It never ceases to amaze me, the cruelty of things that mothers tell their children – especially those of generations before mine. The women who relied on their looks to gain a suitable husband and accomplish success, they were especially cruel to the daughters of a new age. As girls we were groomed to be pretty and desirable to young men, but that often came at the price of our mental stability, and nutritional devastation.
My mother was on my back about my weight from the time I was a young girl. I can remember her being disgusted that I was a size 13 in High School. I was a competitive athlete, and a dancer, I made the pom pon on squad; but in her eyes I was just plain fat and she never let me forget that I put too much food into my mouth. My grandmother worried about her figure well into her 70s, and balanced her sweet-tooth and love for Southern fried foods by eating minute bird size portions. My mother-in-law used to call my oldest child “chubs” as a pet name. Why on earth would anyone think that’s OK?
A friend of mine, one of the smartest women I know, carries the baggage of her ancestors words more heavily than I do. I get so mad when I see her struggling, how dare those women who were tasked with raising her into a confident young women betray her the way they did. They did wrong by her, and as a mother myself it enrages me that she still struggles because of them. It angers me that as adult educated women we still battle the ghosts of a culture that didn’t look to science for the best ways to fuel our bodies. It only cared about shaming us for not being perfect and meeting an ideal. The voices of our foremothers haunt us, but those voices didn’t really know what they were talking about when it came to nutrition and what we actually need to be healthy.
Listen, I know that I’m fat. It is what it is; and decades of unhappiness, self-doubt, and putting the needs of others before my own are carried around my waist. I can’t change any of that. The only thing I can do about it is move forward armed with the knowledge that I am worthy. And I will – I will move forward armed with the knowledge of nutritional science to help me learn the best way to fuel my body.
Do you know what it takes to keep your body going even if you’re not doing anything? It’s called your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and it is how many calories you need to take in each day just to keep your body functioning correctly. Yes! Your body actually needs a certain amount of calories each day. Knowing your numbers can help you create a healthier relationship with food by making sure you get enough energy to do the things you need to. Without enough calories your body can go into starvation mode, which makes the fight to lose weight even harder. Check out this article from the Daily Burn to find out what your BMR is.
I hope that I have done better by my daughters. I try to encourage them to be smart, but society still pounds out the commercial material that beauty is the key. I want them to approach their diets with reason. I want to approach MY diet with reason. I want to chase away those ancestral voices of doubt and dismay with a giant FUCK YOU.