Chucking Body Shame into the Barrel

Our society is far from perfect, yet, we’d rather tweet about tea and cricket than address the perilous topic of women’s empowerment in Sri Lanka. That’s the norm, isn’t it? We all go around social circles barely skirting the edges of what seems like an uncomfortable topic even though every single woman carries it around like a weighted burden, hunching their backs to the ground.

I recently wrote an article for women.lk regarding the recent plight on women’s rights in Sri Lanka! Here’s the full article for anyone interested:

Our society is far from perfect, yet, we’d rather tweet about tea and cricket than address the perilous topic of women’s empowerment in Sri Lanka. That’s the norm, isn’t it? We all go around social circles barely skirting the edges of what seems like an uncomfortable topic even though every single woman carries it around like a weighted burden, hunching their backs to the ground.

To empower women is to give her the freedom and right to make single standing decisions regardless of her bonds, family and other facets of her life. It’s giving way to draw independent judgment, autonomy, and other factions of decision making in all areas of society and life pertaining to her. It’s giving a woman full social rights, judicial strength and upholding economic stability without any individual or party dictating what a woman should and shouldn’t do.

Tailing closely behind the president’s recent rejection of the move to allow women to purchase alcohol, we were the targets for body shaming in a series of digital and print media campaigns by a well-known fitness center. The campaign pictured below is the first of a series, which, according to a statement released by them, was to “promote [awareness for an] ‘obesity-free Sri Lanka’ [as] women are more prone to diabetes, overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity compared to males.” (Facebook).

So, here we are, dangerously inviting the devil’s advocate to throw havoc in the face of women who try, every single day, to stand up for the inequality and shame.

Ignoring the unjust sexism flavoring this campaign, flesh out the revolting implication of a rusted barrel symbolizing women. In a time when we’re all encouraging women to love their bodies, to promote self-confidence and to embrace every aspect of their life, this seemingly benevolent act of body shaming (as per the statement) is the very opposite. It’s another matter entirely to promote health and wellness amongst women (and men); however, provoking action as a result of women feeling ashamed of their looks is the worst form of self-pity. It’s insensitive and takes a sure jab at the hope for a better future.

Whilst our very own government promotes measures for dividing the sexes in this country and only talk about women’s freedom and representation, why isn’t the public, the people of this country, banding together to fight the injustice? Shouldn’t we overthrow ruling of patriarchal dominance against women? Yet, here we stand, sandwiched between arrogant authoritative governance and certain sections of the public provoking women’s right to decisions. In what definition of equality and empowerment is this justified?

Branding and promoting connotations of women such as what is pictured above is the reason why some women shy away from loving their bodies, it’s the reason why some women shatter their self-esteem because looking anything other than ‘skinny’ is shameful. How can we raise our daughters amongst putrid ideals of the female body? How can we begin to promote a just world for women when we are still battling for a simple right to life? When we limit what is allowed to be called beautiful, we limit the women who have the right to feel confident, strong, proud, brave and empowered.

In the name of artful connotations, perhaps archaic laws and ways of thinking should be chucked into the barrel; and then, praise the women standing up today fighting the arrogance in the face of unjust disadvantages given to us for simply being a woman.

In light of this event, many women have taken center stage to highlight the unwarranted acts of sexism and body shaming in this country. It is positively startling to see the growing number of women and men voicing their concerns and rejections on how women are perceived. With this uproar, the digital and print media campaigns were shortly taken down and we applaud for the bandage plastered on the wound. However, healing the wound is simply a scratch on the surface. The real work begins with uprooting the mentality of our society to reason that women are not the brunt of patriarchal induced sexism and generalization of the female population.

Thus, let us fight. Let us fight the system, fight the injustice and make way for a society welcoming women as the backbone of life. As the saying goes, let’s say cheers to strong women: may we know them, may we raise them, and may we be them.

Article originally published on http://www.women.lk

How Weightlifting Helped With My Mental Health

Mental health wasn’t a big topic in my life. I had effectively ignored it with the mindset that I wasn’t some ‘weak’ chic and chalked it up to something that was passing by. Before embarking on my lifestyle change, I didn’t classify my mood swings, mild panic attacks and paranoia as anything more than a volatile mind.

Only when I was about six months into my training and weightlifting did I notice that I was a lot more…content? Not necessarily ‘happy,’ but my mind was quiet. My thoughts weren’t running crazy and giving me headaches. I wasn’t having as many of these mild attacks of panic where I’d scramble to get a hold of my thoughts, where my breath felt short or when I felt like screaming, crying and throwing something out the window. Instead, I felt at peace. Not every day nor every time, but more often than before, I rejoiced at how collected I felt. I felt like I’ve achieved something; done something productive with myself and I hadn’t felt this way in a long time. Only then did I realize that I wasn’t this content before – I didn’t realize I was ignoring my mental health.

Going to the gym, getting my gloves on, smoothening my palms over the bar as I get ready to lift my heaviest is such an exhilarating moment. Pushing myself to overcome challenges, encouraging my body to make the leap leaves me with nothing but wanting to clap myself on the back: I did it. I achieved it.

I think the endorphin release plays a part in this – the stress-reducing chemical inhibits the fear and less than positive thoughts in my head. However, more than all of that, it’s feeling like I’ve done something good to my body. The thought of: “Heck, I just challenged my body to become fitter, healthier and lighter. And I did that, all by myself” is incredible. It’s a feeling of such accomplishment that I don’t think very many things have topped that.

