Monday, June 13, 2011

Loving the new blog

I love the new blog. And we've been having some fun. What is your opinion? How do you like it?

Make sure to click on over there to see what Kendra from Voice in Recovery has to say.

And there is still another day to enter this giveaway.

P.S. And the next giveaway is not a book. You'll want to check back for that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blogaversary Party

Well friends, it's been an entire year since I first started writing down my thoughts here. It has grown in that year, to be sure, but we have remained a pretty small group. Through this blog I have felt more support than I ever expected. I love the sense of community that I feel when I'm here with all of you.

And since I do indeed love that community I have made a few hard and big decisions about the future of LITM. Today I have 3 big announcements for you to celebrate this special anniversary. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Announcement #1: Looking in the Mirror is changing location. I have decided to become self-hosted and to grow the blog and site. I'm so excited. The blog has been rebuilt from the ground up.

Want to see it? Of course you do. Jump on over to the new site. There are more fun things to discover once you get there.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Let's go shopping

Today we are going to talk about that thing that most women have a love hate relationship with. The thing that creates both excitement and despair. Shopping. Clothes shopping that is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I finally did it. I cleaned out my closet. I knew I needed to. I didn't want to. All those wonderful clothes that I used to fit into. All those clothes that I was ashamed of because they were a size to big back when I bought them (oh how wrong I was). All those clothes I would love to fit back into (I know, I know, I'm trying to be accepting). Those clothes that represented a different stage in life. Those clothes that I was so sure I would be back into within months of birth. So many memories in those clothes. And I cried when I cleaned out my closet. And then I went and ate something very sugary and unhealthy. Yes, I did.

Now the space is empty, and I get excited about filling it back up. Until I hit the store. I walk in thinking I'm going to find the most beautiful piece that will compliment this body of mine to perfection. It will make me look stunning. Not even I will notice the extra. Nope. Not one bit.

To the dressing room I go. Uh oh. Most of these are a size too small. That's depressing. And then my favorites would have looked great pre-baby. But we aren't pre-baby. They don't have this one in my size, and it's probably better to buy this one a size too small anyway because I know I'm going to get there at some point. No, no, you need to dress the body you have now. Wow, that's unflattering. Even more unflattering. That's decent but so expensive. . .

Tell me I'm not alone and you've been there too? Tell me, please.

So my closet is still largely bare. By the time I come out of the dressing room my little one is so fed up he can't stand it. So I just buy a few clothes that I only marginally liked just so I can get out of there. Or I walk out in frustration. Sad. Especially when I came in the store with such elation and excitement.

Here's a beef that I have. Did you know that the average woman in America is a size 14? Did you know that this particular size is too small for plus size clothing in most cases. But the clothes in a regular department store are made to look great on a size 4 or smaller? What is the average woman to do? Plus size clothing is designed for that body type. And it looks great. But no one is designing clothes for the average Jane. pfff.

This is an expert from an article in the Los Angeles Times:

When it comes to shopping, the average American man has it made. At 189.8 pounds and a size 44 regular jacket, he can wear Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel or Armani. Department stores, mall retailers and designer boutiques all cater to his physique -- even when it's saddled with love handles, a sagging chest or a moderate paunch. In menswear, shlubby is accommodated.
But the average U.S. woman, who's 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14, is treated like an anomaly by apparel brands and retailers -- who seem to assume that no one over size 10 follows fashion's capricious trends.


So because life is hard in the dressing room I have two things I wish for you to read. These things are amazing and I love them.

The first is about how to survive in clothes shopping trip with your sanity and self-esteem in tact. I love this.

The second is just beautiful. She talks of a woman who grew up in Ghana with a tailor. A person who would measure this lady's body and make clothes that fit her specific body to perfection. She talks of how if those clothes didn't fit we wouldn't blame our bodies, we would get a new tailor. Please, please read this. It's beautiful.

