Saturday, April 23, 2011

Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time

Ever since discovering the Operation Beautiful website from Peter Hollen's a cappella cover of Lady Gaga's Born This Way, I was really curious about the corresponding book. It wasn't until after it went on sale that I decided to go for it; it seemed like a sign.

It came in on Thursday, and every spare second I got yesterday, I spent reading the book. The first two pages hooked me, for this simple reason: I saw myself in the author. As I kept reading the anecdotes by other women, I kept seeing a piece of myself in each and every one of them. The scary and reassuring part was that the women who suffered, or were suffering, from eating disorders, echoed some of my experiences and feelings, which was a bit of a wake-up call, too.

A coworker came by my cube when I was eating lunch and saw me reading the book. I explained to her what it was, and she was so touched by it that after relaying some of her feelings about herself--which echo mine and the women in the book--she hurried back to her desk to look it up for herself. That was something else that really touched me. It's one thing to read women who sound like they could be you; it's another thing altogether when it's a real life person, someone you know and work with on a daily basis, standing face to face with you and admitting her own body image issues.

There's also a lot of great advice in there for all women, regarding Fat Talk, fitness, food and diets (I love the Dietless Diet), eating disorders, how to raise children not to Fat Talk themselves, how to surround yourself with positive people who can help you with your body image issues, how Fat Talking is not only harmful to you but to other people, etc. Those are the sections I have flagged and will keep coming back to, because a lot of what is said is what I really need to hear, particularly "don't beat yourself up if you skip a workout."

One of the things I really love about this book is that not only is it about loving your body for what it is, and loving yourself for who you are, but it promotes healthy habits, too. It encourages exercise and healthy eating, but not for weight loss purposes at all! The focus in those chapters is not about being your ideal weight or reaching what the book calls the "Thin Ideal" or anything like that; the focus in those chapters is to have a healthier lifestyle and to help you feel even better about yourself.

This book will most likely get a few more rereads by me before next weekend. I definitely highly recommend it! Now, to get my apartment cleaned before my parents show up. Maybe it's high time I participate in Operation Beautiful for more than just myself. I wonder if I have any sticky notes around here somewhere...

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