Monday, February 26, 2007

Be comfortable in your genes…and jeans.

[Note: This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Those who know me well, know that I am an anti-diet zealot so you are not surprised by this post. Please read the following message from your local RD that I submitted to the N&R...I hope you get something out of it whether it is for you or someone you know. Cheers!]

Everyday we see and hear messages dictating what size we should be. Countless people punish themselves when their body types do not fit into the thin ideal. Many of us hold on to a pair of "skinny jeans" in hopes they will fit someday. Part of the shameful self punishment includes unhealthy fad diets or even starvation to try to meet society's skinny standards. These diets promise failure and usually more weight instability. Instead of continuing the cycle this week, celebrate National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Here are a few ways to be a part of the festivities:

• Realize much of your body type is determined by genes passed on from your parents. Stop putting your body down because it may not mimic the thin ideal. Realize we are diverse creatures and thus we are diverse in size.

• Do not regard your food choices as degrees of moral failures. Food can be enjoyable and that is okay. Like body shapes, food should not be regarded as good and bad.

• Be good to your body. Allow yourself to eat when you feel hunger. Stop when your hunger goes away. Do not judge your hunger as a dishonorable signal from your brain. Trust yourself and do not try to trick it. You are receiving it because your body needs the fuel.

• Participate in movements that are fun for you. Do not feel like you have to exercise on the hamster wheel of treadmills or machines (unless you enjoy them). Instead, find activities and clubs that allow you to move your body in a way that is fun and healthy not punishment.

It is normal to struggle with accepting your natural shape. We live in a world where it is tough to escape this pressure. Support each other by recognizing the beauty among the differences. Support yourself by donating your "skinny jeans" to a charity clothing drive. Those jeans are really not your genes. Find some jeans that fit and, therefore, demonstrate the beauty of the genes only you can call your own.

Monday, February 5, 2007

My Second Food YOUtopia Experience

I am driving through Arizona's desert during a business trip. While my colleagues chatter about the day's excitement, I find myself finally able to retreat with the new Shins album. I have been saving this music for a good moment for this first listen. I place the buds in my ears. It drowns out their chatter so I feel as I am totally alone at last.

I look out the window and my eyes notice the different landscape. The cacti and tumbleweeds appear to have an inverse relationship with the Tumbleweed smoothie I am drinking.

It bursts with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sugar, soy milk, and cream. With each sip, I feel the seeds from the berries; it lets me know this drink is fresh and was prepared just for me.

The Shins fill my head with the nourishment it needs while the smoothie does the same for the rest of me. This fuel allows my eyes to take in the landscape.

The landscape changes as I notice 3 colorful hot air balloons lifting into the sky. I watch them float and wonder what they are able to see from their direction. The birds fly by through my personal movie. The birds seem to be mocking two larger flying creatures: two hang gliders float among them.

I wonder how I can be so lucky to be able to enjoy this moment. I feel so small among all of this creation and movement.

I am saturated by the sounds in my ears, the sun's warmth on my face, the taste of the cool berries, and my eyes bounce hoping to absorb all of this. I realize I will never be on this road again. I will never be in this city again. I will never be in this moment again. I say to myself: enjoy it and be grateful.

The sun starts to set as I see a dune buggie drive by. Will I experience any other joys today?

Through the music, I hear my smoothie's straw slurp noise. It lets me know this food utopia is about to end. The sun sets just as we arrive to our destination.

I will never be back and that is okay. I will remember it and that makes me smile. I am grateful my food fuel allowed me to experience and connect with my soul and the earth.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Food and Youtopia: How It All Began

It is the first unofficial day of Spring one day in March 2005. The season has changed as evidenced by the sun, high in the sky, feeling so warm and perfect on my face. It is also the first day I want to drive with the windows down.

I finished work early today. To celebrate the rest of the afternoon to myself, I drive to Coldstone Creamery in Friendly Center. The annoying teenagers working behind the counter do not annoy me today with their obnoxious greeting. The sun's warmth shields me from annoying people today.

I order a Love It Cake Batter with Cookie Dough. I take my order and walk out the door. I get into my car and as it starts, I hear a song that makes me just feel so grateful and optimistic.

Luckily, I manage to hit every red light on the short drive home. This allows me to finally taste the unbaked goodness. Each time I take a taste, my body surges with happiness and childhood memories of sneaking swipes in the bowl of the cake batter.

As I get closer to home, eating the amazing ice cream, feeling the warm sun on my skin met with the perfect breeze and harmonious sounds, I wonder if this moment can be any better. I am contemplating this and notice something out of the corner of my eye:

I see a little blond-headed boy moving in my direction on the sidewalk. He is riding a unicycle. He sees me see him. He waves.

The sun, the sounds, the sights stayed connected through savoring the taste. I call this sequence of events a food utopia. Everything during these moments felt perfect and the moment could not and would not have occurred if I worried about how many calories I would need to burn off for this Love It from Coldstone. It would not have been complete if I chose a dinky 60 calorie fat free sugar free yogurt. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the food. You will have a food utopia too. This way to zen.
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr