Engaging my Body.

Hello babes. Up front I want to give y’all a bit of a content warning. I’ll be ruminating on exercise, fatphobia, weightloss and eating disorders. Please care for yourselves and if these are not your jams, please take care. That said, I’m not going to be graphic about things but there’s gonna be some stuff.

First I want to preface this by saying a couple of things. I do not believe with any bit of my being that fat and health are the same thing ever. I don’t believe that thinness or even being a “normal” weight are the end all be all arbiters of health. You cannot tell the state of a persons health in any nuanced way by looking at them. Full stop. I will not argue that ever.

Second, with Adele’s weight loss in the news a lot of folks are in their feelings about it. Listen. A multi grammy award winning artist with an amazing voice losing weight is not the peak of her or anyone elses accomplishments. And if you believe it is, you have work to do. I also want to say that I believe that weight loss done from a place of fatphobia or self hate is not gonna be healthy. Sorry not sorry.

If you’re interested in point number two I encourage you to google around and read some stuff because I don’t really have the spoons to go full Fat 101 here today/

OKAY buckle in.

I have recently been as y’all know engaging with my health and evaluating and changing how I care for my meat sack. I’ve been really focused on getting my nutrition to a better place, I’ve been working hard to feed myself well, and the last bit of this has been me looking for movement I can engage in with joy and not hurt myself.

Being that I have a disordered history with both food and exercise, I’ve had to tread very carefully. One of my huge ED triggers is the allure of control over my body. Results. A huge trigger for me. Unfortunately, I thought I had a better handle on my feelings about it. I do not.

What started as me looking for some things to cobble together for some workouts turned into me planning and plotting ways to control my body. I was able to back off of being so triggered and that masochistic urge to continue enough to observe a few things.

This experience I’m having isn’t unique. I know a lot of people who fall into the same hole. Even super fat accepting, body politic heroes. And what I have come back to is that when we front load weight loss and results and massive fast body changes as the point of fitness, we just get swept up in disordered behaviours and feelings and it is not good for anybody.

This is what happens when we don’t separate ideas about being as health as you can be in the body you have, appearance, weight and what health is or can be. What I mean by that is, if you look at a lot of fitness related content the motivation is often based in creating shame in the consumer and turning it into “motivation”.

The language tends to sway between saying, OH you’re not fixing that flat/fat ass? You’re lazy and not worth X thing etc etc. Then the person seems to be pumping you up, following the shame there is the cheerleading. They look great, they are perky and yelling and telling you, YOU CAN DO IT. A lot of the discourse is framed like so.

If you really loved yourself you’d want the flat stomach/shredded abs/big booty/thigh gap and if you REALLY COMMIT you can have it. And if you don’t get the results, well you did it wrong. You ate too much. You’re too lazy. And frankly it is abusive.

This method of selling/gaining followers is the voice of my ED. I recognized that recently and it set me back a little bit. I realized that regardless of my political leanings, my love of bodies, all bodies, my respect for all bodies, I still have a hard time giving myself the same treatment. I caught myself and have been working through it but fuck y’all.

I think I didn’t see it to begin with because my intentions with my fitness are very specific. I have a lot of chronic pain I’ve had for many years and through many pant sizes. I enjoy moving my body and I’ve been really interested in reconnect to that joy. So I went looking.

It was really hard to even find say back pain relief exercises that weren’t also cuddled up with weight loss as a goal. I don’t want that. I don’t need it and it harms me. It harms a lot of us.

What if we could have something different?

What if I could easily find a workout designed for just loosening up and enjoying my body? What if we could skip the toxic messaging about weight and how we should want our bodies to be?

For me, I really wish more fitness professionals would take a step back to look at how their own language and methods can be harmful.

For me it has been a really difficult few months with this. On one hand I’m wrestling with those ED triggers on multiple levels. One part of me remembers the peak/low of my purging via exercise and the memories of having trouble walking because I’d spent 7-8 hours exercising is fuzzy but remembering the feeling of control and doing something “good” are strong.

I remember tearing an ab muscle and powering through it and the warm congratulations of my instructors.

I don’t want to do that again.

I don’t want to contribute to anyone else doing it on any level.

There will be more of this. I have other stuff to say but for now let’s leave it here.

The health, wellness and fitness industries really rely too heavily on toxic and disordered behaviour and we really need to figure out how to not engage with it.

Shit is hard.

I’m workin on it.

SALAD! Salad mix review and a bit of math.

Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a salad freak. I LOVE SALAD. Today we’re gonna mix it up *HA LIKE A SALAD* and have a little talk about intuitive eating, money, salad and I’m going to give y’all a review of the greens I bought.

Buckle up.

Let’s start with intuitive eating and my goal this year of doing more of that within my budget. For reference I have a bit of a thing about this. I like to try and keep my work food out of our household budget. Mainly because we spend most of our food budget on staples and it eases my anxiety because I could eat cheaper but I want to eat what I want to eat.

I’m working on relaxing about it but yanno. Shit is hard.

After this winter and given the whole Covid shit, I’ve really wanted to be able to eat what I want naturally while at work to help with my stress. Then I was gifted a salad lunch bowl off of my wishlist and y’all…it has been LIT.

This is the bowl. It was a gift from a beloved friend and y’all, it is LITERALLy the best gift ever. I use it every single day. I just..>UNF. I had planned on doing mason jar salads but, real talk. I am very clumsy. Like….I don’t own breakable dishes and have broken every dish and glass I’ve ever owned. Except 2 that I’m not allowed to touch.

Next up, let’s talk greens and toppings.

Over the winter I generally was eating a lot of frozen sale stuff. A lot of Smart Onesmeals. We could usually find them 2-4$ a piece. I would treat myself with a certain brand (I cannot recall the name) pesto pasta frozen bowls or sometimes Lean Cuisines. Not bad food at all. A little bland but not bad. Also not really satisfying to me. I didn’t really want to eat them.

What I want to eat has been more fresh veg. My intuitive eater self, wants ALL the veg. I can’t afford to eat as much fresh veg as I’d like because of spoilage, prep etc so I’ve come up with this method.

I buy greens. This week I’ve discovered a new fave. Organic Girl Protein Greens. It has, sweet pea greens, baby spinach, baby kale, baby bok choy, mizuna and tatsoi. The latter two are types of greens. WOW this mix packs a lot of flavor. You get a lot of great earthiness from the sweet pea greens and it is delicious. I order it from Amazon for $3.99. If I want to save an extra dollar I will get a bag of spinach or anything else with dark greens that I prefer.

Now I like a LOT of stuff on my salads so I bought large bags of toppings. I picked up a pound of hemp hearts, a smaller container of sunflower seeds and I have some cans of artichoke hearts which I LOVE on salad.

For proteins I vary what I top my salads with. I’m perfectly happy to change them out weekly. My go to is tuna fish. Before we moved, I could get these at the dollar store but we live in a bourgie neighborhood so no dollar store. We buy these Starkist pouches of tuna and they work out really nicely. I use these for a lot of things. I love tuna but a lot of the time a can is too much for me and I hate trying to save it without it getting icky.

Other proteins. This week I bought two packets of on sale surimi (fake crab) and I get about 2.5 or so servings per week in each packet.

Behold my salad today:

salad

[image description: photo of a salad with bits of surimi and artichoke hearts. Sprinkled with seasonings]

 

 

I MEAN. Look. It was delicious.

Now my cost for the whole work week with enough left over for a little salad on Sunday my first day off, came out (not counting the larger toppings) 6.75. So really this is a way for me to satisfy my cravings, get that fiber etc for less than what I would pay for microwave meals for a full week. I still eat those sometimes but for summer at least I’ll be doing mainly salad.

Also, this plan would be easier if I was going to the Whole Foods (YES I know evil but it is in walking distance) but with the situation I’ve avoided it. That could change.

For variety I’m focusing mainly on my toppings for varying flavors. Last week I had tuna and corn. I can get at least 2.5 or so salads out of any canned veg. If I don’t have any I am also find just with greens and some dressing.

My other goals with eating this way (and I’ll talk more about my what I’m eating in a day soon) are as follows:

  • I need to eat enough. I haven’t been doing that.
  • I need more fiber in my diet. I want better poops. Unfortunately, one of my major stress reactions is I get terribly constipated and it hurts my butthole.
  • Honoring what my body tells me.

Now before I go a few protips for those who are meh about salad.

SEASON YOUR DAMN SALAD. Even just a lil splort of salt and pepper. USE SEASONINGS. Flavor won’t kill you. Experiment. Use a lil garlic. Use some red chili. If you are not creative in terms of seasoning, get you a pre made spice blend. No shame. There are TONS to choose from and really it just depends on your tastes.

So quick review:

Bowl: 15/10 stars awesome.

Organic Girl Protein Greens: 8/10 stars. I LOVe the flavor of the pea greens but find they can be a little bit of a weird chew.

Salad in general: ONE MILLION STARS!

