Everyone loves to just walk around saying “Ugh, I’m literally so stressed out right now.” Stress is everywhere, embodied in every kvetching student, in every mother of three children, and in every girl who breathes. It is the symbol of our generation that thrives on espresso, that doesn’t really sleep at all, and that has to deal with the most competitive job market and higher education system in the world.
The worst thing about all of this isn’t even how suckish being stressed feels; it’s that everyone is stressed, so no one’s really stressed, and it’s become an acceptable and normal thing to constantly feel like you’re swimming in a kiddie pool with Tilikum (Tilikum, for those of you who are unaware, is the killer whale in the focus of my fav documentary, Blackfish).
Because I’ve been stressed out since I, as a wee newborn, witnessed my mother birth my placenta, I thought I could offer a few tips in dealing with stress.
Do: drink coffee. It’ll keep you going.
Don’t: talk to other people. Because you’re just going to take all of your stress out on them and then you’ll look like a bitch. Of course you probably are a bitch, but it’s best to hide that at all costs and whenever possible.
Also, don’t: talk to your boyfriend. He will inevitably piss you off.
Don’t: be around people who chew and/or breathe loudly. They will also piss you off. And distract you.
Do: yoga. Cliché, yes. But it’s a great way to kind-of work out and kind-of take a nap during shavasana.
Don’t: smoke a cigarette. No matter how cool you think they make you look, they just don’t. They also don’t actually make you less stressed. Post-boge, you still have an overwhelming amount of shit to do so it makes more sense to stop wasting time taking years off your life and instead just like, work!!!
Do, but also don’t: stress eat. Stress is great for binge eaters. If you say you’re stressed while eating a piece of cheesecake at 3pm (ya know, just an afternoon snack!) or while eating an alfredo pasta, pepperoni pizza, and a giant snickerdoodle cookie at 1am (a.k.a. me last Tuesday night #sorrynotsorry), then everyone is like “Oh, ok, you’re off the hook for not trying to mimic Kendall Jenner’s chopstick-like frame at this moment in time.” However, stressing can be a great way to be like “Ahhh my tummy is in such knots! I cannot seem to stomach a thing!” and shed a few pounds.
Do: go to bed early, and do something for yourself before you go to bed. I’m not saying go to sleep at 10pm, but don’t go to sleep at 2am. I usually work until 10:30ish, then whip off my bra immediately (remember, ladies: no bra, no problem), and then get in bed to watch an episode of Girls. Glass of wine, optional.
Though stress is the most chronic illness of ever, it is something that we can combat together. One last tip: cry. Cry a lot. But stay positive! You will get through this! (Ha. Ha. Ha.)
I’ve never watched a full episode of The Biggest Loser. I only have one friend who’s really into it (though I don’t believe she even watched this season), and the only other person I know who liked it was my grandma (who is now deceased). Regardless, it seems like a pretty inspirational show. People change their lives for the better, have happily ever afters, etc. etc. etc. The concept is really great. But in a society where we teeter back and forth between being too thin and too fat, does The Biggest Loser prompt people to feel like… big losers?
Rachel Frederickson was just crowned this season’s winner, dropping from 260 to 105 pounds. Before I read the first of many articles I would eventually read about her, I saw her “after” photo. She looked good–toned, fit, thin. I assumed she was in her early-mid 30s. It turns out that Rachel’s only 24. That was the first unsettling fact to me.
Then, I learned that she now weighs only 105 pounds. Then, I learned that Rachel is 5’4”. I’m 5’4”. I’m not nearly 105 pounds. Yes, bodies come in every shape and size, and weight is just a number. Body fat is proportioned differently depending on the person, and no one should feel the need to conform to a number on an outdated BMI index. But there is an undeniable fact that everyone is aware of, and it is that being 105 pounds and 5’4” usually means you’re too thin.
Obviously, controversy sparked from every corner of the body-centric world. Two very valid arguments arise: the first, that The Biggest Loser is a weight loss show and Rachel accomplished (very well) exactly what she went on the show to do. This side argues Rachel shouldn’t be penalized and she didn’t take things too far. The second argument pleads the opposite: that Rachel clearly has a problem; one drilled into her head by a show that monitors contestants as if it was the NSA for fat people.
Those of you who blame The Biggest Loser for turning an obese young woman into a petite someone who other women will envy–you are wrong. You cannot blame a television production based on helping unhealthy people lead healthy lifestyles for a contestant’s weight loss. At the same time, you can’t say that Rachel’s weight loss is okay just because you “wouldn’t call her skeletal,” as Betches Love This likes to put it. “Have you ever seen an actual anorexic person or like, a Holocaust survivor?” The “Betches” continue, “That is fucking skeletal.” They also say that Rachel “is the size of a mother of three who spends a lot of time at Soul Cycle or like, Kate Middleton,” and therefore we shouldn’t be concerned.
