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How To Maximize Your Chances to Have Good Body Experiences

by Carol Coven Grannick and Judith Matz

What are some of the ways you can lay the groundwork for good body experiences? Here are some ideas:

  • Find others who have stopped dieting and are moving toward loving their bodies as they are now. If no Overcoming Overeating group exists in your area, consider starting one. Put up some flyers or take out an inexpensive ad in a local paper seeking women in the area who would be interested in meeting to discuss body hatred and nondieting. (You may also wish to post a listing in our Support Group Directory.)
  • Read and support magazines such as Radiance and Big Beautiful Woman. Send for catalogues that offer clothing in a wide variety of styles, colors, and sizes modeled by people of all sizes. Find clothing stores designed with you in mind. Feeling comfortable and attractive in your clothes, whether jeans or an elegant silk dress, sets the stage for good body experiences.

  • Seek out activities that promote or support size acceptance and diversity, whether those activities are political, social, therapeutic, or intellectual. For example, join NAAFA; read books on size acceptance; spend lots of time in museums with paintings of wonderful bodies; spend even more time with any friends who seem free from size hang-ups.

  • Notice size diversity in all areas of life. Look for women who are self-assured, successful, full of pride and beauty, and do not meet society's ideal for body size. Admire them and become one of them! The Botero sculpture exhibit in Chicago this summer was an exciting opportunity for women to enjoy the beauty of large, strong bodies standing out in the blazing sun on Michigan Avenue—"right out there," as one woman said. Groups of women who are working with the Overcoming Overeating approach visited, photographed one another, and collected lots of validating, good body feelings. Look for photos of Botero sculptures in your local library. As one non-fat-phobic child commented as he and a friend danced their way through, around, and under the sculptures, "These are luscious!"

  • Change or avoid conversations that focus on dieting and size discrimination/body hatred. In addition to provoking bad body thoughts, lots of you have told us that these kinds of conversations are increasingly boring.

  • Experiment with moving in any way that feels comfortable to you. Experience the pleasure of moving without the pressure of "exercise."
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