Women have always had a peculiar relationship with their bodies. Peculiar in the sense they are taught from an early age to obsess about it. From early pigtails and bobby socks to low-rise jeans and demi-bras. Not to mention the money put in to soften, color, and pluck every inch of our body if need be. No matter how much is done the satisfaction is short lived. It isn’t long until the next thing needs to be fixed; like the diet that will finally give the hour glass figure we are all destined to have. Not. Is any woman truly at peace with every inch of her body all of the time?
Marcia Germaine Hutchinson, Ed.D. spent 17 years teaching workshops on body image. This little handbook is one of the babies birthed from her work. As the name suggests, she provides 200 ways to love the body you have. These “tools” arouse the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and scent. Not only are you given a mental workout you’re required to involve yourself physically with breathing exercises, body movements, mediation, lots of visualizations and a whole lot of journaling
You’ll learn how your inner critic works and to recognize how your body responds to your emotions. If you’re familiar with yoga you might be familiar with some of the meditations; like grounding yourself by using tree imagery. Although the tools sometimes seem repetitive, they may have to be to get you to open to the ideas.
A really good one is number eleven, “Stop Comparing”. Basically Hutchinson recommends we stop checking out what others have physically that we don’t have, i.e. perky breasts, thin thighs; and look for opportunities to find likenesses with others.
154, titled Hungry for What, implies changing what we put in our mouths is as easy as making a list of alternative actions. If it were that easy wouldn’t there be less obese people? One or two border on corny but overall an interesting, quick and easy workbook.
Another quip I have was the constant directions to post results in a prominent location as a reminder. With this repeated recommendation there’d be no place for anything else, like say, family pictures.
This book is definitely for someone who can follow through every morning by getting up 15 minutes earlier, opening the book up anywhere and picking a tool at random. Tip: Leave a tiny post-it on the page so the next time you open the book there you know you’ve done it. Keep doing this until all the pages have a post-it. Then start again but this time removing the post-it for each one you work through.
Even though there isn’t a lot of text this is not necessarily an easy read. If you choose to work through the activities it forces you to come to terms with your feelings. It’s a good place to start if you want to work through some body issues and as Hutchinson says, “make a home in your body.”
Originally published 1/30/2005 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.