Junkfood Science: Private: for girls only

June 21, 2007

Private: for girls only

This is just for all of the girls and women reading.

I’ve been following so many of your blogs and livejournals, and reading all of your letters, and wish I could just scoop you all up and tell each of you how wonderful you are.

And that you are beautiful — just as you are.

Each of us has a body that is uniquely different — some are meant to be big and other’s not so much — but we all have fat. That’s what makes us female. We’re meant to have round curves, softness and jiggle, supported by solid frames to carry babies and the weight of the world.

Our natural, womanly fat* is not a disease and isn’t something we have to feel afraid of, ashamed of, horrified by or guilty about.

You are not fat because you were bad or irresponsible and “over-ate” or indulged in “bad” food. Don’t let them mess with your mind. Naturally fat and thin people (kids and grown-ups) don’t eat any differently, with extremely rare exceptions, and we’re going to be about the size we were meant to be, pretty much without us having a whole lot to say about it. Certainly, not without endangering our health and wellbeing. [Guys are that way, too, and those big guys are the handsomest. But this note for you gals because our fat is what everyone most loves to hate.]

I know this world has become an insane place and some days it must feel like you have no choice but to do whatever it takes to fit in. But please — before you are tempted to even step on that scale or do something more drastic like go on a diet (or ANOTHER one), purge, take laxatives or uppers, or go under the knife — stop. There is another way.

I can spout all of the science in the world trying to show you that fat isn’t deadly, and is, in fact, something that will get you through life in good stead. No one dies “of fat!” Some fat people can have special challenges and thin people can have their's, too. But health problems being piled on the backs of fat people are also shared by thinner people because, you know what? We’re all human and in this world together. We’re a lot more alike than we’re different, even though we may look different on the outside. We’re all going to get old and naturally put on weight as we age, too.

As incredible as it may sound, the female body and the range of body types haven’t changed appreciably for thousands of years....although there’s been some variations throughout the centuries, during good times and bad. What’s actually changed is what our culture currently finds ideal: slim and youthful-looking bodies. That’s coupled with a lot of people making mega-bucks on making us feel badly about ourselves and ready to take advantage of us when we’re at our most vulnerable so they can sell us their next scheme to fix us. It wasn’t always like this and someday it won’t be again. We’re sort of victims of our time and place. But did you know that in cultures not exposed to today’s “thin is best” mentality, fat was considered beautiful and healthy, and the notion of dieting considered unthinkable? [Anorexia was almost nonexistent in places without dieting, too.] Imagine such a place!

But, we can make it happen for ourselves. It can be inside you and inside each one of us.

I can share science forever, but until you know that you are beautiful and healthy — and truly KNOW IT — feeling fat will continue to hurt and never feel right.

So please, play this song, turn up the volume full blast, and listen to it a few thousand times if that’s what it takes to begin to counter a lifetime of head trips and a world gone crazy over being thin. Keep playing it until you believe you are beautiful. Because you are.

For a few other positive affirmations you can do just for you:

· Throw away the scale. For real.

· Ditch the magazines with their stick thin models and one, unnatural idea of beauty.

· Turn off the media with its perpetual doomsday messages about “obesity” and the latest diet craze or “healthy” eating plan. Repeat after me: It’s not really about your health and wellbeing.

· Fill your world with lovely art and photography of women of all shapes and sizes.

· Surround yourself with women who aren’t apologetic about their size and truly get size acceptance, without all of the health baggage.

· Wear colorful clothes that fit and make you feel and look great right now. Flaunt your stuff, girls. You got it. [And donate any “thin” clothes still lurking in the back of your closet.]

· Do the things you want to do and live your life now. Don’t put it off another minute. Get out there and don’t be shy to be seen in public. Dance, swim, bike, roller skate, whatever! You deserve to feel the joy of moving your body and have fun like everyone else.

· Avoid diet and health talk like the plague and choose not to participate in self deprecating girl chat.

· Enjoy the full variety of delicious foods and eat normally like everyone else, eat when you’re hungry and stop starving yourself, and celebrate the bounties of life without guilt...or fear of any food. And turn off that mental calorie counter!

· Pamper and nurture yourself.

· If you need a daily reminder, try wearing a pink Love your Body bracelet. :)

© 2007 Sandy Szwarc

* An average healthy twenty-year-old female has 28.7% body fat, by middle age healthy women average 38% fat, which increases to 41.5% by age 60. Similarly, the average twenty year old man has 11% body fat and the average fifty year old has 25.8%.

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