Body Love and Dieting: They’re Not Mutually Exclusive

At the recommendation of a very dear friend, I have started reading “Things No One will tell Fat Girls” by Jes Baker aka “The Militant Baker”. If you’re not familiar with either of those names, here’s the SparkNotes version. “The Militant Baker” is a blog written by Jes Baker which is all about body love, body image, feminism, and fatshion. To be completely honest, I’ve never read her blog. Jes is, in short, one of the biggest voices in the body love world right now.

I’m currently twenty-seven pages in and I am struggling. I just finished reading a guest essay about diet culture and how it’s basically the root of all evil. The essay is called Living the Dream at 250 Pounds or “Why Diet Culture is Full of Shit and can Suck my Lady Dick” by Virgie Tovar of #LOSEHATENOTWEIGHT. Basically, the essay says that if you’re dieting, you can’t possibly love yourself. Which…what? I do agree that diet culture can be toxic when taken too far. When people cross the line between dieting/healthy living and pro-ana (anorexia) ideology. Eating disorders are incredibly serious and it’s very possible to cross that threshold from “dieting” to “disordered eating”, trust me…I’ve crossed it. But losing weight in and of itself, isn’t harmful. Wanting to get healthy so you no longer get winded from a flight of stairs isn’t harmful. Wanting to make sure you live a long life so you can see your nieces and nephews grow up isn’t harmful.

I’m currently eleven pounds shy of my highest known weight, actively following Weight Watchers and exercising, and I’m honestly the happiest I’ve ever been. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see something or someone I hate. I just see myself; a 25 year old woman who has a great job, a beautiful home, and an adorable but trouble making puppy. I see a woman who went on vacation this summer and wore several two-piece bathing suits and didn’t bother covering up. I have a boyfriend who treats me like a princess, and loves me exactly as I am, but also gives me his full support while I’m on this weight loss journey. A boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful even when I first wake up and have mascara in the corners of my eyes and ogre-like morning breath. Making healthy choices and going on daily walks, which I happen to love, doesn’t negate any of that. It adds to it. When I’m outside on a sunny day with my puppy’s leash in one hand and my boyfriend’s fingers tangled in the other, I feel incredible. I feel light, and happy, and truly blessed. When I make dinner and it’s mainly green beans and broccoli with a little bit of grilled chicken, I’m excited to eat because green beans and broccoli are fucking delicious.

I’m getting more and more heated as I write this. Because seriously…fuck anyone who tries to take my happiness away from me. Fuck anyone who says that because I’m following a certain diet I obviously hate myself. Fuck anyone who tries to tell me how I feel. This body of mine, this fat body with all its rolls and stretchmarks has gone through a lot with me. It’s gotten me through dance recitals and golf tournaments. It has taken me all around London, Paris, the Netherlands, Croatia…It has been broken, and bruised, and burned, and scratched but it’s still here. It’s still here to take me on walks, to be loved by my boyfriend, to be fed more green food than it has had in all its 25 years. I love this body. I love what we’ve been through, and I’m excited about where we’re going.

I don’t know if I’m going to even finish this book. As I wrote this little rant I realized I may not even need it. If it’s a guide to loving yourself, I think I managed to reach that point without it. If it’s anti-dieting propaganda, it’s two-hundred some pages of garbage. I’m done with things that try to dictate my feelings and my life. Fuck all of it. I love myself.

Things I’m Diggin’ Vol. 2

The-Guide-to-Dairy-Free-Coffee-Creamer-Silk-Almond-Creamer-pictured1. Silk Almond Creamer – Like many of you out there, I am completely incapable of functioning without a morning cup of coffee. Death before decaf and all that. I also HAVE to have some sort of creamer in it; I will not drink it black. Unless my best friend’s dad made the coffee…I don’t know what it is, but Papa T can brew a mean pot of the good good. Anyway, having a slight lactose intolerance and using a dairy creamer every single day was kind of like playing Russian roulette. Look, nobody ever said I was the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, okay? However, now that I’m trying this whole vegan thing, I’ve found Almond Creamer by Silk. It’s not as sweet as my other dairy-based stuff, but damn it’s delicious. I have tried both vanilla and hazelnut and I have not been disappointed. The only downside is that I’ve only been able to find it in small containers at my local grocery stores, so it gets a bit pricey having to buy more frequently.

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  1. “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man – This. Mother. Flippin. Song is so catchy. It’s a more recent release that I first heard on Sirius XM channel 36 Alt Nation maybe a couple of months ago and I was hooked. Being a newer song and on a forthcoming album, they play it pretty frequently (as in, I can almost put money on being able to hear it in the morning on the way to work and in the afternoon on my way home) but I’m still not tired of it, and you can bet I crank that shit every time. It’s actually number 1 on Alt Nation’s “Alt 18 Countdown” right now. Give it a listen, get your groove on, and wait (not so) patiently for the release of Portugal. The Man’s eighth full length album, Woodstock, on June 16th.
  1. Smashbox Cosmetics “Be Legendary Liquid Metal” lip color – Two weekends ago I experienced a relationship rite of passage when I dragged my boyfriend into Ulta with me. Honestly, we’ve been together for going on 6 months now, he’s lucky it didn’t happen sooner. As with almost any other time I make a visit to The Promised Land, did I need anything? No. Did I buy things anyway? Don’t ask stupid questions. Once he got over his amazement of the amount of makeup, and the fact that I was testing colors on the back of my hand (poor boy has so much to learn) he ended up helping me pick out of couple of lipsticks. One of his picks was “Be Legendary Liquid Metal” lipstick in Petal Metal by Smashbox. It’s a super metallic rose gold color and boy howdy do I ever love it. I think my favorite part is that when I put it on in the car, my boyfriend kissed me and asked, “Okay but how does this color look on me??” I love that ridiculous boy.

