beautiful

A version of this post was included in the “She’s Eating That” booklet in fall 2011, and several people have said how useful they’ve found it, for themselves and their friends. So here it is, for everyone to read:

No one asked your permission before they put toxic thoughts about your body in your head. No one waited until you could give informed consent and then said, “I’d like to tell you what’s wrong with your body; would that be okay with you?”

No one said, “Would it be all right if I say how broken and ugly and inadequate you are?”

No one stopped to find out if it was okay before they told you all the made-up, fictional reasons you should feel bad about yourself.

They just knew they could make a profit if you hated yourself.

No one asked your permission to put those thoughts and beliefs in your head, but there they are. And each of us has the job of finding the beliefs we’re not interested in carrying with us anymore, uprooting them, and finding something new and healthier to take their place.

It’s not easy – it’s not even simple.

And you can get by without ever managing it; most people do in this culture, which is so inherently toxic. But with practice, you can change your brain and live in the center of your own power.

Anyone who tells you that your body is anything other than the beautiful, glorious MIRACLE that it is, is probably, as they say in “The Princess Bride,” selling something. Don’t pay attention to those voices that tell you that you are broken. They are ignorant and they are selfish.

Pay attention instead to the moment by moment beat of your heart, the rise and fall of your lungs, the regular oscillation of hormones, the unparalleled complexity and power of your human brain, and notice how whole you are, how healthy. Listen to the movement of blood through your veins and recognize what an astonishing, breathtaking work of art you are.

Pay attention to the sensual delights of food—the way chocolate melts on your tongue, the way chicken soup really does feel good for your soul, the way a meal prepared with love seems to taste so much better.

And pay attention to the other sensual delights of being alive. Listen to a loved one’s heartbeat. Notice the rain on your skin, notice the sun on your skin, notice the wind on your skin. Notice the position of your spine and the feel of ground under your feet.

Live inside your humanity. Pay attention this, this moment, this heartbeat, this exhalation, this flash of eye contact, this easing smile.

Live inside beautiful.

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THIGH FAT is made of MAGIC

I’ve mentioned a couple times in my class that I adore thigh fat, and this week one student reminded me to be sure to explain WHY.

Let me start by explaining that not all fat is created equal. Fat stored on different parts of the body has different chemistry and different function.

Belly fat, for example, is highly mobile fat, readily accessed during aerobic physical activity. When your muscles need fat, they call out, “RELEASE THE GREASE!” (as Covert Bailey puts it) and belly fat gallops in like the cavalry. At the same time, the mobility of this fat means that it’s the fat culpable for cardiovascular disease related to triglycerides – they float around in the bloodstream looking for a muscle that needs them, and can accumulate in unwanted ways in the arteries. Belly fat is important and interesting.

But thigh fat. THIGH FAT. Oh.

Thigh fat is your BABY FEEDIN’ FAT. It is stationary. It is long-term storage, a kind of metabolic fall-out shelter, where energy is stored in case of famine, so that no matter what’s happening around a woman, she still has the energy to generate breast milk; even if she’s starving, her baby won’t go hungry.

And that means it’s SAFE fat, too, from a health perspective. Fat on your thighs isn’t implicated in heart disease because it stays put and only under the most dire circumstances does it reluctantly move into the bloodstream.

Oh hey, and a note on cellulite: cellulite is the dimpled skin found in places like the back of the thigh or on the belly. It’s caused by the skin and connective tissue, not by fat; a person can be quite lean and still have cellulite, or have lots of fat and no cellulite. Losing weight rarely reduces cellulite. If you want to minimize it (if you care…), grow more muscle in that area!

So that’s why I love thigh fat. Between thigh fat and cervical mucus, you have two of my favorite biological elements of females.