Wise Words from Alanis

It’s certainly public knowledge that singer Alanis Morissette–who penned one of the greatest break-up anthems of our generation (i.e., “You Oughta Know”) — hasn’t always had an ideal relationship with her body.

But in a new article in People magazine, Alanis says something so simple–yet so profound–that I just had to share it here:

I struggled with eating disorders, especially in my teens, but I’ve noticed when I treat my body like an instrument instead of an ornament, my relationship with food completely changes.”

Alanis, the ex-girlfriend of my lovah-though-he-doesn’t-know-it (i.e., Ryan Reynolds), is looking pretty slender these days following a very public weight gain after their break-up three years ago. She says she has turned to running as a means of warding off the depression that had plagued so much of her life, and has since run several marathons.

I can totally see what she’s saying. For me, exercise is the one thing that always, always, always makes me feel better. If I’m sad, stressed, angry, even happy … turning to exercise — so long as it’s not abused/excessive — is a much healthier solution than reaching for copious amounts of sugar.

Yet lately I’ve done a good job of balancing exercise (not working out too much, listening to my body when I was sick or needed a rest day) but I’ve been struggling with eating well … and have not been treating my body like an instrument at all … let alone an ornament.

Frankly, I’ve not been treating it, period! So you can imagine that I benefited enormously from reading Alanis’s wise words.

Anyway, with such a positive manner of viewing her body — as an instrument rather than an ornament (i.e., focusing on health and fitness –vs. just to look good for Hollywood’s expectations) it seems like she is really on the path to body acceptance … something we can all strive for — you oughta know.

How about you? What does her quote mean to you?


9 thoughts on “Wise Words from Alanis

  1. i appreciate the mantra she presents. i liken it to “my body is a temple” in a way i guess.

    however, i will say, EASIER SAID THAN DONE! 🙂

  2. I agree that it is hard not to focus on the “ornament” part of the body, partially b/c of the turn of how society sees beauty. Someone once told me that Hollywood actors and actresses make up less than 1/10 of the population, yet we see that as what the “norm” is. When you see magazine covers with women with size 4 (or even smaller) bodies, it makes you think that you’re the one on the outside, and it does send a wrong message. Ditto with it being easier said than done though. You truly have to have a self-confidence, and know that being healthy is a better goal than being beautiful.

  3. I saw that quote in Runner’s World too. It reminded me that even though my body may never look likethe perfect model body I’m beautiful for what my body can do.

  4. I read the same article and, while I’m encouraged by her attitude of respect for her body, I do think her lifestyle sounds a bit intense. She has lost quite a lot of weight and, since she has a history of eating disorders, this causes me to raise an eyebrow. I think finding a balance between healthy exercise/eating and obsessive exercise/eating is really hard. It is for me, at least, given that my relationship with my body has been unhealthy before. She seems very much at peace with her lifestyle and I have to remember that we’re all different. If she has switched to a vegan diet and decided to run marathons for healthy reasons, that’s GREAT. No matter what, it’s just good that she’s promoting listening to one’s body.

    1. I agree, Kim … she does look painfully thin and it’s hard not to raise eyebrows at it knowing her history. I actually initially had it written as “(a bit too) slender” but realized someone could take offense to that so I shied away from it.

  5. I like the concept of instrument over ornament and something I struggle with. In past years I have been too thin for my body for the sake of vanity even when my health suffered (period problems).

    I also think she is looking quite thin. She might be over-exercising. Exercise is great but as we know it can be taken to extremes. I read something a while ago about how many female runners suffer from ED’s and hide behind their running as a reason for their low weight. Especially those who run marathons.

  6. Psst! I made the Oreo balls this weekend! Froze them and I think we’re going to have them for dessert on Christmas night. We try to have a smaller dessert at Christmas because we’re all so full after, but these will be soooo good! Thanks again!

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