No, no, no, no, no. We can be funny all we want–we can make fun of ourselves, of the pettiness of young women, of the ridiculous obsessions we have with things like social media and men, but we cannot make jokes about body image. Just because someone doesn’t “look” like they have an eating disorder–like they aren’t “skeletal”–doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering mentally.
Last week, I called my mom in hysterics because I felt comparable to a very large whale. Moms are used to the complaints of their daughters, many of whom are perfectly fine and healthy but suffer from a paranoia and awareness of the body that is unnecessarily overwhelming. My mom, however, could sense the extreme level of shittiness I was feeling. When I told her that it pained me to look in the mirror and to have more than one sit-down meal a day–that the thought of giving in to a plateful of food rather than the Chobani and then the apple and then the Fiber One bar snacking regimen I had perfected to a tee–she knew I was falling into a trap.
My mom asked me why I hadn’t spoken to anyone about this–my friends, a therapist, etc. I told her something I consider to be one of the most wretched mindsets of our image-infatuated generation: I just didn’t look like I had a problem. I’m not “thin,” I’m curvy with a butt and boobs and legs, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been like that since the fourth grade. What are the odds that someone takes me seriously when I walk up to her and tell her I’m having trouble eating? You can claim someone would listen to me, and if it was a real problem, someone would be able to tell. But unfortunately, I can fill you in from experience–that isn’t the case. It seems like you can’t have a problem unless you look like you do.
Okay, so if I lose 30 pounds, will you believe me then?
Luckily, I swung out of my funk and adjusted back to a normal, healthy routine. But there are thousands upon thousands of girls that won’t. Did Rachel Frederickson’s drastic weight loss pose a bad influence on self-conscious teens? I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser, but I’m assuming they only showed her losing weight healthily. They probably didn’t showcase her anorexia, or her bulimia, or any other eating disorder she might have. As I said before, her size doesn’t have to correlate to her mental state, and her mental state doesn’t have to correlate to her size.
In truth, the people who tend to be sensitive to the appearances of people in the media will be affected by Rachel’s weight loss just as they would the body of any other celebrity. The less sensitive people won’t. The job of The Biggest Loser is to help its contestants become healthier. The job of me–and of every other young lady, and even the job of every young man–is to make sure that I am healthy, that my friends are healthy, and that my family is healthy. Rachel’s weight loss was startling to me, too. But can we please get over the battle of too thin versus thin enough and realize the bigger picture?
This year, Jennifer Lawrence became the girl that everyone loved. Guys want to get with her, girls want to be her. And if they aren’t her, then they want to be her best friend. Like me, she gives off the “I don’t give a shit what people say or think” attitude, except unlike me, people like her because of it. Maybe if I was Katniss Everdeen I’d be more liked by people who do archery and appreciate a girl with a big mouth. With the Golden Globes around the corner, I thought the time had come for me to join the JLaw bandwagon. After all, her year wouldn’t be that accomplished without a shoutout from The FYD.
Whenever I try to picture Jennifer Lawrence in my mind, I, for some odd reason, can only think of the Disney Channel star Debby Ryan (from “Suite Life on Deck” and “Jessie”) who is cute–def not as hot as JLaw though–and actually smiles for pics. Whenever this happens I get so frustrated that I google “Jennifer Lawrence” on my iPhone so that I can remember her face and let a wave of relief wash over me. I’ve seen every movie JLaw has been in (including Like Crazy, one of my fav movies of all time) and I seem to google her face ten times a day yet it still refuses to ingrain itself in my mind. I think that really says something.
It’s underrated how she got her start in The Hunger Games. I mean, she had a small career beforehand, but you didn’t really know her until you knew Katniss. The Hunger Games reminds me of my tomboy literary phase in sixth grade. I never went through a tomboy phase in terms of how I dressed, but I read “boy books” for a while. How can just a literary work of tomboy-ness bring out someone regarded as one of the most glamorous people in the world?
I do love JLaw, however. I think that she is very real and has intentions of being the role model that wasn’t out there before. I love that she fell on her way to receive her Oscar and I love that she fell because she was thinking about cake. I also love how genius it was of her to finally tell the media that she fell because she was thinking about cake so strategically right before Golden Globes, as if to say, “give me the Golden Globe for my role in American Hustle and I promise I will do something that will further prove how much of a real, down-to-earth food-lover I am!” Her fall also means that when I inevitably fall on the way to get my Oscar one day I won’t be the first one to do it. The experience will be much less scarring.
