Book Review: Let go of body shame and find freedom with BODYPeace by Heather Waxman and Kasey Arena

Your thoughts BP BloggersI’m not really one of those people who’s into spiritual self-help books. When I’m perusing Amazon for new books to buy, I generally add inquisitive fiction, exposé-type nonfiction, continuing education texts and cookbooks to my cart. But as a freelance book editor, I’ve had the chance to read my fair share of self-help manuscripts — some good, some not so good. None have stuck with me or lead to make any of the major behavioural changes as promised on the cover of said books.

Until I actually did find a sense of freedom (and a whole lot more) with BODYPeace by Heather Waxman, a meditation expert and life coach, and Kasey Arena, a certified strength and conditioning coach.

BODYPeace is a 30-day self-help guide for women who experience body shame — particular those with disordered eating behaviors such as obsessive calorie counting and binge eating — let go of those behaviours and find inner peace.

The first part of the book focuses on how to recognize those behaviours (called “BODYshame” in the book), explains what might really be going on (most disordered eating behaviours are triggered by a past experience or deep-rooted psychiatric issue, such as anxiety, depression or OCD) and provides readers with a set of tools for how to manage them.

bodypeace front cover

Each day readers are asked to complete an exercise and record their experience in a journal or to share with the private BODYPeace group on Facebook. Exercises range from meditation and inner reflection to talking to yourself in the mirror and tapping.

Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking. This sounds all very non-scientific and woo woo. And my ego definitely piped up to tell me most of it was silly. Yet, deep down, it seemed to be just what I needed.

I wrote a few weeks ago about my discovery that my FitBit and MyFitnessPal apps were causing disordered eating behaviours. I would not have realized this if it weren’t for this book. Even though it’s clear to me I have anxiety, I thought it was something I could manage on my own with my only outlet of calm: running. But somehow, I turned something that’s supposed to be good for you into something that was doing more harm than good. I’ve since booked an appointment with a counsellor and have stopped tracking calories and exercise all together.

I had this whole disordered-eating thing realization on day three of the book. Once I stopped all the tracking, I felt totally lost and out of control. I posted in the Facebook group, asking what tools I could use to manage my anxiety now that I wasn’t managing it by tracking. Heather responded and told me just to be with what I was feeling, and to continue on with the exercises in the book. So I did.

I found the journalling, meditation and support from the Facebook group to be the most helpful. The women in the group are so supportive, sweet and helpful. I had several important questions answered during the meditations, which have left me with a sense of peace and trust. Anytime I’m feeling anxious or stressed, I check in with my inner self (or “soul sister” as the authors call it), and the feeling goes away. It’s incredibly calming.

eat to fuel

In the second part of the book, Kasey provides readers with healthy recipes and addresses “food fears”, such as restricting all carbs because you think it might make you gain weight. I don’t have a problem eating anything (except meat and processed crap), so this part of the book didn’t speak to me as much. The recipes all sound amazing, though — I will definitely be trying the black bean brownies!

BODYPeace also has it’s own website, where you can listen to guided meditations, learn how to tap, and follow along to workout videos. Though the book seems to aimed at women who exhibit food restriction and binge behaviours, those who are looking to improve their health will definitely benefit from both sections of the book.

Overall I really love this book and what Heather and Kasey are doing with the BODYPeace movement. I’m all for finding inner happiness and acceptance, and would recommend this book to any woman who’s not totally content in her own beautiful skin.

You can pick up the book from Amazon.

Disclosure: I was only compensated with a free PDF copy of the book for this review through a FitFluential campaign.