I came upon a conversation where some women were talking about how much they had eaten during the weekend and how badly they needed to work it off. They were discussing various parts of their body that they hated, or needed to tone more. Before intuitive eating, I would have relished the chance to jump into that conversation, to start bashing my body or talking about the latest health information or diet I had read about. I would have immediately and subconsciously started comparing my body to theirs (where mine always comes out inferior), hoping they would tell me that, “No, you are so thin.” Or “What, I wish I had arms like yours. Mine shake every time I wave.” Or “Don’t worry about your stomach, your legs are to die for.”
I used to join in these body-bashing conversations hoping that the others in the conversation would do their duty by telling me my body wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I would leave the conversation with a small boost in my self-esteem—one that probably lasted about 10 minutes, because I inevitably began comparing all my “flaws” to their strengths. It has been like a drug to me in my life. I got a small high off of hearing other women discount the flaws I saw in my body and envy other parts of my body.
Anyway, I heard this body bashing conversation going on, and I started to hyperventilate. I wanted so badly to jump in and get that high that comes with the 10 minutes of improved self-esteem, but this time I was able to see a small glimpse of how empty that it would be. For a moment, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to do that anymore. And then I immediately started comparing my body to their bodies anyway. But, I realized I was doing it, so I took some deep breaths, cried a little, and got out. I simply walked away from the conversation and didn’t look back.
How many of you participate, initiate, or hear conversations like this, especially among women? How do they make you feel? What is their purpose? What can be done to stop this pervasive culture? Your thoughts would be appreciated!