Skip to main content

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

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be: You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")    35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't

TBT: The Magic of Essential Oils

Oh essential oils, beloved friend of loopy-goopy women of my own demographic marketing cohort, along with magic crystals, mystic doulas, organic pesticides, multi-level-marketed leggings, anything labeled as "herbal supplements," and alternatives to vaccination. The essential oil craze is something that has a basis in scientifically verifiable reality but has been endowed with magical, holy, pseudo-scientific properties for marketing purposes. I bought into it wholeheartedly before I learned that not all that crunches is harmless. All too often, legitimate fears based in reality (of toxic chemicals, unnecessary medical interventions, pharmaceutical side effects, etc.) are stoked to induce women like me to jump from the frying pan and into the fire of an "alternative" that may be at least as harmful as what it is supposedly protecting me and my family from. I still use certain essential oils for cleaning and other purposes, and I think everything I've stated in t

Rustic Open Shelves for a Bogcore Kitchen

Open shelving isn't for everyone, but it is essential to the 2020s bogcore kitchen. My family's DIY kitchen elegantly blends cultural influences from our ancestors which include Depression survivors, Viking-descended woodbillies, theater people/carnies, art fags, and Slavic sluts. My husband and I have crafted a wall of shelving and a pantry that combine rugged practicality with queenly flamboyance. Minimalist jars of raw ingredients line up alongside a vase of old peacock feathers. A ceramic sculpture displays our collection of grocery store spatulas. In the pantry, a large, cheap microwave nests snugly among rustic baskets, oiled wood carpentry, and our collection of well-loved, antique cast iron cookware. Bogcore is a welcoming, inviting, embracing aesthetic that can truly absorb and accept just about anything, with style. For example, I can hang up a dish towel from a wide range of colors and patterns that will work within the look of the kitchen. I don't have to be pic

Dodging the School Fear Pandoomerang

Can you believe this is the THIRD school year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic? At the beginning of 2020, the novel coronavirus still felt like a novelty. A two-week holiday from office work and school was supposed to flatten the curve, but it wasn't enough. My daughter never went back to finish third grade. Then she didn't start fourth grade in person. Most of the school year took place on a Chromebook. She returned to campus in the spring along with fewer than 1/3 of her classmates; the other families couldn't work around the inconvenient dropoff and pickup schedule or they didn't want to take the risk, even in one of the most careful and safety-focused districts in the nation (now among the minority of districts requiring masks without a state mandate). This year's back-to-school season holds the record as the most dangerous time in all of this long, dragged-out pandemic for children under 12 , and there is no online option. Parents must choose between sending

Pocket of Joy: Starting a Shiny New Project

Oh, the buoyant thrill of a sparkly new idea! Ooh, the giddy joy of starting in on it--like planting the first footprint on a blanket of new-fallen snow, or drawing the first line on a clean sheet of paper, or sweeping the first brushstroke of slick, wet paint across a wall! Of course, it takes follow-through to manifest a dream through the sweaty, dirty, messy middle of any big project. But when you know you can do it, you can hold onto that shiny new feeling to sustain you all the way to the finish. Here I am chiseling away at the remains of my old kitchen back in the spring, when my new kitchen lived only in my imagination. My husband and I have been working on our kitchen (with my parents' help early on) for four months now. Our summer has been a marathon of hard, sweaty, dirty work littered with setbacks, frustrations, and frequent changes of plans--including the decision to redo our main bathroom at the same time, while we're at it! Anyone who has repaired or remodeled a

"September" by Helen Hunt Jackson

"September" by Helen Hunt Jackson is one of my favorite classic poems about one of my favorite times of year. No matter what's going on in the world, the natural splendor of September comes each year as a comfort and a delight. September The golden-rod is yellow; The corn is turning brown; The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down. The gentian’s bluest fringes Are curling in the sun; In dusty pods the milkweed Its hidden silk has spun. The sedges flaunt their harvest, In every meadow nook; And asters by the brook-side Make asters in the brook. From dewy lanes at morning the grapes’ sweet odors rise; At noon the roads all flutter With yellow butterflies. By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather, And autumn’s best of cheer. But none of all this beauty Which floods the earth and air Is unto me the secret Which makes September fair. 'Tis a thing which I remember; To name it thrills me yet: On