It’s right at this point when I realized that all the gruelling work I do at the gym, the grunting and the tiny voice in my head saying I can’t do it – but working past it, is all worth it. It’s all bloody worth it. I keep reminding myself how at peace and successful I feel after every workout to fuel myself to wake up at 5AM.

On the back of this, I’ve had to deal with issues of overtraining. I craved this feeling so much that I thought working out all 7 days of the week was better than not, and I learnt the hard way that I was VERY wrong. But I think I’ll leave that for a different post altogether!

Why I am writing all of this, is for you to realize that working out is more than looking good – it’s about improving both your mental and physical wellbeing. Exercise is all about rewarding your body, thanking your body for the work it does but also to build a mind-body relationship that ultimately results in your happiness.

So, the next time you’re thinking of skipping out on a workout because you’re a little lazy, think of how good it feels to finish one – to achieve that ‘workout complete’ status. It’s all worth it. Trust me.

All my love,

Kavi

How to Peacefully Say No to Sugar

Hey, sugar, sugar, I got you lickin’ all over!

Let’s face it, sugar is addictive. Adding a dusting of icing powder over a bundt cake or even a generous helping of maple syrup on pancakes is a sight of beauty. Biting into a warm donut glazed with sweet topping is a happy place for most and trust me, I know the feeling. But, we hate ourselves afterward. We hate ourselves for giving in into something sweet when you’ve only just promised yourself that you will control your sugary cravings.

We love sugar, but there is no reciprocation.

This is how the vicious and continuous sugar cycle starts: you eat something sweet, you feel bad about yourself, and you may give it all up saying it’s all in vain and start the cycle again. This loop of self-berate is not only unhealthy for your mind, but also your body. Continuously craving sugar and giving in will progressively lead your health downward whilst tearing at your self-confidence as you look at yourself in the mirror. I know this because I’ve been there and felt the exact same way.

how to peacefully say no to sugar

The key is not to completely stop eating sugary goodness, but it is to ask yourself why you need it and understand your own hunger cues. Are you being tempted to eat something sweet because you’re genuinely hungry or is your mind simply asking you to eat a morsel of that yummy fudgy brownie. If you’re hungry, take a breather, walk away, drink a glass of water and have a fruit. Fill yourself up so you won’t be tempted to have very many sweets. If you’re not hungry and feeling a hunger in your mind, understand it. Realize that this won’t satisfy anything but a shallow craving in your mind and walk away. However, it’s important to note not to completely avoid sugar – if you do this, you’ll end up binge eating on the chocolate you’ve hidden in your kitchen.

As I say in most of my posts, eat everything in moderation. Don’t cut out chocolate because you think it’s bad for you – instead have a square of chocolate, maybe two, but not the whole slab! When you know you’re not hungry but you’re craving something sweet, see if you can wait it off with something else, but don’t do it for so long that you remove it out of your diet.

how to peacefully say no to sugar

Understanding your mind and body cues will help you make decisions at the grocery store or bakery itself. If you know you’ll want something sweet to keep you going during the week, opt for some granola, yogurt, fruit, and a slab of dark chocolate. Reducing temptations from the point of purchase itself will curb your needs when you’re at home!

I still make brownies and cakes around the house, but I make sure I don’t have it all! I know if I leave it in the house, I’ll eat it all. So, I keep a slice or two and give all my trials and errors in baking to my boyfriend! 😉

Sugar doesn’t have to be an enemy, but it can be a lovely treat to have on the side! Understand your mind and body and make decisions that will fuel your body. Food shouldn’t be a punishment, but a reward for all the hard work it goes through to keep you going!

**As with all my posts, this is a personal opinion from my experience only**

With all my love,
Kavi

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays!

Hi Everyone,

The festive season is upon us once more (how are we already in December?!)!

It’s still nonetheless exciting and ’tis the season to indulge and be merry! Some of us may prefer to let go of our ‘diet’ mindsets whilst others are looking to maintain their healthy strides across the holidays (me!). Over course of two years, I’ve found a few tricks here and there to curb overeating while still enjoying the holiday cheer and I thought I’d share them here!

  1. Eat your Calories: I’ve always told myself that if I am going to enjoy something indulgent, I’d rather eat it than drink it.  This holiday season, try eating before you indulge in drinks. Enjoy a slice of decadent Christmas Cake or mince pies as opposed to a sugary cocktail or punch. It’ll keep you full for longer and it’ll be much more satisfying than realizing you have to cut out on yummy food because you drank your calories!

    how to avoid overeating during the holidays

  2. Squeeze in a Workout: If you know you have an upcoming party or dinner, try to squeeze in a sweaty workout; it’ll help balance the extra calories you might indulge in. But more than that, the after-effects of working out will carry into your party: there’s a greater chance you’d feel like maintaining your healthy stride without putting your workout to waste and be cautious of what you consume.
  3. Drink Water: Even before, during and after meals, keep drinking water. Chugging water (even small sips), can make you feel full and curb temptation of going for more.
  4. Wait before Going for Seconds: It takes a while for your brain to realize you’re full – and during this time, you might be tempted to go fill your plate a second time. Instead, take a breather and chat for a while before going for seconds, because you might feel like you can stay away from more indulgences!

    avoid overeating during the holidays

  5. Don’t Overthink It: Even if you go for seconds, or have that 3rd margarita, don’t fret. Being healthy isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating smarter and that means you have all the right to enjoy some treats. Don’t berate yourself if you indulge more than usual – eating well is all about a balanced lifestyle with some treats on the side!

I hope you guys have a fabulous Christmas and bring the festive cheer into whatever you do!

All my love,

Kavi