Archive for the ‘body-image’ Category
So how am I doing on the path of Health At Every Size? Size acceptance? Self love?
If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said I’m doing fine…just a little concerned about some weight gain. Because isn’t weight gain always a concern?! Weight has been a concern since childhood.
Then I lost the scale. And I was frantic. I knew it was in the bedroom somewhere. Jim had cleaned out under the bed and didn’t replace everything exactly as it was. So the scale was lost somewhere under there with the containers of gift wrap and Jim’s workout clothes.
I told Jim he had to find it. “Because if I don’t have the scale how do I know whether to hate myself?”
I laughed. I always laugh and make jokes. Even when I don’t feel like it. Better to laugh at myself or the situation than let someone do it first or to feel uncomfortable.
But something inside me stopped because I knew I wasn’t joking. How can I exist without knowing the exact number on the scale on any given day?!
Hate myself. Did I really hate myself because of a number? On a scale? Was one pound either way worth hateful feelings? Would I hate my family or friends for the number on the scale? Of course not! Their numbers don’t matter! But mine…
I thought I was farther along in the HAES journey. I thought I was long passed the scale-as-judge phase. But I wasn’t. I had started weighing myself again because of the weight gain. My rheumatologist told me to watch the weight. My internist suggested weight loss surgery. Of course my mind has been on the scale! That damn number…
I’m trying to get over the number. I’m trying not to weigh myself. I want to throw away the scale…but I can’t. I don’t know why I’m hanging on to it.
That’s where I am. Stuck trying to go beyond the scale but still watching over my shoulder to make sure I don’t get to far away from it. I understand that this is something a lot of people experience. I’ve been told it’s hard to get over the years and years of accumulated messages about weight loss and death fat. Still, I thought I was further along…
I wasn’t even going to write about this. I thought no one needed to hear my whining. Then I saw Golda Poretsky’s TED Talk on weight. It inspired me to share my stumble. Just in case any of you are feeling the same way.
Because we really are more than a number on a scale. We really are people and not just bodies. It really is inside that matters. And weight does not equal health.
If you’re struggling, talk to me. If you’re not struggling any more, talk to me. If you don’t think you’re gorgeous, talk to me–because you are dammit!
At lunch last week with my dear friend, we discussed our kids’ weight. Not because we are really concerned with it. Because there are other issues at hand.
Mine is that my son is obsessed with his weight. I’m not sure how this happened, but as a new recruit to the Health At Every Size movement, it doesn’t make me happy. When he’s asking me for Sensa and poptarts in the same sentence, it drives me a little crazy. Getting him to eat healthy food is a battle. He would live on spaghetti.
My friend’s son is going through his chubby phase. I know about the chubby phases, as I am parenting my third boy. I’ve also worked with children and have observed children. They gain a little weight, grow a few inches, slim down. Repeat as many times necessary to get through puberty. I believe if you don’t make an issue of it, you will avoid eating disorders and come out the other end with a healthy child.
Someone actually told my friend that she was a bad mother because she had allowed her son to get fat. Nope, she’s not a bad mother. She provides healthy food and snacks. She limits sugary stuff in the house. But he’s a tween in junior high and does have access to food outside of her line of sight. And he’s probably not choosing carrot sticks and celery nuggets while his friends are eating chips and candy. Why should he? He is allowed to enjoy life.
Do you know what makes a bad mother? Someone who criticizes and bullies her child for body size. A bad mother starves her child and punishes with food. A bad mother sends the message that a person is nothing if they are not thin. A bad mother lets her child know that if they aren’t “perfect” they aren’t worthy of her love.
A good mother understands that body size and weight fluctuate during puberty. She realizes that she can only patrol her child’s food intake so much. She sends positive messages about eating healthy, maybe even leading by example. She knows that identifying food as “good” and “bad” sets her child up for a lifetime of disordered eating.
What she doesn’t have to do is listen to half-baked advice from the people around her. Unless someone can telepathically tell that her child is indeed malnourished in some way, they need to keep their mouths shut.
Weight doesn’t equal health. Fat people aren’t instantly unhealthy or sickly or ready to keel over at any second. Thin people aren’t automatically given a clean bill of health.
And having a mouth that works doesn’t make you an expert at parenting. So keep your trap shut.
So much time is given to the discussion of protecting our kids from bullies. We want to shield them from the harsh people that can fill their day-to-day lives: mainly their peers. We want to give them the tools necessary to survive the bullying, respond to the bullying, and to help prevent the bullying.
