When I was deep into the dieting world, I subscribed to Prevention magazine’s daily emails. For those of you who don’t know, Prevention is a woman’s magazine that focuses on preventing aging, weight gain, illness (essentially the natural process of life), etc. from happening. It is a monthly magazine chock full of editorials, new diet plans (Flat Belly Diet, 400 Calorie Fix), weight loss secrets, exercise regimes, power foods (acai berries), and health advice accompanied with personal testimonials, advertisements, and photos. While the magazine means well and successfully follows society’s trend of salivating over the latest nutrition research, it goes against almost everything Intuitive Eating stands for. Although exercising, nutrition, and illness prevention are essential for a healthy life, Prevention maintains the only way to achieve those things is through vigorous dieting, willpower, and regimented exercise; however, this is completely false. Intuitive Eating replaces the rules and structure of dieting with your body’s natural hunger signals, the idea of lack of willpower with reconnection to your body’s needs and desires, and regimented exercise with the beauty of gentle movement.
I received the following email from Prevention just the other day:
I don’t need to get my body back. I have a body that has taken me through 24 years of life relatively healthily, recovered from a torn ACL and meniscus, given birth to two children, run a half marathon, worships God, lifts, bends, runs, walks, and bikes all over the place. It is not the same body—shape or size—as when I was a teenager, nor should it be. I have done so much since then and my body has grown with me. It is stronger and more knowledgeable, has more scars and done more wonderful things than ever before.
I appreciate that you want us to love our bodies, but I don’t have to wait until 2014, and I certainly don’t need your planner to do so. I am working on learning to love my body, as are dozens of others. As far as all the hoping and good intentions not giving me the body I want, all I have to say is that I have the body I want. I do agree with you that planning is important, so I will give you this—I will plan to continue to ignore your misguided, society-driven propaganda that you send to my inbox each week, and plow forward with spreading the word that there is a better way.
So, what kinds of responses would you have, given the chance?