Update: Response to the Full Membership Committee
I got some really fantastic support and advice to my recent entry about the questions I have been asked for the committee which I answer to in my last steps to becoming ordained as a United Methodist Deacon. Here are the answers I settled on, since I am sure some of you were curious:
How often do you engage in physical exercise lasting at least 30 minutes? What is that routine?
I make it a goal to go to the gym three times per week. I usually spend between 20-40 minutes on the elliptical, based on how much time I have and what my body is telling me I need. In addition, I sometimes add lap-swimming to this routine. I do not hold myself to a rigid exercise regimen, because I believe in trusting my body to let me know if I am getting too much or not enough exercise (it sure does tell me!) Additionally, my husband and I make our home in a densely populated urban neighborhood, where many errands and entertainment trips can be made on foot. I try to walk and/or ride the bus when possible, both for personal and ecological health.
How are your eating habits? If you are over/under the average weight for your age and body type, do you have a plan in the next year to move toward a more healthy weight?
Personally and professionally I am a Health At Every Size practitioner. My summary of HAES, which was developed by Dr. Linda Bacon, is that it is the radical belief that all people, regardless of size, deserve fundamental human respect and comprehensive, unbiased health care from providers. For me personally, it means that I trust my body to tell me what and how much food and movement I need, and intentionally refrain from the mentally unhealthy practice of trying to control the size and shape of my body (which is not something I can control). For me professionally, it means I do not make assumptions about my clients based on their body size or shape, including assumptions about physical health, mental illness, or emotional sophistication.
As a person who has spent a great deal of time and resources on recovering from disordered eating and the incredibly damaging cultural narrative that a woman’s body size and shape determines her health and worth, I must admit I am disappointed that weight (and eating and exercise, commonly—if problematically—associated with weight) is the primary indicator of physical health that this questionnaire focuses on. I take many steps that support my physical health, such as protecting sleep; brushing and flossing my teeth; getting regular exams by doctors, dentists, and optometrists (and following their recommendations); wearing my seat belt; investing in psychotherapy; regularly taking all prescribed medications; engaging in stress-reduction practices including stretching and massage; and more. None of these practices has caused—or probably ever will cause—me to lose weight. I am learning to make peace with and love my body for the sacred creation that it is, and it is my deep hope that my ecclesial body will be a support to me in that process, not a hindrance.