Disclaminer, this has affiliate links.

Yo Wellness Web…we got beef.

Hello babes. It is yer problematic fave Auntie and I got beef.

We’re going to be talking about wellness, fatphobia, misleading shit a bunch of people say and how we can do better.

Recently I was doing some research, apparently this whole virus situation has sent me running back to my juices and berries witchy ways. That means I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

Listen wellness people…y’all.

One of the things I’ve been focusing on is stress and anxiety reduction. Those two things are among my highest concerns.

Again, I’m seeing weight loss as the front loaded assumed goal rather than the actual ailments I’m looking to ease. This approach is not only problematic, it is generally misleading and dangerous.

Let’s start with why this is problematic. In the context of researching specific things like herbs and vitamins, especially those that have no connection to weight, you’re screwing up the facts. If you want to know what value adding say a vitamin supplement to your wellness line up could have and what you find is rah rah LOOK lose weight, that isn’t going to give you actual nutritional value.

Also, likely it is going to make you feel like shit. More so if you “should” (we’ll get to that) be doing “something” about your weight but maybe you want energy support or help with your digestion. For instance. I was looking at a multi vitamin and the first half of the list of benefits all had to do with losing weight in a way that was sharply marketed for women.

HEY look it’ll cure your jiggly ass and burn and detox and blablabla. None of those things were true or necessary. It is a multivitamin. Looking through the ingredient list rather than the marketing patter, I could see that it was formulated for women over 40 looking for support in immune health, digestion, fatigue and those wanting to get in more minerals and a higher level of calcium. And interestingly, the dude formula of the same vitamin with a little extra stuff for prostate health, did not mention weight or fat at all.

I’ll drop some resources about why fatphobia is bad below so folks can understand who’ve not learned about the issue.

Now, from my perspective what I don’t need is extra nonsense when it comes to facts about nutrition, herbs etc. There are already so many terrible and untrue things around this doesn’t need to happen. Further, when the marketing for a product with a certain herb or vitamin is focused on frankly untrue weightloss promises, how can we trust the industry to actually have our health and wellbeing in mind?

We know that capitalism ruins everything but in this case, especially in the wellness community it fuels dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

I put a lot of the blame for the rise in the dangers in our community on irresponsible and greedy influencers. If we take to instagram, I would be you my delicious chocolate bar I’m eating, that a lot of those huge influencers so many love to follow, are right now hawking things that are not okay.

Tummy teas are a huge one. Lately I’ve noticed a few companies targeting the Black community promising a flat belly and a big booty. I’ve seen youtuber/instagram influencers use their curated aspirational type of content to sell everything from scientifically questionable diets and supplements to tummy teas so work out programs that are, lets face it not good.

The impact of this can be seen all over. We’re seeing more children with eating disorders, may of us who have an eating disorder history can’t navigate these communities without being triggered and none of this fits into a good view of wellness.

My ideas about wellness include learning to care for ourselves in a holistic and whole way. That also means, putting a critical lens on what we’re being sold, how we’re being sold these things and thinking about ways we can engage with wellness without perpetuating harm. Front loading weight loss, using size or fatness as a morality compass, thoughtless selling of products that can contribute to eating disorders and yoyo dieting need to go.

What do I want? I want to be able to be in the wellness community without the bullshit. I want to be able to engage with wellness in a way that isn’t abusive, greedy or predicated on ONE thing, that thing being my weight.

We’ll talk more about sizeism, fat phobia and body politics later so I’ll leave y’all some links to get started.

Things I’ve written. Items with an * are behind the paywall on Medium but I’m giving you the free to read links. If you are a member of Medium please feel free to share from the page:

On “Inclusive” Sizing, fitness and fatness.*

Post FatAss: Current RageAss*.

Fatness links here in the blog.

Other folks work:

Basic Fat acceptance. 

Ragen Chastain

I See Fat People by Carolyn C. Ross M.D. M.P.H.
Here’s How Fatphobia Is Being Marketed to You – And Why So Many of Us Buy Into It by Kaila Prins.

Fat Acceptance history. 

Great reading list at Wear Your Voice. 

Before I go some extra disclosure. Once upon a time I was a fat blogger. As I’m diving into wellness and new approaches to my own health I’ve decided to dust myself off and get back into talking and writing more about bodies and fatness. I am not currently a fat person. I was now I’m not. I will defer to currently fat people when necessary and if you want to drop any lectures about how terrible fatness is, this is not the blog for you and I won’t approve your comments.

With that. Go forth. Happy reading and I’ll see you later babe.