A few weeks ago I went canoeing with my guy and his little sister down McGee Creek in Mississippi. Just as we were rounding the last bend, the rain breaking through the clouds and our arms beginning to tire, I heard a woman declare (in my general direction):
Someone needs to eat a cheeseburger.
I stopped paddling and turned to stare in utter shock at the collection of women floating in tubes. The woman's friends cackled, looking at me and throwing their heads back in glee.
I felt a series of emotions in succession. First a flush of embarrassment. Then anger. Then sadness.
A few things of note here:
- These women don’t know me or my struggle with body image. They didn’t know anything about me.
- They don’t know that I’m an advocate for all bodies. They don’t know.
- They didn't know that I had a hamburger for dinner the night before.
But still, in that moment I realized... that single comment summed up so much of what I’m fighting against.
Recently I encountered a similar experience described in a book as "Health Trolling," and I had a real HALLELUJAH YES THAT'S WHAT IT IS moment.
Sonya Renee Taylor says: "'I just want this complete stranger, whose life I know nothing about and who I have made no effort to get to know..., to be healthy.' This is called health trolling or concern trolling, and it is just another sinister body shame tactic. Given that we can make no accurate assessment of any individual's health based simply on their weight, it is evident that such behavior is not really about the other person's health but more likely about the ways in which we expect other bodies to conform to our standards and beliefs about what a body should or should not look like."
On top of that... your health? Your external appearance? Your body? None of that is what makes you valuable. It's not what makes you lovable or worth taking up space.
My healthy is not your healthy. THIS is why my definition of health includes happiness.
It's what I call Smashing the Foodtriarchy.
Foodtriarchy: noun a system of our society in which the government, big food, diet culture (and diet culture masquerading as health), photoshopped images, and picture perfect food/bodies/lives are heralded as the "right" way and the "good" way. A system in which our inalienable rights to trust the internal cues of our bodies and deepest soul’s desires are discarded in favor of external cues from a patriarchal food system and media monster.
Support your fellow humans. No matter their size or external appearance.
We are constantly comparing external cues against internal feelings. How do you WANT to feel when sporting a bikini and powering a canoe? Probably not shamed, no matter your size.
We can't know what it's like to BE any other person. I mean... literally what it's like to BE them. To BE in their body. Yes, there's a soul or a spirit or a life force there... but there's also a BODY. It's undeniable.
You think about how uncomfortable it is to be in your own body sometimes, and you realize... it's like that for other people, too.
We don't talk about it a lot. I wonder why?
I mean... It's private. It's personal. We each think we're unique and maybe a little weird. But I promise you it's a universal experience, and we all have similar experiences INSIDE. Outside, though? Outside it's a different story.
Me? I know that this experience I had on McGee creek was about my thin privilege.
I have thin privilege.
People have always easily accepted that I'm a health and wellness expert and yoga teacher because I've always been thin. Thin is equated with healthy. In fact, when I was at my THINNEST (rocking an eating disorder hardcore), people REALLY thought I had it together.
Thin does not equal healthy. It does not equal happy, either. But it does come with a lot of privilege. This world is built for thin people.
Acknowledging this out loud is part of Smashing the Foodtriarchy™.
Do you believe in your inalienable rights to release and move past food frustration and the indescribable urge to crawl out of your own skin? To Smash the Foodtriarchy™ means embarking on a mission to break the emotional bondage with food and live in alignment with your deepest desires. To Smash the Foodtriarchy™ means you support ALL bodies and are committed to a world where body shaming is no more.
What does Smashing the Foodtriarchy™ mean to you?
Support your fellow women. Your fellow humans. None of us know what the other is facing.
p.s. Ready to love the food you eat and live the life you love? Here are a couple ways I can help you with ending the cycle of shame and regret when it comes to food and your body:
1. Join the Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Mode group and connect with women who are investing in their health and happiness, too.
This is my new Facebook community where women learn to get more of what they want in their body, food, and lives. Click Here
2. Get yourself a copy of Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto.
If this is the kind of food & life philosophy that you find intriguing, or if you're interested in this kind of approach to eating and living well, you'll really dig the book I'm wrapping up and getting ready for print right this very moment: Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto. It's now available for pre-sale!
3. Hop on the phone with me to work out if and how I can help you. Hate talking on the phone to strangers?! Me too. (Telephonophobia, or phone fear, is genetic!) But fear not. This 10 minutes is going to fly by, and we’re going to keep it fun & simple by focusing on three things: what's not working with food and your body, what's standing in the way, and if and how I can help you. Answer a few questions, and we’ll be set to chat—awkward free. Apply here.