Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
My very dear friend Katy is well aware that I have a magazine addiction. So when she was at a flee market this summer and saw three Cosmopolitan Magazines from 1939, she instantly bought them and delivered them to me as a gift (yes, Katy is incredible). I cannot stop flipping through these magazines! Every page is an awesome experience. From news about Hitler's supposed downfall to Pabst Blue Ribbon and Camel Advertisements to relationship advice to ads about gaining weight in order to become more attractive, these publications seem foreign compared to today's women's mags. One article titled, "What America is Thinking: War, Unemployment, Politics," is the only article I read that could maybe resemble one from today.
However, there is a message that is consistent in both 1939's and today's women's mags: how we, as woman, can perfect our looks and our lives with 'these simple tips.' Now, I'm not saying that magazines are all bad. In fact, I will admit that I read most of them on a regular basis. Some magazines, like Good Housekeeping and Self Magazine, empower women and produce quality articles with excellent advice. But it's no secret that magazines today (and apparently from 1939) are peppered with images that infest our brains and cause us to compare and contrast ourselves on a daily basis to airbrushed models. The purpose of this post is to not only to entertain, but to remind ourselves that this message isn't new. People have been under "perfect pressure" for years. Take a look at some of these photos. I think they speak for themselves!
"The Cosmopolitan Girl is in the early twenties, is five feet six, and weighs one hundred and twenty; she has blue eyes, golden-brown hair and beautiful teeth. She is a member of a small family; her parents are living, and her father is a businessman. She has college training. She loves dancing, and next to it horseback riding and swimming. And she works, or expects to work." -Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1939
Pretty interesting, no? Share your thoughts and perspective on this. We always love hearing from you!
Monday, July 26, 2010
"When you love something you wish it goodness; when you hate something, you wish to annihilate it. change happens not by hatred but by love. change happens when you understand what you want to change so deeply that there is no reason to do anything but act in your own best interest. When you begin to inhabit your body from the inside... any other option except taking care of it is unthinkable."We are each given this one body to inhabit, and roam the world with. Why spend your entire life hating parts of it??
This is not a diet book. Instead is is a platform, a set of guidelines to spring from, to start to improve your relationship with food. There are no good foods or bad foods. The idea of having no food rules can be very scary for most people. But Roth writes "What motivates you to be kind, to take care of your body, to the spirit, others, the earth? Trust longing, trust the love that can be translated into action without the threat of punishment. Trust that you will not destroy what matters most. Give yourself that much."
For her eating guidelines, she also calls them "If Love Could Speak" instructions:
"If love could speak to you about food, it would say, 'Eat when you are hungry, sweetheart, because if you don't you won't enjoy the taste of food. and why should you do anything you don't enjoy? 'If love could speak to you, it would say, 'Eat what your body wants my darling, otherwise you won't feel so well and why should you walk around feeling tired, or depressed from what you put into your mouth?' If love could speak to you, my little cream puff, it would say, 'Stop eating when you've had enough, otherwise you will be uncomfortable, and why spend one minute in discomfort.'"The Eating Guidelines:
- Eat When you are Hungry
- Eat sitting down in a calm environment
- Eat without distractions
- Eat what your body wants
- Eat Until you are satisfied
- Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others
- Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
While being very real and blunt at most times, there is a quite a bit of optimism in her book. She insists that following these guidelines will end your obsession, and lead to feeling more alive, instead of tied down by food.
"the hard part is allowing yourself to know what you already know. what you knew when you were four years old but have since forgotten. the hard part is disengaging from the roar of can'ts and won'ts and let-me-outta-heres, from the habitual way you swing into gear around the food thing to paying attention to the deeper son, the deeper truth; you without your story of you. you as you experience yourself directly, here, now. When you sit down, when you listen, when you sense you body directly, there is what Eckhard Tolle calls, animating presence" blazing through you. It is beyond any story. It's not of hte past, not anything that anyone ever told you. It's been in the background every minute of your life, but since you were paying attention to the foreground, the the changing appearances and dramas and feelings, you never noticed it. But now you can. And your relationship with food can be the doorway."How many times have you heard someone say "All I want to do is lose 10 pounds, then I'll be happy." The problem with equating being skinny with happiness, is that when you lose the weight, if you haven't addressed other parts of your life, you will not be happy. There are plenty of skinny miserable people.
I am very guilty of eating while distracted, while reading, while at my computer, while checking my crackberry. So for the month of June I am going to really focus on eating without distractions-a Mindful Month. I think it will make me appreciate my meals even more. I'm also going to work on stopping negative body talk. Does commenting on my and others physical appearance make the world a better place? Quite the contrary. So this month I am going to accentuate the positive to the extreme. ByeBye Negativity!
Further Reading: Check out Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, "intuitive Eating." Written by two RDs, it is a great book about making peace with food.
Gena of Choosing Raw-wrote an excellent post about reconciling veganism and intuitive eating. For me, vegan eating is intuitive eating, and changing my diet to this has actually drastically improved my relationship with food.
Have you read Women, Food and God? What do you think of the Eating Guidelines? Care to join me for a Mindful Month?
