Thursday, February 28, 2013

our bodies and our struggles

Relevant because we're eating donuts. Okay.
Something happened on the weekend that's been on my mind a little and I've decided to share it, because I think it's relevant to a very human struggle that many of us share.

On Sunday night, I was at a work dinner in Canberra. It was convivial, with wine and laughter. I ordered dessert, because 1) work was paying and 2) HELLO! Chocolate cake! Um, yes.
When my dessert arrived at the table, I tucked in, then,
"How dare you be able to eat that and stay so thin," a lady at my table said, "How unfair!"
I was a little taken aback and jokingly tried to deflect,
"Actually, I'm quite active," I said. She hmm'ed and nodded, my explanation seemed to justify a little, but not enough to stop her making the same comment again.

On one hand, let's just admit this, I was pleased with myself - and not just because I was eating a delicious chocolate cake - but because joy of joys! someone thought I was thin! What a reaction, huh? I surprised myself a little in thinking that. Most days I think I'm just a normal lass or I'm not 100% happy with my weight (see below), but events like this remind me that body satisfaction is all about perception. In her eyes, I am normal sized, therefore thin. Yes, and by all measures I am a very healthy weight.

On the other hand, something about her saying this didn't sit well with me.
"She was a little out of line to say that," I blurted out to a colleague later. "How could she think that I can eat anything and stay in shape? I can't! I mean, I am 26 and my metabolism is still in my favour, but I have to exercise and watch what I eat, and I certainly can't eat anything I want and stay the same weight..." And so on.

Can I side bar for a second to just put this out there, world, right now? I'm no stranger to struggling with my weight (/health). As a teenager, I was 20kgs heavier than I am now and, oh, how this impacted on my self esteem. I lost this weight through strict eating and exercise and a generally healthier lifestyle. I do watch what I eat, I try to build healthy habits in my life, and when I eat crap, I gain weight like a normal human. Some days I look at my butt and just go, "Damn, where did you come from?" I eat and I enjoy food, but I try to balance it. Sometimes it's difficult. So there's that.

Back to the story and after mulling over that little incident for a few days, this is essence of my thoughts: How dare she presume to know my struggle.

And this has given me much pause. What a horrible thought this is because, oh dear, I am guilty of presumption myself, of judging based on outside appearance. Also because, what must she be feeling to say something like that (which I totally am not angry at her about, I feel I must add). Where must her thoughts be, as she denied herself dessert and watched me devour a hunk of cake? Hmm, that's a thinker.

I don't think many women go through life not worried about their bodies. What an insular struggle this one is, a solitary worry, and a secret one often. I think there's shame encouraged in feeling this way, in caring about how you look, particularly when you are at a healthy weight. I think we are prone to believe that we have it hardest, don't we? I think this because of the shock I encountered when I told some colleagues I was wearing Spanx (i.e. "suck in pants") under a dress, no one could believe that I worried about my appearance, which is not an unusual thing. And I'm back to this perception thing, do we always imagine ourselves fatter and more imperfect than we are?

As I get older, worry about my body has lessened, or rather, I am more accepting of realistic bodies, in all shapes and sizes. I'm not scared of flesh and the form it takes, I know it better. I show mine (we're talking about my thighs here, my worst enemies) and don't mind so much what people think. It's my body, I'm happy with it.
On the other hand, I check my size every morning in the mirror. I analyse, I look, I weigh and sometimes I wish I was smaller. I compare. It's quite the contradiction, yes?

Here's the lessons I am taking from this: firstly, we simply cannot presume to know the struggles of others' lives. Secondly, let's just support and love people for who they are - let them eat cake, if you will - because I am sure many of them chastise themselves enough for their so called failings. Let's enjoy our life and health. This brings to my mind Meg's thoughts on "fat talk", which I think are particularly valid here.

I'd love to know your thoughts and feelings on this, please. Have you had a similar experience? Do you feel isolated by your experiences?

Friday, February 22, 2013

on top of a piiiizza!

Here's an oldie but a goodie from the drafts of September 2012...

On Saturday night, we went to a farewell pizza party for our friend Katelyn who is off to see the world for the next six months or so. Jen kindly hosted the shin dig at her house, which has a gorgeous backyard and wood-fired pizza oven (!).

Jen and Katelyn made a huge stash of pizza dough for bases and everyone brought a topping or two - we had an assortment of meats, vegetables, pesto, cheese, and a few jars of olives that I don't think actually made it onto any pizza. Later on, there was a quick run to the shops for nutella, marshmallows, berries, and chocolate for dessert pizzas. That Cherry Ripe pizza was divine!


I took an epic break from the whole30 and dove right in! EPIC. Seriously, you guys, don't look at me as a good example of how to do this thing right (although on the first round I was stringent, I'm thinking of round two as a way to start testing how I'm going to live and eat from now on). There is no way to eat whole30 friendly at a pizza party (unless you don't eat, or only eat a pile of toppings with tomato paste as a dressing), so I just embraced it. And my stomach let me know what I'd done on Sunday morning, let me tell you.

It was just a good time spent with good friends, sharing food (which we love to do) and enjoying each others company. Farewell, Katelyn, we know you're gonna have a blast!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

twenty six.

Last Friday, I turned twenty six. I took a day off work and gave myself some treats. I woke up to presents in bed with Marsh, he gave me a lovely dress I'd been wanting, a book about the meanings of flowers and a really fun pen(cil). Then I got my hair and eyebrows done (and met Annaliese in the process) and did some shopping. Oh, the relaxation! It's been a long while since my hair got attended to.
We went for lunch with my parents and sister to The Merrywell, which is delicious! I visited Rachel, got my nails done, and then went back to my parents' for cake and to play with Wolfie. I just luxuriated, it was wonderful. Later, some friends joined us for drinks at Bar Lafayette. Delicious cocktails, amazing duck shanks, giggles and good times.

In the morning, I jokingly told Marsh that now I was 26, I felt I should put on my suit, buy a house, have a baby, and get some grown up braces (Invisalign, hello!) Ummm, not quite. I do own a suit, so I guess there's that. Otherwise, I'd say I'm fairly on track, yes? It feels like a good age and a very exciting time of my life.

Dress: ASOS, Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens, Necklace: A Merry Mishap

Sunday, February 17, 2013

the happiest 5k on the planet.

This morning, Jarrad and I crossed off the first of my New Year's resolutions and completed my first 5K run, The Color Run, "the happiest 5K on the planet". At the end of each kilometre you run through a little tunnel of people who through coloured corn flour at you. Blue, then pink, then orange, then yellow. At the end of the race, they give everyone a little packet of colour and you can go nuts. It was such a fun way to spend a Sunday morning! Best of all, I ran the whole way, which is something I never really dreamed I could do, as an adamant non-runner.

Afterwards, we met up with the Lush ladies and their boyfs for chips and cider. Color Run, I love you.