I was given the incredible honor of speaking at and participating in the first ever Body Love Conference in Tucson, Arizona on April 5th. As a mental health professional and advocate for self-love, the body love mission is near and dear to my heart. Since I’ve come out on the other side of an eating disorder and experienced incredible changes with my own body thanks to both recovery and motherhood, I know the body love journey can be a hard one and it brought me a huge amount of joy to be surrounded by women on a body love mission with me, regardless of where they were on their own scale of self-love.
I met some of my blogging idols as well as some friends I’ve always wanted to embrace in real life. I got to rest my head on the bosom of the amazing World Famous *BOB* (although I think everyone else did too!) and spoke to a room full of women (and one man!) about eating disorders; where they come from and how we can help them go away.
I am so proud of the women who put this thing together. There were 400 conference attendees and the event went off so smoothly, no one would have guessed it was its first year. The day was packed to the brim with presentations on sex for curvy girls, reclaiming body trust, abolishing the “thin white ideal,” boudoir photography, and so much more! It closed with a Burlesque review which was the icing on the ‘we’re not counting calories, body love cake,’ right Jes? It’s a thing…. Or it will be…
I waffled on the decision to post a reaction to my experience at The Body Love Conference and then I got a troll comment on my blog post Fat Does Not Equal Weak and knew I had to respond somehow. Since I have a pretty strict ‘No Feeding the Trolls’ policy, I’m here, embracing my heavy, beautiful body as a result of hard work on my journey to self-love. You don’t have to engage with the troll either, just know that he thinks I’m fat because I have no willpower and we’re all just making excuses for being lazy.
One of my points in my workshop on eating disorders was that we’re each given a set amount of “self-control” or “will power” to work with. Study of the brain tells us that this differs in each of us based on a vast number of factors but that the bottom line remains true, you only have so much of it and once you’ve reached your limit, something’s gonna give.
It takes a lot of will power to meticulously measure portions of food while counting calories and food groups. You know what else takes a lot of will power? Not screaming curse words at your kid when they’re making you crazy, waking up seven times a night and then completely defying your every wish during the day. What else? Maintaining a ridiculously happy marriage (with lots of awesome sex) during early parenthood years with 2 under 2 and a million other stresses and obstacles. As it turns out, I have a great deal of self control and will power, I’m just using for things that are actually healthy, both physically and emotionally, so there’s none left to reintegrate DISORDERED EATING into my life. Bottom line: Fuck you, troll. You’re an asshole who didn’t get the whole point of the post, obviously.
In the presentation from Be Nourished on Body Trust, it was so clearly stated, “We prescribe the same lifestyle for the overweight that we try to eliminate in those with eating disorders.”
When people want to lose weight, we tell them to use their will power to cut food groups, reduce calories, avoid pleasure, and increase self-hatred since they’re obviously unacceptable the way they are.
Welcome to the world of body love where it’s perfectly acceptable to love the body you’re in right now, whether you’d like to make some changes to it or not.
No healthy body came from a place of shame and self-loathing and The Body Love Conference completely drove that point home to every person there that day. I cannot express how much love I have for the leaders of this movement and how ecstatic I am to be a small part of it.
Love your bodies, ladies! Life is too short to use your will power for anything that doesn’t make you stronger, happier, and more joyful!