I hope you guys have been keeping up with all the great posts during the Body Image week at MyFavoriteAuthor! Personally, I’ve been so impressed by all of the posts. It was an eclectic group of writers — authors, bloggers, and commenters. Posts and comments have given me much to think about and for that I am very grateful.

First off, this is a reminder to report back on the challenge that was issued last week! Go to MyFavoriteAuthor and comment on the wrap up post there.. One (or more) winners will be chosen tomorrow from all the comments made today.

I did take the body image challenge and focused on simply saying “Thank You” in response to compliments. That was the most difficult for me — trying not to deflect compliments, or add a little snark at myself.
It also made me realize how often we do compliment one another about weight. Now I had a baby six months ago, and I am now getting back to my natural weight,* so I probably get more comments on my weight than the average person.
This made me think of when I lived in the Ivory Coast. There people would say, “Oh, tu a bien grossi,” when they saw you — “You’ve gained weight!” and meant in a positive sense. This was said even when my fellow Peace Corps volunteers were losing weight pounds per week as we adjusted to the new food and water. (we called it “involuntary bulimia — you develop an odd sense of humor when you’re in the Peace Corps.) We all thought it was funny that people would comment on each other’s weight like that. But then of course it hit us that in America we do the same thing. You run into someone you haven’t seen in a while and say, “You look great. Have you lost some weight?”

This of course says something about our culture — that every woman’s goal must be to be thinner — and something about Ivoirian culture, too, for that matter. I should say that I was not personally offended by being told I looked like I was losing weight, since most of the people who mentioned it are close friends, and know that I would like to get back to my pre-baby weight. Still, it did strike me as an odd thing to comment on. This is all a long, wind-about way to urge people to think about the compliments we do give. Instead of telling someone she looks thinner, why not tell someone she looks happy or peaceful or healthy? Why not tell someone he’s doing a good job?

So, although Body Image Week at MyFvorite Author is over, I am still going to work on simply saying, “Thank you,” — and on being more mindful of the compliments I give.

* Natural weight is something I read about when I was in high school: basically we each have a weight that we sort of naturally settle on. Overeating or not exercising can put us above it; dieting can get us below it, but eventually we’ll be back to that natural weight.
Body Image Challenge and My Rambling Thoughts

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