Recently I looked out the window of my Lyft ride after coming back from a wedding in Prague and a quick trip to Budapest and saw this sign flapping off the side of an apartment complex advertising the obvious—If you lived here, you’d be home by now.
Well of course, I thought, if you lived in this building, then you wouldn’t have to waste all your time navigating Seattle’s cramped traffic. You’d already be relaxing in the comforts of home. I laughed at the idea of living right by the noisy freeway, but then the wisdom of this simple ad hit me—if we lived in these bodies we have in this present moment, we’d be home by now.
And how do we find calm amidst all the noise outside of us?
As we move into the beautiful summer season and begin to shed the layers of clothing that the cold wet Seattle winters demand, that simple little phrase, if you lived here, you’d be home by now, takes on even more resonance, for many of us are caught in the sticky coercive web of the 60 billion dollar a year diet industrial complex that feeds off our fears that we are not yet good enough to frolick on the beach in the bodies we have at this very moment.
The industry and its grand market place of social media promise that all we have to do to attain the right body is to follow the latest most nutritionally sound, scientifically based diet plan. If we give up carbs, after 30 days of avoiding sugar as if it were cocaine, and follow the latest food rules and trends, then we will be ready to take our place on the beach in a bikini.
Unfortunately, the diet industrial complex is based on a future-forward promise of self-love and body confidence in exchange for our hard-earned dollars and our own trust in what to feed ourselves. We have lost our ability to literally trust our own gut and many of us get caught up in the perpetual cycle of denying our current hunger in order to attain some ideal body in the future that has nothing to do with the real us.
Friends—the diet industrial complex is brutal, psychically violent, and only wants our dollars in exchange for manufactured idealism. The diet and wellness industries care little about our true happiness. They feed off our fears that we are not good enough and insidiously offer us the cure to the suffering they intentionally produce! “It’s so easy,” they say. “Just follow this diet and you will lose the weight in order to be happy.”
Yeah, well screw that.
The only bodies we have are the ones that we live in currently and every single one of them has the right to feel the warmth of the sun on their bellies while eating ice cream cones on the beach. No matter what size we are in this very moment. Imagine—if we lived here in our bodies as they are in this very moment, we’d be home right now. Why are we denying ourselves pleasure and snagged on an image of us in the future? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather feel pleasure in my body now than put off enjoyment for some unknown unattainable future.
This obsession with thinness in American culture is physically and emotionally dangerous—this is what we should be afraid of and obsessing over and not whether we should be smaller than we are.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
While traveling in Budapest, I had the opportunity to visit one of the city’s famed thermal baths and so I took a subway from my flat, bathing suit in hand, and walked out to the public pools to bathe in the sun. What shocked me most about the thermal baths was not just how cool it was to have centuries old hot baths, medium temperature, and nearly freezing cold baths as forms of “wellness,” but that practically every woman was in a bikini—young, old, and by old I mean ninety-years-old, in EVERY possible shape, size, and size.
I saw women taking their rightful place in the sun in the fullness of who they are simply because they wanted to feel the sun on the bellies, thighs, backs of the arms, and wherever else. They ate, drank, and laughed while lounging on deck chairs allowing themselves to feel pleasure in the here and now. There was a remarkably untroubled belief that all bodies are worthy of being seen wearing as little as they wanted. For them, getting a bikini body simply meant getting dressed in a bikini. They were comfortable in their bodies--they already lived in them and were unwilling to deny themselves the pleasure of the sun for the hopes of a future body deemed socially acceptable.
And it was beautiful.
As part of the Summer Soulfood Challenge, let’s go ahead and bear arms against the diet and wellness industry—or at least bare our own arms and give up what I call “5-pound conditional living.” You know, the conditional thinking that promises us that once we lose five pounds, then we can wear the tank top with the shorts, the bikini, show up on the beach, and then we will be happy.
Yeah, well f*ck that because your body intuitively knows how to feed itself and it deserves to show up as it is in this moment because really this is the only moment that actually exists.
It’s a radical notion to reject the diet and wellness industry’s desire to keep us small, subservient, and from trusting our own appetites, but I wholeheartedly believe that if you lived here in your body now, you’d feel at home. So nourish yourself joyfully now in this very body.
And so my lovelies, I challenge us all to change our thinking instead of changing our bodies.
— Sharon —
There is nothing like an intense barre class with an amazing playlist and talented fun teachers to reset my day! The Bohemian method mixes creativity, power, and an incredible blend of movements that make me feel strong, fierce, and energetic.
I am a professor of Buddhism and mindfulness by trade and have always known that the key to a keen mind and open heart is a body that moves with confidence and feels alive. I am also a trained Mindful Eating-Conscious Living facilitator who loves to offer opportunities for people to re-establish a joyful relationship to food, eating and their bodies. I love that Bohemian Studios truly supports body positivity and the joy of food and celebration.
Book a class with Sharon! click here!