Attention all women: Do you feel pressured to be thin? Do you fear that no matter what you do to be a good person, smart, a leader, or sexy that you just won’t be taken seriously unless you’re a size 2? Or, perhaps even worse, that you won’t be considered attractive, healthy or loveable by the masses? Are you feeling hurt, frustrated, and angry at not being accepted as you are? For who you are inside? If so, you’re not alone.
For decades, there’s been and continues to be a full-fledged assault on women in this country to acquire a Beach Barbie shape whatever it takes, no matter the consequences. Depleting ourselves of precious nutrients through calorie deprivation as well as working out to exhaustion are equally applauded by both men and women. All for the sake of wearing a size 4 or less and to be accepted, irrespective of our genetics and body type. These hurtful thin-is-in messages shown every day, throughout the day by any and all types of media are so rampant and pervasive that they’re now trickling down to very, very young girls. It’s true. Girls 4 years-old and younger in record numbers believe they need to diet. Really? Any wonder why there are so many of us with eating dis-orders? The messages go so far back.
Even guys have their own challenges. Being fat is not okay in general whether male or female. And, your average boy knows that if he doesn’t grow to be big, strong, tall, and buff, well he’s just not up to snuff. (Damn these messages that cause so much hurt and shame!) Forget about intelligence, disregard kindness, strength of character, great sense of humor, creativity, etc. If you’re not faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, you’re perceived, (so we’ve been brainwashed to think), as weak and less attractive. No wonder that our average could-have-been-happy guys hit the gym, pump heavy weights, take steroids, and are an ever growing cohort in the world of anorexia.
Thankfully, there’s beginning to be a bit of movement away from the destructive, “You’re not okay as you are” messages and more towards women are allowed to have curves and men don’t have to be 6’ tall. (Check out the latest Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit Editions. One cover features a size 14-16 woman beautiful as can be and bursting out with female curves.)
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that perpetuating poor eating habits of sub-par nutritionally-based processed foods, (carbs, sugar, junk foods, trans-fats, or partially-hydrogenated oils), which will keep the vast majority of us overweight is the way to go. No way. But, if we’re eating in a destructive manner, we need to understand why and then address the issue. This matters for the sake of our health; for the sake of being our authentic self. This does not mean we should go on a crash diet, nor that we need to be skinny. Aspiring and acquiring a body shape that is comfortable, fits our frame and delivers good health and feeling is a wonderful goal and an even better achievement!
Next: Acknowledging and dealing with inner feelings and life experiences, both past and present that trouble us, is a crucial piece to bringing about and sustaining healthy eating. Why? Because those potentially hurtful, angry, frightened feelings, etc. deep down inside may very well be a driving force for our binge eating, chronic dieting, etc. in the first place. Now, add to that:
The hostile and demanding messages we get from society that we’re not beautiful or desirable enough just as we are and the nonsense regarding what we need to do to be acceptable and loved (starve and work-out to exhaustion).
The addictive qualities that processed foods possess thanks to the profit-hungry food industry. (Such junk – not even worthy of the word food- hijacks our taste buds and keeps us craving and eating more and more of their sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat-laden junk products. Just what the food industry wants and pays a lot of money to achieve.)
What to do?
For starters, slow-down in life, at work, and while eating. We’re all so chronically stressed that even the thought of slowing down may seem impossible. It can be done with practice and it’s a great first step to good health, pleasure, mindfulness, and entering the relaxation state. Another important aspect is to start eating home cooked meals more often than not. I know this also may sound difficult to many but it’s the only way to ever really know what’s in the food we’re eating.
What do I mean? Did you know, for instance, that many chain restaurants actually inject their meats with a sugar-based solution? While this may very well enhance the steak’s palatability, it’s anything but appealing to the inner workings of our body. Without question, there are certain foods that heal and actually lead to a healthier and more authentic body weight. Processed foods, however, are major culprits in the development of systemic inflammation and dis-eases such as heart, diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers.
Eat Fat, Lose Weight. You read correctly. I really want to dispel the myth that when we eat fat, we get fat. It’s simply not the case despite what’s been promoted by the US government and food industry for so long. As an American woman and not wanting to be fat and wanting to lose fat, I’ve purchased my fair share of low-fat or no-fat processed food in the past. I would seek out low-fat products, (and unbeknownst to me they contained lots of sugar to make up for the missing fat). I really believed I was doing something positive because it said “Low Fat” on the package. And, after all, I’d learned and lived by the same thin-is-in message that others had. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I never lost weight eating low-fat. As a matter of fact, my weight increased.
