The morning of November 16th, I am going to wake up, strip off my pajamas, stand in front of the full-length mirror and bask in the glory of my own body. That is because I turn 34 on November 16, marking the first day of the year on earth in which I will be most delighted with the way my naked body looks. That’s according to a study by a UK-based skin and body care firm that says women are happiest with the way they look in the buff at age 34. I have to say, at three months shy of this gloriously self-assured birthday year, I’m feeling pretty damn good about my bod. The study posits that women feel most satisfied with their naked physiques at 34 because by that age many of us have figured out the best diet and exercise to suit our lives and body types. This is certainly true for me — this year, I’ve been far more invested in finding a fitness routine that interests me and have been eating healthier. Simply feeling better has made me look at my body with a new appreciation. Keep reading »
One of my clearest memories is of sitting in a diner with my mom and a family friend when I was a kid. I’d just ordered a chocolate milkshake (a treat since my mother only kept fruit pops in the house) when the friend pointed to a fat woman sitting at the counter nearby. In my memory, the woman’s bottom was so large the stool looked too small for her, and her bright, pink top showed off every roll.
“Be careful,” the family friend said, gesturing toward the woman.
In hindsight, I’m horrified at this memory. The woman, who was already brave enough to wear an eye-catching top, had to have heard our friend implying that her body was disgusting. But for my grade-school self, this just inspired feelings of shame and defiance. I wanted to enjoy my treat in peace for once, rather than be reminded yet again how I already had trouble finding clothes that fit. Keep reading »
I am trying to be a little more organized, since I’m going to have a baby in about five minutes, and in honor of this effort, I sat down to weed through the old photos on my computer. Apparently, I used to take a lot of selfies (before they were known as selfies). You know, back in college, when I had more time on my hands. And before college, when I would just sit around in my room in front of the long mirror some evenings, wearing a thrift-store gown or the new shirt I thought was the coolest thing ever, or occasionally nothing at all, and snap about, say, two million photos.
And then I guess I grew up and didn’t have so much time and most of the pictures of me began to be taken by other people. So there are a lot less of them. And also, I discovered: they are a lot less flattering. Keep reading »
My husband’s grandmother looked like a movie star when she was young. You should see the pictures! There’s one of her perched on a rock in her bathing suit, and it looks like she was posed there by a famous photographer. Everyone always comments on it. “Wow!” we say, “You were such a beauty!” And she sort of chuckles and looks away.
The story goes—she got selected as the prettiest girl at the local fair. I always imagine a dour panel of older male judges, shuffling through the cotton-candy eating crowd, hands behind their backs, in gray linen suits, sizing up the young women, looking for the prettiest one. They must have known immediately, when they saw her. Maybe she was laughing with her head thrown back, her hair lustrous in the sun.
“She was so beautiful!” we exclaim, looking over the old photos. Now she’s 95—a pert, tiny, stooped woman with a ready grin who thought Obama was cool long before the rest of us knew his name. She laughs a lot, reads a lot, and grows a wild garden in her backyard. Keep reading »
Ami and I have both experienced our share of tragically lonely lunches. In 5th grade, Ami had to sit alone at lunch because she was the new kid in school and had no friends; in high school, Winona often ate her PB&J in the chemistry room to escape the stress of the mean, crowded hallways. These were dark days indeed, but when we grew up and learned to love our alone time, we reclaimed the solo lunch and reinvented it as a positive and empowering experience. Nowadays, we both actually prefer to eat alone. Yes, really. It gives us a chance to regroup and steel ourselves to face the second half of our workday. To help other women conquer their fears of eating lunch alone, we compiled a list of dos and don’ts that will help turn your solo lunch from soul-crushing to life-enhancing (and, obviously, we illustrated them in GIFs). Keep reading »
I eat my secret cookies in the middle of the night. There is something clandestine, furtive about my stealthy trip to the kitchen, long after the world has gone to sleep. I am mostly asleep myself, I reason. This is hardly even happening. I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, I don’t even know what I am doing. These cookies don’t even count!
There is evidence in the morning — a cookie or two missing. We won’t speak of it. Who can remember what happened during the dead stretch between the dregs of the night and the pale creep of dawn? I can’t!
But wait a second.
What is really wrong with eating a cookie or two? What makes it an act of quiet self-deception? What about it requires sneaking?
I’ll be blunt. I mean, that’s why I’m writing this — to be blunt and confessional for a moment because I think that’s really the only way to address this sort of thing.
In my head, there is this eternal, infernal, absolutely obnoxious connection between food and failure. And you may find this next statement ridiculous, but: I think I’m actually pretty healthy about food. Keep reading »