Lifestyle 31 May 2018
Summer is here! Gemini will be our star in June and we all need the Twins' sense of humor and sense of play to help us get through some of the heavier transits this month. Mars squares Venus around the 14th and directly squares on June 20-21 so everyone needs to look out for lover's quarrels on these days. Don't worry...we'll all make up by the end of the month with Venus in Leo. June typically means the start of vacations or downtime so I'm giving everyone some leisure ideas based on their sign!
May 21- June 20
“What goes up must come down."
This June will be a seesaw for Geminis with stops and starts, ups and downs, laughter and tears. Thank goodness this is how most Gemini's live anyway...in the world of duality. With Mars in Aquarius your energy and creative inspiration is flowing. You have the fortitude right now to keep trudging towards your goals. On June 6-7, watch what you say and how you say it. Are you really being truthful? Even to yourself? Stringent self awareness and disciplined authenticity is crucial for you his month. Dismount your high horse and get to work in your creative studio, wherever that space is to you. Best vacay: Theatre workshop.
"June typically means the start of vacations or downtime so I'm giving everyone some leisure ideas based on their sign!"
June 21- July 22
“Reap what you sow."
I am loving your ability to communicate this month, especially after June 12. Communication comes in all forms, including but not limited to speaking, writing, singing, photography and any other kind of art form. This is especially important to note on June 19-20 when your thoughts are like seeds being sown into a magically fertile ground. Don't waste this time. Revisit your list of goals or create a vision board. The intentions that you communicate to yourself or others are more powerful than ever. You have been batted about recently beyond your control. It's time to take back the wheel. Where do you want to go? Best vacay: anywhere near water with good food and family.
July 23- August 22
“The fishes and the loaves"
This has been a tough couple of months for you. The perpetual hill that you've been climbing seems to be getting steeper and steeper. I'm going to give you two pieces of advice to handle these challenges then I'm going to give you some good news. First, when it comes to where you are spending your energies-put others first. It's not about you right now. What do you have to give? Who needs it most? Selfishness will backfire this month. Also, many Leo's are having Dad issues right now ( Leo Meghan Markle anyone?). Other Leo's should take Meghan's lead...if you can't control it then don't engage, make a neutral statement and move on.
Here's the good news: your selflessness attracts love like bees to flowers this month, especially after June 14. Best vacay: Romantic and grand...go big and leave home.
August 23- September 22
“The birds and the bees"
You're still enjoying a power position but your energy is starting to feel very scattered. My advice...go online. Do the extra research, join an online community that shares your interests or goals or even play a video game. I'm serious. Cyberspace is where you will get traction and solace right now from the proverbial “salt mine" that you toil in everyday. The first half of the month has good love for you. In the second half you may find that you can't juggle all the bees that have flocked to your honey. Best vacay: Stay home and organize.
September 23- October 22
“Friends, Romans, countrymen..."
Make the speech, the pitch or publish your manifesto June 1-12. All Libras have a silver tongue but it is especially sparkly during the first half of the month. My favorite gift that the stars bring you this month is ENERGY. You will have mornings where you jump out of bed. You will not just feel inspired, you will take action to make things change. This is all good news because your workload is still a burden. It will be for awhile. That's ok. Have fun counting the bounty you will earn when this time of labor is over. Oh, and by the way, go easy on your dad. Best vacay: go visit a fashion week in a glamorous city.
October 23- November 21
“Talk to the hand"
This month your ideas and ways of doing things will be challenged. What is the normal Scorpio response to opposition? Crush the resistance. I am going to save you and the people that will challenge you some heartache. Please just listen to your naysayers. These ideas aren't a threat, they are glimpses of the future. You are being called to get out of your comfort zone. Respond to the nudge in a favorable way and magic can happen. Remember what it felt like to dream? It's not too late. Best vacay: scuba diving somewhere deep.
