What I've been chewing on lately...

October 15, 2012
The Well-Fed Woman: Margarita Tartakovsky

You might not know Margarita Tartakovsky, but I hope you know her writing. She’s the Well-Fed Woman behind PsychCentral’s Weightless blog and she consistently puts out some of the best content, according to her, about:

:: “fostering a fulfilling body image and life, at any shape + size. It’s about well-being, not weight.

:: building a healthy relationship with food and yourself. It’s about transforming your self-care, and finding self-acceptance and self-love.

:: becoming a clever consumer and recognizing when women’s magazines and other mediums tout unrealistic and damaging tips and standards.”

It’s no question that Margarita has a spot at my Well-Fed Woman table and I’m happy to share her words with you today.


Margarita, what are you TRULY hungry for?

I’m truly hungry to let my creativity out. To explore and express myself in different ways, whether that’s poetry or painting (which I’m honestly intimidated to try). I used to draw as a little girl, and I loved it. I’d like to get back to that playful place, again. That place where I can create whatever I want without feeling self-conscious.

(For instance, I’m considering creating an e-book of my poetry, ACK, there I said it, and yet my inner critic is roaring from the rooftops about all the reasons why I’m not cut out to do it.)

I’m also truly hungry to let go, tune into what I’m doing – instead of getting distracted 800 times — and travel the world with my honey (hopefully a Mediterranean cruise this summer).

What comes through you with ease, meaning, and spark? What are you a conduit for?

Writing is many things to me. It’s my work, my passion, my loudspeaker, which lets my voice be heard. And it’s my way of connecting with others.

If I had to pick a theme that shows up in all of my writing – regardless of the topic – it’d be kinship. I write to let readers know that they’re not alone; to let them know that “yep, me, too,” because when I read writing like that, it eases my heart. It feels amazing and soothing to know that someone has been there.

I also write to help readers learn to be kinder to themselves and others. To share good information and resources. (That’s one of the reasons I love talking to different researchers, coaches and clinicians. And I definitely learn so much myself!)

What’s a hunger you used to deny that you now happily satisfy? How has this effected you?

I used to deny myself so many things – everything from dessert to compassion to authenticity. I used to think that I had to diet and lose weight in order to be likeable, worthy and confident. In other words, I used to think that I had to earn these things – and looking a certain way would be my currency.

Even if I’d eat dessert it was always with unease. I’d gobble it up or shove it in, as though it was my last meal. Inevitably a stifling kind of shame would wash over me, as though I’d just committed some injustice.

I rarely let myself off the hook for anything. Everything I did could’ve been better. Everyone around me was better. I filled my life with “shoulds,” – what I should like, what I should dislike, what I should wear, what I should do.

When I think about it I really just built a fence around all my hungers, whether it was a hunger for food, a hunger for care or a hunger for self-expression. When I was restricting what I was eating or bingeing on foods that didn’t even satisfy me, I didn’t realize that this colored my entire life. That this was basically a metaphor for the shaky relationship I had with myself.

Now I savor dessert (and a wide variety of foods…yum!). Now I try to be kind and compassionate toward myself. To understand that I’m human, that mistakes are OK. That flaws aren’t fatal. They just are.

I focus on activities that bring meaning and make me happy. I tune into my body’s cues, my needs. I try to live life with all my senses. I spend time with people I love who genuinely love me, too, and have my back.

Living this way has helped me to breathe better. I think that’s the best way to describe what’s changed. I know myself so much more today than I ever did. I believe in myself so much more than I ever did.

I still struggle. I still get super insecure. (That poetry e-book is a good example.) I still forget certain lessons. I still hyperfocus on my shortcomings and gloss over my strengths.

But now I can recognize these struggles. Now I know my mean thoughts are not facts. Now I bounce back faster, and I cope with them in healthy and respectful ways. But, mostly, now I feed my hungers.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

A medium-well steak smothered in Asiago cheese with a butter-and-sour-cream baked potato, grilled asparagus and a glass of Riesling at Ruby Tuesday’s of all places. Man, was it good!