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Hating your body is NOT normal

You do not have to hate yourself. It is not normal, even if it is common. Often, our negative thoughts about ourselves become habits and we don’t even notice how much they have taken over our lives. It is perfectly OK to love your body as it is, or even just to come to terms with it.  Disordered eating is pervasive, and bodily self-hate is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be. The mantra of “every body is beautiful, including my own” is one that I repeat to myself constantly, and that I also tell those I love when they are struggling. Find your own mantra and use it wisely. You and your body are on the same team; cultivate a good relationship and you will be astonished what you can accomplish together.

Food is everywhere

And I don’t just mean physically, I mean socially. You don’t realize just how many events — religious, family, or friendly — revolve around food until you try to give it up. Swearing off food is nothing short of social death. In hindsight, the saddest moments in my life were those when I sat and ate my pitiful meals alone, picking at celery sticks and egg whites alone in the quiet confines of my room. Food was never meant to be a solitary activity, yet we spend too much time eating independently or in the company of Netflix. Treasure your communal meals, because the nourishment of company is just as important as what you are eating together.

Everyone is beautiful

A funny thing happened when I started being open about my body dysmorphia. The people I thought would be the happiest with their bodies — the slim and conventionally appealing — were no more satisfied with their appearance than the ordinary looking. What I discovered is that how you feel about your body has very little to do with your body itself. When I was a full 70 pounds heavier than my sickest weight, I was also happier with my body than I’d ever been (and the healthiest I’d ever been too). The best way I’ve found to begin healing your relationship with your body is to stop judging other people for their appearance. If you can learn to accept other people, it becomes a hell of a lot easier to coexist with your own “faults.”

Life is too short for diets

Remember what I said about food and social death? I was not kidding. A diet takes away your focus on the important things in life and replaces it with a cycle of guilt, self-hatred, and smug superiority. While not all diets are eating disorders, they have one important thing in common; they narrow your focus down to one thing and one thing only — the food you cannot eat. They also don’t work. Five years after a diet your chances of keeping the weight off is only five percent likely, and many people actually gain back more weight than they’ve lost. My — admittedly extreme — diet has even had permanent or semi-permanent negative effects on my body and mind. You are torturing yourself for nothing. Seriously, life is too short.

Relearn everything about your health

Thinness is not health. We all have that one skinny friend that eats terribly and does not exercise — and as an autonomous human being, that is their right — but why on earth would we assume that they are healthier than the fat person who exercises daily and enjoys wholesome food? More and more studies are showing that lifestyle has a much larger impact on health than size, and the two are not necessarily correlated. We accept the fact that some people can be naturally skinny, but we can’t accept that some people may be naturally larger, and that there is nothing wrong with that. Some people are naturally fat and they are not any less healthy, beautiful, or worthy of respect.

Photo Credit: Cicanevelde.hu

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By: Bina Patel

Living in Hamilton comes with many perks. Last month, having a delicious piece of cake delivered right to your door became one of them. Calvin Smith, a computer engineering student from the University of Sheffield in England, began delivering slices of cake to doorsteps all over the McMaster Area. “I only launched a week ago so if you can imagine me cycling around in my bike in minus 20 degrees, delivering cake to peoples door. That’s kind of how it all started,” he said.

The idea was born out of a conversation between Smith and his friends about circulating baked goods to students around McMaster University. Among the many options were brownies and cookies, but they ultimately agreed on a slice of cake.

“There’s not that many things around the Mac area that do this kind of thing so it would be great to offer it,” he explained.

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The process is incredibly simple. A customer texts the phone number found on their website, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays and describe which slice of cake they want along with an address for delivery. Within a half hour, a slice of apple pie with cream, chocolate truffle or red velvet cake provided by a local bakery, will be delivered outside of your home.

The time range in which to place an order is small at the moment, but Smith hopes to expand to Thursdays and Fridays and to improve the efficiency of the service. “There are loads more things we want to put on the menu, with the amount of requests we’ve had for gluten-free cakes and vegan cakes and maybe even things like brownies.”

The personal touch of hand-delivered dessert has certainly had an effect, as the response from the public has been positive. Last week, Smith found himself biking around for four hours in the bitter cold delivering cakes, and business is expected to pick up as word continues to spread. Over 300 people have already shown interest on Facebook.

“There are loads more things we want to put on the menu, with the amount of requests we’ve had for gluten-free cakes and vegan cakes and maybe even things like brownies."

It remains to be seen whether expanding the service will be a piece of cake after all.

Photo Credit: Kareem Baassiri/ Photo Contributor

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Once spread solely by word of mouth or reviews on Yelp, food culture is now built upon a foundation of hashtags and Instagram posts. Restaurant-goers discover new places through geotags on Instagram, making up their minds based on the way their friends post photos of their food. In the past, many paused before meals to be thankful for what is in front of them – today, we use that time to take pictures of these meals.

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Food is perhaps one of the few things on earth that is universal. Since the beginning of time, the consumption of food has been social, and today’s trend of posting photos of our food on Instagram reflects this very human desire to share our meals with other people. To many, the practice may seem useless and silly: what’s the point of making a fool of yourself at a restaurant or taking any time at all to take a picture of food when you can just eat it?

Whether you partake in food photography or not, it’s important to recognize that this is an interest that has been integrated into our technologically-advanced and media-driven society. You may be someone with this hobby, you may be someone who despises it or you may fall in between as someone who does not participate but appreciates nice photos of delicious food (that’s me). Opinions aside, most of us would be compelled to double-tap an expertly crafted photo – food or otherwise – on the ‘gram.

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Natural lighting

Good lighting makes a photo. People who over-do their food snaps are the ones who apply various filters to the original photo in attempt to salvage a dull, lifeless shot that was captured under bad lighting. When done correctly, natural light is the only filter you need. And remember – no flash, ever.

Find the angle

You can add a lot of interest to your photo solely by the angle from which you take it. Certain dishes would look striking when photographed from a birds-eye view, while others (like a detailed, tiered cake) may look best as a close up. Don’t hesitate to take a couple shots from various angles to see what works best.

Subtle edits

If nice, natural light is nowhere to be found, consider downloading editing softwares like VSCO cam and Afterlight. These apps allow you to mess with variables like exposure, saturation and enhancing or reducing shadows or highlights. Nobody wants to see a picture of your burger drenched in the Valencia filter on Instagram; customizing your photo with subtle edits will enhance it rather than make it tacky.

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Bold colours

Play around with colours. The best food pictures are ones that feature an interesting contrast of different hues. Try pairing duller and brighter tones, or incorporate bright colours that pop out. Place orange wedges next to resplendent red pomegranate seeds. Throw some lime-green edamame beans over a bed of purple kale. It’s difficult to make a piece of brown, charcoaled steak look enticing.

Resist perfection

If you’re taking a slice from a cake and a few crumbs fall onto the tabletop, don’t clean it up! Some disorder and mess adds charm and can make the photo more lively, just like the berries scattered across the table in this photo. Meticulously arranged photos can end up looking unsettling, lifeless and even sterile.

Eat your food

The most important tip, and one that people often forget, is to not wait too long before eating. It may be enticing to position and re-position your plate over and over again in order to get “the perfect shot.” However, no shot is worth it if the dish in front of you ends up melting or getting cold! While food photography can be an interesting hobby, food should ultimately be a feast for your tastebuds.

Photo Credit: Desserts for Breakfast

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