I never worry about diets.
The only carrots that interest me
are the numbers on a diamond.
To eat, drink, and truly be merry through the holidays, can we please skirt the topic of weight, workouts and diets at festivities? I do my best by walking away or staying mum when this very popular ho-hum subject comes up. What could happen in 2016 if you chuck the weighing scale, keep active in whatever way is fun for you and just listen to your body–eat natural fresh food when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?
From Courtney Martin’s book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body:
Sex and food are the two most loaded issues of our time, the Pandora’s box of our culture, universal and forbidden simultaneously. We even use the same language when it comes to both: temptation, pleasure, crave. Just as we are surrounded by advertisements for food that we “shouldn’t” eat, invited to indulge because we deserve it, we are told, in the next thirty-second spot, that we should get back to the gym if we want to work off some guilt and make ourselves worthy of a bikini this summer. Sexual images are all around us, and pornography inaccessible at the touch of a button, but any teenage girl who wants to protect her reputation must exercise absolute restraint, wait for a committed relationship to explore her sexuality, and keep quiet about masturbation.
How can anyone, under these conditions, be expected to know her true desire? How can anyone navigate the dangerous terrain of reputation and expectation on the road toward her authentic sexuality? How can a woman excited about life emerge without hating the body that leads her into temptation?
After publishing The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker traveled the nation doing readings, book signings, and talking to fans. She reflects, “The best lesson I learned touring is that eery woman, no matter how heavy or how skinny, feels fat. When you’re thin, you’re never thin enough.” When I see some hot girl saunter down the street, I used to give her a dirty look, sure that she had a perfect life. Now I know better. I know that she may look different on the outside, but inside she feels the same way I do. Now, instead of a dirty look, I throw a little mini-vibe of compassion her way.”
This is the heart of the matter: A perfect girl can rule just as tyrannically, and a starving daughter can ache just as deeply, inside a thin body. Our dissatisfaction is never, at its deepest, about our bodies. This is why fat women and thin women often experience the world in similar ways. If a thin woman feels inadequate and “thinks fat,” she may endure less hate coming from the outside in than a fat woman but just as much criticism and sadness from the inside out. If a woman of any size is able to stop her negative self-talk and accept herself, she may experience the world with a little peace of mind.
Obsessing over every little thing we put in our mouths takes away our ability to control our own thoughts, our inalienable right to feel good about ourselves regardless of the size of our thighs. It takes away our time, our pleasure, our energy, our vision, our joy. We are not our bodies. Our souls are not our stomachs. Our brains are not our butts.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how well you’ll feed Santa at last. And have the merriest Ho-Ho-Ho!
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