‘broad bean’ and other edible body shapes…?

fruit and vegetables in boxes

Or ‘My Button Keeps Popping off My Pants and other Food Stories’

I am fortunate to have been pretty much the same shape and size my whole adult life but now I have bumped into a bit of a mental hurdle and I’m literally clambering over it to the next dress size up. It hasn’t been a good dayyear trying to pretend my trousers still fit around my waist.

In talking about what you should not eat – ie dieting – has your body shape ever been compared to a piece of food? For example ‘apple’, ‘pear’, or if you’re VERY unusual, ‘inverted carrot’. I made the last one up – it applies to the skinny male physique, however, men can equally be classified as turnips.

Terribly bad luck if you’re over in the cake category, nobody loves to have a ‘muffin-top’  do they? But at least muffins are kinda cute and tasty! OOH, imagine being shaped like a koeksister (if you are not South African, and sadly don’t know what koeksisters look like, here’s a picture:)

pile of koeksisters
They are so utterly sticky syrupy and delicious that they are the best thing to eat if ‘cake shaped’ is what you aspire towards.

In the past have been poked a few times, ‘you’re so thin!’ I found that slightly disconcerting, I couldn’t help it that I wasn’t keeping any weight and I certainly would not be poking anybody back saying ‘you’re sooo fat!’ Nowadays I think my shape could probably be called ‘broad bean’, not just one bean on it’s own, but a little line of them in the pod. From the front I’m more or less straight (as I said I used to be) but from a different angle I’m full of irregular bumps.

I wouldn’t mind if the bumps that are meant to be bigger are actually bigger than those that are meant to be smaller but sadly my breasts are slowly being out-bumped by my tummy that has been stretched by multiple pregnancies and lack of exercise. But I am fully blaming my tiny bosom size. In fact the word bosom could hardly ever refer to me. As my youngest daughter asked me once, ‘Mummy why have you got no line running down your chest like Mabel* does?’

When I was an impressionable, self conscious teenager, they were referred to as ‘mosquito bites’ by my nearest and dearest. So you see, I have no pride in my top deck area, only disdain and for that reason, I NEVER make remarks about my three girls’ body shapes that is in anyway disparaging.

It’s all in your jeans?

But the truth is, although I’m approaching middle age and am spreading a bit around the middle, I am just plain lucky with my shape – it’s all in my jeans apparently (?). They say you grow to become the shape you inherit and it’s very little to do with your diet or exercise regime. (Unless you are eating platefuls designed for more than one person at a time while lying on the couch – honestly you need to be a little sensible and self-examining and hence I will be upping my fitness programme and not taking that extra biscuit anymore).

That doesn’t give me any excuse not to take care of my body though, tempting as it is to say that I can’t help the body I was born with, I can still make wise choices in how best to eat and exercise. So when it comes to wisdom and food, where does that leave us in this modern world of food fads and changing diets? It seems every few months a new book is being marketed on the way we ought to be eating.  What bothers me is how self-absorbed these diets all seem to make us, we seem to be spending so much time and money on eating the healthiest foods that we’ve lost any focus on the rest of the world out there who struggle everyday to get enough food together to feed their families.

The sad reality of food poverty

I grew up in South Africa where approximately 14 million people are living below the bread line and are only too thankful to have anything to eat. It would the worst form of insult to suggest to them that ‘organic/paleo/xyz free’ is the healthiest way to eat.

Last April we went back to visit family in South Africa, and while traversing this vast country, we stopped off in a one horse town where the poor horse was too weak to be of any use – there were a few scraggly goats wandering the main road. Three small boys, the age of my own kids, dressed in rags you or I would have thrown away five years ago, came to me begging for food. They were shuffling in their weakness and I gave them the left over picnic we hadn’t eaten which they carefully shared amongst themselves. I cried afterwards when we drove away, I was upset by the injustice in our world where there is such an imbalance of resources as well as so much suffering for the poor. How have we become so obsessed with food in the West that we spend billions on wasting it while billions of our brothers and sisters are dying for lack of it? I resolved then to always travel with food to give away.

Back home in our neat and pristine European environment I can’t help but wonder. It is one thing to have to eat certain foods for serious health reasons – like illness or allergy – but perLEASE, why is the space allocated to the ‘gluten free’ section in the supermarket FAR larger than the percentage of people in the world who actually are allergic to gluten? Is this just a fad, making money for the supermarket?!! Are all our faddish diets putting too much emphasis on trying to achieve an unattainable goal of bodily perfection? Would it not be healthier to acknowledge that there is no perfect diet out there and our bodies will never be perfect no matter what we eat?

I think it’s time for a health change in our culture, we need to be healthy in our exercise and eating HABITS. How about we obsessed less about what we eat, spend less time eating for a start and spend more time acting on helping others who need to eat?

If you are passionate about helping alleviate poverty and are looking for a charity to support Tearfund is a professionally run agency with over forty years of experience who work in impoverished areas through supporting and equipping local communities. How about asking for an alternative gift from your family for your significant occasions this year? You could suggest they buy a goat or some chickens that will help another family across the world.