November 22- December 21
“Onward and upward"
This month is a party for the inventors. Sagittarius likes invention because it's about taking risks and disrupting old ways of doing things. Sagittarius also likes a good race or competition. There is a race this month but it's not against anyone, it is for the world. It's a call to run towards the cutting edge of where humanity is going. Have I lost most of you? I haven't lost Sagittarius...they love the big ideas. See you at the finish line with all the Aquarians! Best vacay: make a hike out of an historic march in a foreign land.
"It's not about you right now. What do you have to give? Who needs it most? Selfishness will backfire this month."
December 22- January 19
“Lead with the heart"
First I want to say it's ok to cry. Especially after June 13th. You aren't used to showing your feelings and being vulnerable. The second half of this month will coax these feelings out of you. It's a wonderful catharsis that you have needed after your work marathon over the last couple of months. With power and high position comes great responsibility. This month you have the secret sauce of successful leadership, strength with vulnerability. Housekeeping note: are you unloading some of your real estate holdings during this sellers market? It's a good idea. Best vacay: Capricorn's don't take vacay.
January 20- February 18
“And they're off!"
You are on the move and ready to take the steps to really get to where you want to be. It will not be easy and it will feel too slow for you but you will be moving in a forward direction. Reminder: you are an earthling and you have to understand earthly parameters of business and money matters. Your crazy dreams are what the world needs but you have to follow at least SOME of the rules to get what you want. Especially right now...the more you fight these truths the more you will be knocked down. Be humble and lean into this momentum. Best vacay: space simulation workshop.
February 19- March 20
“Rock a bye baby"
Have you ever sung a lullaby to a grown adult? This is kind of what you will be doing with some of your communication this month. You need to NURTURE others with your words. You can bring a calming effect to your relationships if you just set this intention. Embrace those that see you as a mother or parent figure, even if it's annoying. Remember that they are just responding to the energy that you are putting off however subconscious it is. Check your reality with others during this long Neptune transit. When people say you don't see something the right way listen to them. Best vacay: any music or theatre outdoors.
March 21- April 19
“Keeping The Home Fires Burning"
I'm excited about your love relationship after June 14. You may see a spark in the ashes that have been cold for a while. The second half of the month could also bring more money or creative ideas for business.
With Saturn still in Capricorn in retrograde it's a bad time to invest in Real Estate but a good time to renovate or invest wisely (not extravagantly) in property that you already own. When Mars goes retrograde in Aquarius on June 27th it's time to quit dreaming and get back to work. Best vacay: train for a competition and travel there to participate.
April 20- May 20
How do you self medicate? Too much work? Alcohol? Food? Sex? Sleep? Exercise? Many of our Taurus friends indulge in ALL OF THE ABOVE. They just go from one compulsion to the other. The scary part is that a Taurus can have the stamina to withstand an unhealthy loop for longer than others. This month presents a slippery slope for you that creates the perfect environment for addictive behaviors. You know what you indulge in. Self love is about moderation. Care for yourself this month with gentleness. Best vacay: head to the woods.
8 Min Read
Disclaimer: I am writing this piece as someone who has thin privilege. I do not experience weight-based discrimination like those who live in larger bodies. In naming my privilege, I hope to highlight the fact that my experience of this topic is limited to what I have learned from the courageous work of body positivity and fat activists, colleagues, and clients of mine who live in larger bodies.
A note on "fat": Many fat activists and people in larger bodies have made the decision to reclaim the word "fat" as a neutral descriptor. The decision to do so is highly personal for individuals living in larger bodies, as many have experienced the word "fat" being weaponized against them. For the purposes of this article, I stick to the wording of "people in larger bodies" or "people in higher-weight bodies" to respect the journeys of those trying to decide what descriptor best matches their lived experience.
Michelle was a three-sport athlete in high school. While there was a part of her that enjoyed the camaraderie with her teammates, the sense of accomplishment she felt when setting new records — there was another part of her that participated in the hopes of shrinking her body. Michelle, who is now studying to be a therapist, didn't know about eating disorders when she was younger. She reflects, "I had this idea that I wanted to become a professional swimmer so that I would be able to exercise even more. I would get many compliments on my body during swim season, even though that was when I hated my body the most."
