I blinked a couple times in disbelief, jiggling the sliding weight marker on the old school scale in the corner of the YMCA. An inch to the right or left, and it would clank down, but the weight it was balanced on couldn’t be right, could it? If I was doing the math correctly, I’d lost 13 pounds since the last time I weighed myself, two months ago.
I hadn’t been trying to lose weight, exactly. I had tried more consciously to lose a few pounds last year, getting up at 5:30 every morning to work out for an hour, but I hadn’t changed my diet much, so, to my disappointment and frustration, the scale never budged. A few months ago I decided to ditch the goal of weight loss and just start eating intuitively. I still exercised because it made me feel good, but I didn’t go crazy about it.
And now here I was, staring at proof that I was shedding pounds, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I was surprised, happy, but more confused than anything: how could I have lost more than 10 pounds without really noticing? And why didn’t it feel like a more momentous occasion? Keep reading »
Dr. Drew Pinsky’s daughter, Paulina Pinsky, first came out about her seven-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia in a brave essay she penned for the Columbia Daily Spectator in November 2013. The 21-year-old junior at Barnard College described the moment she revealed her secret to her mom in her essay “Get Your Teeth Checked.” She wrote:
I paused, but before I knew it, the words were out of my mouth … “I’ve been throwing up since the seventh grade.” … [T]he words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to take them back. The following moment was the longest and most painful silence of my life; I felt like my stomach was going to fall out and that I was going to projectile-vomit onto the windshield. After a silence that lasted far too long, [my mom] responded. “Well, get your teeth checked.”
Keep reading »
This morning, a friend asked me what I thought about all “The Biggest Loser” finale drama. I hadn’t watched it yet, but I had a feeling.
“Can I guess?” I said. “Rachel lost too much weight, didn’t she?”
I was right. I didn’t want to spoil the outcome of finale as I’m an avid fan of the show, but I had to look at the pictures of Rachel Frederickson, who is now weighing in at 105 pounds after losing a whopping 155 pounds. People on social media and the blogosphere are freaking out about her weight loss — including Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper — a screenshot of their faces when she walked out on stage says it all. The girl lost 60 percent of her body weight, which can’t look any other way but shocking. Keep reading »
It wouldn’t be January without the media focusing on anything and everything having to do with weight loss. One of my favorite activities around this time of year is to hate-scroll through The Daily Mail, the website with what I find to be the most absurd/offensive/dumb diet and weight-related headlines. Why do I this? Because it reminds me how important it is to continue to challenge these twisted ideas about body image. It’s easy to think that because you’re intellectually aware of the insidiousness of weight loss propaganda and body shame rhetoric, that you’re immune to falling prey to it. We’re all susceptible to the negative messages we receive our bodies that we receive. That’s why I make it a point to spend a little bit of time each January detoxing my mind — reminding myself what’s real about my relationship to my body and what’s a load of noise being piped into my subconscious. I already wrote about The Daily Mail’s warning about “buffalo humps” and “bingo wings,” but below are some more headlines that I need to call bullshit on. Keep reading »
When The Hairpin published a Guide To Eating Very Particular Feelings, we laughed, but it was a slightly bitter laugh, a nervous “Oh my God this is my life” chuckle. For those of us who eat our feelings or struggle with body image issues (so sadly, many of us), the holidays are especially treacherous times for emotional eating and body insecurity. This time of year can easily become a battle of wills: your self-restraint vs. that bag of Milanos. Your self-love vs. the panic you feel about seeing a higher number on the scale. Your self-esteem vs. the overwhelming pressure to start a restrictive New Years’ diet. There are plenty of articles out there about how to avoid overeating at holiday buffets and how to not let your mom’s passive aggressive comments spark a peppermint fudge binge, but we thought it was time to for a new set of holiday food and body rules: specifically, kinder, gentler, more realistic rules. Let’s stop over-complicating things and beating ourselves up for enjoying a slice of pie, OK? Here are 10 easy-to-follow commandments to help you make peace with your body during a season that’s all about eating… Keep reading »
I think everyone who writes about body image has a blind spot or a subject that makes them feel a bit hypocritical. After all, most of us haven’t gotten the whole “Love your body exactly as it is 100 percent of the time no matter what” thing down yet, and although we might have a great understanding of all the concepts, and can easily explain them to others, we haven’t quite internalized them for ourselves. Keep reading »
I figured that after I had a baby my body would be like a soldier after war, with the proud, annoying battle scars that have a good story but don’t dress up well. A few things went differently than expected:
- I had a real baby, which is sort of impossible to imagine beforehand and sort of trumps everything else.
- I didn’t stop caring about the way I looked (this isn’t a story with a moral or something), but I was really busy caring a lot about other things.
- I looked surprisingly great.
No one ever talks about how you might feel sexy and beautiful after you have a baby. They talk a lot about how you might feel shitty and floppy and bad and you might have to work really hard to look good again and your belly might never ever be the same and the goal should be for everything to be the same as it was because that was so much better. It’s stressful, being pregnant and being yelled at by all of the headlines about pregnancy “YOU NEED TO START THINKING ABOUT HOW BAD YOU WILL LOOK AFTER YOU GIVE BIRTH!” Keep reading »
It is time to have a serious conversation about just how amazing Rebel Wilson really is. She has a law degree and an arts degree, proving that she’s one smart cookie. Most importantly, she has a refreshing lack of vanity in an industry where vanity is a pre-requisite. There are a lot of misleading and confusing messages about how to feel and how a woman should look, but Rebel Wilson is incredible for the fact that she just doesn’t care. She stresses that being healthy is key, but acknowledges implicitly that health is relative to the individual. As a woman who is neither fat nor thin, but somewhere in the nebulous realm between “plus” sized and average, Rebel’s attitude resonates. Check out a clip of her talking with “Extra” above.
The sad truth is that body snarking may not ever end. The pressure to look a certain way may just continue to get worse. The eating disorders and thinking disorders that accompany poor body image may keep spiraling out of control. The disconnection and hatred women feel for their bodies may only grow stronger. The dehumanization, objectification, and transmogrification of the female body may continue to flourish. The way we see it, the only way to protect ourselves from this sad truth is to steel ourselves against it. We might not have grown up armed with the right tools to fight the wolf in the cereal bowl or the mean boys on the playground or the airbrushed models in magazines, but we can prepare the next generation of young women to brush these messages off and treat their bodies with kindness and respect.
Below are 10 powerful body affirmations to help young women to stay strong and love their bodies in spite of all the insidious messages to the contrary. Because in crazy, complicated times like these, “Love your body” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Share this list with the young women in your life who might need a dose of body positivity, or use it to remind yourself that all of us, and all of our bodies, deserve better.
Keep reading »
It wasn’t long ago that Special K was selling us on the idea that we could “drop a jean size in two weeks” by replacing meals with cereal, shakes and their other food-ish products. In fact, the cereal has long been marketed as a weight loss/weight maintenance plan. This is a brand that once recommended pinching yourself on a regular basis to determine if you should watch your weight. “Can you pinch more than an inch?” Try the Special K breakfast! (Results not typical. May result in bruising.) But now they are singing a different tune. Sort of. Kellogg’s has figured out a new golden formula. Here’s a 5-step breakdown of how it works:
Step 1: Women believe we’re not thin enough, pretty enough, good enough because for decade after decade, advertisers have told us these things in order to sell products as the solution to the insecurities they stoke. Keep reading »