Be comfortable in your genes…and jeans.

Julie Dillon

[Note: This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Those who know me well, know that I am an anti-diet zealot so you are not surprised by this post. Please read the following message from your local RD that I submitted to the N&R…I hope you get something out of it whether it is for you or someone you know. Cheers!]

Everyday we see and hear messages dictating what size we should be. Countless people punish themselves when their body types do not fit into the thin ideal. Many of us hold on to a pair of “skinny jeans” in hopes they will fit someday. Part of the shameful self punishment includes unhealthy fad diets or even starvation to try to meet society’s skinny standards. These diets promise failure and usually more weight instability. Instead of continuing the cycle this week, celebrate National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Here are a few ways to be a part of the festivities:

• Realize much of your body type is determined by genes passed on from your parents. Stop putting your body down because it may not mimic the thin ideal. Realize we are diverse creatures and thus we are diverse in size.

• Do not regard your food choices as degrees of moral failures. Food can be enjoyable and that is okay. Like body shapes, food should not be regarded as good and bad.

• Be good to your body. Allow yourself to eat when you feel hunger. Stop when your hunger goes away. Do not judge your hunger as a dishonorable signal from your brain. Trust yourself and do not try to trick it. You are receiving it because your body needs the fuel.

• Participate in movements that are fun for you. Do not feel like you have to exercise on the hamster wheel of treadmills or machines (unless you enjoy them). Instead, find activities and clubs that allow you to move your body in a way that is fun and healthy not punishment.

It is normal to struggle with accepting your natural shape. We live in a world where it is tough to escape this pressure. Support each other by recognizing the beauty among the differences. Support yourself by donating your “skinny jeans” to a charity clothing drive. Those jeans are really not your genes. Find some jeans that fit and, therefore, demonstrate the beauty of the genes only you can call your own.

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