustainable. Or healthy. And can have the opposite effect when you end the disordered behaviors.
Restrictive eating/dieting eventually backfires and creates an even bigger metabolic mess.
She has worked hard to revise her food and body belief system. In the past she thought it was normal to feel like she would pass out in the middle or at the end of her show. But now she recognizes that she has to eat enough food to have the energy to perform, to get stronger.
She’s happier with who she is as a human and recognizes that her body wasn’t supposed to be that small. TS admitted that she didn’t know that she had disordered eating behaviors and, at the time, would have totally defended it with “oh I just exercise a lot” or some comment about how she eats “all the time.”
Denial is an interesting thing.
The weight gain makes her life better and she’s constantly filtering and reprograming old thoughts of “looking fat” and appreciating her weight instead of looking sick. Bravo TS!
The pressure from Hollywood + the beauty + fashion industry to be thin is impossible. When you’re thin enough then you don’t have the (booty), but if you have the booty then you’re stomach isn’t flat enough. TS laments about the “ridiculous beauty standards” and how she’s gotten to a place where she’s monitoring and reframing her thinking. She doesn’t care what the public thinks about her weight or when the press body shames her (enough already, as a mindful + intuitive eating dietitian who hears about weight shaming every week, it’s just disgraceful).
PRO TIP: NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT YOUR BODY. NOT YOUR DOCTOR, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR COLLEAGUES, NO ONE!
NOT THE OWNER OF SCULPTURED CONTOURS TRYING TO OVERSELL YOU COOLSCULPT AS THEY GRAB THE BACK OF YOUR LEGS WEIGHT SHAMING YOUR 15% BODY FAT FRAME IN FRONT OF YOUR FRIEND.
Oh wait, that wasn’t TS, that was me. #truestory – worst thing I’ve done to my body to date except for the ultherapy I wasted money on there too – but that’s another story and necessary google/yelp review. Beauty PTSD.
Anyway, I was happy that TS is not only a political activist speaking up for women’s rights + HUMAN rights, she was bold enough to touch on a small but pivotal conversation about her body, food and weight journey. I hope young impressionable women who think they are only as worthy as their body will start to recognize how we’ve all been manipulated to think we have to live up to an impossible beauty standards.
We are ALL so much more than our body and have more to offer the world than our looks. Or size.
MIT, I have a newfound respect for the talented TS. I especially appreciated her openness about hard work, body image, self empowerment, loneliness and applaud her for sharing her private life with her fans. #newfangirl
If you check out the documentary, lemme know your thoughts…