I first felt fat when I was 5. For a long time I thought it was me. After years of working in eating disorders treatment as a dietitian I found that many women (and men) also began experiencing painful body image at a young age. Just as disturbing, I almost always felt fat during the first half of my life regardless of my size, shape or weight. I again discovered this was true for most clients. Beyond that, I realized lots of folks without an eating disorder diagnosis struggled with what I call “The FAT Experience” at least occasionally.
Unlike what’s typical for recovery, my healing process began with changing my body image rather than my behaviors. Certainly every journey is unique and there’s no right way to do it; but I became frustrated working in conventional treatment settings which didn’t deal directly with the deepest aspects of body image. When I set out to explore my own unique approach, I was drawn to yoga because it captures the essence of what sparked my recovery and provides a systematic approach to healing. Yoga actively targets what I believe is the driving force behind our weight and food obsessions: embodiment.
em·body /imˈbä-dē/ verb
1. to give a body to (a spirit): incarnate
After discovering the way in which yoga supports the embodiment of Spirit, I changed from nutrition therapy to yoga coaching. We all inhabit a body and need to care for it. Our bodies are a BIG deal. They are the home of the soul.
You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body. ~Carl Jung
Once a month on this site, I’ll be sharing the ways in which yoga can support us in recovery by breaking down what “The FAT Experience” is all about and providing simple practices to empower peaceful body image. The path of yoga is so much more than the poses much like eating disorders are about so much more than the food. My intention and my dream is to support all of us to be our biggest, most awesome selves. Stay in touch for the first installment.