But what do you do when the bullies are adults? Who, technically, should know better. If adults are writing the rules on ending bullying they ought to be able to recognize bullying. Especially when they are doing it.
Monday night I unfriended someone on Facebook for posting an offensive picture. This was a full-on unfriending. Not a block from my stream. The person in question had posted a picture of two women eating and made a derogatory comment about it. Of course, she has friends who support her view point. And the bashing began.
The initial problem is that I am certain these were not women they were actually acquainted with. They were responding to a photo someone else had posted. What made these women perfect targets was one simple thing: they were overweight women seen eating a pizza and drinking soda.
If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Isn’t this a lesson we learned early in our lives? But for some reason, pictures of overweight people are game-on when it comes to on-line bullying. From the people of WalMart to the headless fatties posted with every article about obesity, it’s open season on people commenting on another person’s appearance.
But when you do this, you are being a bully. A cowardly bully who gets to sit behind a computer screen and hoot and holler and post your nasty drivel about people you don’t actually know. Not that this doesn’t happen in real life, but that’s a different post for a different day.
It’s offensive to take a snap shot from someone’s life and make broad spectrum comments about the state of them as a person. Anyone can (and does!) look bad in a photograph. Here’s an example: next time you’re watching television, randomly pause it. I bet the actor is making some goofy face that wasn’t even noticeable as the show was running.
Headless fatty pictures are even more offensive. Do you realize how disrespectful it is to put unknown bodies in an article highlighting the current state of obesity-whatever? Fat people have heads; often they are even attractive! Imagine that!
My latest hobby is responding to inane articles on obesity (usually written by people who have their hands and feet in the diet industry in some way) to point out flawed information. If there is a headless fatty picture, I comment on that. Other commenters will respond to my comment saying the headless fatty picture is allowed. After all, one person pointed out, if the article was about a car they would have a picture of a car. I responded that the car would never appear with a bumper lopped off.
Bottom line: if you find yourself getting ready to comment on anyone’s physical appearance, stop. It’s bullying just as much as some kid shaking down another kid for lunch money. If that doesn’t change your mind, imagine it’s you in the picture. Would you want someone writing these things about you?
Ohmigod Will The Royal Baby Be Fat?!
Honest to goodness, that’s paraphrasing a headline I came across this weekend. Normally, I link to my inspiration, but not this time. The entire column was horrible for me because it was written by someone I normally enjoy. I thought he was a level-headed health adviser. Instead, he titled his column about the new obesity prediction tool to get reactions and readers.
If you haven’t heard, there is a new on-line tool that claims to accurately predict the chances of your newborn being overweight in the future. It takes into account a variety of information and spits out the results.
I used a height predictor with the twins when we adopted them. It was right on when it predicted that they would be 6’5″ tall. The only information I had at the time was their birth mom’s height, I guessed at the rest. So I’m not adverse to an on-line tool to predict things.
However, using the not-even-born Royal Baby to garner readers is just tacky. And downright abusive. Because now fat bullying has finally started while a person is still in utero.
I doubt the Prince and Princess have once sat down and had a conversation about the future obesity of their unborn child. Because there are other things on their minds. From recent headlines, I’m guessing the topic at hand is “how many times did you throw up today, dear?”
While the on-line tool I used to predict height for the twins was spot on, I have my doubts about one that could accurately predict anything else about them. One’s muscular and thinner, while the other is muscular and bigger. One’s talkative. One’s not. Same parents. Different outcomes.
I’ll even use myself as a reference. Eight kids from the same parents. I have very tall brothers and I am five feet tall. I’m the fattest. Some are thin.
There are many things that can be done to combat childhood obesity, none of which involves bullying. I’m wondering how the threat of future obesity will be handled. Pre-obesity bullying?! “Some day you are going to be fat so I will treat you cruelly in advance to prevent it!” Yup, that worked with me 100 pounds ago.
Do you restrict your infant’s food because you’re scared they will be obese? Ignore the need for whole milk and fats for brain development? I mean, we all know stupid is better than fat any day. Not!
Will Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers gift cards be requested on baby registries? Might as well be prepared for the future. Plus, these mega billion dollar corporations haven’t dipped their toes into the baby food market…yet. Yes, you can feed your baby the same chemical-laden foods that you eat from these companies. How’s that for maternal and paternal bonding? I mean, who needs fresh fruit and vegetables and meat and sugar when there’s a chemical created to imitate real food?!
