Do you ever feel as if you have been brainwashed?
Through media, our parents, and our peers we are socialized to have certain body standards. I can't speak for you, but neither does my shape nor my size live up to those standards. This has been a HUGE source of anxiety for me (and most of the women I know) and has left me with feelings of inadequacy and severe discomfort in my own skin.
Let the relearning begin.
When are we going to stop torturing ourselves with extreme diets and exercise? When are we going to value the beauty of all humans regardless of shape and size?
Listen, I am a promoter of a healthy lifestyle. I do not support anyone sitting on the couch all day long and junking out, but seriously, I'd rather not spend half of my life in the gym, or limit the sort of foods I can eat. I was born with these genes and I am not going to take all the fun out of my life working against them. I just want to be happy. Constantly worrying about my body has done too much damage to my mental health.
Have you ever heard of Health at Every Size?
It's a health approach that sounds pretty much right on for me.
The main principles are self-acceptance, normalized eating (intuitive eating - eating only when you're hungry and stopping when you're full), and pleasurable physical activity.
Michael and I dosed ourselves with some pleasurable physical activity and intuitive eating this weekend. We rode our bicycles against the wind to eat at the [amazing] Flying Saucer in the Humboldt Park neighborhood (there and back coming out to about 10.6 miles). Afterwards, we took a stroll through the actual park.
Humboldt is predominately Puerto Rican. You can see the Puerto Rican flag everywhere, hanging out of windows, flying from cars, and even in an arch over the street.
Like Pilsen, Humboldt Park boasts some pretty rad wall art. This mural is on the side of an auto repair shop!
Michael and I ran into a statue or two (this one is called Home), watched the fishermen across the pond, and played a game of goose, goose, duck.
Let me just tell you, Michael has pretty effin' long legs and arms. No, really. Perfect for climbing, and swinging, and generally getting into trouble.
All in all, it was a pretty successful day. I asked Michael to take some photographs of me in the park to share with my readers, but thereafter deleted every single one.
Of course, self-acceptance is the toughest to achieve.
But, I'm working on it.