In this Instagram and Facebook age, there can be a lot pressure to look beautiful, or guilt from how we look. And the prevalence of eating disorders continues to rise.
It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men:
- One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
- Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
- Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder
- An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
But historically, women were admired if they were round bodied. In the 1890s, the sex symbol was ‘American Beauty’ Lillian Russell, who at her peak weighed just over 200 pounds! For most of history, fatness was the epitome of sexiness as well as representing fertility.
Think of some women that you have found "beautiful" in your personal lives. What do they look like? Are they thin? Do they have perfect features? How do they carry themselves? What is their character? What makes them beautiful in your eyes?
The average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 145 pounds. Over 50 percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger.
But what about the health issues of fatness? It is interesting to note, that in cultures where fat is considered beautiful--the health problems normally associated with fatness do not exist. Another interesting thing to note, is that moderately fat women can have fewer health problems. They have a lower incidence of death from some forms of cancer. They are less likely to get emphysema than thin people. They have fewer menopausal symptoms because estrogen is stored in fat cells, have fewer wrinkles and more youthful skin. They also have less osteoporosis because carrying weight around strengthens the bones.
It's important to realize that self-acceptance and self-esteem are the keys to beauty, not an imaginary ideal of what you "should be." Have you ever avoided going after something you wanted because you did not feel you looked good enough? Have you ever postponed doing something because you were waiting to lose weight? These are sure signs that you are not satisfied with the way you look. They are also indicators of low self-esteem.
Having self-esteem and liking the way you look revolve around each other in a reinforcing circle. Women who are comfortable and satisfied with their looks radiate attractiveness.
So, how do we learn to be self-accepting and believe in our own innate beauty? We need to learn to view our bodies in a more realistic and loving way. If we could lose our fear of fat . . . just think of the power we could gain! All that time and energy spent on trying to get or stay thin, or thinner, could then be ours to use as we wish. Instead of shrinking and constricting ourselves, we could expand our horizons, enlarge our expectations, amplify our power, and widen our impact.
Let's make friends with our bodies! Love yourself. There's only one of you. Maintain a mental image of yourself as a uniquely beautiful soul. Promise yourself you will never again avoid anyone or anything because you think you are too fat! Accept yourself NOW!
And enjoy this little poem…
Homage To My Hips - by Lucille Clifton
these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in
they don't fit into little
pretty places. These hips
are free hips.
They don't like to be held back.
These hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
These hips are magic hips.
I have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
Join Swami Atmarupa for the Women of Substance Workshop October 1, 2016 and fall in love with your body!