The comments Michelle received on her weight and body when she was restricting and compensating fueled her eating disorder. "There was an underlying message" she adds, "that my body wasn't good enough before I lost the weight."
"There was an underlying message" she adds, "that my body wasn't good enough before I lost the weight."
As an eating disorders treatment professional, I, unfortunately, hear accounts like Michelle's on a daily basis — a person loses weight due to an increasingly problematic relationship food — that weight loss is complimented, and the person continues engaging in behaviors that are extremely harmful. I've also heard countless stories from friends, family, colleagues, and complete strangers sharing that they have received weight-loss compliments when they were experiencing immense pain and suffering — dying from cancer, grieving the loss of a spouse, or suffering from another debilitating illness.
With at least 20 million women and 10 million women in America alone suffering from an eating disorder at some point in their lives and countless others suffering from any number of physical or mental illnesses that might contribute to weight fluctuations, one would think that it would be common sense not to comment on a person's weight. Why are weight loss compliments such a common social gesture, despite their glaringly inappropriate and problematic connotations?
Why are weight loss compliments such a common social gesture, despite their glaringly inappropriate and problematic connotations?
It's a complex issue — while some people equate weight loss to desirability, others associate it with health and longevity (and many believe the two go hand-in-hand). But why? Why are these beliefs so deeply ingrained? One answer is fatphobia.
What is fatphobia?
Fatphobia is the fear of being fat or becoming fat, which results in the stigmatization of individuals that live in fat bodies. Fatphobia, which has both racist and classist origins, is at the root of our cultural obsession with thinness and diet culture.
Author of Fearing the Black Body, Sabrina Strings explains in her interview with NPR that 19th-century magazines, such as Harper's Bazaar, warned their white, middle and upper-class women audience that they must start to "watch what they ate" as a mechanism for differentiating themselves from slaves, creating a new aspect of racial identity (if you're interested in learning more about the racial origins and history of fatphobia check out the resources I've outlined at the end of this piece).
Fast forward 100 or so years, and our culture's fear of fatness shows up regularly on an individual, institutional, and systemic level (much like racism).
From a young age, we receive messages that being smaller is better — from thin barbie dolls with tight skin, thigh gaps, and virtually zero body fat to Disney princesses that are all more or less the same (thin) size. We see fatphobia on TV shows and movies both in casting (most people who land major roles live in thin bodies) and in the actual scripts (fat jokes). Not to mention that airlines don't make seats suitable for people in larger bodies, or that the fashion industry is particularly exclusive in its sizing and clothing lines.
From a young age, we receive messages that being smaller is better — from thin barbie dolls with tight skin, thigh gaps, and virtually zero body fat to Disney princesses that are all more or less the same (thin) size.
Weight stigma also impacts a person's chances of getting hired and the quality of health care they receive. Research shows that individuals who fall into higher weight categories are less likely to be hired than their thin counterparts. Additionally, weight-stigma in the health care system runs so rampantly that many individuals in higher weight bodies avoid the doctor's office for fear of being shamed or embarrassed. It's not uncommon, for instance, for someone who is "overweight" or "obese" to go to the doctor's office for a sinus infection and leave with a recommendation for weight loss.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects of fatphobia is that individuals in larger bodies often internalize these attitudes, which leads to greater body image concern, anti-fat attitudes, depressive symptoms, stress, and reduced self-esteem.
Our collective fear of fatness is directly linked to the fact that it's extremely burdensome for people in higher-weight bodies to exist in this world.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Our collective fear of fatness is directly linked to the fact that it's extremely burdensome for people in higher-weight bodies to exist in this world. Instead of identifying this as a social justice issue, the majority of us have bought into the narrative that fat is bad and weight is always a matter of personal responsibility (spoiler: it's not).
Do individual choices impact a person's weight and health? Of course.
