Can A Feminist Diet?

Diet

[Ed Note: This is another guest post from Kyl Myers!]

Have you seen this blog?

Kjerstin Gruys is a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at UCLA and she has dedicated her life to studying body image, beauty culture, and contemporary feminism.

I found out about her today when I read her article “Can a Feminist Diet?”

Gryus discusses the potential paradoxical nature of that question and it caught my eye because it is a subject I have wrestled with, too.

On New Years Day 2013, at 26 years old, I stepped on a scale and weighed more than I’ve ever weighed before. When I was 19, I struggled with an eating disorder and obsessively did cardio to lose weight. I was consumed with my body image and didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than how good my _____ looked in this (bikini/pair of jeans/dress).

When I came to my senses that maybe I should be enjoying life – I quit the gym, ate everything I wanted and discovered feminism. Seven years later, I had serious body confidence, but I did not feel healthy. I ate garbage and I was totally winded after hiking for two minutes. I figured there had to be a balance. I did not want to spend my life on a damn elliptical machine staring at the “calories burned” number increase. But I also didn’t want to be zombie food because I’m so damn out of shape I couldn’t outrun a parked car.

So… I decided to focus on a lifestyle change as opposed to a fad diet. I began to really understand what my body needs to be healthy as opposed to what I needed to do for the next X amount of weeks before a specific event to look bangin’ which ultimately resulted in me just being crotchety and starving. I started cooking more, which saved me money and really made me love my food because I created it with ingredients I picked out and could pronounce. I do count calories, but not obsessively. I shoot for around 1300-1600 calories a day, depending on my level of activity, because that is what my body needs. Doesn’t need more, and certainly doesn’t need less. I drink water like a boss and love how much stronger I am. I began running – which turned out to be much more of a mental game than physical and ultimately made me a better human! I would set a running goal and give myself shit until I achieved it. No different than a paper I had to write or exam I had to study for.

I let go of 20 pounds and I’m sure I dropped some inches. But what I gained has been the real kicker. I entered races and freakin placed 1st in my age group in my first 5k and 2nd overall female in my first 10k. Do I love running? Hell no. But I love what comes after the fact. Do I love writing papers? Not particularly. But do I enjoy when a mentor tells me they loved reading the finished product? Yup.  

Because of my newfound health I actually spend less time daily thinking about my appearance. One hour in the gym saves me five hours of feeling unhappy about my body. A few hours in the kitchen prepping my healthy food saves me sad discussions with cupcakes of why they can’t live in my belly. Instead of seeing my body as a sex pot with a sole purpose of being looked at by others – I see my body as the vessel for my brain and heart which do some amazing things and I’d like to keep them as healthy as possible so I can be a badass, feminist hell raiser when I’m 100.  

Being aware of the culture we live in and also wanting to be healthy and fit but not wanting to go against our feminist agenda is what is called a Myndphuk.

How I do it isn’t going to work for everyone who wants to get healthy. And I’m not healthy all the time. Gruys decided to not look in the mirror for a year. Cool. That can be her thing. I am loving the body I have been working hard to ensure is healthy and strong and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to stare at myself in the mirror, cellulite, stretchmarks and all.

I am happy to be an advocate of fit feminism and I believe those words are much closer to being synonyms than antonyms.

How do you navigate your nutrition and health in this chaotic, mixed messaged world?

 

Comments

  1. The day I realized that my favorite activities didn’t involve wearing a bra was a wonderful day! I sought out yoga, pilates, and hiking, because they make me feel like myself. I ditched my running shoes, because my body didn’t like to run and neither did I. And I work really hard to tell myself positive things–not just about my body, but also about my attitude, my job, my artwork, my friends. I think the more you talk kindly to yourself, the more kindly you actually think about yourself. I was lucky to grow up with a mom that never complained about her body–she taught me that if I am filling my life with the things that I love, I won’t eat emotionally. I feel like I’m rambling, but I loved your post! Congrats on your 1st & 2nd place runs!! You’re a rock star!

    • Hey Allison (sorry for the delay! just saw this) I totally agree with you about what you say to yourself having an impact on your self-image. I read once, that the negative things we say to ourselves have the same negative effect as if someone else had said them. I challenge myself to cancel out every negative thing I say about myself with two positives =]
      Thanks for your comment and encouragement Allison!

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