Friday, July 23, 2010
I haven't exercised in a few months. I have been traveling and lost all sense of moving my body beyond the daily needs of having no car. I have stopped fooling myself into believing that afternoon walks suffice, and this morning I went for a run. And I ran in my sports bra and short shorts. And I celebrated having a belly. I celebrated my legs somewhat shaking in their boots. I celebrated being the type of woman Raphael would of liked. I ran past climbers getting ready to greet the day and I greeted them too. Who cares if they don't know that the belly is a result of too many chapatiis and Guatemalan burritos.
I look around our world and wonder, Where are the bellies? Look at the magazines, look at the commericals, where are the soft warm women bellies? Then I look in the mirror, I look at my sister, I look at my mom, I look at my friends. There they are. One of the most wonderful parts of being a woman is the belly. Soft and pliable. Warm and inviting. Shaking with laughter. The way it curves, and smiles, and dances with me.
Sisters of the world, show your bellies. We are meant to be fluid. Let the men have their flat stomachs, their strong arms to hold us. We hold our strength in different ways.
And I tip my cap to these burly woman too. Good for you, to show your strength, to push your limits. But I am happy with my softness, my corners to hold you in. My belly smiles with delight too.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I ran with my sports bra on for the first time today. Now before you go thinking I’m a bra burning radical who likes to run free and wild in the woods, let me finish my story. But like all good stories, this one begins long long ago, in a far away place.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family where good self-esteem was fostered. My parents never placed an emphasis on physical beauty; instead we were always praised for our kindness, brains, and attitude about life. We were taught that we could do anything, and we didn't have to have the perfect butt, hair or abs to get far in life. Well, I also didn't live in a bubble my entire life, somewhere down the line, as I left the protective nest of my home I started to see all the negative body images that abound in the "real world." The siren song of "Perfection" calls out to us from every magazine, tv show, billboard ad and website. It is very easy to start second-guessing yourself, and comparing yourself to this bombardment of images. Stomachs can always be flatter, waists smaller, and thighs slimmer. Positive body image is seen as egotistical, and arrogant. You are much more likely to hear "Does this dress make me look fat?" than "I look great tonight!" We are bombarded with messages that our bodies are not good enough, that we should be ashamed of them, that they need to hidden until we emerge from a 60 day “miracle cleanse” with Jennifer Aniston’s rockin bod. This infects the entire country with a sense of debilitating self esteem, and creates an environment which fosters self-destructive behaviors and disordered eating. We are constantly being sucked into the media’s tornado of beauty and perfection, and it creates a perfect storm. Beautiful, well-educated young females start to doubt their bodies, and themselves, and pulling themselves down. There are few among us who have never looked into a mirror and been upset at the image staring back at us. As a future RD, whose life revolves around health, fitness and food, even I feel insecure about my body much of the time. Yes I can run for miles and miles, and I feel great, but I still fear trying on swimsuits.
But I have decided it’s time for this to change. I was on my Sunday long run, and in the heat of summer Boston, my cotton tee-shirt was starting to weigh me down. So I decided to do something I had never done before, for fear of glances, of judgment by strangers. I took off my shirt and ran in my sports bra (full coverage people!!) It felt fine, good even. It was much cooler, and no one jeered at my imperfect 6 pack, quite frankly I don't know if anyone even noticed. I was just another runner on the esplanade. But inside I felt different, I had stepped outside my comfort zone and it had worked out. I had unveiled myself, and it was empowering. I let the world see my strength and my pride.
On the other hand, if you love something you will want to nourish it, respect it, help it to fulfill its greatest potential.
I have decided to block all fat, negative talk from my life. I refuse to tell myself I am inferior. I am a runner. I am a yogi, I am active, I am a student, I am a friend, daughter, sister, and niece. I treat my body well almost all of the time, and it shows. I may not have the perfect 9 pack, but I can run long and strong, I have high energy levels, and feel full of life. Now I am no Gisele, but I my body has it's own stories to tell. My feet have beat enough miles in the pavement to probably travel the world at least once around. My arms can embrace old friends, carry loads of groceries, and lift weights with the boys at the gym. I'm smart and savvy and know my way around. I challenge you to bring some more self love and body appreciation into your life!
- Say It-Shout it from the rooftops, or whisper it to yourself in your bathroom mirror. “I am beautiful, I love me, My body is perfect just the way it is.”
- Write It-write yourself a love letter. Graffiti it on your mirror. Make a list of things you love about yourself, both physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the self!
- Live It! Don't put yourself or others down-stay away from negative comments, and always accentuate the positive.
- Support Yourself! Find a friend and make a compliment challenge-commit to creating a positive body image for the both of you.
- Spread the love! Tell your best friend that she is beautiful, just the way she is. Compliment a stranger. Check out Operation Beautiful, and the video Beauty Pressure for inspiration. Don't tolerate criticism of your body or your friends. Stop Fat Talk in its tracks
Monica, Megan Laura and I have decided to start tweeting daily self love with on twitter, join us with the hashtag #selflove!
