Lets talk about food. After all, everyone else is doing it. Every day a new blog post yes, like this one maybe, or a new news article. Go on Yahoo or MSNBC or CNN and surely there is a new article on food and health or fitness.
Now, most people who know me know that I work out and I eat well. Or maybe you don’t know that, maybe you just think I’m skinny and lucky and its magic. For the most part I don’t blog…or I haven’t blogged….about diet and fitness because I don’t want to seem like a know-it-all…because I don’t know-it-all. However, I do know enough.
Two things in particular have spurred this post. The first was this blog post about a cheerleader being “too chunky.” The second, was my trip to the grocery store.
All I did was buy two tubs of cool whip and 1 can of whipped cream…and about $40 of fruits and vegetables. But the lady cashing me out seemed utterly shocked that I would eat that, even noting that while my cool-whip was fat free, my whipped cream was not “the light kind.” OH. MY BAD. I tried to make light of it by explaining I enjoy the cool whip frozen with a tablespoon of nutella or peanut butter and I like the whipped cream on fruit and granola…it’s a texture thing. But instead of letting it go, she asked “How can you eat all that cool whip and stay so skinny?” She reminded me of the cashier last month who seemed shocked and almost appalled that the 6 bags of Cadbury mini chocolate eggs were not for easter baskets, they were in fact for me. Just. Me.
So these two incidents have brought two things to the forefront of my mind. First, our societal body hating…or hating on women’s bodies….and secondly, our food hating.
Let me be clear. I love both of those. I think women’s bodies are amazing. No, not gay (not that I care if anyone else is) but I appreciate the female form. And I am a foodie. 100%
Let’s start with our body hating. This most likely starts in middle and high school … peer pressures, mean kids, CosmoGirl and Seventeen Magazine telling us what is hot and cute and so that is what we aim for. For some people it is worse than others. When I was in high school I had a notebook where I kept track of every single thing I ate and the calorie count. I had attachments printed out for the nutrition/calorie count for every fast food restaurant around as well as fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses for quick reference. I tried to keep my calories under 1200. I was swimming anywhere from 2-5 hours a day. Some days for lunch I would have just an apple and a red bull. I had all of these negative connotations of body weight and obesity and what was attractive. Instead of fully appreciating my body for what it could do for me (I had broad strong shoulders that were quite lovely looking back on it and a great 100fly time) I just wanted my hip bones to stick out more. That was my favorite part of my body…my protruding hip bones.
I thank swimming for keeping me healthy. When you are working out as much as I was, I couldn’t truly stop eating. Although, I remember one trip to Disney where I ate half of a salad for two of the days… it was something I tried to hide because even as I did it, I knew it was wrong. I never really hated my body in high school…but I certainly didn’t love it like I should have. Like I wish I could tell any girl in high school now to.
Then I went to college. And I gained almost 15 lbs. Holy. Shit. But you know what? I wasn’t too uncomfortable with myself. I went to a school of mostly guys, and even at my heaviest, I was never truly that big. My boobs got huge, and I completely embraced that! It wasn’t until I came home that I began to become more self conscious. And then those bikini pictures. I think I have deleted them all now. Self. Body. Hate. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be comfortable…but it seemed like people around me didn’t. You know what I did? I stopped weighing myself. And then I started working out differently. Because working out has never been a fight for me. It has been a release and a pleasure. I have been “working out” since I was 8 months old when I first started swimming. And so I stopped worrying about others and I began focusing on myself and getting back to me, and I started to feel better…and lose weight.
I will mention, it was also at this point that I became gluten intolerant….in a world that didn’t know what gluten was yet. I won’t lie. Cutting out wheat and processed foods certainly helped me get back in shape. As did finding crossfit through my then boyfriend. I was already psychotically aware of food and calories but I now became more aware of food and NUTRITION. Where I could get proper grains, where I could get the vitamins and minerals I needed, and what foods would help with what parts of my body and mind. The healthier I ate, the better I felt, the more I worked out, the happier I was. And for the first time, I loved my body for its strength, not for its size.
I am so tired of “do this to lose 10lbs” articles. Even as I type this, I have an email from WOMENS HEALTH telling me how I can “look better in jeans, lingerie, and naked…in 6 weeks.” This is why we hate our bodies, and other peoples bodies. Health it not about a number, it is about a feeling and mentality and for me, strength.