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  1. Deleting things that no longer bring joy – I’ve always been a big advocate of “weeding” out things and people in life. Some people think it’s kind of harsh to cut people out of your life, and depending on how you go about doing it, I suppose it could be. However, if people are no longer bringing positivity into your life I don’t see the point in keeping them around. Life is far too short to keep people who do nothing but drag you down front and center. This doesn’t just apply to people though! No longer enjoying Tumblr? Delete your account! I recently did this after having my account for 7 years and I feel so much better about life in general. I know that probably sounds dramatic, but I genuinely feel much lighter. You don’t really realize just how toxic Tumblr is until you just get rid of it all together. I’ve also deleted apps, cancelled subscriptions, and weeded out my closet. Some might call it “spring cleaning” (done late) but I call it cleansing.
  1. Flowy pants that are at least one size too big – Don’t get me wrong…I love a good skinny legged pant as much as the next person, but sometimes I don’t want to wiggle, jump, and fight my way into my pants at the ass crack of dawn. Sometimes, I want to let my ankles breathe and feel the swish of fabric against my skin. Cue flowy pants that are at least one size too big. I currently have three pairs that I absolutely love. They are the comfiest mother freakers I’ve ever been able to get away with wearing to work. Two of them are colored and patterned so I pair those with a tighter fitting solid color shirt (tucked in, so I don’t look like a complete blob) and some strappy sandals. The solid black ones get to be partnered up with pretty much any shirt I can randomly grab out of my closet (again, tucked in) and whatever shoes I see fit. It’s simple, but it’s cute and comfy and just professional looking enough that I don’t have to worry about “getting a talking to” at work.

Vegan, Baby

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One day while at work, I overheard a conversation regarding a supervisor’s recent and significant weight loss. Seeing as I am constantly on the lookout for tips and tricks to aid in weight loss my ears instantly perked up. He was describing how he switched to a whole foods plant-based diet after watching Forks over Knives, a documentary on Netflix. Intrigued, I decided to join in on the conversation. Talk turned to how since switching his diet/lifestyle he has lost fifty-some pounds, and has more energy than ever. His wife, who made the change with him has lost around forty pounds. They just eat a plant-based diet. That’s it. No crazy supplements, no intense workout schedule, just simply eating whole foods. It seemed too good to be true, but it was obviously working for them.

That night I decided to give the Forks over Knives documentary a watch. I was FLOORED. The Western diet is so excessive and unnecessary yet we never seem to question it. We eat meat, eggs, drink milk and have no idea that these things are actually causing more harm than good. The documentary is filled with so much fascinating information, I had to pause it at least 7 times to call my mom and gran to tell them the latest incredible discovery. They honestly got sick of talking to me and said they would just watch it on their own. I was totally inspired to learn more, and adopt a whole foods plant-based (vegan) diet for myself.

I spent the next week or so following vegan foodies on Instagram, reading blogs, watching more documentaries, investing in plant-based cook books, etc. I cleaned out my cupboards, fridge and freezer, throwing away some and giving away most. I felt as though I was totally prepared to take on this new lifestyle. I ate oil-free, salt-free French fries, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, black beans, all the broccoli, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, and cucumbers I could get my hands on. I had giant bowls of whole grain cereals with almond milk, veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, I thought I was totally killing it…until I stepped on the scale. In about a two-week’s time I managed to gain a whopping ELEVEN pounds by eating a vegan diet. I was devastated.

So I went back to my previous diet using the Weight Watchers points system, and researched how the hell I managed to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time, consuming foods that are proven to be better for me. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. If you Google the phrase “gained weight on vegan diet” you’ll get back over 600,000 results. Apparently it’s pretty easy to go a bit overboard when switching to a vegan diet. I wasn’t ready to give up on transitioning to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, but I was scared to death of continuing to gain weight.

Enter Jordan David of Conscious Muscle; a vegan bodybuilder and online vegan fitness coach. It was through pure luck, or perhaps some sort of Divine Intervention that I stumbled across his Instagram profile one day. I got the distinct feeling that maybe this guy held the answer to my failing vegan lifestyle transition. A fair bit of research and some positive input from my sister-in-law later and I was purchasing his “Transformation Package”; a package that contains a personalized nutrition guide/menu, a training routine to compliment the nutrition guide, and unlimited guidance and coaching for the first month of your program. I recently received my personalized nutrition guide and training program, and it is a bit daunting…I’m not going to lie. However, I’m confident that having structure and a coach for guidance will help me succeed in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and ultimately lose weight and insure I have a long, healthy life ahead of me. I plan to begin the program on June 1st, and am spending today and tomorrow preparing myself –and my fridge- for this change.

I will be documenting this lifestyle change via this blog and my Instagram. I hope to inspire others to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet, and become knowledgeable enough to answer any questions people may have. For now, I’d be more than happy to point you to reputable sources of information 🙂