Pocket of Joy: Two-Month Belly Dance Challenges (with results from my 20s vs. my 30s)

This summer, I'm beating the bloat and feeling better about my belly! I participated in two 30-day belly dance challenges online, first Jasirah's Belly Challenge and then a summer challenge by Mahtab of Best Belly Dance Workout . I chose these two because of the kind of challenges they were--not strenuous and sweaty but instead technically difficult. I am at a healthy weight that I want to maintain, and I am recovering from moderate to severe anemia, so I wanted to avoid anything exhausting or high-impact. This summer, I worked on balance, joint flexibility, and the kinds of technical skills that work out the brain and nervous system, and I targeted the "corset" muscles that cinch in the waist, deep beneath the outer ab muscles. I've said thanks and goodbye to the visible abs I had in my slimmer 20s, which are now obscured by an age-appropriate skim of subcutaneous belly fat that I don't want to starve myself or go under the knife to banish.  And besides, af

Pocket of Joy: Loving The Fall's Complexities

Fall, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the cool mornings, the storms that mix blue-gray rain with yellow leaves already showering down from my walnut tree, and the afternoons that heat up and draw out that rich, warmed-earth, sun-dried leaf scent. I have always loved the dawns of autumn, the tender turning of the earth, the anticipation of color and movement, the coming fall! The motion of it, the actual falling of the leaves, the accelerating changes that saturate the senses. Later comes the Grimshaw phase of autumn, with its metallic sheens and spidery mists. It isn't just the festive harvest season or the bright middle of the fall that I love but the whole arc of it, the warm and the cold, the light and the dark and the glowing twilights humming with the shades and scents of memory mixing with rebirth. "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his exquisitely dissatisfying novel about accelerating, blaz

$Monday: Bog Witch Style on a Budget

Autumn in a pandemic is the perfect time to tap into your inner bog witch with wild hair, cozy clothes, forest rituals, creepy cats, fire, books of spells, and Dark Cottagecore home decor mood boards on Pinterest . You don't have to live in a literal swamp. The word "bog" comes from a Gaelic term for "soft," and it sounds nearly identical to Slavic words for gods or divinity with Proto-Slavic roots that refer to earthly fortune. Bog witches burrow into the true goodness of life nestled beneath all the hustle and polish and show of making a living. They focus on soft wealth and spiritual power. The vibe is slow, earthy, comfy, moody, sneakily seductive, maybe sticky, wise rather than smart, preferring old things to new, charming rather than impressive. It's about harmonizing with the natural environment, blending, melting, enveloping, and sinking into earthy, downward energy. Bog witchery vibes with hygge, friluftsliv , and the indigenous earth wisdom of whe

$Monday: Testing a New Kitchen Design Before Renovation

My husband and I planned to renovate our worn-out kitchen this year, with my dad's help. And--oop!--we all know what happened to everyone's plans for 2020. There is no way I can keep my family fed properly through the pandemic in my designed-circa-1990, tacked-together, corner-cut, stingy-cheap, crazy, nailed-it-wrong kitchen nightmare that has been crumbling, grumbling, rotting, rusting, and breaking since we bought this house in 2008. We have to do something, so we turned a setback into an opportunity to slow down and beta test some of our new kitchen ideas with temporary staging. It might look insane, but who cares? We won't be having the queen over for tea anytime soon, so we can take time to play with space and function before we commit to building permanent structures and finishing surfaces. For example, open shelves are not practical for everyone. They don't hide clutter or protect things from dust. However, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and prefer