In the meantime my fellow shoppers, know that you are not alone. Everyone suffers distress in front of a mirror imaging the clothes without tags. Take heart, there is more to you than your wardrobe. I'll try to keep it in mind as well.

P.S. Thursday is a big day! It's my one year anniversary for starting this blog. And I have a big surprise for you. Really big.

*Image Source*

Monday, June 6, 2011

Perfectly Perfect

When you look at someone, do you automatically assume they're perfect? Does it depend on their body type? Let's say they have a fit, "perfect" figure. They dress well. Seem very well put together. And even though you know very little about them, you do know that they volunteer in the hospital twice a week. Perfect.

And what about your life? Are you perfect? Probably not. So, what does that mean?

Sorry for all the rhetorical questions, but I am leading somewhere, so bear with me. Friday I spoke about my issues with comparison. Tis true. I compare. Why do I tear myself down compared to others? I have this overwhelming need for perfection, complete with an all-or-nothing attitude.

For example: if I cannot clean my house top to bottom at one period of time, then I may as well give up and do nothing at all. If I am going to put in a garden, it will have every type of fruit and vegetable that I can grow in Utah, it will look picturesque, and it will be all organic, or I'm not going to bother growing one this year. If I can't be accomplished in every area that there is to be accomplished in in life, then clearly I am a second rate human.

See? Perfectionism is dangerous. Though not altogether evil or wrong. It certainly has a place.

I think that we often project perfection on those who do not want or deserve that title. Then we rate ourselves lower due to our lack of that "perfection." And to be frank it is not fair to either party. Sure we all want to better ourselves. Sure we all have areas in life we wish for improvement. And that's okay. Healthy even. It becomes unhealthy when we no longer have any value because of those areas.

So, you know that lady in your neighborhood that has it all? Cut her some slack. She isn't perfect. And cut yourself some slack. She may be looking over your fence wishing she were you.

*Image Source*

Friday, June 3, 2011

Who do you wish you were?

Oh the evils of the comparison game. It is a dangerous sport. Nothing can lead us to feeling false quicker. You either put yourself above others, or you trample upon the pitiful creature that you are. So, so sad. And I have to admit, I am the worst offender. Which to be frank is something I had no knowledge of until just recently. Oh, I knew that I compared myself with others. I had no idea to what extent until it was pointed out to me.

I mentioned yesterday that I finally broke down and went to see a psychologist (a fact that is still very difficult for me to talk about, let alone blog about, but I want to share my experience as I think others may benefit from it). I couldn't stop binge eating. I was becoming out of control again. I finally realized that my eating disorder had never gone away, it just shape shifted over the years. It was time to get some help.

During the conversation the doctor pointed out that I was comparing myself to a lot of people. Everything I said was how I wasn't doing this as well as so and so. Or I didn't like doing something I felt I should like doing, like so and so. I had walked into these meetings with the express intent of learning to love me for me. Yet here I was pointing to everyone and declaring myself a failure in their wake.

This great lady stopped me and asked me to tell her about myself. She wanted to know what my interests were. What I have done that I'm proud of. Where my talents lie. So I started in. Within a few seconds of telling her about me I began to tear up. She asked how I felt telling her this. I felt ashamed for having wasted so much of my life not realized how great I was. I felt like I am a decent sort. The kind of person I wouldn't mind getting to know better.

What a waste of time. And yet today, a couple days later, I caught myself comparing the size of my stomach to someone else's. I even felt sad that I'm not a better blogger. I always, always compare my blog to others. I always wonder why I don't have more readers (but I love my readers; you are all so very wonderful). Do you know what I'm saying?

I have homework to write down everything I like about myself. I've been avoiding it. It somehow feels to. . . what's the word. . . conceited? I have this belief that I'm inferior to everyone else. I don't know why or when this began to form. No clue. But I'm either worse or better than others. Which is false.