I’m sure a NutriSystem pre-school is just around the bend too. Milk and cookies?! Never! Pre-packed, pre-digested food? Oh yes! Counting taught via calories! Learn the alphabet and the forbidden foods list at the same time! Boot camp play time!
Can we just agree to leave the kids out of The War Against Obesity? Especially the unborn ones?
A store had the balls to use a fat mannequin and some people are bothered by it. I think these people have a problem.
Aren’t you tired of going into any department store and seeing the clothes tailored to fit the mannequins? By tailored, I mean pinned in the back so everything looks perfect and fitted. No matter what your size–unless you are blessed with the American ideal of model-thin physique–you are never going to have clothes that fit you like they will the mannequin.
Imagine being a plus-sized woman going into a clothing store catering to your demographic and seeing plus-sized clothes pinned and folded to fit the nowhere-near-obese mannequin. Even before putting on a stitch of clothing, you know it’s not going to look that good on you.
Kudos to retailers for realizing that a larger-sized mannequin might be a good thing. They could go even further and get mannequins that represent a variety of body shapes. I’ve read so many magazines where they present a selection of women all wearing the same size–and not one of them look the same.
As for the fear that obese mannequins might make people think it’s okay to be fat…well, there are fat people. Fat people spend money on clothes. Fat people want to look good. And you don’t catch fat from a mannequin.
As Ragen Chastain says, people don’t take care of things they hate. So why is it the goal of retailers to make their customers hate themselves? Or why would non-retailers be worried about people seeing fat mannequins? What is it really going to hurt?
I found this video in an Upworthy email yesterday. I have found the best videos through them, but this one is the most special of all. It was done by Karen Walrond (aka @Chookooloonks) who wrote the book The Beauty of Different.
Watch it and know that you, my dear, are beautiful in every way!
Check out the slide show and let me know what you think. After a few days of twitter being swamped with messages of congratulations for the women who dieted themselves into the summer’s bikini, this was a refreshing message to receive.
After reading each and every slide, I have come to the conclusion that I really need to love my body more. Our bodies are amazing things. They need to be appreciated; not manipulated, hated, distorted, maimed.
Let’s make a pact to do something today to show the love we have for our bodies. What will you be doing?
The other night I saw a commercial from Dove and instantly got stabby. Why? Because I thought it was going to be another women-aren’t-good enough-unless-they-are-perfect message. But it wasn’t. Here’s the commercial…go watch it and tell me it doesn’t hurt your heart just a little.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a war on women in our country. And we’re letting it happen. Not only are we allowing it, we are willing participants. It’s not only being conducted by our politicians; it’s in the media, it’s in the mommy wars, it’s in the way we judge each other for the way we look.
I read this post over at Beauty Redefined: Taking Back Beauty for Females Everywhere and was especially hit by this passage:
We are asked to believe our power, our very identities, our worth, all lie in our bodies because we ARE our bodies. So we are asked to fix every part of our bodies – from the wrong-colored roots of our hair to the scratchy bottoms of our feet and every new flaw in between , (baggy eyelids, insufficient eyelashes, saggy knees, cellulite, stretch marks, and every other sign of life). Men are not asked to fix these “flaws” because this is women’s work – a work that must last a lifetime.
I like to think I am above all this. I rarely wear makeup. I’ve let my hair go grey. But as I sat yesterday morning piling on potion upon potion to prevent/combat wrinkles, it hit me that I am a very real part of this.
Which made me think even more about the time I spend trying to meet some small standard of the beauty ideal. I figure I am permanently excluded because I am fat. But maybe–just maybe–I can do something that cuts me some slack.
For instance, my quest for the perfect lipstick color. Right now I probably have fifteen different lipsticks in my purse. I wear lipstick maybe once every two weeks. Last week I spent 45 minutes to an hour at various stores looking for The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. It has to exist, right? I should have wonderful lips like they show in magazines and on TV, right?!
I didn’t intentionally go to any store to look for lipstick. While running errands I eased into the cosmetic departments and perused. It just happens…the lipstick displays are like a magnet to me.
What would happen if I found the right shade of lipstick? The logical part of me knows that nothing will happen. I will have different colored lips. I will forget to wear the lipstick. But there’s a little part of me whispering in my brain that if I find The Perfect Shade of Lipstick my life will become spectacular!
