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March 3, 2011 / Katie

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.

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11 Comments

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  1. Emily / Mar 3 2011 5:33 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but I’m also a Christian woman and HAES supporter, and I think your answers do a wonderful job of explaining how the two support each other in terms of compassion, tolerance, and joyful openness and self-care. I hope the committee appreciates the thought you put into your answers and learns from them as well.

  2. Twistie / Mar 3 2011 6:10 pm

    (stands and applauds)

    Excellent answers!

  3. SoyShake / Mar 3 2011 6:24 pm

    Very articulate! I wonder if they’re going to give you any feedback on this?

  4. Living 400lbs / Mar 3 2011 6:55 pm

    Congratulations on being so forthright.

  5. meowser / Mar 3 2011 8:01 pm

    I love this. You handled it brilliantly.

  6. Living the Questions / Mar 3 2011 8:02 pm

    So marvelous. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  7. Chutti / Mar 3 2011 8:05 pm

    Yes- thanks for sharing this with us, and most especially putting yourself on the line in a really high stakes way. Your answers were articulate and elegant.
    I am inspired by your pairing of activism with your professional and spiritual endeavors.

    Kudos to you. It made a difference to ME, so I’m sure it will have impact on those who actually KNOW you.
    Way to model integrity!

  8. Bluefish Altar / Mar 3 2011 9:26 pm

    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.

    I wanted to see that again. That’s just exactly right. Wonderful answers!

  9. Carol Gwenn / Mar 4 2011 10:14 am

    Not to put TOO fine a point on it, but your responses to some rather intrusive questions truly show a Christian spirit: caring for what God gave you & not judging what He may have given to anyone else.

    I sincerely hope that your committee realizes that, along with the rest of your spiritual activities, your embrace of HAES is in the true Christian spirit.

  10. Jenna / Mar 4 2011 10:48 am

    AWESOME!!!!! very very classy response.

  11. GiniLiz / Mar 7 2011 8:14 pm

    I’m proud to call you a friend. This is such a great response!

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