I wanted to share this story today because I think it illustrates a very stark point: we can destroy our lives by allowing comparisons to be our ruler of worth.

Let's face it, we all do it. It's human nature. I think the trick is to be careful not to allow it to direct our lives or self-worth. As I've started playing the comparison game again this week I've been trying to call to mind my good points anytime I think someone is better. It's helping. Sure they are a better piano player than me, but I am amazing at painting walls. Or something to that effect. It helps.

Be wary however. We aren't trying to tear other people down or make ourselves superior. Rather, we are remembering that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. So do we.

For more on this topic check out this awesome post.

*Image Source*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back Story

It is true that we are bombarded on every side by images of tiny, fit, muscular people. It is true that 2/3 of the ads we are exposed to involve some form of body manipulation (diet, liposuction, botox, etc.). And it is certainly true that as a culture we are obsessed with size. But I don't think that this alone causes disordered eating.

You've heard that when couples argue about money they are rarely arguing simply about money. Right? There is a bigger, deeper problem that needs to be addressed. But for one reason or another the problems manifest in a monetary way. Thus the arguing about money.

I have a theory. I think disordered eating is less about our actual body and more about something deeper. Our deeper issues are likely subconscious. We likely have no idea about them. But our subconscious rebels against these problems and it spills out consciously as food abuse. There we are thinking that what is wrong with us is that we are ugly and fat. If we could just lose that extra weight all our problems would disappear.

But when the weight is gone happiness doesn't just appear. The person may still feel like more weight needs to be gone. Or there will be something else at fault with the person's appearance. The picking will never stop. Acceptance will never happen. And the person will always be unhappy. All because they were never really upset about their body in the first place.

This is tricky business, finding out what is at the root of disordered eating. And there are as many reasons as there are people. Some think they aren't worthy of love. Some wish they were like someone else. Others have a drive for perfection that is stifling. Some people are just longing for freedom. And some people are going through all of those things at the same time.

As I have taken this journey to love myself as I am I have gone through periods of time where I thought I was cured. I had stopped abusing food. Then out of the blue I start bingeing again. And for a while it seemed to me that I wasn't going anywhere. Just when I thought I was better I would end up right back where I was. Well, maybe not right back where I was. But certainly not where I intellectually thought I should be.

So I broke down and went to see someone. I didn't want to. I was even a bit defensive in that first appointment with the psychologist. I basically told her that my doctor thought I should come, but I had it all under control. My doctor also said that he felt everyone should visit with a psychologist. He believes that we can all benefit from a few sessions. And now I can say I whole heartedly agree.

With each session I have been feeling as though the knots that have been keeping me stuck in the same patterns are finally being untied. I feel relief and freedom as I finally see the back story. I don't think I could have untied these knots alone.

I tell you this to illustrate that if you find yourself in this unbreakable pattern it is time to stop blaming yourself for failing. No more guilt. Instead, find help in whatever form you think would be most beneficial. There is a lot more underneath that you need to discover and untie.

You are beautiful. You are wonderful. And you are worth the effort.

*Image Source*

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Vote is In

It's been over a week, and it is time to unveil the results of the voting. It was close between two pictures. The close up and the glamor move.

But all the pictures received multiple votes except for the one where I'm sitting in the chair. There were even a few votes for this one:

My all time favorite comment was this:


Melanee, D- the glam shot is a beautiful photo, but taking into account the name of your blog etc. I hope you pick the shot that best reflects who you are and what you love about you. Enjoy being there for your cutie- I've got to get back to mine! 

I love this. Thank you Annathea. And thanks to all who voted. The one I think is most me is probably this one:

But I'm going to save it for a special surprise I have brewing. You see, my blogaversary is June 9th. Right around the corner. And I have a something special in mind for that. But in the meantime here are the results.

Coming in second place is this one:

And coming in first is this one:

I'll be using both. Thanks for helping me pick a new pic. You guys are the greatest. Stay tuned for more.