Posts Tagged 'fat'

Dancing away the insecurities

I’m going out dancing tonight with a bunch of people I don’t know. I was invited by my Brazilian temporary roommate, and though I’m really looking forward to a night of dancing, I’m kind of nervous about going with people I don’t know. Part is just my shiness in new groups, but another part is the “OMG, I’M FAT” factor, as I know all of the group to be on the skinny to “average” end of the spectrum.

I know there’s no reason to think I won’t be welcomed into this group, and even if I’m not, I’ll just be dancing. But I have had quite a tough week visiting my relatives abroad, and specifically with my dad being angry at me for refusing to try and lose weight. I have explained to him how I try to eat intuitively, and if I lose weight, fine, if not, fine too. But he essentially demanded I start dieting, and we argued and fought about just about every little other thing too. I know this is his problem, but being yelled at for three days is hardly good for your body image and self confidence.

So I nearly wigged out of going dancing this evening. But you know what? I feel like dancing! I feel like moving, and the fact that it’s a barefoot club makes it even better! So I’m going to have fun, dammit, and go dancing anyway.

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Happy Easter Everyone!

Easter this year is supposed to make up for last Christmas. My brother was sick then, and we couldn’t get the whole family together, because my aunt and uncle were hosting the dinner, and they had the in-laws over from England as well. So we’re hoping to get the whole clan together today. The problem is though, that the weather is atrocious with snow and icy rain and gales predicted, so the family gathering might not happen yet again.

But in case it does happen, I’ve made banana bread and scones… Yum! So I decided to give you my recipe. I use metric, so you may need to convert into imperial, and I’m too lazy this morning to do it.

Banana Bread (please note there’s no added sugar in this recipe… it doesn’t need it)

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 bespeckled bananas that have been frozen and defrosted (just stick bananas in the freezer when they start going off, then when you have a few, defrost them, see how they’ve gone black and almost liquid, and bake)
  • 3 heaped tbsp quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 heaped tbsp crushed flax seed
  • 1 heaped tbsp (wheat)bran
  • 75-100g chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • handful of chopped or sliced almonds
  • handful of chopped pecans

Heat oven to 160C. Grease and dust a 10x30cm approx. loaf pan.While oven is heating, mix dry ingredients in a bowl and wet ingredients in another. You can use a mixer to quickly beat the eggs, bananas and butter together to a smooth mix. Then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones, pour into loaf pan and stick in the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour. Check whether the loaf is done by sticking a toothpick in. If it comes out clean (or just with melted chocolate on it), take it out and leave to cool. Enjoy!

Scones

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • some milk (you add a little as you go)
  • 50g raisins or dried fruit (optional)

Heat oven to 220C. Beat the egg in a cup with a splash of milk. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Rub in butter until you have a dry flaky texture. Add the milk and egg mix, and fold it in a little. Add raisins and knead dough to a ball. The ball should be a little sticky. If it’s not, add a splash of milk, and knead some more.

Dust a flat surface with flour, and carefully roll out the ball of dough until you have a sheet around 2cm thick. Punch  out circles of about 5-7 cm in diameter (use a cup or glass) and reshape for maximum yield (I get 6 scones out of this). Dab a little milk on the top of each scone and put them on a cookie tray. They go in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top goes a nice golden colour. Leave to cool a little and enjoy with some butter, clotted cream and/or jam!

How to talk to my sister

I just got off the phone with my 9-year-old sister. She called me to tell me she didn’t need me to babysit her tomorrow, since her flu seems to have passed. But could I come anyway so she’d see me for half an hour before school. I said I’d come to dinner tonight instead.

My sister is a cool kid. She’s bubbly and chatty and flirty. She rides horses and plays field hockey and runs faster than any other kid in school. She likes school and enjoys sitting in the front of the class, if only because she can chat with the teacher more. She doesn’t give a damn about hierarchy. If she likes someone, she’ll hang out with him/her, regardless of cool factor, age, sex or anything, really. She talks back when she disagrees with something.

She also has some insecure traits, though. She has really bad nerves when she has to present something in class like a book report. When she’s in a new environment, she can be very clingy, though she’s getting better with that. And she’s terrified of getting fat.

First off, she’s not fat. At all. She seems to take after her dad, who could never put on weight however hard he tried until he turned fifty. My mom and I are both fat, my mom much more so than me. And she doesn’t think I’m fat, though she knows mom is.

But lately, she’s been saying things like “I don’t want a sweet, because I’ll get fat,” or “if I eat this, I’ll have to exercise more.” At 9 that’s a bit worrying, I think. And it’s not necessarily that she thinks fat is ugly or unattractive, but it’s that she’s been taught that being fat is unhealthy. And that message seems to be reinforced from so many different directions:

