I came across the term radical self-acceptance this past week which really rang so many bells. The point of it, from what I can gather is that you may not like the way you look or something about your bod – and from what I can tell – even super models have bits of themselves they’re not too fond of – but you choose to accept that bit. You accept it and express gratitude.
What made me think of all this was Gwynnie Paltrow getting dragged on the socials a couple of weeks back for her diet. She practices intermittent fasting, has a little bone broth for lunch and then eats keto with loads of veg for dinner. A whole bunch of dieticians and doctors etc…piled on her after this calling her eating ‘disordered’. I was like ‘hello, what’s wrong with that? That’s how I eat!!”
Until recently, I used to practice a version of OMAD which is eating one meal a day. I would have a coffee or two, some berries in the afternoon and then a meal at night. I did this from Monday to Friday and then would have the weekend off. Sometimes I’d feel a bit shaky in the arvie but I’d just have a cup of tea and I’d be fine – well, fine-ish. I was 5kg lighter than I am now, but I was kinda, sorta starving myself to achieve that.
Took a while for the penny to drop, but eventually I understood that the way I view my bod and the way I try control my weight through not eating is possibly Not A Good Thing. I have always been on a diet since I was a kid and did ballet – not the most fantastic dance form if you are not naturally skinny (my one nickname as a child was ‘Fats’). Going to auditions as an actor in my 20s with models was also not tremendously affirming. There was no body positivity movement or plus sized models then. Just ‘lose some weight, fat girl if you want to work.’
Also, we do tend to attach moral value to being thin/thinner. Like we are definitely failing if we are not a size 10 (or 8 or 6). Yes, dear reader, I do realise this is probably completely obvious to all of you, but this was quite a revelation to me. I always thought I was immensely accepting of my body, but clearly I’ve been bullshitting myself because I really, really am not.
As I head to my mid-50s, the wrinkles are also starting to be a thang. As Nora Ephron said, “I feel bad about my neck” (a fab collection of essays BTW). Me too, Nora, ME TOO but I have decided that I won’t be injecting anything into my face. I buggered up my gallbladder from extreme dieting when I was younger and have had all sorts of nasties burnt off my skin from tanning as a youngster, Lord only knows what could happen if I start messing with my face.
Frankly, when I reviewed what I ate and how much I exercise, I have to say I’m doing pretty well. The beautifully freeing thing about getting older is that your body forces you to focus on health rather than looks. I know if I eat too many packets of wine gums that I will feel like shit, so I try make healthier choices. If I don’t exercise at least once a day, my back/neck/wrist seizes so I also have to do that. If I don’t meditate daily, I kill people, and there’s only so much space in the back garden for the bodies.
As with booze, I shall be choosing the path of moderation when it comes to food and exercise, reminding myself that fashions come and go as far as ideal body types are concerned. The jeans that were purchased 5kg ago shall be retired, I shall buy clothes that make me feel good about myself and spend fortunes on lipstick and perfume and not on face creams that we know don’t work. In short, I will be loving and accepting myself as is.
Me: I do not like my bingo wings but I accept them.
- *looks more closely at bingo wings*
- F*cking hell! The bingo wings have actual cellulite on them!!
- *grabs weights and frantically does tricep extensions whilst observing love and acceptance flying out the window*
- *Quotes Taylor Swift*: No, no, we don’t speak to ourselves like that anymore.
We love our cellulitic bingo wings because we hug our children with these arms.
- *hugs self trying not to notice age spots on cellulitic bingo wings*
What can I say? I’m still working on the positive self-talk and the radical acceptance bit.
Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now on Netflix. Wow, wow, wow. Just so raw and honest and vulnerable, especially when he speaks about his struggles with the pressures of fame and his Tourette’s diagnosis. Which brings me to…
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld which is my book recommendation for this week. The book concerns the Notting Hill premise: what happens when a TV writer dates a famous musician who appears on their show (which is a version of Saturday Night Live)? Sittenfeld is so funny and savage and tender and perceptive, I adore her writing. And this hit the spot even more because it’s about TV writers and I came to the conclusion that as a breed we are the same the world over.
We can’t believe we get to do such a fun job every day, we are exhausted because we are all workaholics, we are staggeringly indiscreet in the writers’ room and eat everything that isn’t nailed down – and the rewrites. Rewrites are a MAJOR part of our lives. The book also includes an email exchange during lockdown. Have I mentioned recently how much I love an epistolary novel?? There’s just so much to love about this book. I highly recommend it.
In family news, the Lastborn has headed back to the city with the mountain and the Firstborn has finished swanning around Spain and France and is on his way back to Blighty for the summer term so our nest is empty once more. Luckily, there is no time to be lonely as there are rewrites of the rewrites to keep me occupied. Also, it seems as if My Year Of Not Getting Sh*tfaced is being made into an audio book which is MEGA exciting. And let’s not forget the tricep extensions for my cellulitic bingo wings. Have a great weekend and happy reading! xxx