Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Right now I am not thin. Yes! That’s right. I am the elephant! Ta da!
I had a feeling I’d be taking a stroll down this path once Jonathan and I did our CreativeLive Workshop earlier this week and were broadcast around the world. I was prepared to address it right there on stage if it came up. It didn’t. But it has now. People saw me on TV and some of them think I am fat.
I know it shouldn’t bother me what people think and say, and typically it doesn’t, but in this case it does. Wait. It *really* does. Partly because I am a human with feelings, but almost entirely because I don’t want anyone to conclude that a SANE lifestyle doesn’t work or isn’t effective because I am carrying 20lbs of unwanted weight right now. I am – by default – the poster child for all things SANE. I should be a female version of Jonathan. I spend every waking hour, when I am not paying the mortgage, creating SANE recipes to help the world eat smarter and live better. And yet…I. AM. FAT. when I *should* be skinny. And honestly, if you don’t know my story, it’s understandable that you might be wondering why. It would make sense that the girl who extols SANE eating should look the part.
I have never thought of myself as fat – I mean, when did a size 4 / 6 become fat?? – but some people clearly do. When they look at me they see “fat”. One person said it gently, “…yet you’re a little curvy”, while another just blurted out, “Hey wait a minute she’s not fit she’s fat.” I like to think that if they knew the reason, and if they knew the struggle, they’d be kinder. But let’s be honest, on the surface, right now – I do look fat. I remember expressing my frustration to Jonathan a little while back after the effects of my medication started to show. He said, “Don’t worry about it. You’re not trying to be a bikini model.” Just one more reason why I love that man. If you’re new here and don’t know why I suddenly gained 20lbs in the last few months, you can get the scoop on that here.
When the comments started to appear the day after the shoot, I was prepared; but heaven knows it still hurt to read them. Initially, anyways. I wanted to explain my situation and make them understand. And then an email from The Bailornator made me see that some people will just never get it, no matter what the truth is.
Since then I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and realized that there are a whole lot of people in the world who know exactly how this feels. This pain. This judgment. This label that prevents some people from paying attention to anything else about a person. It is like they see the person wearing a black cape that covers them from head to toe, revealing nothing but their size, as if that was the only worthwhile or important thing about them.
So what am I supposed to do? Do I become a hermit until I am skinny again? Do I stop creating SANE recipes and doing all I can to help others on their journey until I am the perfect picture of SANEity? Do I hide away until I am good enough in the eyes of the world? Can I no longer put my talents in the kitchen to use because I do not yet have the perfect body? Does my current body shape mean that I have no value to add to the world? Will my recipes effectiveness magically change when I lose the 20lbs that my medication put on me? Of course not. All that will change is a few people’s opinion of me – my recipes will be exactly the same: just as delicious, just as healthy, just as effective. So honestly, what’s the real issue here? The issue is opinion and perception. Am I going to stop doing what I was meant to do with my life because of a few people’s issues? Now wouldn’t that just be all kinds of ridiculous.
And the more I thought about this stuff, the more narrow-minded the judgments became to me, until I just mentally gave them the finger and went back to concentrating on what I do best – creating scrumptious SANE recipes. And if there are people out there who are so prejudiced and judgmental that they can’t use an incredibly healthy recipe from someone who isn’t currently living in a perfect body, well, it’s totally their loss.
Then I started feeling protective towards all of you out there who are doing the very best that you can and yet are being judged for your external appearance. I was reminded of the show JB and I published on iTunes a few weeks back about this exact topic and I decided I needed to write about it, because I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of you have struggled with this very issue at some point in your life because otherwise you would not even be here. Well, except that these SANE recipes are completely delicious whether you have a goal to lose body-fat or not.
I began thinking about all the things that people don’t know about me that influence my weight but which I have no control over:
- What is my genetic makeup? Naturally skinny and small-framed father, naturally chunky and large-framed mother. Ain’t nothing I can do about the genes I came to earth with.
- What is my body type? Mesomorph ie. hour-glass. Even when I weighed 110lbs I was curvy – think Barbie without silicone enhancements. Ain’t nothing I can do about the genes I came to earth with.
- What is my height? 5’4″, but I am more legs than anything else. I am very short-waisted – there is almost no gap between my bottom rib and my pelvis, so the tiniest amount of fat can happily turn itself into a roll. Ain’t nothing I can do about the genes I came to earth with.
And those are just the basics.
Then there are all those other things that people wouldn’t know just by looking:
- Where did I start out?
- How far have I come?
- What are my health and fat-loss goals?
- How many times have I lost and gained weight?
- How old am I?
- What allergies do I have?
- What medications do I need to take that may interfere with basic metabolic processes in my body?
I am sure you can all think of many, many more, but I think you’ve got the point: there’s a whole bunch of stuff that interferes with how our bodies work that we have no control over. To some people it’s just all about meeting a pre-conceived notion of what fit and healthy looks like, and deep down we all know how wrong that can be.
So please don’t be discouraged when others criticize you for your efforts to improve your health, or condemn you because you are still on your journey. You are so much more than what they can see. They can’t see the metabolic healing that is taking place inside. They can’t see the improvement in your blood work. They can’t feel the extra energy that you have, or the way this SANE lifestyle makes you feel. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see changes overnight – it took you years to get where you are, and it will take time to reverse that. If you run into additional hurdles along your path like I did, don’t blame yourself for the things that you cannot control. Have faith in the process and faith in your yourself. When the going gets tough just keep on going. Look at how far you have come, not how far you have to go. Never give up because of the uneducated opinions and perceptions of others who know nothing about you. And always remember that the critics and the naysayers are simply not worthy of your attention. Spend that time moving forward down the right path for you, with the people who love and support you.
Eat smarter, exercise smarter and you WILL live better. As Jonathan and I always say, “Progress, not perfection!”
YOU ARE WORTH IT!!