Tell me something you love about your self!!! Is it your laughter, your arms, your stomach, your kindness???????
Thursday, July 15, 2010
People have been commenting on my appearance my whole life. I've barely gone a day without someone mentioning something about the way I look, whether positive or negative. I have been called both beautiful and homely... I've been told I have the best body on the beach, and I've also been told I need to lose weight. I've heard I have a great ass, but I should do more lunges to slim my thighs. I've been told that I look strong, yet I should work on toning up my shoulders. I've been told I have a baby face and have also been mistaken for 5 years older. One time, in elementary school, a boy told my friend and I that if you put my head on her body, we'd be the perfect girl. And the beat goes on...and on.
Then there's the connotations and stereotypes that accompany the way we look. In high school, I was considered "pretty & popular" by many, and to some, this automatically made me a slut. In college, I wore heels and had manicured finger nails, and to some, this automatically classified me as less intelligent. After college, I was told that if I didn't wear make-up to work, I wouldn't be taken as seriously. And let's not forget the countless images we encounter in the media that shape our ideas on the "perfect look." Luckily, I've had some incredible experiences and made some amazing friends along the way that had absolutely nothing to do with my appearance, but that doesn't stop me from remembering and internalizing the things that did.
Why am I telling you all of this? I'm telling you this, because everyone has experienced something like what I just told you, and whether it's at the same capacity, it's probably had an influence over you and the way you see yourself. I mean, truthfully, America is obsessed with appearance, so how could it not be at least on the back burner of your mind? For a very long time, I wasn't happy with how I looked. I didn't have six-pack abs, you couldn't see the tone in my arms as much as I wanted, my legs were strong, but I didn't like that because I thought they looked bulky. My hair was always just a little messy, my nails too short, my clothes just always one size up from where I wanted them to be. And it seemed like the more I would hear I was pretty or good-looking, the less and less I would believe it. As soon as I would start to feel good about how I looked, I would see something or someone or I'd remember something that would completely shatter my image of myself. There is no way in hell I am alone. Just the other day my very dear friend who is one of the most beautiful (both inside and out) people I've ever known said to me, "I don't know if I'm fat or ugly." Heart breaking.
The bottom line: You can't rely on outside sources to shape your image of yourself. You can't compare yourself to someone else's outside without appreciating the beauty that radiates from within yourself. Why is it that we are so quick to acknowledge our own perceived faults and weaknesses and so quick to covet the strengths of others? The longest and most meaningful relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves. Time to start taking care of it!
Simply put, I really want this to change. And as cheesy as this sounds, we really are all beautiful and we need to repair our relationships with ourselves starting now. Our body image has such a tremendous influence over our health that it can result in intense guilt over our fitness and food choices. Isn’t it funny that what fuels us and gives us energy and keeps us alive can also wreak havoc on our psyche? It’s not so much the calories or the sugar or the price that we are guilty about. It’s our perceived lack of control over our own behavior that drives us wild with shame. We have set beliefs of what it means to be a good, healthy person, and with these beliefs, we also set boundaries and objectives for ourselves. And these boundaries often lead to deprivation. Yet deprivation will lead to unrealistic goals, which could lead to unhealthy habits, which will lead to feelings of failure and more guilt. It's a viscous cycle, my friends.
Let's break it.
First stop: Change your vocab. Remove words/feelings like "inferior, ugly, failure, guilt" from your daily repertoire. Replace them with words like, "strong, able, beautiful, happy." Remind yourself of your abilities and accentuate your own unique strengths and talents. Focus on the positive. Be rid of the negative. Yes, this is easier said than done. But it's a more realistic and much less abusive to yourself than wishing away characteristics of yourself on a daily basis.
Second stop: Don't worry, be hungry! Let's eliminate the guilt over food. We need to treat our relationship with food the same way we treat our relationships with the people we love. Let’s stop thinking of certain foods as “bad” or “too fattening” or “guilty pleasures.” Today, if you want a -insert fav treat here-
Third Stop: Spread the love! One of the best experiences I've had lately is when my friend Mike and I decided to spend a few hours one evening walking up to perfect strangers and saying, "You look incredible tonight." At first, it was simply a joke. But then it turned into something else. We were feeling a rush of satisfaction every time we would see someone's eyes light up after hearing that. So tell someone in your life exactly why you love them. Or maybe walk up to a perfect stranger with a compliment. Remind the people you love that they are beautiful and that you are so thankful for their existence!
Maybe, if we try these three steps every day, we will start to repair/maintain our relationships with ourselves, with the food we eat, with how we choose to move, and help the people we love do the same. Join Elizabeth and I on this journey! Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us about your relationship with food or how your body image has been shaped or about anything you want to share! Be well, remember what you are capable of, and never forget that you are beautiful.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The longest relationship you will ever be in is the one with yourself. The second longest is the relationship with what you eat. We invite you to share the story of your body and how your relationship with food has shaped it. We hope to inspire and empower you to love yourself dearly and to approach food with a healthy, mindful and thankful mindset. Join us on this journey by submitting your stories to email@example.com We look forward to learning about you.
Elizabeth and Stephanie