As much as I love her, I also think she’s slightly overrated. Some people say they think she’s overrated in terms of her looks, which I totally disagree with. The people that say that are just jealous. I think she’s overrated in terms of how special she is, so to speak. We decided she was amazing because of how vivid she seems through the screen of a MacBook or captured in a magazine photograph. We love her because she’s young, and she’s fresh. I never would have picked her acting skills out of a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, she mastered Katniss, but… well… it’s Katniss.
The first time I saw Silver Linings Playbook, I thought that someone had secretly done an autobiography of my life without my knowledge or approval. JLaw’s diner-freakout scene could easily have been directly taken from any time between November and April of my senior year of high school. People thought her acting in that movie, and in that scene in particular, was crazy. For me it was just like a #tbt or whatever.
Recently, I read a really interesting article about JLaw and all of the things she says about body image–how no one can ever make her diet, she loves a burger and fries, etc. The article, which I believe was on HuffPost, said that the only reason we commend JLaw for being so “real” about her secretly naughty eating habits and her curves is because she manages to portray this persona while still looking thin, beautiful, and healthy all of the time. If someone who needed to lose weight made such a statement about loving a cheeseburger almost every time she opened her mouth, we would probably be disgusted. We would think that she’s being careless and sloppy and needs to go on a diet. But when JLaw does it, we clap for her because she does it and still looks like she doesn’t. This is something I’ve thought about for a long time, but never felt resonated with enough people that I could actually say it and believe it was true. But it totally is.
So, where does that leave us with JLaw? Still love her. Still think she’ll win a shitload of awards for everything she’s done. Still think she’ll continue to talk about food like it’s nobody’s business. But also still think she should make us think about what’s really real and what isn’t.
A couple of months ago, a guy friend jokingly told me that he would sue me because The FYD is a “fallacy.” He said it was a rip off for not properly representing its title. It’s true–I mention fro-yo every once in a while, but I don’t really write about it. On the exact one year anniversary of The FYD, I figured it would be a good time to start.
Frozen yogurt is a very generational thing, which gave reason to the titling of The FYD. Fro-yo is just as millennial as we are not because of the mass amount of chain stores spreading faster than wild fire through an unkempt bikini line, but because of the nature of the product itself.
Fro-yo is quick demand and quick satisfaction. Think fast food for the anorexic. We also believe we can eat more fro-yo than we can ice cream, which is really only half true. Sometimes, I eat fro-yo for lunch or dinner and never feel half-bad about it. If I ate ice cream as often as I did fro-yo (which may or may not sometimes be twice a day) I would feel much shittier, be 10 pounds heavier, and have to go to the bathroom a lot more. We like to think fro-yo is guilt free, which is exactly what we’re supposed to think. Obviously, like all things in life, it isn’t.
Sure, it’s low fat or fat free. But it’s still full of shit, and has enough chemicals to provide a seventh grade girls’ basketball team with full keratin treatments. Fro-yo is kind of like makeup. We can pretend we’re skinny because we make the choice to eat fro-yo and we can pretend we have good skin when we’re really just wearing a lot of makeup. But at the end of the day, you have to realize that you’re just using cash from the third night of Hanukkah to cover up your acne and you’re not losing weight by eating healthier ice cream. If you were actually skinny you’d be eating kale and not cake batter. We’re caught in the vicious cycle of deceit via the deadly sins of Sephora and (insert your go-to fro-yo place here).
You never have to settle on fro-yo. 21 flavors! 50 toppings! It isn’t like a fraternity mixer where you’re stuck deciding between the unattractive Jew and the semi-attractive goy that your mom would not approve of. We should take a moment and be thankful, because back in the day, it wasn’t always like this. The options weren’t always endless. Now, of course, they pretty much are.
Fro-yo started out as Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale’s, where wealthy mothers and grandmothers would take their dressed-up daughters on Saturdays. Today, we all love a good Forty Carrots Instagram. It’s the elegance and class of frozen yogurt captured in Lo-Fi. But fro-yo really rose with Pinkberry in NYC and LA. You could choose from two flavors (maybe three? My memory gets worse with age, ugh) and have the guy behind the counter put two toppings on–more if you had a privileged childhood with money to spend on the luxury of yogurt. Yum.
The problem with trends, like fro-yo, is that they usually die out. Then, they just become another throwback Buzzfeed article to post on your best friend’s wall. Like haha! remember when we thought fro-yo would make us skinny?! Now we just eat large gulps of air!
But I don’t necessarily think fro-yo is a fad. Yes, it’s artificial, but it’s also an indulgence. It’s one of the few things that allow us not to feel constantly shitty about how we look or what we’re doing and how we’re feeling. For once, society was able to provide our generation–a generation in which “plus size” is anything above a size 6–with something good. Kale, I love you, but you don’t always do it for me.
I used to think it was very mature of people to “get coffee.” When I got my license and started “chatting over fro-yo” with friends on weeknights, I felt like an adult. Funny, because in reality, I’m really just a millennial eating fake ice cream, and that’s all.
