I am so excited to share a post from Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author of Body Kindness. Body Kindness has been one of my go-to gift books this year and I was thrilled when Rebecca agreed to sharing her thoughts here as well as provide a book for a book giveaway!
By way of quick background, Rebecca is an award-winning registered dietitian, certified health and fitness specialist. Lauded by The New York Times Book Review as “Simple and True,” and called “a rousing guide to better health” by Publisher’s Weekly, Body Kindness helps readers create a healthy, happy life with mindful decision-making and choices that fit their interests. Now, enjoy this wisdom from Rebecca and details for the book giveaway!
I dedicated my first book, Body Kindness, to my daughters, Audrey – age 4 and Isla – age 2 and this was my wish for them: “May you always see the beauty in being good to yourself.” I want them to understand that it’s not our appearance that makes us beautiful, it’s in the kindness we give ourselves each and every day.
Our culture has it all wrong when it comes to beauty. With images of unattainable ‘ideal’ beauty bombarding us daily, we are taught that the most worthy thing we can do is to put all our energy into trying to “fix” our appearance. Weight loss is usually at the top of the list. I believe treating yourself with kindness and compassion is beautiful and weight is just a number. Weight should not be used as a label to define who you are as a person or the value you bring to the world.
The diet and beauty cultures are designed to always leave us feeling not worthy enough, so most of us mistakenly associate weight and shape as evidence of good health. We spend our hard earned money trying to correct our “problems”. From beautifying our skin with abrasive chemicals to going to any measure possible to lose weight. We are the victims of beauty ideals and the diet culture that teaches us to believe that our bodies are problems in the first place. Our bodies are not problems. Diet culture is.
As a nutrition and fitness expert, I strive to help people become truly well (mind and body) by establishing self-care habits they feel really good about. There are a lot of great things that come from eating nutritious foods, exercising in ways that feel good to your body, and making time for good sleep to tie it all together. But there is such thing as overthinking it and expecting perfection — perfect behavior, perfect body — and then criticizing yourself when you don’t measure up. That’s a trap! Be aware of it and carve out a kind, compassionate path to better habits.
You can opt out of diet culture and be good to your body at the same time. That’s where happiness and health converge. Over the years I’ve learned that real beauty isn’t found in any particular size, but it can be found in every size. You can be healthy and beautiful with cellulite, thick thighs, junk in the trunk, or virtually any body shape. Emotional health is an equal part of the equation.
The beautiful truth I strive to show my daughters every day is the power within us all to make the very personal choice to be good to ourselves. But I didn’t always see this truth. In fact, I dieted most of my life and I was one of those body-shaming experts who put people on diets. All that time, I was a pawn in the diet culture that created me. Now I cringe at the harm I undoubtedly caused people thinking I was being helpful. I’m well aware that the majority of health experts are out there acting like the “old” me. Unfollow them. Unfollow anyone whose mission involves your body oppression, not your liberation.
Eventually, I hit a diet “rock bottom” and I gave up dieting and changed my values. I now support the Health at Every Size principles that encourage respectful care and weight inclusivity (duh, I know!) Everything I do, whether it’s engaging readers in Body Kindness, sharing people’s stories through videos, or conversations on my podcasts, my mission is to dismantle diet culture in the hopes of my girls and future generations are empowered to invest in things they actual need and want, rather than live a life of always feeling not good enough and overspending on needless crap.
We can choose to realize that beauty is not defined by weight or size and together we can be leaders for our daughters and anyone we influence. Imagine the good we can create in our world if we help others find the beauty in being good to themselves (and resist and reject anything else telling them they’re inadequate).
Want to win a copy of Body Kindness? Enter my giveaway by sharing one way that you practice (or wish) to practice body kindness with yourself by Friday, May 12th at 5 pm EST.