I truly look in the mirror so infrequently that I forgot I had Redmond Clay on some zits overnight, and I was halfway to the bus stop with my son before I realized I’d better turn around rather than socialize with other parents as they wondered why I had bright white dots on my face!
My life just gets too busy for vanity.
On the other hand, when I watched the videos I made recently for the GNOWFGLINS eCourse (I’m on the schedule for next week teaching a lesson on healthy snacking – you’re signed up, right???) I was horrified to discover that I look awfully girthy. I’m hoping the old thing about television adding 15 pounds is true, or maybe I need to shop for more flattering shirts? Most of my pants fit…
Suffice it to say that my relationship with my body image is typically “too busy to worry about it” lately. But I know that I’m probably in the minority for my gender, which is why Kate Wicker’s book, Weightless: Making Peace with your Body, will be such a godsend for people who really need to hear her message.
Kate is a young mother of four children who is on the other side of a battle with an eating disorder, and her book chronicles her daily struggle with body image, being “good enough,” and reminding herself that she is God’s daughter, created perfectly in His image.
Her voice of hope, I am sure, will be the voice calling to many who are struggling with negative body image and the vice of self-improvement. I enjoyed reading about her fervent parenting goals and how she chooses to share positive body image lessons with her young daughters.
As I was reading, my overarching thought was that this book is not for me.
Although everything Kate says is spot on, I’m just not at a place where I’m struggling with body image or self worth. I’m struggling with, “When do I find time to take a shower?” and “Hmmm, did I wear deodorant today? I can’t remember…”
However, the further I got into it, the more nuggets I found with which I could relate, since we all have the need to relate with our Creator appropriately, and sometimes I’m probably not up to par on behaving as a “blessed daughter of God.”
Kate’s style is engaging and peppered with personal stories (to keep keep tired mamas from falling asleep, ahem), yet the tone and messages are incredibly deep.
In a world where, as Kate quotes, “more than 30 percent of [college women] agreed that they would give up ten years of their life to be ten pounds thinner,” there are plenty of people who desperately need to hear the message of God’s love, acceptance, and perfect design. We real foodies know, of course, that those 30% and more who are dieting and doing the low-fat thing probably are trading in ten or more years of healthy living, unfortunately.
Part of Kate Wicker’s journey toward healing from her eating disorder involved learning: “We do not hunger because we lack food; we hunger because we lack God.” So many of us (Katie raises her hand) turn to food as therapy or solace, and even make it an idol – including healthy food. Kate Wicker’s Catholic faith is an integral part of her healing and is woven throughout the book. She reminds us that the Eucharist is the one meal we should never skip.
I think – although I can’t be sure – that a non-Catholic would still benefit immensely from Weightless. One who is open to or practicing the Catholic faith, however, will be particularly filled up.
The desire to look attractive, beautiful, goes beyond body shape and food. Kate’s chapter on “Real Beauty” reminds women: “Our beauty gives us power. We have the ability to capture the hearts of others, especially men. Let us attract people with our true beauty and dignity. All of our actions can either give glory to God or misrepresent his truth.”
The author herself feels most gorgeous just after she’s had a baby, a beautiful moment and a beautiful image. Kate directs the reader’s thoughts to the beauty of Mary, Mother of God, as the example of true inner beauty. It is my hope, and I’m sure hers as well, that even a non-Catholic could appreciate learning from and emulating such a wise, blessed woman.
There is also a chapter about the “Mom Bod,” which brings me to the qualification that Weightless really does speak to young mothers, or at least people who are old enough to imagine themselves a mother sometime soon. I think there are many excerpts that teenage girls should hear, but I don’t know that the book as a whole would be on the right level for an adolescent struggling with body image issues. There are just too many references to motherhood that would probably be beyond a girl’s reach. (The teenager’s mother, however, should probably have the book close at hand, since the following chapter is about raising children, girls especially, to have healthy body images. It is fantastic and full of wisdom.)
Some of my favorite pieces of advice from the chapter on raising girls include:
- Eat as a family; talk about your day and your faith at meals. Discuss healthy food choices, “real” food vs. factory-made food.
- Don’t make mealtime a battleground; teach children to listen to their bodies.
- Don’t tell young girls they’re “pretty” all the time; vary the ways you complement their physical appearance and performance.
- Don’t worry too much about clothes, beyond modesty.
As I’m talking about Real Food Weight Loss and Exercise this week, suddenly this book seems to fit perfectly with what people should be reading. I think Kate does an excellent job weaving stories with Scripture, Church teaching, her personal journey, and important life lessons. I also think that Weightless is not for everyone, but if you are a mother (or could imagine yourself as one) who struggles with body image and preferably a Catholic (or open-minded Christian), then you need this book.
Disclosure: Kate is a friend and colleague who blogs at katewicker.com, but knowing her and getting a review copy don’t change the fact that my opinion is my own.
Be sure to keep up on the Real Food Weight Loss series next week as we tackle exercise, the complementarity of men and women, sweetener-free popsicles for kids, and at least THREE different quinoa protein bar recipes! Everyone seems to have a different favorite, so I’ll share them all!
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
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