Where the hell did that little part of me come from? I’m supposed to be above that! I avoid women’s magazines for the conflicting messages they send. I don’t believe that only thin people are beautiful. Yet, here I am wasting time looking for something that doesn’t exist.
Sadly, this is the message we are giving our daughters and our sons. I wonder what Aaron thinks when he’s with me as I go on safari for that elusive creature–The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. Does he think this is how I spend my days? Will he expect girls his own age to spend time so frivolously?
Do we really want this to be the message we continue giving to our children (boys and girls!)? Is this the message American women want to continue giving to the rest of the world–we are nothing but our looks?
Think about it…
I wrote about my concern over Pinterest’s Terms of Service. I wasn’t the only one! The Blog-o-sphere was buzzing with Pinterest angst for awhile there. I wondered how Pinterest would react. Sure they were proactive, responsponding to one blogger’s concerns with a phone call.
Last weekend I received an email laying out some changes they have made to their Terms of Service. These new Terms will take effect on April 6, 2012. Here’s how the email explained some of the changes:
- Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.
- We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.
- We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
- Finally, we added language that will pave the way for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.
Good on Pinterest for realizing there was an issue to be addressed. Honestly, I am not an attorney so I don’t know if the altered Terms of Service are good or bad. I’d love to hear an attorney’s opinion though!
The one change that caught my eye was this one: “We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.”
Did you know there are websites that encourage anorexia, cutting, and other image disorders? I had heard about them, especially ones that had been in heavy use on MySpace. Since I never was involved with MySpace, I didn’t think about it much.
As I began using Pinterest, I did see pins such as “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” and pictures of a normal-sized woman (not model-thin with skin-covered bones) with comments about her being “fat.” These disturbed me, but I skimmed right over them. I thought they were out of place because for me Pinterest is a place of beauty and happiness. Why would anyone pin something that is ugly and demeaning?
It makes me sad. But I’m glad Pinterest is being proactive about it. Life is hard enough without pinning ugly things.
Yes, it happened to me. Despite my casual comments of, “oh, hair! It grows back!”
Despite cheerful memories of a long-ago roommate crying in the bathroom over too short bangs.
Despite my diligent preparation which included trolling the internet and Pinterest for the perfect haircut.
See, this was going to be a special hair cut. My coming out hair cut, as it were.
I’ve been in a funk for many months. The fall and winter were not kind seasons in KlineLand and drama ensued. I sunk lower and lower and lower. Then I started feeling better.
And my long hair just wasn’t cutting it. I needed something with spunk and spark! Something fun and perky!
What did I get? Old lady short. Yep, I ended up with the same haircut I had a year ago when I cut off all my color. Except this time there was no reason behind the shearing. Except for stylist…ineptitude?!
The nearsighted are entirely at the mercy of their stylist. When those glasses come off, we are just a mere blur in the mirror. We trust in God and the one wielding the scissors to do us good.
For me, it’s usually a good thing. This time: not so much.
So what did I do when it was over and I was presented with the shock of my shorn scalp? I smiled politely, muttered something about it being awfully short, agreed that the back was indeed “cute,” let myself be lured into making a follow-up appointment in six weeks and left. To cry in the van, tugging at my short hair, much like that long ago roommate. [FYI I didn't actually cry. It's hair, after all. But I did stare at myself in the mirror for several moments muttering, "what the f***?" Over and over.]
I saw no graceful way to communicate my dismay at the 1-inch pieces of hair on my head. It was over. Done. The hair can’t be glued back on. I smiled, paid, left, and beat myself up for not telling her the hair cut sucked. I certainly didn’t brandish the picture in her face while shrieking, “where’s the long top and wispy nape?!” Oh, in my mind I did.
What I will do is not return to her as my stylist. And since the salon seems to be close knit, I probably can’t return to the salon either. Even though there are hair stylists there who have done me well in the past.
This is where my inner good girl screws me over every time. I state my dismay or question something, and the person on the other end gets upset, defensive. I end up apologizing for upsetting them and feeling bad for causing trouble. It even happened recently here on my own blog! The person in the comments called me “jaded” and I folded like a bad poker hand!
Apparently, as my hair grows back I need to also grow a spine. Because I smile and walk away, and passive aggressively write blog posts and refuse to return to her for another hair cut. Instead of politely letting her know I wasn’t pleased with the results.
What would you do? How would you handle this situation? Would you say something? Do you really think saying something would help? Advice please!