I decided to get creative. Instead of blurring out the photo, I “anonymified” it. As I sit at my computer screen, hysterically laughing at this devious creation (thank you photo editing apps), I can’t help but recall when this photo was taken: four days before I broke up with my boyfriend. We went into the city for a night, and all I kept saying was that I wanted to buy a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ben & Jerry’s and eat out of it with a spoon. Needless to say, we bought the pint at 2 a.m., shared a sparse amount (whatever I was willing to give up) with some friends, and finished the entire thing. Therefore, I can scientifically prove to you that eating stuff out of the jar is a comfort, easing some of the most difficult curveballs life throws our way.
My first instinct was to write about Nutella. But honestly, what am I going to tell you about Nutella that you don’t already know? Nutella and the young woman are inseparable. We rely on Nutella like we rely on tampons. To put it bluntly, they just soak everything up.
If you’re happy, you might celebrate with a thing of Nutella. If you’re
high as hell sad, you’ll head right for the Nutella. But in reality, it isn’t the hazelnut that gives you a sense of satisfaction. It’s eating shit right out of the jar that does.
For being obsessed with being skinny, we seem to let all f**** go when a jar of something yummy comes our way. Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same in a cup or a cone or a bowl. It’s only great out of the tub. Bethenny Frankel says that “naturally thin” people never eat stuff out of the jar. You end up eating without thinking, eating too much, and getting fat, and dying alone. Or, god forbid, you might decrease the size of your thigh gap. We all know that a decreased thigh gap is only good for catching crumbs of food as they fall on the way to your mouth. So not worth it.
In honor of the food coma that Christmas instills in all people–if you aren’t eating a ham right now, then you’re definitely going ham on kosher Chinese food–it’s important to come to terms with the fact that we love eating shit out of the jar. I spend most of my weeknights on the floor on my room sticking my fingers in a jar of Justin’s almond butter with my best friend. We love getting dirty with some Nutella, ice cream, almond butter, and obviously peanut butter (the indulgent version of almond butter). Eating out of the jar, for most girls with ridiculous body image issues, is the closest you’ll ever get to going skydiving or something like that. Risky as hell. Living life on the edge. Not counting calories for a slim (or not so slim) second.
On a day like today when I’m having serious trouble coping with my own #fatgirlproblems, I’m going to give you shitty advice: eat out of the jar. But keeping “thin” in mind, maybe only have a few bites. Also, remember that committing to not eating out of the jar is, by association, committing to not taking swigs out of the bottle. Now that is a bond I’m not sure any of us are ready to break.
Being sick right now is like rolling deep at E-Zoo. Everyone’s doing it.
My sickness started the first night of Halloweek. For the first time in my life, I completely lost my voice. Usually when people lose their voices, I assume they’re faking it to try and sound “hot.” Apparently guys like it when our voice resembles theirs via 2008. So the second I hear someone complain about a lost voice (which they probably do just to show off their faux-rasp), I never hesitate to ask, “Have you tried coughing to fix that?” or, “You could probs just cough and that’ll go right away!” It’s really rude, I know, but being sick is much chicer than faking sick. Faking sick is too much effort. It’s better to just not be sick at all.
There are pros and cons to being sick. When I went home from school for fall break, I went on a psycho eating binge that wasn’t like “ugh, I had fro-yo thrice in one day” but was scary and revealed a lot about the unconscious association I have between food and home. Before I get all I-went-through-seven-years-of-therapy on you, I’ll get to the point–I literally ate myself into sickness. You don’t wanna know the gory details, but I was sick. Like, sick. The con this time around was that I almost shit my pants at a petting zoo (long story). The pro was that I lost two pounds when I should have gained five. Yay.
Mono is a sickness with tons of pros i.e. you don’t have to get out of bed for months and have an excuse as to why you physically are incapable of working out. If you have mono, everyone knows you get guys. It’s like a less slutty and more desirable form of HPV. One of my best friends (who is prominently featured on The FYD for her Big 10 prof pic) says that everyone at Michigan has mono right now. A.K.A., everyone at Michigan is sexually active right now but using protection (if they didn’t, they would have something else). This is so great to hear.
For me, being sick is an excuse not to go out. At the same time, I look like I’m such a partier that my body is degenerating. Last Saturday, I didn’t go out because I had a cold that was probably a hybrid strain of the Bubonic plague and Yellow Fever. Instead, I lied in bed with cranberry almond trail mix and fro-yo while two of my best friends sat on my carpet and told me funny stories about things like their IBS kicking in during a morning-after (another illness FTW).
Being sick really isn’t so bad after all. Honestly, if you’re gonna be popping Advil on the daily, you might as well be sick when you do. It’s good karma.