Data. Facts. Support.
One of the reasons I left the “Something Fishy” website (referred to earlier in the “Closure” post by Angry Gray Rainbows) was because I was constantly challenged on my beliefs.
My “beliefs” have stemmed from reading two books by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter. The books are, “Overcoming Overeating” and “When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies”. These books have changed my life. They’ve completely changed my perception of most things and jump started my recovery in ways I would never have been able to without them. These two books are what led me to intuitive eating and trusting my body for it’s needs. I see my eating disorder for what it is…a survival mechanism. From these books I’ve also learned the most vital belief I have now, acceptance of who I am right now.
One of the challenges I would face on SF was fellow posters asking me if the principles of “Overcoming Overeating”, “When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies” and intuitive eating worked. They wanted data. There was a catch. They didn’t want to know if those things worked the way they were intended, they wanted to know if by living by these principles they would lose weight. In the books by Hirschmann and Munter, they clearly state throughout the books that this is not a “quick fix”; that it could take weeks, months or years to come to terms with your body (generally dependent on how long you’ve used food to survive/cope).
These challenges didn’t escape me…I knew what I wanted to say but it seemed that every time I mentioned intuitive eating I was further challenged. It was like the posters were trying to save me from myself and they wanted me to believe as they did because their way was right. The others on that site had resigned to the fact that they would have to diet to be happy with their lives. For some it was the “last piece of the recovery puzzle” so to speak. They felt they had conquered their emotional issues and now it was time to lose weight. The obsessive need (secret want) to lose weight was the emotional issue they needed most to conquer yet that was the biggest thing they were trying to accomplish– weight loss. I wanted so desperately to share with them the liberating feeling I have felt of late…the feeling of true acceptance of myself. I just couldn’t put together the words that I needed to, to be able to express how I felt. It was so frustrating to have such a strong belief only to have it squashed every time I tried to post about it.
I retreated back to my books to do some reviewing…not to prove to myself they were what I believed but to feel supported when I felt beat down. The other night I read something in ”When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies” that said everything I wish I had said at SF. Here is what they wrote:
We are often asked for ”good, hard data” to validate our work. “How do we know that your approach really works?” professional and laypeople alike ask. “We know all about the evidence against diets,” they said, “but where is the evidence that you are any more successful?” And the inevitable one: “How about some statistics to show that your approach really does cure compulsive eating?”
More interesting than these questions (or our answers to them) is the bigger question of what people are really asking for when they ask for “good, hard data.” The fact is, the information they really want in order to determine whether or not we are successful is information about weight. Do people who use our approach lose weight? Do they keep their weight off? Do the gain weight?
Questions like these are reasonable when asking whether or not a diet is successful, because the promise of a diet is that you will lose weight. Indeed, most diets fulfill that promise for a while, but most women who “succeed” at the traditional diets never touch upon their painful obsession with food and weight.
The goal of our program is to liberate those of you who have a spent a lifetime hating your bodies and feeling tortured by your compulsive relationship with food. We do not judge our success by the numbers on your scale, but by the extent to which you accept yourself. We do not judge our success by the willpower you call into play in your efforts to avoid the foods you crave, but by the degree of comfort you feel around food and by the extent to which you are able to think about your problems rather than eat about them. Many of the women who meet our standards of success lose weight as well. Their weight loss, however is a by-product of our approach — it is not the goal.
- from “When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies” by Jane R. Hirschmann & Carol H. Munter in the chapter entitled A Final Word
My data to validate that the principles laid out by Hirschmann and Munter work? Here’s my data:
- I go to a gym and workout and I don’t care what anyone thinks of my full and round body. I would’ve never stepped foot in a gym a year ago.
- I dress in clothing that is comfortable and cute. I don’t care what people say about what I’m wearing. I’m worth the feelings of comfort.
- I go places with my head held high and a feeling of pride. I don’t walk into restaurants looking at the floor anymore.
- I eat wonderful yummy foods based on what I’m hungry food, not based on calories, and I don’t care who sees me eat it.
- I don’t talk about diets anymore around my girlfriends and co-workers and if they start that kind of conversation, I avert them to something else.
- I snuggle and cuddle with my husband and he doesn’t shun me! He never shunned me but it’s funny what low self-esteem can have you imagining.
There’s my good hard data!!