Claiming Space

Posted by Jessica Duncan on

As the festive period of over-indulgence comes to an end, it feels good to set goals to clean up our diet. I’m down with that. Throughout December, it seems that everything we consumed was laden with sugar and artificial colours, often washed down with alcohol, testing the loyalty of our liver. By January 1st, we’re all feeling pretty toxic, and visions of a fresh start appeal to our basic survival instinct.

As we contemplate a New Year’s diet, most of us tend to focus on weight loss. Like so many, I have had a long history with this particular New Year’s resolution, but for 2019 I’m making a concerted effort to eschew the weight loss goal, and focus instead on claiming space. For myself. For my daughter. For all the young women I encounter who struggle with body positivity. For all males who are learning how to respect women. My 2019 resolution is to find peace with my body, and to eat a diet that promotes both health and happiness.

Looking back over the past five plus decades of my life, I am seriously pissed off at just how many years I wasted thinking I was fat, and thus, an inferior member of society. Me and just about every other woman in the western world. The truth is, when I look at photos, I know now that I wasn’t fat at all. But, that is not how I saw myself at the time. Like most young women, I was convinced I was overweight, taking up too much space in the world, and, as a result, unlovable. My diet was managed around how to be loved, not how to love what I ate. In retrospect, I feel this was problematic on so many levels. It was wrong for me to assume that larger women are any less perfect than tiny women. It was wrong for me to feel that I should not be taking up space. It was wrong for me to lack confidence based on my perceived body size. It was wrong for me to create eating habits around how I felt others viewed me (hands up if you were reluctant to eat on a date or in public ‘cuz it made you feel gluttonous and unattractive).

Not long ago, I walked past a young woman standing on the sidewalk taking a huge bite out of a scrumptious looking pastry. The immeasurable pleasure she exuded was contagious. This year, my healthy diet is going to be based on a healthy relationship with food.

Singing Bowl Granola served with Fatso Peanut Butter and Betterwith Ice Cream.     Go ahead! Eat all the (good) fats! Enjoy every bite!

Ironically, running a food business, I seldom have time or energy to lovingly prepare a good meal, let alone devote the time to properly enjoying it. My New Year’s goal is to prioritize eating food that makes me happy, and enjoying the experience of eating it. Part of this promise to myself, is to openly show delight while consuming delicious food, so that I can share my joy with those around me, just as the pastry-eating woman did with me.

Hanukkah Blintzes with homemade jam and homemade apple sauce. Sometimes I do find the time to feed my family homemade food, prepared with love. These Hanukkah blintzes are always appreciated!

I have been blessed with two amazing, intelligent, wonderful children who are always teaching me and helping me grow. I know, through them, that young women still struggle as much as ever with claiming space, worrying that their bodies are the wrong shape and size to please society. We are making progress with body positivity, but not fast enough. Therefore, I feel obligated to set a positive example by (a) accepting and celebrating my body every day, and (b) developing a healthy relationship with food.  This is my New Year’s resolution, not just for my benefit, but for all the young women I know who just might need reminded that they are perfect and have full rights to claiming space with their perfect bodies while loving the food that nourishes them.

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