Recognizing Thin Privilege

As a kid, I CRAVED to be thin. Until I enter the later years of college, I was never considered “thin.” Athletic, toned, and, especially when I was a little kid, overweight– but never thin. I would always look at the covers of the magazines my mom would give me and wonder how, even at the age of 6, I was not given the gift of a flat stomach, toned arms, and a fit waist. I glamorized these bodies, even from a young age. They were a ticket to a life that I could only dream about.

I always think that, in the back of my head, I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that perfect body. Especially as a dancer, I was so self conscious about whether my body was toned and not flabby. I even remember my teacher grabbing my lower belly fat, telling me I had to get rid of THAT. Yet, despite all of my attempts to mold my body to how society thought it should look, nothing worked. Slowly, the methods of my fellow dancers to try to maintain their lean figures — usually with casual disdain, withholding from all kinds of food groups — began to seep into me, a porous, chubby little thing. At the pool, I became more and more aware of my rounded face and my definitely not flat stomach. Psychologically, I became so angry at my sister and my cousins, both of whom had the body type I was desperate for. They all looked so cute in their bikinis while I usually looked uncomfortable in surf shirt.

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Overcoming the Fear of the Fat

Remember when Jane Fonda told us all about the virtues of eating cantaloupe boats with nonfat cottage cheese for breakfast?

Don’t worry. I do not either, but I also wasn’t born yet. I have an excuse! However, despite Jane Fonda diet era occurring years before my time, the message that she and many medical professionals of her generation shared about the virtues of avoiding fat still linger in our public consciousness. Now, even as the conversation turns to embracing fat instead of hiding it, we still intuitively fear it. And the lack of fat has done dramatic harm to our body, especially in our digestive systems.

Trust me, I know from experience.

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Confessions of a Step Addict

I was sitting in my apartment one Thursday evening, having a glass of wine and watching everyone’s favorite show: the Office.I had an exhausting work day, full of meetings, e-mails, and code to process. I was also mindlessly flicking through my phone, seeing where all of my friends were up to and what everyone’s plans were for the weekend. I also decided to check the health app, mostly out of curiosity. I felt I had run around all day, so I must have hit that 10,000 step mark. I scrolled down until I saw it.

3,000 steps.

3,000? How had I only hit 3,000? Thoughts raced through my brain. This had to be a mistake. Something had to be wrong with the app. Ok, it’s only 8 PM. Are there any errands I can run to get me to 10,000? Well, I could also go on a run, and it the weather is not too hot. But I’m just so exhausted.

Stop Sarah. Just stop.

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In Support of Mediocre Food

A year ago, I was the person who stared in front of the fridge, frozen in fear and thinking about what snack I wanted. The last thing I was thinking about was what I was hungry for. All that buzzed through my head was what would people on social media want to see. Would it look aesthetically pleasing on camera? Could I incorporate avocado in a non-weird way so my photo would have more likes?

Looking back on it now, I think about why it was so difficult for me to just grab the carrots and hummus out of the fridge. Even though I love the platform Instagram has given me, I now realize how it has created unrealistic standards for how we are expected to eat. Putting those expectations on people and the food they eat is an unsustainable way to live. One can only think about maintaining those standards for their food and drinks so long before they burnt out. Cooking and eating was no longer a source of pleasure or community. It was a chore.

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Why Detoxes Will Only Detox Your Wallet

This morning, I was reading through some of my friends’ Facebook posts. It is usually that time of year when lots of women try to get that “beach body.” (That discussion of a beach body has its own discussion, but that is for another time). Many of my friends were toting a diet of eating only steamed greens and lean organic protein to get those bikini abs or swimsuit body. “I need to purge my body of those toxic chemicals,” a friend said. “Green juice and smoothies only from now on.” The truth, though, is that detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam

And it is something that, as consumers, we need to be aware of.

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How the Jersey Shore Shaped My Diet

I was 18 years old when I stopped eating meat. It was a traumatic affair, involving a bite into some deceptively cooked chicken. One bite of the stuff and I was completely turned off. When I came home after my first semester, I adamantly sat down to dinner with my family. “I’m going to cook some eggs. I don’t eat meat anymore,” I said. My mom looked at me quizzically, “Not even chicken?” she asked, handing me a dish of chicken parmesan.

It reminded me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding

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Learning to Love Tea Again

As I get older, it gets harder and harder to keep up with the speed of life. And, while it seems like we are doing a good job to maintaining the pace, we must admit that our bodies were not made for this fast paced lifestyle of modern society. We are still struggling with early morning school bus runs, scheduling one activity after another, and electric lights that let us stay up way past dark.We have so many options that weighing the slight differences between two equally good choices drive us toward our breaking point. I go in and out between periods of anxiety about the future, about plans that franly can change in a blink. I am only 24, but I feel completely burnt out.

And that’s when tea saved me.

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Ways to Eat Healthy Without Burning Your Budget

Aka how not to spend all of your dolla dolla bills.

When I first became a vegetarian, I was bombarded with questions about how I was able to AFFORD being a vegetarian. To me, this question always struck me as odd. Meat is one of the most expensive things in the store, at around $4 or more dollars per pound. Why would eating vegetarian drive up the costs of your food budget? It was not until I moved to NYC and eventually DC that I understood why so many people had trouble thinking of vegetarianism as an affordable way to live. I had never stepped foot into a Whole Foods or a farmer’s market until I got to college. However, when I saw the prices of “fake meat” product and the produce, I finally understood where people were coming from. Living on a meager budget in the heart of Manhattan (I was a college student after all!), I started developing strategies to living as a vegetarian affordably.

And I have learned a lot!

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The Gendered Side of Pain

I had always had a fear of standardized testing, but I never thought it would manifest like this.

Like many high schoolers, I had to pass exams to graduate high school. Despite my fear of exams, these state tests were a breeze for me. You know, the type you would finish before everyone else but wonder if you did something wrong. It was during one of these tests when I experienced one of the worst pains I had ever felt in my life. As I plugged away at math problems at my desk, I felt as though someone was stabbing me in the abdomen. I hunched over, unsure of what was going on. The whole perverted side of the story was I tried desperately to save face. The state I lived in had a rule about the entire class having to retake the test if someone interrupted it.

And if I made kids sit for another round of tests, well then that spelled the social end for me.

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