I am really into this new show called, "Real Beauty" on VH1. Jessica Simpson (I know, I know) goes around the world to see how other cultures define beauty. The last episode featured a new bride in Uganda, Africa. The young women was draped in beautiful silks and surrounded by loved ones in her bridal party--only female of course, until after the ceremony. She was giddy and enthusiastic about her new life, AND, wait for it--80 pounds heavier than two months previous. Her mother and aunt explained the ritual of the "Fattening Hut." Symbols of status among men include owning large herds of cows and having a large, fleshy, fat wife (more than one if you could afford it), "You want your wife to look like the cows," said one young man. So, this blushing bride had spent 60 days in a clay hut doing absolutely nothing but drink jug after jug of fresh, herb laced, cow's milk while her mother messaged her expanding flesh with oil. They showed the empty jugs at about 1:00 p.m., and she had already consumed what looked like a gallon and a half of pure, creamy, milk! Can you imagine!? Eighty pounds in two months!! To prepare for her wedding day! The first thing I thought was, "What about the stretch marks!!??" I can't even conjure in my mind how whipped up her skin must be. An interviewer asked a group of men, "But how fat is TOO fat?" And one man responded, "If she cannot walk easily, the wife is too fat." HA! I am living in the wrong country! My poor husband, his status shrinking each week.
I have spent the last few days in my own little fattening hut. On Friday, I treated myself to Delhi Palace, an all-you-can-eat Indian lunch. I used to go there almost every week, but since my weight loss journey began, I changed it to once every financial quarter. I GORGED on curry paneer, chicken tika masala (cream base), fresh bread (Nan), and deep fried veggie samosas, SOOO good. When I came home I was a little sad to find that my new bra had a large, light green stain splashed on it--in my crazed eating I spilled the mint chutney on my shirt and I guess it leaked through. On Saturday, I picked up four dozen white rolls, a three-tier carrot cake, and an apple pie (sugar free, like that even counts now) in support of a church bake sale. We ate two-dozen rolls by day's end, and the pie was half devoured. Then Easter Sunday--three buttered rolls for breakfast, potatoes, steak, noodle salad, fresh-squeezed lemonade, a lime and condensed milk drink, chocolate, LOTS of chocolate, and finally a HUGE piece of carrot cake, and plenty of rolls for dinner. By Monday afternoon I was feeling like a lost sinner, so I took the entire cake, and the remaining rolls and dumped them in the trash. Now that I have a few pounds off my body, I actually APRECIATE the feeling of eating healthily--so it was time to say bye-bye to endless carbs, but what FUN!
I know people love to hate Jessica Simpson, but I really think her show is a noble attempt to reveal human nature. No matter where we come from, there are pressures on women to take extreme measures to conform to society's rules about beauty--weather they say you must be fair, or dark, fat, or thin--they are all the same: man-made. We rarely look at the worth of a soul before we judge the outer shell. So instead of becoming something I am not, I am at peace with one goal: being healthy. True health, I believe, is true beauty.