  • My mom is quite unhappy with her body. She’s trying to get better at accepting herself for who she is, but she still wants to lose a lot of weight. At the moment she’s trying to eat intuitively, but with portion restriction (I’m supposedly the only person who knows she’s on a diet. Somehow I don’t think she can hide it). I think, somewhere, my mom is depressed and really hates herself a lot more than she shows. But kids pick up on that.
  • My sister’s dad doesn’t like the fact that my mom is fat. She was fat when they met, but not as fat as she is now. I think he thought he’d be the one who’d make her so happy she wouldn’t need to be fat anymore. Big disappointment there. They rarely sleep in the same bed, supposedly because they have different rhythms, but really because my mom snores. Because she’s fat.
  • Television ads like the one about how it’s healthy to eat less and excersize more if you’ve had a birthday with cake and snacks the day before, just to balance things out, because otherwise you’ll get fat. [government message]
  • School assignments about which foods are healthy and which ones aren’t. As in fat is unhealthy. Not as in you need a balanced diet to stay healthy.
  • The talk among older (teenage) girls at her sports clubs about being fat, and how it’s a disadvantage in sports.
  • Comments from other adults about weight she happens to overhear.
  • Segments on the news about research on how unhealthy fat is.
  • TV shows that are about weight loss, especially those that make kids lose weight as well.
  • Just the fact you hardly see fat people in the media, and that when they are around, a negative characteristic is almost always attached to being fat.
  • Hardly any attention is being given to the fact that not weighing enough or eating enough is at least as unhealthy as weighing too much or eating too much.
  • Or the fact that different bodies metabolize food differently, so people have different needs in terms of food.

These are just the things I thought of at the top of my head. There are many, many more messages about how fat is detrimental to your well-being. The whole image of beauty is skewed in the media too.

So how do I counter all these messages? How do I show my sister that no matter what shape or size she is, she is a beautiful, powerful, smart person? That she is good enough? I hope I’m around her enough to tell her she is a great person and have her believe it.

The Shape of my Heart, uh, Body

Just the other day, I was looking at myself in the mirror. I was in a store, trying on jeans (they fit, btw), and for the first time ever, I could see why I don’t have a really defined waist, and why most jeans aren’t comfortable, even when they “fit”: The distance between my ribcage and my pelvis is really small, only about 5cm at my sides.

 I knew I had big lungs since I was twelve, and we had an experiment in biology class to measure lung capacity. Mine was more than 1.5x what was average for my height. I also already knew that my hipbones were bigger from when I took ballet classes as a kid. My hip bumps were at a completely different place than those of the other girls. But I never put two and two together.

So, most jeans that supposedly sit at your waist, and therefore get narrower on top, sit around my hips. Can you spell MUFFIN-TOP*? My realisation about my anatomical quirks also explains why normal shirts, and also, oftentimes, plus-sized shirts don’t fit right: because my chest is bigger, my breasts are set lower, so the space is in the wrong place in fitted shirts. I’ve tried hoisting the boobs up higher, but if anything looks ridiculous, it’s breasts with a fold above them instead of below (yeah, that’s what my boobs do). Really. Weird.

For some strange reason, I had never realised that my anatomical composition could have anything to do with the way clothes tit fit me. Wow.

So today, I stood in front of the mirror at home in my underwear, and actually looked at the shape my body has underneath my clothes. My breasts are big and soft, and sit at the middle of my chest. My arms are long. I have a flabby bit near my armpit. My armpit is not hollow. I have a belly. My hips are slightly curved. My bottom is quite flat. My thighs are big and muscular. They almost stick out more than my ass at the back. My calves are really defined, but not small.

It’s my body, and I love it.

*Don’t get me started on ‘hipsters’. They don’t even go past my hip joint. Ouch.

A work in Progress, or My Diet

Intuitively, I’ve never believed in dieting. I’ve never been the skinniest person in the world, and I’ve thought in the past that being skinnier would be better, but dieting has never made  sense to me. I’ve been told I could stand to lose a little weight, but dieting, in my mind,  isn’t going to fix the ‘problem’. I’ve been told I’d be happier if I were lighter, but I don’t believe dieting is a cure for unhappiness.

I have never been on a diet.

But in the past I’ve not told anyone my opinion on dieting. I was afraid people would ridicule me, so I just nodded along with their dietary advice, all the while thinking “yeah, yeah, sure, whatev, no way I’m getting into this.” And then I didn’t diet.

Sometimes, I lost a bit of weight, and people would ask me what diet I had followed. At this point, I’d mumble something about eating more veggies and less sugar (usually true, I guess), but I would be really uncomfortable. Because I’m not sure. I’m not sure because I don’t keep constant track of my food. Because just like I’m terrible at remembering what clothes I had on on previous days, I honestly don’t remember what I had to eat two days ago. It’s just not something I need to keep in my brain, when there’s so much to remember already.

I also don’t like the “how much have you lost”-question. Honestly, I have no idea. I have scales somewhere, but they’re packed away in a box, because I don’t use them. A few years ago, I wasn’t too comfortable in my skin, and thought I’d try to lose weight by excersizing more (I temporarily had more time on my hands), and my dad came up with the gem of “you should be weighing yourself every morning and night and you should count your calories.”  Yeah, sure, if you really want to drive yourself nuts, go see the weight go up and down and up again, and then punish yourself with less calories in, because you gained 2lb in one day… But to make him happy, I went out and bought scales. Even used them a few times on a weekly basis. But my weight was not what made me feel bad about myself, so I decided to stop measuring my value and happiness by it.

I am not on a  diet.

But it’s easier for me to let people assume I’ve lost weight through dieting, rather than through being too busy to eat or just for no apparent reason. There’s enough things I worry about every day, enough self-esteem issues to work through, enough insecurities to overcome without having to worry about what I put in my mouth. I eat what I like, when I want to (or get the chance). However healthy or unhealthy.

I won’t ever go on a diet.

And from now on, I plan on telling people just that. Next thing is to stop worrying I’m the fattest person in the room.