Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stop hating on healthy people

To preface what I'm about to say, I find it interesting that I really debated a long time about whether or not I should publish this post. It's unfair that society has even created the environment and mindset where I even had to entertain that kind of self-censorship, but there you have it:

I'm probably going to get in a lot of trouble for saying this, but I believe that everyone should be healthy. Doesn't seem too controversial right? I guess I'm speaking mostly to women here, and our obsession to hate/criticize/be jealous of those who are healthier and more attractive then we are only because in truth who we're hating on is ourselves.

By 'healthy' I mean both physically and emotionally, I mean biologically optimal, I mean not obese nor even overweight, not rail thin with bones protruding left and right nor skinny-fat, but strong, and capable, and healthy. The 'loving yourself from the inside' has to work as a dynamo with what's happening on the outside and vice-versa. You can't love yourself unconditionally if you aren't healthy, not being healthy is lacking the self-respect to treat your body as optimally as it could be operating. Back in the day, when we lived in the wild, we could run and climb and hunt and gather our own food. Do you think what we now call our 'average-sized person' could do any of those things? Probably not.

I'm going to rant all over the place here but it's only because I got really worked up by this article that appeared on the sidebar of something else I was reading: it was about Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins, posing nude for the cover of the Australian Marie-Claire magazine. The pictures will ultimately be auctioned off, and the will go to the Butterfly Foundation, an eating disorder support group. The catch: the shots she's posing for have been totally un-Photoshopped. She was doing this in response to criticisms the magazine was getting that everything they publish is too photoshopped and that they don't portray real women. Instead, of seeing her move as a good thing, women everywhere are complaining that Ms. Hawkins isn't your 'average person' and that she 'made' everyone feel worse than when this all began...Instead, the article writes that women made the following comments:

"She wants to make [women] feel more comfortable about how they look, gee thanks, I now feel worse! I'm a size 10 and I still have more rolls than her!" and "If anything is going to have me running to the toilet with my finger down my throat, it's a picture of Jennifer Hawkins naked."

Now not only do I have to call BS on this, but I also find this totally offensive to Jennifer Hawkins. No one ever makes you feel anything, Jennifer Hawkins didn't make any of those women the way they are, one always chooses how to react to a situation or feeling. Just because all these women can't deal with themselves, does not mean they should go hating on a perfectly healthy and happy individual. In fact, the editor of M-C Australia ran a poll amongst 5500 of its female readers and found that only 12% of them are truly happy with their bodies... isn't that the real problem?

More importantly, I find those comments really sad. Seeing a mere picture of someone else really makes you hate yourself and feel that bad? This is a serious cry for help, but we're not allowed to say that. I think it's so unfair that women are allowed to hate and criticize those they find thin or fit or beautiful, but that we aren't allowed to tell those very same self-proclaimed 'average-sized women' that maybe they should adopt a better diet or try exercising for real not out of hate but out of concern and for their own self-advancement and ultimate wellbeing.

We can say "you don't eat enough", "you're too thin", "are you sure you're healthy?" to what we perceive as being a thin person, but we could never say the contrary to an overweight one. If ever there was a double-standard amongst women, that certainly is one. I can tell you first hand that as I begun to adopt my vegan diet and exercise at healthy levels, I certainly got my share of this. I received the whole "are you sure you don't have an eating disorder?", "are you sure you're eating enough?" from a few people, and like any criticism, those comments actually really hurt. They make you feel bad about yourself, and make you extremely self-conscious. Is that how we are rewarding health nowadays?

In fact, the criticism went so far that Julie Parker, manager of the Butterfly Foundation who will be receiving the proceeds of Ms. Hawkins bold act, went on to make self-conscious women feel better by pointing out all of Miss Universe's flaw in the photo, which I won't even bring myself to repeat. So this woman, Julie Parker, the general manager of an eating disorder support group chose to justify all these women by pointed out Ms. Hawkins' flaws???? I mean come on, she's a woman too just like you and I. That is once again, not only rude, but totally offensive.

So from my perspective, I say 'you go Jennifer Hawkins!' No matter how beautiful or fit or sexy you are (and more importantly feel), she still made an incredibly daring and bold statement. In fact, she made a healthy statement about how she feels about herself and about the photoshop/un-photoshopped thing. And no matter how good one looks, the camera (and as anyone whose ever been under its scrutiny knows) is a harsh critic. It makes funny lines on your skin, adds blotches, and does things that you didn't even know were there. In short, they don't try to flatter you. In fact, if anything, photoshop helps rebalance the light to what the human eye perceives rather than the camera's. So, no matter what Miss Universe 2004 looks like in person or on a magazine cover, she at least loved herself and was confident enough to shoot for this daunting magazine cover and actually get it published.

Besides in my world, Jennifer Hawkins isn't super-skinny or anything. She's actually what used to be considered a normal healthy size. Sorry being healthy and confident is so offensive nowadays... That's my rant of the day... and that's why I don't read magazines/tabloids, they always get me worked up like this.

On a more happy note:

Workout of the Day:
1.5 hours of my first ballet class in over 10 years! (an amazing and enlightening experience I'll write more about later)

5 minutes or cardio warmup
4 x 12 Long Arm Crunch with Stability Ball
4 x 12 Torso Twist Crunch with Stability Ball & feet at 90 degrees against the wall
4 x 12 'Boat Pose' Crunch (extend into the yoga 'boat pose' and bring knees in against chest)
1 minute plank
30 seconds of side plank each side
10 minutes of high intensity intervals on elliptical
10 minutes of strecthing after a hard day's work!


Recipe of the Day: It's about to go in the dehydrator, but Matthew Kenney's Eggplant Bacon which can be found here.
Also finally finished Alissa Cohen's Rolled Nori Crackers (amended by not making them into actual rolls but crackers as seen in pretty Andrew-supplied photo). Have I ever mentioned how much I luuurve seaweed?

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