So, let me keep this simple and put it another way. Eating the way our grandparents and/or great-grandparents ate is a massive step towards the right direction for good health, crave reduction, and authentic body size. We can initiate this by consuming clean, healthy fat for overall good health and possible weight reduction and by avoiding unhealthy processed fats and oils.
When I talk about healthy fats/oils this is what I eat:
• Avocados & avocado oil (Good for everything)
• Olives & extra virgin olive oil (Good for salads and topping meals but not for cooking)
• Coconuts, coconut oil & coconut butter (I like coconut oil when cooking fish)
• Cacao butter (Add a small teaspoon in some decaffeinated, organic coffee – yummy!)
• Wild salmon & sardines (Sardines are actually quite good and super healthy. Give them a try.)
• Lard/tallow from pasture-raised, grass-fed land animals (I use lamb tallow)
• Eggs from local, pasture-raised, free-range chickens
• Nuts & seeds (Not peanuts or soybean nuts)
• A bit of grass-fed butter or ghee
Here’s what I avoid:
• Polyunsaturated vegetable oils – (Corn, soy, canola, sunflower, safflower, grape seed, cotton seed, etc.)
• Trans-fat, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (Think Crisco or margarine). You may not think you eat this horrific oil, but if you eat cakes, cookies, brownies, crackers, muffins, and other sweet goodies from your supermarket, you sure as heck are.
• Fat from big industry cattle that are force-fed GMO corn and soy which makes them ill, (they’re supposed to eat grass and will become ill otherwise). Because they’re sick, these animals are given anti-biotics and hormones in order to grow more quickly and live long enough to be slaughtered. Ugh! The problem with regard to the fat from these animals is that all the anti-biotics, hormones and other toxins actually collect in fat. So, if we eat this fat, you guessed it. We ingest all those nasty additives, hormones, and anti-biotics, (which are then stored in our own fat cells). Even when buying prime, ‘all-natural’, filet mignon, unless you’re eating a steak that came from a healthy, non-stressed animal that was grass-fed and pasture-raised, you’re eating meat that came from a sick animal.
By the way, and this is important. There is an occasion when eating healthy fat is not good for us. Can you guess when? It’s when sugar is added to the fat source which then creates sweet fat. What are examples of sweet fat? Ice cream, crème brulee, a hamburger on a bun, (the bun immediately turns to sugar upon ingestion and interacts with the fat in the burger meat which is also likely covered in sugar-infested ketchup), flavored yogurt, chocolate covered nuts, nut butters with fruit, etc. Just bare this in mind as you prepare your healthy and loving fat journey. Leave the sweets alone (most often always a good idea), and instead opt for organic, local, and seasonal vegetables with clean fats/oils. Now, this is an absolutely wonderful combination as the fat will allow us to assimilate the nutrients of the veggies into our starving nutrition-seeking bodies. Viola’!
American women, (and men), have been under attack for decades and decades about how we’re supposed to look in order to be deemed acceptable, beautiful, and have any possibility of being noticed by a potential suiter. To this day, media of all kinds blast out loud the thin-is-in message for all to see, hear and live by. Certainly the fitness and diet industries have latched onto and re-inforce this motto daily.
The food industry has also taken hold of the thinness equals beauty craze and tied it together with a health benefit, i.e., low-fat equates to better health and reduced body fat. Over time, and time and time again, this myth (the connection between low-fat processed food and greater health and thinness) is being dispelled. On the contrary, it’s way off the truth mark. Here is the truth instead:
The fat we eat is not the same thing as the fat on our body.
Being skinny does not guarantee beauty or good health.
Being fat does not discount attractiveness or good health.
As women, let’s take a time out to love ourselves right here, right now exactly as we are. Let’s stop buying into the message that we can only be loveable if we’re a size 2. Certainly, it behooves us to explore our inner process, feelings, and thoughts. Is there something inside of us that needs to come out and not be stuffed or silenced by eating?
Moreover, it’s greatly in our interest while engaged in personal exploration to become informed about real, clean, and nourishing foods. We’ve all been led so off track from eating healthy food, (pasture-raised, grass-fed, free-range or wild land/sea animals, healthy fats, and seasonal, local, organic produce), and misdirected towards eating processed foods marketed as healthy. It’s time to love ourselves now, just as we are. It’s also time to support ourselves with real, true foods that give us the best chance for optimal health and authentic body size results.
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