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A "hard" moment and musings on body expectations

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Got through another "hard" moment today, though I took a big chance going in a dollar store. I was even thinking about getting sugar wafer cookies. Oh, how I used to love crunch, crunch, crunching through a package of those. Two or three cookies was never enough because it wasn't just the taste. It was the crunch. Two or three might be enough now, but I knew it would be unlikely that would suffice today, and besides, I like other sweets better. I knew down deep I'd rather wait until I could have a better item in a situation where I would enjoy it more. But I parked the car a bit on the edge.

First of all, I got diverted by a kind of scarf on display. Never found any more in the store, but did find cotton swabs and a couple of other things-- no sweets or other binge food. I actually looked at a few non-junk items but thought about how I am trying not to have so much stuff around. I had only a $50 bill and there was a charge for using the ATM under 5 bucks. The clerk didn't want to change the 50, so I left with nothing. And was happy! I wouldn't at this point purposely look for situations that make it hard, but I will take them because they make the habit stronger. Actually, habit alone makes habit stronger, so easy and difficult all work together.

Once in awhile I do think of what it might be like never to have this food thing as a concern. I think sometimes of an American woman ( I may have said something about her before) whom I met in Iran. in the late 70's. She had married an Iranian man very young and left the States. He was a great guy and they had 2 children and a comfortable life. She was chunky by our standards but it was not an issue in Iran. I doubt she was a binger. I think she just probably ate a bit more than she was really hungry for ( mostly good food, as Iranians ate almost all home cooked food) over the years and in those days, nobody exercised on purpose, so she put on some weight. It was not considered some great flaw to eat a little too much and be a little big. She seemed to enjoy her life a lot. Psychologists in the U.S. say it is normal for women here to dislike their bodies and to feel that it affects the quality of their lives . Sure, we have a lot of freedoms here, but not the freedom to escape the onslaught of media body images and food pressure without great effort. Years ago, a brilliant English psychotherapist interpreted the emphasis on thinness as a kind of modern oppression of women. However, she was also one of the first emphasizing waiting for hunger to eat and stopping until full, so it wasn't as if she was saying eat and be fat to show them! She felt women overate to compensate for not having freedom in marriage and work and that they should also learn to stand up for themselves. I think we see that to some degree from women's stories here on Spark, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Some women are very happy with their husbands and like their work, but still overeat. We just don't have all the answers, but thankfully, don't need them all in order to make progress in having more quality in our lives.

BTW, i didn't bring this up to start any debate on women's positions in the Middle East. I'm very aware that there are problems and oppression there. Body self-consciousness wasn't one of them, though.

I'm grateful just for this moment of peace on a Saturday afternoon on my couch, listening to wind chimes and seeing the bougainvillea with its pale pink bracts waving in the breeze.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nice going through the hard moment.
    I also get mad at the media for telling us what judgments to place on which bodies. I'm over them depicting women as objects to be desired too. So minimizing. I'm glad to finally getting peace with my values and I hope we all get to embrace our own values.

    2079 days ago
    I know what you mean about the crunch. Some of my trouble foods are really about much more than the taste!
    2080 days ago
    I like and accept my body more than I used to, however, I know that my excess weight is extremely unhealthy and actually a hazard to my health. I do think I want to look better, healthier, less obese but it is not particularly to impress anyone in particular. I do not like the "fat" label but it is one of those words that people can not only use to label someone but also marginalize them or bully or hurt on purpose. A lot of overweight issues stem from emotional eating and it would be kinder to be a friend who is encouraging than to be a labeler. I do some comparing to those who are overweight or obese whom I see in my life. I think the better aim would be to see what we have in common and not what separates us. I desire to be healthy both in mind and body and, hopefully, also in spirit. These, of course, as you probably are well aware of are integral. If I leave one behind the others will suffer, therefor weight loss is a holistic endeavor in its finest sense.

    I have struggled to stay away from certain foods and then find myself at a get together wanting some. I think that I can either make a healthier choice or choose moderation.

    Our culture does have a lot of oximorons in the weight drama cycle with a barrage of fast food ads vs the deluge of weight loss promotions. Where is balance? I hope to find it as I seek my way through all of this.

    Thank you for your blog. As usual, very compelling.

    Hope you have a lovely Sunday.

    Take care! emoticon
    2080 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Your description of your peaceful afternoon, and your bouganvillea, is lovely. I love the description of the woman, living in another culture, embracing her body, probably in part because she was not being barraged by images and products and a constant drumbeat to "be thin be thin be thin". I think age helps with this issue, as well. Personally, the idea of skinny or thin is boring to me. Fit and strong and able to move comfortably are much more alluring to me, as I approach 53. Good job on choosing not to eat or buy things that ultimately would not satisfy. I agree with you about wanting "less stuff". Enjoy the rest of your peaceful weekend.
    2080 days ago
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