|WHO IS THIS? Read on to find out!|
I never thought I would live to see the day, that supermodel Kate Moss would be referred to as "curvy"...let alone fat. I never thought much about how absolutely weight crazy this country had become. I never thought I would start to truly accept my body and learn to listen to it's wants and needs. I never thought I would go "Hungry".
If I say the name Crystal Renn to you, unless you are up to date on your runway model trivia, it likely does not ring any bells. But I bet you have seen many photos of her. She is one of America's most popular and influential "plus size models". She is also the author of my latest favorite autobiography called "Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves."
I ordered the book on Amazon and it arrived via free 2-day shipping (yay for Amazon Prime!). I got off of work early the day it arrived, around 4pm and I immediately fixed myself a margarita (don't judge me!) and headed for the deck. Three hours later I decided it was time to give my weary eyeballs a rest and break for dinner and a movie with Andrew. After that, I finished devouring the remainder of the 226 pages. As someone who suspects she may be suffering from adult ADD, getting me to sit still that long and read is no easy feat.
What strikes me about Crystal's writing is that despite being one of the industry's top models, she is very down to earth. Her story of fame and glamor is told in a way that makes you really understand what goes on behind the scenes, and in the heads of the young women (and men) in the industry.
Her story begins with some background on her relatively "normal" childhood, and goes on to explain how she was discovered by a model scout. It quickly delves deep into the scarce flesh of the modeling industry. With razor sharpness, she cuts to the core and dissects the motives and cruelty she faced much the same as how the stylists and agents picked apart her still developing young body. She explains her bout with anorexia and exercise bulimia with clarity and detail that makes your soul ache for the young women and men who are going through the very same thing.
As her story goes on, Crystal's body tells her that enough is enough. She cannot possibly live like this any longer, and she has to make a decision that is literally life or death. Lucky for herself, and for the rest of us, she chose life.
Crystal goes deeper still to explain our nations obsession with weight. She says in one passage that "our country has a problem. That problem is not weight-- it's weight obsession." The book explains that the so-called weight epidemic is (surprise surprise!) perhaps exaggerated by the media, and that it was the changing of the obesity guidelines, literally overnight, that made millions of Americans "dangerously overweight".
She points out that Americans are so obsessed with weight that it is affecting our children. The book quotes a study from 1992 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that says at least 46% of 9-11 year old girls are on DIETS.
Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. Think of all the little girls you know from age 9-11. They don't even know who they are yet, their little bodies still in the beginning processes of developing. They still have baby fat! What the hell are they doing dieting? Crystal points out that even as young as preschool, children have learned to use the word "fat" as an insult. (You big fat poopy head!)
Our nation is worse than others in this fat-obsession. In another study, the book mentions that women from different countries were asked to associate words such as "chocolate cake" with other words that came to mind. Women from countries abroad answered with words like "celebration". Women from America answered words like "guilt." How many times a day do you feel shame or guilt about what you eat?
The book does not glorify "fatness" as being healthy or advisable. Neither do I (I myself am overweight) however, what Crystal is saying here is that the first step to being healthy is to listen to your body...and stop trying to make it something that it genetically isn't. One of my favorite lines from the book explains this in an unconventional way. Crystal explains that you wouldn't ask a person from a minority race to become Caucasian to avoid discrimination. Why do we expect others and ourselves to become thin just to fit in? It's about finding out where your body is SUPPOSED to be. And once you find where you are supposed to be, love yourself. Besides, if Kate Moss is considered fat (according to a Brit magazine) then there's zero fucking hope for the rest of us anyway!
There were so many more things about this book that I wanted to share with you all, but I can't. I urge every single one of you, especially those with pre-teen or teenage daughters to read this book with them.
The photo at the beginning of the post...that's me my senior year of high school. I was a size 12. I thought I was enormous. Disgusting. Fat. I hated my body, because of many reasons. My closest girlfriends were all around size 4 and that only made it worse (NO I do NOT blame them for my issues! I mean it made it worse because I constantly compared myself to them). Now I am a size 24 and would love to be a 12 again, because I felt better physically at that size...even though at the time I thought I was huge. It's all relative.
I never thought a book would have so much influence on me. I have read countless "self help" books, which this one is not intended to be. This one helped me so much more than I could have imagined. Something in it just clicked within me, and I knew that I too could learn to love myself, and that I was free to stop feeling bad about being overweight, because ironically once I stop feeling bad about being heavy, I can stop my obsession with weight, and it will balance naturally.
As odd as it sounds, the reason I am overweight, is because I spent so much of my life obsessing about being thin, that it actually made me fat. Now, I see that I can let go of that...and just be myself, and my body will take care of the rest! Thank you, Crystal for helping me find the freedom to love myself no matter what my body looks like, no matter what anyone else says. You are truly an inspiration, and an amazing woman.
And in other "BIG NEWS!" I am going to start my first GIVEAWAY beginning Tuesday, July 5th, so you will have a chance to win your very own copy of "Hungry" for yourself, or to give to the young woman in your life who may benefit from it. Stay tuned Tuesday for details on the giveaway!