What’s on your plate? Overcoming dietary judgment.

Many of us are becoming increasingly interested in knowing as much as we can about what is in our food. We are becoming educated about where our food comes from, how it’s grown and cultivated, and how it affects our bodies. Talk to any one person and you’re bound to find that the way they think about food varies from your own perspective. There isn’t one way to eat healthy. Some people opt for a vegetarian diet, others give up animal products all together and become vegans. Still others will eat chicken but not pork, or beef. The configurations are endless and people have different reasons for eating the way they do.

One of the downsides of this food awareness is dietary judgment. Some people think they are experts on what everybody else should be eating and will gleefully shame anybody who is not eating “right”. I think that regardless of any good intentions that these people have they are engaging in concern trolling. When somebody is concern trolling they use the guise of being concerned about the wellbeing of another person to shame them and be harmful to them.

I think it’s great when people find something that works for them, makes them feel better and empowers them. I have friends who follow various diets and from what I can tell they are happy, healthy, and at peace with their choices. I am nothing but happy for them. I like seeing people that I care about taking care of themselves and making choices that change their lives for the better. What I don’t have is the inclination to question their choices. If somebody wants your opinion about something they will ask you for it. Barring that you are just giving unwelcome and unsolicited advice.

But back to what’s on your plate, should anybody have the right to judge? My answers is a firm no.

Loving your body and the booty revolution

I hang out on Twitter a lot. I consume a lot of my news on the platform and I enjoy it quite a bit. I rarely get involved in anything and only tweet a handful of friends. For the most part, I am an outsider looking in. I like it that way. On Tuesday I read an article about Meghan Tonjes. She is a YouTube vlogger and artist. She, like a lot of us, documents her life on Instagram. This includes her weight-loss journey. When she posted a picture of her clothed derriere it was reported and as a result taken down by Instagram. For the full story click here.

After the video about her experience went viral something amazing happened and the bootyrevolution hashtag was born. The whole point of the hashtag, as I understand it, is to encourage women to be free and love their bodies no matter their size. Fat bodies have long been considered ugly and relegated to something that needs to be hidden from view. Fat women can’t exist.

Body-policing is the act of policing a body because it does not conform to social norms. I would argue that it involves a lot more than that as it includes making assumptions about a person’s health, eating habits, and overall personality. I have heard (and admit to being guilty of it myself at times) people remark, “She’s too fat to wear that.” or “If you’re that size you should not be wearing a two-piece.”  and the perennial “She’s so fat it’s disgusting.” Additionally, this body-policing is generally skewed towards women.

When I hear friends and family members hate on their bodies I get sad. When I see young girls starve themselves because they want to be skinny like the girls in magazines I have a strong desire to do something. What can I do? I decided to join the #bootyrevolution by posting a selfie of my booty. I must admit I thought myself half mad for even considering it. Then I took a picture (or twenty) and wondered if it was worth it. Could I actually post a picture of my butt on Instagram? The internet is forever after all. After a few minutes of intense deliberation, as well as encouragement from a fellow booty warrior, I decided to do it. Why not flood the internet with pictures of bodies in all shapes and sizes? If women can look through these and feel empowered and comforted in knowing that there are other women like them out there then I want to be a part of that.

A question that kept nagging me was what would people think? I have friends and family that follow me on Instagram and they might not be aware of the point of the picture. Would they be offended? This, dear readers, is the question that really stuck out to me. The fact that I took their offense into consideration. Sure, I would never choose to offend the ones I love but my body is not offensive. And my booty is not for them. Who cares what they think? People post all sorts of things all the time and I am sure as heck they don’t give me a second thought when they do so.

With shaky hands I hit share and felt immediate and utter pride for having done so. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I put my professed body positivity into practice. I became involved.

Of course, men missed the entire point of the hashtag and used it as a mining tool for their own perversions. I am not here for them. I am not here to see pictures of their privates or to receive their accolades and innuendo. If you think that posting a picture of my rear invites these comments then you are part of the problem. Exercising free agency over my body is not an invitation to men to make lewd remarks. I have now experienced firsthand yet again how women are seen and treated as commodities and sexual objects.

Overall, sharing my booty has been a positive experience. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and have seen lots of beautiful women take the brave step to share their pride and love of themselves. That is a beautiful thing.



Check-in Wednesday

Giving up soda is one of the goals I have set for myself this year. Diet Coke in particular is my poison of choice and that’s no exaggeration. Diet Coke is poison. I know it’s full of chemicals, and I know I shouldn’t drink it, but I really like it. I also like regular soda but the fact that Diet Coke doesn’t have any calories has allowed me to justify my consumption. I have cut way back on the amount of soda I drink. I don’t keep it in the house and I stick to water when out at a restaurant but I still sneak the occasional sip from my husband’s glass, and if a meal comes with a soda I will indulge in a little Coca-Cola dosing.

I really want to give it up altogether as I don’t want soda to be a part of my life anymore. There are several reasons, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. I also have Diego to think about. He is blissfully not addicted to soda. He has tried it, and guess what? He loved it. Who wouldn’t? Sugar is a drug. The sip or two he’s had weigh heavily on my mind and I cannot expect him to not want any as he gets older. I am sure he will soon get wise to the fact that while he’s sipping water or milk we are indulging in what many would consider sweet nectar of the gods. These gods are no doubt addicted to sugar. In order to instill healthy habits in my son I have to model them.

Another reason to give up soda is my weight. I want to weigh less and in order to do so I have to make some serious changes. Permanent changes. It’s funny how hard it is to lose weight but how easy it is to fall back on the bad habits that expanded my rear in the first place. Surprisingly, it’s not vanity that motivates me to lose weight. I mean, it is an incentive but my main motivator is my health. Now is the time to take steps to ensure I have a healthy old age. Of course, there are no guarantees but surely giving myself an advantage by reducing my risk can’t hurt.

Obviously, I don’t think that having the occasional soda is a bad thing. I don’t plan to cut it out of my life completely or for good, but for right now I need to commit to changing my eating habits. It’s so easy to say it and write it. Actually sticking to it is hard. Hopefully, but putting myself out there I will hold myself accountable. A good friend of mine is a good support in this quest as she has been soda free for over a year with great results. It’s always great to see somebody make changes that change their lives. It gives me hope that I can do it, too.

So what other options does that leave us with?

Water! This beverage gets overlooked by a lot of people because it’s boring and has no taste. I actually love water and find it very refreshing. You can flavor it with fruit. Just cut it up and drop it into your pitcher. Remember to thoroughly wash your fruits, especially lemons. Flavored sparkling water is good, too. I used to love to freeze raspberry flavored sparkling water until slushy and eating it with a spoon.

Smoothies. Fresh or frozen fruits with a splash of milk or orange juice can make a great beverage that is also a meal. Last night I made a strawberry banana smoothie that was so delicious it was hard to believe it didn’t have any added sugar. Fruit is sweet enough on it’s own.

Tea sweetened with honey or raw sugar is another great option. I have been moving towards using natural, unrefined sweeteners as opposed to refined sugars or sugar substitutes.

Green Juice- similar to smoothies except it’s a vegetable base. I recently made one with spinach, green apples (cored but unpeeled), stawberries and ginger. I also added a little bit of water to the blender and a few ice cubes. I liked the taste but my cheap blended didn’t puree to the smooth consistency I would have preferred. Regardless, Diego and I enjoyed it and I felt good about it.

IMG_3713 IMG_3784