EXCERPT: 'Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break'

Thighs

Can we women all just let up on our thighs? As you'll soon find out, Igrew up around amputees. In my neighborhood, somebody was always losing something to diabetes. A toe, a foot, a leg. To me, knowing someone with one leg was as American as baseball and syrup on apple pie. (And if you've never put syrup on apple pie, then your family members probably have all their legs.) I don't care how thick your ankles are, if you've got both of 'em, you're doing better than a lot of folks.

Trying to have a perfect body is a lose–lose. From what I can tell, no matter how many pounds you lose, you could always lose five more. There's always another pair of jeans you can't quite zip, always one more celebrity who bounced back from pregnancy better than you did. (Nicole Kidman, anyone?)

Once you head down that path of body obsession, it's near impossible to veer off. You're either bingeing, purging, starving, or exercising. Counting calories like Bridget Jones, hating yourself for eating something good. Feeling guilty, eating more. And repeat. How many times have you canceled a date or something fun because you "felt fat"? And you probably weighed exactly the same as you did the day before. But you ate too much and now you don't want to look anyone in the eye.

Stop me when I've described your life.

Diabetes helped me veer off that path. When I stopped dieting for vanity and started dieting to stay alive, my perspective changed.

Every day my blood sugar is stable is a good day. That's twenty-four more hours of love to give my son. My weight still fl uctuates--I wish it didn't. But I see the big picture, and so far I'm still in it, hanging out with my little man. We're having a good time. And if I can keep my emotions on an even keel, it's not too hard to eat normally. I try to avoid getting too lonely, hungry, tired, or mad. A binge could really knock me out of that perfect picture.

It's ironic--I missed so many fun times because I didn't feel good about my body. And now that I feel good about my body, I'm too tired to have fun! Don't let this happen to you.

In other words, write yourself a slip to eat something, so that you don't feel deprived and eat everything. If I'm too late and you just ate everything, backdate yourself an all-access pass to the pantry and start over tomorrow.

Aging

If we're lucky enough to stay in the picture, then we're gonna get old. Every damn one of us. Not even the big shots can stave off aging forever. I had an epiphany when I was reading a gossip magazine. Apparently, during Madonna's divorce, Guy Ritchie said that making love to her was like "curling up with a piece of gristle."

Whoa.

Now, Madonna was fifty years old at the time, and working out about four hours a day. She was in amazing shape, better shape than most of us are, ever, in our entire lives. She had the best plastic surgeons and dermatologists at her disposal, and still, her younger husband called her "a piece of gristle." That tells me that none of us is safe. You fall apart, you're a fat cow. You keep it together, you're gristle.

Give me a break.

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