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TBT: Ditch the BMI and Find Your Hot Spot

This post features Miss Platnum's 2007 hit "Give Me the Food," a delightful anthem for this pandemic time. In all seriousness, food insecurity is a big thing right now, so consider checking up on your friends and neighbors with children or those who may be struggling to stay nourished. Mobile food pantries are popping up around towns to serve those in need, but many families are afraid to go out, deterred or excluded by the need to drive a personal car and wait in a long line, or ashamed of seeking help in the midst of so much need.

But there's no shame, ever, in keeping yourself and your family well nourished. It's one of the best ways to express love, for self and others, during this time.

My family is eligible to get into one of those lines and pick up weekly trunkloads of food from our school district, but we have not participated yet. We are grateful to have maintained stable income so far. (My husband's hours are reduced, but we are receiving unemployment.) So we are doing our own grocery shopping once every week or two and picking up things for my parents on each trip. And I've promised myself and my family that if we ever lose the ability to feed ourselves this way, I will not let my pride stand between me and my child's health (an easy choice) or my own health (something a little harder for a mother to keep on a front burner but essential to our children in the long term).

Meanwhile, I have a medical mystery investigation on pause until non-emergency procedures start up again. I've always had a menstrual disorder that causes excessive bloating, pain, and bleeding to the point of chronic anemia. It got better after I had my daughter, and now it's bad again, and I seem to have an enlarged uterus now. I was about to go in for an ultrasound to find out whether I'm full of benign tumors or whether my uterus has simply gone all Incredible Hulk on me, and then my appointments for imaging and blood work were put on hold.

I'm not too worried; what's wrong with me is probably one of those things that will resolve with menopause and isn't life-threatening in the meantime, but it does mess with my head, because half the time I look a bit pregnant. And yet, I am at a healthy weight and prone to slipping into malnourishment if I don't take care to eat enough.

With swimsuit season coming up (LOLOLOL if beaches are even open in Michigan... we'll see), I'm at risk for misinterpreting my cellulite (more of a skin issue than a body weight issue anyway) and abdominal bloat as fatness and thinking I don't have to eat as much. But it's lies, all lies. Health does not look like an edited-to-death bikini snap by a reality TV celebrity. Health is something easier to detect by how one feels and what one can do.

During the pandemic, when we're all stuck at home with no one to impress, it's a good opportunity to shift self-perception. I want to feel good and stay strong for myself and my family, and for me that means gobbling cheeseburgers and tacos before the meatpocalypse hits the market (which, honestly, will probably be good in the long run for the nation's health, as most Americans eat too much, rather than too little, meat) and staying mindful about getting all the nutrients I know I need, regardless of how my lower belly and thighs might be looking.

It's a fine time to revisit Miss Platnum's jam and sing it to myself: "Give me the food, I said give me the food. (Opa!) Give me the food if you love me..."

Ditch the BMI and Find Your Hot Spot

Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. Rich women can pay for personal trainers, nutritionists, macrobiotic chefs, fancy gym memberships, orange spray tans, liposuction, boob jobs, lip implants...

But money can't buy body confidence. An attractive woman is proud, healthy, and exudes self-love and sensuality. There is pressure in our culture to be thin, but thin does not necessarily mean beautiful, healthy, attractive, or happy.

I LOVE this body-confidence anthem by Romanian singer Miss Platnum:

The BMI (Body Mass Index) was invented by Weight Watchers and does not take into account your body's density and composition. It has nothing to do with fitness. There are some fat women who are healthier than some skinny women.

The general public will make its judgments, but there are really one or two people whose opinions count: Yours and that of your significant other. If they don't match? Your "other" can always be exchanged. Think of attractiveness from a marketing perspective. You aren't in the business of mass-producing yourself. There is only one of you, and you are looking for one person (or a few in rotation) as a mate. There are characteristics that most people find generally attractive, but each individual human has his or her own unique tastes. You can shoot for being "generally non-offensive" in appearance, or you can be super hot to a select few--who cares if someone out there isn't into your look? You can't please everyone. It's important for your mate to be physically attracted to you, but you shouldn't need to look hot for strangers, coworkers, your friends, or family members. It can be annoying for your mom or sister to criticize your looks, but in the end, it's not their business.

However, health and self-esteem are important to ALL your interpersonal relationships. Don't let dissatisfaction with your physical imperfections, real or imagined, get in the way of your life.

Find your own personal "hot spot"--the physical shape and fitness level that makes your body look and feel the most pleasing to you. You may be tall and slender, short and curvaceous, or powerfully muscular. I like to rock the high heels with my best posture. Most women wouldn't feel comfortable being over six feet tall, but I love it (and so does my husband, though he is of average height). I've seen professional belly dancers and team sports players who are incredibly strong and healthy... and have voluptuous curves and smushy flesh, too. Some women can develop impressive musculature (like Venus and Serena Williams), and some women get wiry and lean with exercise.

You can't change everything about your body, but you can change your fitness level and attitude. Your most beautiful self is your healthiest, happiest self.

A parting quote from Sophia Loren:


"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

...and, I would add, a huge shot of confidence in her own skin. Love yourself, take good care of yourself, and exude your own unique beauty.

Comments

  1. Yaaaay!

    I think I am going to take that Sophia Loren quote and tinker with it...

    Thanks for this, it was rich and delicious, good for my mind, body and soul.

    ReplyDelete

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