This weekend we had a chance to see the play “Hairspray” as performed by a local production company. I hadn’t ever heard any part of the story, my knowledge was limited to the fact that John Travolta played a role in drag in the recent film version. For those of you who do not know, the story revolves around race relations, and an overweight girl’s struggle to be seen for her talent, instead of for where she is from or what she looks like.
As I was driving home from the show, I worried aloud to my wife that the show made light of two of the characters being overweight, and I worried that people would get the message that it is OK to be overweight. She pointed out to me that the message was that you need not scorn yourself if you are overweight, that the point was that you can still be excellent and you can still love your present self despite whatever physical problem you are having. I came to agree with her that the message was one of overcoming society’s opinion and dominating it with your own.
Most people who come to realize that they are damaging their bodies by eating the food they see on TV end up trying to find ways to stop hurting themselves. The process of breaking bad habits and adopting new, healthier habits is one that is not helped in any way by being self-abusive. Loathing oneself for having a lack of will-power, or for losing ground incidentally is actually part of the process of your brain attempting to maintain your old habits. Repeatedly telling yourself that you can’t do it is something that you may be used to believing. Telling yourself to give up when you give in to temptation, or when you find yourself with no alternative through circumstance is giving yourself permission to not change. Smoking a cigarette does not make you a smoker in the same way that eating a donut does not make you an over-eater. You have not failed until you quit being mindful about what you are doing when you make your choices. You have not failed until you believe the little voice that tells you cannot do it.
This week, if you are faced with a world or a mirror that tries to label you don’t accept the tag. Give yourself more time. Give yourself some slack. Your struggle against a world hell-bent on making you eat sugar is not a simple one. Navigating the menu at a restaurant where you have no idea how most of the dishes are made using just the descriptions on the menu is a Russian Roulette. Taking what you get sometimes is no reason to go back to not caring about it. Reward yourself with praise when you get it right. Share your success with your peers that may need help with their own struggles, you never know when your positive message may be just what someone needs to get over their own momentary struggles.
This weekend we went to the farmer’s market and got too much cabbage–on purpose. Cabbage is so easy to turn into great food. We turned ours into kimchi and sauerkraut. I have found a way to make individual jars of fermented foods using brewing airlocks and my regular mason jars. It’s is quite simple to do, I used rubber grommets from Lowe’s and put a 3/4 inch hole in the cap. These airlocks can be bought as an assembly but you will pay a serious premium for having someone else do it for you. It’s really easy to do it yourself.