Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On Women, Weight, and Why You Should Stop Talkin' Smack


Ladies: can we make a deal, please? No more talking about what we "shouldn't" be eating. Period. It's not cool and it's not empowering. Eat what makes you feel good. As much as you need. The rest will sort itself out. Your body knows what's up, yo!

Maybe that means beans and guacamole every day. Maybe that means apple pie for breakfast. Maybe that means uber-vegan. (For me, right now, that's what makes me feel good. Maybe not for you. All good.) Maybe that means tons of meat and greens. Maybe that means a donut every morning.

Whatever the case: stop it with the shackles already. Especially if you are a grown-up woman who considers herself autonomous, intelligent, and self-possessed.

In case you missed Gender Studies 101, eating is a primary battlefield upon which many of the greater dynamics of our lives are played out. When you're a 20- or 30- or 60-something woman whose primary energetic focus is still how many calories a day get consumed and what number the scale shows, that means most of your prana, your life force, is getting misdirected to a silly irrelevant cultural construct, a malleable pop culture standard, a farce.

Cut the crap (not the carbs). Choose to shift your attention and your energy. I personally (and consciously) don't choose to hang out with women who spend lots of precious breath talking about weight loss and calories and diets and all of that junk. I've got too many other big things to do and big places to go and big thoughts to think: What is God? What's the meaning of life, of my life, of yours? What did I do with that old copy of Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance? And how can I make a delish buttery gluten-free blackberry cobbler out of those berries from the bush up the hill?

Seriously, women. The best thing you can do for yourselves and your relationships and your art and your spirit is to chuck the negative food self-talk. Eat whatever the hell you want. Ironically, what I've discovered is, over time, when you feel completely allowed to eat anything you need to, you usually stop wanting the fast-food and processed Kit-Kats and junky-sugary stuff that isn't exactly life-giving. Once you practice — and yes, sometimes we're talking years of practicing — eating everything, you realize that greens are delicious and beans are amazing and hummus feels so much better than ice cream and a bigass salad leaves you feeling a million times richer than a huge box of cinnamon rolls.

It's all practice. It's never good, never bad. We employ that non-judgmental language of meditation (not good, not bad) to something like food, and it just becomes one more vast sweet lovingly-curious experiment in what our bodies want and need most, in what it feels like to be truly healthy and nourished and energized and well-fed. And the most empowering thing you can do is to learn to be tender with your body, to rest in compassion, to learn to give it exactly what it needs instead of punishing it or resisting it or making it do with less than it should.

(Who ever said there's power in shrinking? And why did you believe him?)

Weight, body shapes, numbers on scales and the values we attribute to them are absolutely culturally relative. Nourishment is what allows you to lead an expansive and fearless and wild and creative and passionate life. So chuck the restrictive language already. The best gift we can give the little girls in our lives is to never, ever, ever talk about what we "should" or "shouldn't" eat. Own your choices. Own your health. Let yourself be big. Let yourself be expansive. Let yourself take up space.

This life is short. We don't know how many days we get. Do you really want to spend them all counting calories?

How To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Body (HuffPost)

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: Don't talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don't say anything if she's lost weight. Don't say anything if she's gained weight.
If you think your daughter's body looks amazing, don't say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
"You look so healthy!" is a great one.
Or how about, "You're looking so strong."
"I can see how happy you are -- you're glowing."
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don't comment on other women's bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don't you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don't go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don't say, "I'm not eating carbs right now." Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that's a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you'll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn't absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don't need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom's recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It's easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don't. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.
This post originally appeared on hopeave.wordpress.com.

5 comments:

Jennifer said...

Read this while eating a half bag of salt & vinegar potato chips. Ahhhhh!

AshtangaYogaEcstaticAdventures said...

This is wonderful. Thank you.

Meredith Armstrong said...

Hah. I saw I wasn't the only one who ate a donut for breakfast! Amen, man.

Hey- I've been perusing Rookie mag for the past week or so... totally intrigued.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6osiBvQ-RRg
How cool is this girl? And what's this next generation going to be like...with the internet and all...I'm wondering..

Paula said...

Wonderfully said! This is something I really needed to hear. Thank you.

Heidi said...

What powerful words.