My desk at work is right next to this magical snack table. Delicious treats appear almost everyday, sometimes they are healthy. But there are always snacks. It is basically part of my job to always know what is happening on that table since most people who visit have questions on the selections. Yesterday (at the time of me writing this) was National Donut Day. Of course, donuts showed up on the table. All day I watched and listened to people walk up to the table in turmoil about the donuts. They wanted a donut, but they shouldn’t because they are on a diet, or they don’t want to gain weight, or they will have to work extra hard at the gym that night. This happens most days. Primarily these comments are made by women.
When does food become the enemy for us, particularly women? When we are teenagers? Earlier? I can’t remember exactly when it happened for me, but I do know that it is something I struggled with the entire decade of my twenties. I thought a particular number on a scale would validate me. Make me feel beautiful or enough. And sometimes I would get to that number. When I did, I thought something would shift and I wouldn’t have that little nagging voice anymore. You know that voice. The one that says your tummy is not flat enough, thighs too big, arms too flabby, and oh my god, is that cellulite? But it didn’t.
Somewhere along the line, I started to tire of being so unkind to myself. Tired of treating myself in a way I would never treat my friends or family much less to someone I love. And yeah, I love myself. You know what else I love? Sweets. So yeah, when it is donut day, I know I am going to eat a donut. If I don’t eat it, then I am going think about wanting to eat a donut. So I eat a donut. It was delicious. And that was that. My day went on. I didn’t worry about it.
Changing habits and a ways of thinking is no easy task. It has been a process, and I haven’t done it alone. I have surrounded myself with positive women. In real life and online. I started having real life conversations about this with other women. I worked to make sure I filled my feed with body-positive women. You know what I found out? I wasn’t alone! This seems to be a common theme in most women’s lives. Ugh. I am not even going to get into all the “Whys” we feel this way because that is another post, or 12, in itself.
What I can tell you is when I really started to really pay attention to the way I talked to myself and how other women talked about themselves, it was eye opening. Wow moment #1 was I hanging on to some baggage and conditioning. Wow #2 was the realization how badly the tone of the conversation has to change. How amazing would it be instead of talking about how bad we are for eating a donut, we talk about how badass our presentation was? One of the biggest lessons I learned is to be at peace with myself (thanks Erin Brown).
Because obviously, habits take time to change. It is not like a flip a switch happens and all the sudden I am going to start loving my thighs that I have loathed for years. But I can be at peace with it. Neutrality is an amazing place to be. When that pesky voice comes back, I have learned to recognize it, and consciously make a decision to be at peace with my body. Consciously moving my body in a way that feels good and not like punishment. Don’t we all deserve to be a little more kind to ourselves? (the answer is YES!) We are in this together. You are not alone. Let’s start talking about the ridiculous pressure we put on ourselves and our bodies (preferably over donuts), and let’s start being ok with who we are and where we are with our bodies.