Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to Experience Body Euphoria

Have you ever heard of the condition "body dysmorphia"? Wikipedia describes it like this: "Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), sometimes referred to as body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome, is a (psychological) somatoform disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by a perceived defect in his or her physical features (body image). The sufferer may complain of several specific features or a single feature, or a vague feature or general appearance, causing psychological distress that impairs occupational and/or social functioning, sometimes to the point of severe depression and anxiety, development of other anxiety disorders, social withdrawal or complete social isolation, and more."

Yesterday on the blog Medicinal Marzipan, a blog about body image and unconditional self love, there was a guest posting entitled "Creating Bonds Around Self-Love Instead of Negative Self Talk" by Emilie Littlehales, of the blog I Came to Run and the Embrace: Me Project.

In it she makes an observation that is so true, so powerful, I just had to share it here: "From an early age, we [women] learn to dislike our bodies. There are a variety of factors that play a role in this, but we have to be careful not to underestimate the degree to which our interactions with other girls and women influence us in this regard. Sooner or later, negative body image becomes a common feeling over which we learn to bond, and a sisterhood that centers on sharing our thoughts on how much we dislike parts of physical selves develops. It’s a disturbing phenomenon when you take a step back to look at it: you can’t walk into a room one day and declare how good you feel about your thighs, doing so might result in you being the victim of silent, seething resentment. But say that you feel fat or disgusting, and you will find that the entire room knows exactly how you feel."

What Emilie is describing is pervasive in our society today. Just the other day a friend came up to me and asked me for advice on how to get in shape. I asked her what her current fitness program was and she said she was working out every day . . . every day! . . . doing the Insanity videos in her basement.

I said, "That's amazing! So what is it that you would like to improve upon?"

And she said, "Well, I'd like to lose ten pounds" and I was thinking "If you lose ten pounds you might need to be hospitalized." I told her flat out that she was suffering from Body Dysmorphia but she didn't seem to care. It's just like Emilie described. We are conditioned to hate our bodies when there is nothing wrong with them. We feel that we must vocalize this dissatisfaction or we won't be accepted into the club.

So afterwards, my husband, who was also present at the conversation, came up with a new condition that we are calling "Body Euphoria."

Here's our definition: It is the state of mind that you are in after treating yourself well for an extended period of time. Conditions include (1) participation in moderate exercise that you truly enjoy, (2) eating  nutritious, unprocessed, plant strong food and (3) achieving your happy weight, where even though your body has no resemblance to a model in a magazine and never will, you are thrilled with how you look, and more importantly, how you feel.


That's the state I am in today. Body Euphoria. Strong, balanced, healthy. Sure, I don't look like any model, but I'll take it! And I want to share it with you.

What is your current state of mind?

Do you think you can let go of your own negative self talk?

What do you hope to achieve?

14 comments:

Kelsey @ Clean Teen Kelsey said...

Thank you for this post! I really appreciate it. You are such an awesome woman. "Body Euphoria" sounds like a pretty cool thing to come to. :)

Gillian said...

Great post! I have curly hair and women are often complimenting me and then follow the statement with "but you probably hate it" or something like that. Fact is I used to be "jealous" of my friends long straight hair. But then I finally said hey this is the hair I have and I'm going to enjoy it! Now I love my curly hair. AND I love strait hair on the people that have it. I don't have "Body Euphoria" as you defined it but I'm getting closer every day!:) I still have some work to do with my compulsive eating but the improvements have been huge and I'm looking forward to continued improvement: reaching my happy weight and having a completely healthy relationship with food.

The Collage Experience said...

Great post! Very inspirational. Thanks Wendy! Thanks Wendy's husband!

Dawn said...

I love the phrase Body Euphoria! Please thank your husband. I understand this phrase. I achieved a peace and contentment, a joy before unknown to me, at my highest weight, that I never had at my lowest weight. This was discovered through therapy, not on my own. I needed support and "cheerleaders" (in my therapist and dietician) to counter the pressures of the world. And yes, it was difficult to report back to my body hating friends, that I was learning to like and enjoy my body. They all said though, that they wished they could get to where I was. I do believe everybody can...and it is worth it.

Anonymous said...

Great Post, Wendy! Thank you!

JL goes Vegan said...

When I look at others compare? Disaster. When I look in the mirror, at only me, I think I look awesome. No need to compare apples and oranges (and pears and grapes and bananas!) I'm in Body Euphoria! All extra weight, new size, round me!

katshealthcorner said...

Thank you so much for this post!!! I really appreciate it Wendy!! You always take such consideration on what to post, and this really made my day. :)

I love the idea of Body Euphoria. It is absolutely PERFECT! We don't have to look like models to be truly happy. We just have to be happy with ourselves and love ourselves for who we truly are.

Lori said...

Love this, Wendy! It's time to break the cycle of hating our bodies and battling with food.

Jane said...

Great job on this post. It is insane how we cultivate that insidious attitude towards our beautiful, fertile, magical selves. I am reading the book "Women, Food and G-d" to get a glimpse into food addiction. I feel SO lucky that that is not something I struggle with, but the author describes this very same"Body Euphoria" that you do. She just doesn't have as cool an expression as you do.. it took her pages and pages to get the point across. I love the expression and movement that goes with it. Right on, Wendy.

Ruchi Koval said...

Love this!! "Love thy neighbor as thyself" - can't do it if you don't love yourself :)

elise said...

i just found your blog while reading the comments on one of gena's latest posts. im so glad i did. youre an inspiration - and your story is a wonderful one that i can tell my patients about to encourage them to turn their health around without popping pills or going under the knife! thank you for sharing. cant wait to rea on :)

Jen said...

Great catch phrase!

Alipet813 said...

Love it! I'm so happy that you are to that point. Me - I'm not there yet. I look at myself and I hate what I see. I feel disgusting. However, I am slowly making some changes and feeling pride in what I am doing. The body euphoria should follow! I am trying to let go of negative self talk. It does no good. I do want to get healthier and lose weight so I don't know that I can be happy with my body at this size. Mostly though I want a healthier body. I am on my way!

Eva @ Four Leaf Clover said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! After reading this post, I truly hope that one day (soon!) I'll be able to reach body euphoria as well. I'll work on it!

 
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