For anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder, you know that the body becomes the enemy. You are separate from your body as it betrays you time and time again. It becomes a torturous battleground for the war that is going on in your mind and we abuse it without giving a second thought. But from reading the book, "Transforming Body Image: Love the Body You Have," by Marci Germaine Hutchinson, I've learned that berating yourself keeps you in the cycle of disconnect and prevents you from reaching full recovery. So as long as you view your body as a 'problem' that needs to be solved, you will always be swimming upstream and working against it.
Why not try getting back in touch with your body and understand, from its perspective, what it is going through and how it feels. Writing a letter to your body might have you see things differently and allow you to truly understand your body and learn how to recover from a different perspective: your bodys'.
So give yourself some time, at least 30 minutes, to sit down and try this exercise. Here is what you are to do:
- Write a letter to your body from yourself
- Write a letter from your body to yourself
Here’s an example:
I am sorry …you are ruled by a person who takes out their negativism on you. If I’m anxious, overwhelmed, or overdoing it-- I end up abusing you. I restrict, over-exercise, binge, neglect myself, and the list goes on. You are such a good body – healthy (well, somewhat. Needs to be healthier, but still standing!), strong, have all 10 fingers and toes….but I don’t take care of you properly…you are my instrument for punishing myself. You serve me so well and take the abuse. I am really learning how much I love you, how important you are to me. I make you unattractive, I inhibit you from functioning at your best, and for that-- I am sorry. Deep down, I know I really do love and appreciate you. I know I often wish you were different, but really what I am wishing is that I felt differently about the internal me, not the external you. I’m working on the internal me. Have faith in me that I will learn to love the inside me and stop abusing you…part of me loves you very much. I’m working on the other part.
Please bear with me…
Hi there. I know you’re going through a rough time right now and I know it’s getting better. Really, you get better every day. I know it’s hard for you and you take it out on me. Trust me – I’m strong, I’m resilient, and I can bear it. We’ll make it...really we will. We’ll be working more together all the time – we already are as you accept your whole self, your competency, your sexuality, and your vulnerability. You know you hurt me. I don’t have to tell you that, but I see you trying, and that’s what counts. Keep working, we’ll pull together like the awesome team we used to be! You won’t have that ‘perfect ideal’ image of a body, but I know deep down you don’t want to be that. You want to be you, to like you, imperfections and all. Treat me well – I’ll be my best for you. I’m really your best friend.
Take care of us…all parts of us.
Always yours, Your Body
Go ahead and give it a try --you may find yourself surprised at how positive and loving your body still feels about you. And be sure to let me know how this process goes for you! Email me at amy.pezzente[at]cw.bc.ca