Fuck you Women’s Health. If you aren’t confident in who you are and what you bring to the table, nothing is going to make you think you “look better naked” or in lingerie. I think I look damn fine in either of those, but that is because of how I feel on the inside. Scoff all you want, but when I am truly happy inside, my weight and size that day doesn’t matter – I think I look great in whatever I want.
|These claims are bullshit.|
Articles like the one I posted above about the cheerleader are what is wrong with us. Why do we need people to be insecure about their bodies? Why do we need to dictate what is ideal or healthy for everyone else? Maybe she doesn’t have a six pack…but maybe she can run marathons faster than most. And I can sure as heck promise she is a lot more flexible than most people. My last fitness test, I measured a 26.5” waist. I know some people will tell me they would kill to have that. Or maybe some people would say it should be a 24” waist. I’m more proud that I knocked out 64 pushups in one minute. The “max” for girls is only 48. I did 64 pushups in 60 seconds. And I was elated. I want to be strong and I want to be healthy and so that is what I focus on, and I am “skinny” as some will say.
I weigh what I did in high school. My body stays at 127. Woah. Just put my weight on the internet. Mind. Blown. My body is happy here and it doesn’t care what my mind thinks. That is what I have learned. When I get sick and lose weight, I will bounce back to 127 within a week. I may hover at 125 here and there, and when I was training for my half iron man I was at 120, but I do much more weightlifting than cardio now, and I am the same as I was when I did 4 hours of cardio every day in high school. I have accepted my body. I love it. And I ignore those “lose 10lbs in a week” ads. Instead, I’m off looking for the next “start benching more weight” or “how to get those extra pull ups” “how to run a little faster.” … I wish that Cosmo would print more of those…
|yup. still me.|
And about my diet. Everyone asks how I can eat what I eat and look how I do. I’m not going to pretend I sit here eating oreos and don’t gain weight. I don’t eat anything with wheat. I haven’t had a fast food hamburger since 6th grade. I do eat their French fries though. I spent over a year as mostly Vegan and even now I am probably 80% vegan. I eat fish, and sometimes cheese. I don’t deprive myself of things I want. Now you’re thinking – YES YOU DO! YOU DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF MEAT (so to speak…) But I don’t…I honestly just don’t crave those things, and so I don’t worry about eating them just to say I do. I didn’t feel bad when I ate that candied bacon I made with my Valentine’s day meal. I don’t feel bad when I eat crème brulee. I also don’t regularly crave sweets. When I get stressed I would rather eat an avocado than M&Ms. I eat about 5 avocados a week. Honest truth. I’m not thinking about the calories or fat in them, I am thinking about how delicious they are and how GOOD they are FOR me. I love fruits and vegetables. To a certain extent, this is because of how I was raised, but also because of how I have trained and educated myself. I watch documentaries like “Forks over Knives” and “Vegucated” and “Super Size Me” and I read books like “Omnivores Dilemma” and “Eat to Run”. I pay attention to how I feel when I eat and how my food makes me feel. I am always learning more. So yes, I enjoy going to Vegan restaurants, I like eating “Raw” at some places. I also like going to View and getting a glass of wine and sharing a cheese plate, or BJ’s for gluten free pizza and a martini. If I really wanted a steak, I would get one. If I want to open a bag of dark chocolate drizzled popcorn right after I get home from dinner, I will. So I do what I want…but what I want rarely includes eating a dozen cookies and a tub of ice cream. I feel sad when people won’t try something because of the calories or fat or carbs. I love carbs. When I find a restaurant that serves gluten free pasta, I do not order a salad. I freaking celebrate and order pasta! I’m mean without carbs! I am not scared to go to a 4 star restaurant and order whatever I want (gluten excluded) in order to enjoy the experience, and no one else should be either. Moderation is the only rule. And even that one can be broken every now and then…
So yes, judgmental lady at grocery story. I am going to eat all of those chocolate easter eggs. But it will probably take me 6 -8 months to eat those 6 bags. And yes, I may sit and eat half a tub of cool whip with a tablespoon or two of nutella, but I am also going to have a salad with spinach, beets, chia seeds, red bell pepper, strawberries, avocado, and balsamic dressing. And yes, I wear a size 2, but I can also put some serious weight on the squat rack and do Murph WOD in 50 minutes (yes, those 100 pull ups are assisted…not that bad ass yet….yet…)
So stop food hating and judging and body hating. Don’t look at the “skinny” girl eating ice cream and think how lucky she is, think more about what arm work out she does to get such nice looking biceps. Don’t say the woman is too chubby to be a cheerleader, commend her on her strength and flexibility and comfort in her own skin. Because really, if we were all comfortable in our own skin, we would care a whole lot less about everyone else in theirs.
I could talk about these issues forever. and maybe I will start. Keep in mind this is only one person’s opinion….and I am open to hearing from everyone!