The “E” Word – ( Exercise ) and Divorce

The “E” Word – ( Exercise ) and Divorce


“There are three billion women who don’t look like super models and only eight who do.” — Ad for The Body Shop

The quote above was taken from a chapter in a book by Geneen Roth entitled When You Eat in Front of the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair.  This is a funny book about a serious topic … how we translate our body image into completely inappropriate behaviors like binging and purging, constant dieting, obsession with food and  a constant discontent about how we look.  Ms. Roth’s book’s subtitle is 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But).

During a divorce, especially a midlife divorce, the normal reaction is to feel “not enough.”  During the early stages of my own journey, I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, sexy enough or spiritual enough.  I felt fat and ugly and dumb. (Remember this — I am not fat. I am just within all of the tables of acceptable weight.  I am a normal middle-aged woman)

In Geneen’s book she talks about the “E” word.  She first decided that she would not use the “E” word in her book, because women with eating issues said not to.  They mostly a told her that they didn’t like the forced, “whip yourself into shape” mentality of treadmill running that reminds some of us of a hamster cage torture machine.  They told her that berating them and prodding them made them feel like they weren’t good enough.

So she changed her tactics. In her workshops she gets women to think, instead, about their amazing bodies, no matter what the size.  She points out that “when we are not moving our bodies we are depriving ourselves of knowing our own loveliness.”

Look at children.  They run everywhere.  They do cartwheels.  They climb trees.  They intuitively understand that we are marvelously made, and we are made to move!  We aren’t made to sit and stagnate on the couch.  You can’t truly appreciate who you are until you use that body you have been blessed with to walk proud, to be fit and strong.

Go ahead!  Turn up the music and dance in your kitchen.  Find something fun and physical to do.  Get outside and walk around the block at lunch.  Walk your dog when you get home from work.  Do whatever pleases you with your magnificent body.  Don’t strap yourself to a treadmill if you don’t want to.  Don’t beat yourself up for not following through on your “get-this-fat-ugly-body-in-shape-resolutions.”

Simply take pleasure in moving your body as often as you can, as fast as you can for as long as you can.  Before you know it, you will be strong and powerful physically, and your emotional and spiritual selves will thank you, too.  They are all partners.  Body and soul are made to play and dance and skip, and it’s hard for one to do those things without the other.”  Celebrate your wonderful, amazing body every way you can today!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14  (NIV)

About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.

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