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The Skinny

May 19, 2010
tags: ,

Well here I am, watching my weight again. How about you?
I’m not on a diet per se but I’m exercising more, and watching my sweets and salts. I know a lot of women my age who are doing the same – men too for that matter. In fact weight is as common a part of conversation as the weather. I hadn’t realized how much until a certain little seven-year old who is a really picky eater (well maybe not by seven-year old standards), declared she wanted to be skinny.
Well she is skinny or rather a normal healthy weight for a girl of her age and height. Her mom and I had been talking about cake and calories. I never really thought about the influence we were having. I know kids are bombarded with unhealthy body images – air brushed, digitally enhanced, completely implausible bodies. What I hadn’t really thought about is how our casual conversations impact those little ears.
So skinny has got to go. No more will I try to be skinny, or talk about losing weight – this is important. Healthy is it. I need to rephrase this for her and myself.
I remember going on the cabbage soup diet with my mom for the first time when I was in junior high. I wasn’t overweight – but I wasn’t ‘skinny’. We didn’t have quite the understanding of weight loss way back in the time before cellphones. I was and still am very sedentary. My knees and back don’t like to run. Not then, not now. I am finally, finally making some progress with a balanced lifestyle. I’m surrendering to the yoga mat four or five times a week.  But I still haven’t let go of that self-critical eye when I see the other yogis in class.

My favourite part of class is when we close our eyes.  Nothing to compare with, just feel and accept whatever place I am in the pose.  My other trick is to go early and go to the front of the class.  If I’m in front, I can’t see how much deeper someone’s forward fold is, or that their legs are straight in downward-facing-dog.  When I’m in front I can just focus on me. It’s hard letting go of the ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m fat’ and ‘I’m clumsy’. Lately it’s the little voice that say’s, ‘I’m too old’.

All that being said, this week I think I finally understood what my teacher means when she says, ‘balance evenly on all four corners of your feet’.  My feet aren’t very square – I couldn’t wrap my brain around that but this week, something just clicked. This week my Trikonasana (triangle) feels really good. I can feel my side body getting longer, I feel the strength in my inner thighs and if I just close my eyes I can imagine that I am doing it right. Maybe most significantly, I don’t feel big and ungainly when I practice Trikonasana.  I just feel balanced.

Now the tough part. How do I bring that balance into my life.  How do I help that little seven-year old navigate life with that same sense of balance I strive for daily?  First step, no more skinny, just healthy.

P.S. If you read last week’s post – my costs per class on my membership is down to $93.43!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2010 10:34 pm

    i love you. let’s help each other remember just healthy.

  2. Elaine permalink
    May 19, 2010 10:54 pm

    That’s interesting. We tend to assume that because we talk about weight loss in a more “healthy” way than maybe our moms did, because we focus on nutrition and fitness, that it wouldn’t have the same effect on kids hearing it.

    But at the end of the day we’re still making a connection between food and guilt, and controlling what we put in our bodies, and dividing food into “good” and “bad”, which are all underlying elements of eating disorders. And kids are more likely to pick up on those emotional components long before they really understand nutrition and health.

    Not to mention how scary it would be to hear about “toxins” and pesticides and cancer-causing processed foods etc. If you were at all an obsessive and sensitive kid this could set you up for a lifetime of neuroses.

    • May 20, 2010 9:09 am

      Gosh Elaine yes! I hadn’t even begun to think about the toxins. We were roasting marshmallows this weekend and Janet’s got a little burnt. Harry said, ‘don’t eat that it’s full of carconegens’. What will little ears hear?

  3. Sandy permalink
    June 3, 2010 7:58 pm

    So the 7 year old in question tells me tody she does not want to get all fat. and lumpy. This after not eating her lunch. I started questioning what I eat and making small changes, less butter, not eating ketchup potato chips in bed, cutting out desert, not because I particularly wanted to lose weight (I did) but because I did not want to die of a heart attack from eating too much junk. No one says “wow you look really healthy” they all say “wow you look great how did you lose the weight” I actually caught some co-workers spying on what I ate for lunch. Don’t get me wrong I am excited to be a size 12 instead of an 18 but clearly the emphasis for my daughter is on how it looks not how it feels. So no more complaining that I was “bad” and ate cake and more talking about how good if feels to be a woman with womanly hips and how being healthy means balance not deprivation. Although at my age it does mean less cake I will just have to find other ways to celebrate.

  4. Radhika permalink
    July 16, 2010 7:59 am

    your note reminds me of Marukami who chose to combine writing with long-distance running! when asked why he said: “do you know what I do? I sit all day. I either die or run.”

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