Last Friday night I had the honor of sitting next to the legendary Carol Munter at a dinner.
Carol, alongside Jane Hirschmann, co-authored the groundbreaking books, Overcoming Overeating and When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies. Meeting Carol….what an amazing experience!
For many at this dinner (which took place during the BEDA; Binge Eating Disorder Association Annual Conference), these groundbreaking books had significant meaning! They were the very first books we read that told us we were OK just the way were were; that we did not have to hate our bodies just because we did not look like models…and that we should STOP DIETING!
This is from the preface of When When Stop Hating Their Bodies.
What do you think would happen if women stopped hating their bodies? We would…
- learn to eat when, what, and how much our bodies need
- overcome our fear of not dieting
- look in the mirror and like what we see
- decode our fat talk to reveal our real concerns
- stop trying to measure up to society’s ridiculous and impossible standards of female beauty
- learn to accept ourselves–our bodies as well as our feelings–unconditionally
Nearly 20 years after these books were written, many of us still struggle to accomplish these goals. Too many of us, every day, all day long, still feel we don’t “fit in”— just because we are who we are and were born in the bodies we have!
Saturday night, at our gala, BEDA gave Carol and Jane (who was not able to attend), our “Pioneer Award” for their contributions to the cause. As she accepted the award, Carol was quite moved–even surprised that Jane’s and her words, written so long ago, had and still have such impact on those of us who have taken on this work today.
Carol spoke about how the non-diet movement began…about her life as a young woman in New York City in the 1960’s, about the beginnings of the modern day feminist movement and “consciousness raising” groups…and about how the movement to allow women’s bodies “to be” was born out of her discomfort in her own body. I was riveted by her stories of the past…and at the same time struck by how much more work still needs to be done in the present!
Today, how many women do you know who can say they feel comfortable in their own skin? Can you say that?
Carol Munter can. I wish I had a picture of her to share. I’m guessing she’s now approaching her mid 70’s, her clothes are flowing and dramatic. She wears large white eye glasses, big dangly earrings, and her huge nest of white/grey hair is so wonderfully messy on top of her head that you can’t even tell where it’s pinned up. In her speech, she spoke of how far she has come since those days when “consciousness raising” groups met in someone’s NYC living room.
My eyes welled up with gratitude and hope when she shared how she now starts every day of her life. Every morning she lovingly looks herself in the mirror and says, “Good Morning Sweetie! What are we going to do today?”
I’ve been doing the same every morning. I highly recommend it! Thank you Carol and Jane!
Listen to my interview with Jane Hirschmann about her latest book, Kids Carrots, and Candy, Exploring a Common Sense Approach to Feeding Children. Available inside our Members’ Circle.
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Immediate Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org