Find out more about it here:

*Not her real name

36 thoughts on “‘broad bean’ and other edible body shapes…?”

  1. We all have our grumbles and we all need a lesson in perspective too. Liberty I loved this post, the transition from one story to another was swift and seamless. Having also spent the last 3 days without running water it also reminded me a a conversation that has been doing the rounds in our house and no doubt those of many others in the area about being grateful for small mercies. Our hardships are nothing in comparison to those you describe. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. My favourite by a country mile. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. When we lost our electricity and water during storm Ophelia I was also reminded very starkly how collecting water in buckets is the every day experience of billions around the world. So grateful ours is clean! Thank you for your kind comments, I feel inspired to write more. 😊

  2. I used to be a runner bean and I’m now a broad bean. Especially this week with the weather. It would probably be more appropriate to describe myself as a dustbin (he he). I’m focussing on the exercise as right now, not eating scares me. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond. Great post.

  3. What a fantastic post Liberty. I don’t really understand the whole thing about diets either. I have never been on one in my life and I’m not sure I ever will. I do, however, strive to exercise (with varying degrees of success). I so agree that the world is messed up and some serious balancing is needed! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. I couldn’t agree more! I love to cook from scratch, I’ve refused to deny my children any food, instead saying ‘anything in moderation’ is good. When did common sense disappear?! x

  5. Sometimes I think the internet exists so that people don’t have to do anything anymore! We read about books instead of reading them, look at recipes instead of cooking, watch people getting fit instead of exercising… buy books on fad diets instead of eating less crap. It’s a goldmine. Part of me is kind of impressed by the business acumen 😉

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      And our children are already addicts, I hate how they know more about complete strangers than their real’ friends.

  6. passion fruit, paws and peonies

    I’m finally coming to terms with my ‘softer’ middle aged body and have focused on eating a little of everything I want. No denying myself. It’s only taken me 48 years…!

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      It takes a looong time to be sensible 🙂 Your site is filled with such lovely ideas, it would be hard to look slender after trying all of them.

  7. My weight was fine until I had my second child. It’s hard to loose it but so easy to put on. I guess with age it doesn’t help either. Great post, thanks for sharing x

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      Having babies really has such an impact on our bodies doesn’t it? I’m sure my stomach muscles will never be the same again. I suppose we should just view that as a badge of honour or achievement!? :~)

  8. Loved this, it made me chuckle… inverted carrot haha! I’m slowly but surely getting to grips with my new body post babies and am working up towards getting serious about losing the weight. I have lost some, and am back in my pre pregnancy jeans but I am a long way off from the happy size 14 that I used to be. I will get there one day, but I can’t survive a day without a cookie at the moment. I blame sleep deprivation! Xx

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      Oh any remedy for sleep deprivation is good! I don’t think our bodies are ever the same again after babes 🙁 Important thing is to not let it become all consuming though I guess.

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      Oh I’m jealous!! We make them now, my hubby has become quite good at it and when we go back to visit the family, it’s one of the first things buy.

  9. This reminds me of the advert for Coca Cola where the guy is asking for a drink and the Chinese guy in the shop thinks he’s asking to date his daughter due to him using his hands to outline the bottle shape!

  10. I totally agree with this. Our attitude to food needs to change. Broke my heart reading about those kids in South Africa 🙁

  11. Eat less, move more, everything in moderation… is the sensible advice I wish I could follow! I seem to have mixed it up as I eat more, move less and as for moderation… Thanks for linking up with #TheMMLinky x

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      That’s the problem, we are so bad at doing what we know is best for us. It was great once again to be a part of it!

  12. Sarah - Mud cakes and wine

    As a fellow girl with no boobs I am with you.. and to be honest with food as well, we eat sensibly and carefully I try and check the fridge to see what needs using up and go to our farm shop to buy small quantities of meat x

  13. I’ve always been quite happy with my body until I got sick and sedentary and basically fatter than I would like to be. I’d never dieted or given into any fads, but I will hold my hands up to trying out some ‘fad’ eating habits in the last year. I was promised that they would improve my immune system and make me slim. They did neither but I did learn some healthier habits and learn that certain food made me feel better than others. I’ve given up on being slim again, but I am careful about what I eat. (except when someone pulls the biscuit tin out)

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      Illness is so tough, I wish you well in your journey towards better health and strength and patience for enduring the down days.

  14. Gosh, I couldn’t agree more (apart from the boob thing, mine are fine thanks). WHY do we need 35 different types of muesli?? Too much choice, when so many are starving. And don’t even start me on all the food which gets thrown away just cos it’s close to its ‘Use by’ date… I think it’s almost criminal, how much food we Westerners waste 😩

    1. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)

      It is absolutely criminal, and we are all a bit to blame I think but it’s hard to know how to make better choices, unless we shake up what people think is ‘normal’ behaviour.

  15. I nodded all the way through this in recognition (except for the bosom bit, I think I got your share) but the whole food/diet thing drives me insane. Every day there is another piece of advice out, which totally contradicts last weeks advice. As you say, the only people profiting are the people writing the books and selling the myths.

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