However, it would be irresponsible to not acknowledge that there are a number of factors that impact a person's weight even more so, than certain individual elements. These influences include but are not limited to: family history and genetics, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, sex, dieting history, exposure to trauma, chronic stress, racism, and/or discrimination, food insecurity, family habits and culture, sleeping habits, medical conditions, medications, and eating disorders.
Simply put, weight is far more complicated than most of us are willing to admit.
But what about health? What if a person has or desires to lose weight for "health reasons"?
Good question, to which I would say this:
- This question assumes that in order for a person to "be healthy" they have to pursue weight loss (they don't). In fact, putting weight loss on the back burner and focusing on healthy behaviors, rather than weight has been shown to improve clinically relevant in various health and physiological markers, including blood pressure, blood lipids, eating and activity habits, self-esteem, and body image.
- Assuming that everyone should be able to fit into our culture's irrational thin ideal and obtain a perfect picture of health while doing so is ill-informed.
- If diets actually did what they promised they would do, the $70 billion dollar diet industry would be null and void. What most people don't know is that the diet industry — fueled by fatphobia — actually sets its consumers up to fail (and keep coming back for more). There is a large body of research that actually shows that dieting usually results in initial weight loss followed by weight gain. While there's nothing wrong with weight gain, most people don't set out to diet thinking they will gain weight. The human body is incredibly adaptive, and often, weight gain after dieting is a result of a person's body trying to protect them from starvation.
- The people who lose weight and keep it off generally fall into a few camps:
1) They follow meticulous diet and exercise regimens in order to maintain the weight loss (one might call this disordered eating).
2) They are suffering from a serious mental or medical illness that results in suppressed weight.
3) Their survival genetics aren't quite as strong as the majority of the population, and for whatever reason, their body was okay with losing the weight and keeping it off (while there are some individuals who do fall into this camp, this certainly isn't the majority).
This brings me back to my main point: Weight loss compliments do more harm than good because we don't ever really know how the person lost the weight and there is a high likelihood that they will gain at least some of it back. Although they may be well-intended in the moment, weight loss compliments say nothing more than "Congrats, you're closer to matching our society's incredibly narrow beauty standards…"
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Emily Murray, RD, LDN (@murraynutrition) on Jul 6, 2020 at 5:38am PDT
So what do we do with this information? How do we move forward? Here are a few practical tips:
1. Continue to educate yourself about fatphobia, diet culture, and weight-inclusive principles. At the end of this article I, with the help of my colleagues, have provided a list of resources to help you get you started. Once you learn more, speak out about these issues, and seek out initiatives and policies that are more inclusive for all bodies.
2. Make an unapologetic commitment to refrain from weight loss compliments. Just. don't. do it. As I previously mentioned in an Instagram post above, it can feel pretty uncomfortable to not offer praise to someone who is subtly or not-so-subtly asking for it, especially if you love them. And yet, how powerful is it to say to someone "I love you for who you are, not what you look like."
3. Consider these alternatives to weight loss compliments:
4. Say nothing. Literally. Close your Mouth. Don't comment.
- "I'm so happy to see you"
- "I love you so much"
- "How are you doing?"
- "What's new?"
- "I so enjoy spending time with you!"
- "I'm glad you're feeling good" — only use this one when you know, for a fact, that the person is actually feeling good.
In summary, there just really isn't an appropriate reason to comment on another person's weight. Weight loss compliments do more harm than good by upholding oppressive systems, perpetuating excluding beauty ideals, and often inaccurately equating thinness to health. On an individual level, you never really know how or why a person loses weight or if they will gain any of it back. So, in the spirit of being kind, sensitive, and decent human beings, let's lay off the weight loss "compliments" for good.
- Fearing the Black Body by Sabrina Strings
- When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane R. Hirschmann
- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
- Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
- Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
- Land Whale by Jes Baker
- Body Respect by Lindo Bacon, PhD
- The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
- Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe
- You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar