Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shut Your Fat Mouth 2

There is so much information about food--what are considered good and bad foods, whether to eat organic, local, vegetarian, vegan, high protein, low protein, low carb, no carb, low fat, no fat--the list goes on and on and even though you can't swallow anything whole, sometimes, more often than not, it's unnerving to know where to take a bite and how big it should be.

Along with the overwhelming amount of (mis)information about food, there is also the onslaught of weight-loss tactics, because, god forbid we are not obsessed and unsatisfied with our weight. Obesity epidemic sounds so alarming, the media has become very good at sensationalizing any and everything, especially when it comes to food and weight.  I was compelled to write this piece after waking up and reading this article from The New York Times. Also untrue, Dr. Mozaffarian said, is the food industry’s claim that there’s no such thing as a bad food.  "There are good foods and bad foods, and the advice should be to eat the good foods more and the bad foods less,” he said. “The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.”

And why not eat what you want?

One major issue I have is the fact that eating whatever you want is written negatively; the insinuation being that if you do not fit the acceptable mold and are considered overweight or even obese, that means you only eat unhealthy, processed, high in fat foods.  It gives a false notion that health has only one particular look, which in turn affects how we interact with people who don't fit this acceptable body image.  The assumption that if you are small or thin automatically means you're healthy is condescending and not true. 

This obsession with somehow being able to obtain the "perfect" ie, unrealistic idealized body has severely altered how we function from day to day, creating serious problems with our relationship with food; detracting from the real food issues, like what is being done to our foods before it makes it to the market shelves, how many chemicals are we unknowingly digesting, what are the animals being fed before slaughter, etc...

In an earlier blog Shut Your Fat Mouth, I mentioned joining Golda, founder of Body Love Wellness, and am participating in a four month long group.  One of the first things I started thinking about through a session, was how often do women get together and talk about things they like about themselves?  An assignment to write TEN things I like about my body had me at a loss completely only half of the list the first few times I tried to write it.  I am so used to constantly criticizing and scrutinizing every inch of myself, that the notion of celebrating parts of myself, especially physically, seemed foreign to me.  Ever since I was a teenager, being unsatisfied thus always striving to lose weight, whether it be five or fifty pounds, having body acceptance and thinking positively about how I look grew more and more distant.  This is part of my process trying to reclaim my body as my own.  This is not an easy task due to the continued lack of respect for anyone who is considered "plus-size" and I know many women who fall under this category, as well as "normal weight" women, and "under weight" women, who struggle with body acceptance.

After several attempts and about a month plus of time, here is my list:

1. I have full lips
(From riotsnotdiets.com)

2. My eyelashes are naturally really long and curled. I've never had to use an eyelash curler, and always get complimented on them. (So, of course I love mascara!)
3. I am coming to love my fine hair that is naturally wavy so it can be worn straight (as long as it's not humid!) or wavy or curly.
4. I have nice fingernails that I love to paint different colors.
5. My skin takes well to ink and I love body modifications like piercings and tattoos and sport them proudly.
6. I have a big butt (no matter what size I wear) and I love it.
7. I've never wanted a nose job. It suits my fact quite nice.
8. I have straight teeth and have never had braces or a retainer!
9. My senses are great and am learning to listen to my internal intuition concerning various aspects of my life.
10. I love my cleavage! I love my boobs, even though at times I get scared I will get cancer like my mother, or my back hurts because they are large and heavy to constantly carry, but babies fall asleep in my arms because I've got the pillows ;o)

Tamara de Lempicka. (1898 -1980)

Here are a few great websites and blogs: http://riotsnotdiets.com/, http://fuckyeahchubbygirls.tumblr.com/, http://redefiningbodyimage.tumblr.com/, http://adipositivity.com/.  Personally, I'm not a fan of the term fat-positive because the word fat is heavy with negative connotations, and I believe creating a culture and language where no woman is excluded, that it is not only "over-weight" women who struggle to accept their bodies, that it is all women who are bombarded with the same images, where a woman who weighs 120 lbs, 180 lbs, 250 lbs can have the same negative thoughts and behaviors concerning her body.  I have never been one of those "under-weight" women--I can swim a mile plus, bike 40 miles plus, lift weights, run on an elliptical for an hour + and do yoga--so I tend to speak from the curvy, voluptuous, junk-in-the-trunk side of things.

"You are not a body, but a heart, a mind, a soul. These are yours and no one can take them from you." ~Kathryn Harrison

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