I think I stopped blogging here for a few different reasons. One was that whole having a baby and a toddler thing. Busy. Another reason was that I was just tired of the constant debate about what was wrong with me: is it depression, does she need attention, etc. I'm fine. Really. I just like to write. I like to express my feelings through the things I put down in writing. And I think that body image is an incredibly important topic. One that many of us struggle with for many different reasons. Why do I have to have something wrong with me to want to write about it?
Another reason I stopped was that I felt I had been doing this long enough that I needed to be an expert. I guess I wanted to set myself up that way. Kindof a "been there, done that" sort of deal. But the truth is, I haven't "been there" I am there. I haven't "done that" I'm doing that. Right now. Have I made progress? Yes! Have I arrived? No, and now I begin to wonder if I ever will. Or maybe it's the journey that is important, not arriving. But I didn't feel comfortable blogging as an expert as soon as I tried to make that move. So I stopped blogging. But I missed it.
I didn't gain much weight with my last pregnancy. And honestly, I loved my pregnant body. I loved hearing people tell me I was beautiful. I thought I was too. Yes I was big. I carry very far forward. But I was creating life and it was beautiful. I took better care of myself this pregnancy. For some reason I didn't gain much weight. I convinced myself it would be easier to lose it. I started counting on losing that and all the other weight I was carrying from my first pregnancy. I thought it would be easier this time. And I began to feel like it was important to lose weight.
After Azure was born I did indeed lose the weight I gained with her quickly. In fact within a month it was all gone. But the weight from before, well, it's still hanging around 6 months after her birth. I started seeing all these other women and comparing. I started getting down on myself. "How can she be that thin after 4 kids, I've only had 2 and look at me." My internal dialogue lost any sense of being positive. And even though I fought the back slide, or at least outwardly said I was fighting it, inside I was losing. Inside I had once again bought into the lie that once I was thin I could love myself.
Then the feelings of guilt crept in. I'm a hypocrite. I preach to others that they should love themselves, meanwhile I just want to lose weight no matter what. I started looking at fad diets again. I started wondering about cutting out specific foods to lose weight. And in order to make myself feel like it'd be okay for me to do those things I claimed it was for my health. The pain in my back has been growing worse. Surely if I could lose some weight it would help.
Today it all became very clear. I had a rotten morning. I was mad at the world. I was grumpy with my children. I was disgusted with myself. And I suddenly realized how much I'd been obsessing over my weight. I realized how it was effecting everything from my happiness, to my abilities as a mother, to my relationship with my husband. Suddenly it became clear. I had fallen off the wagon and it was time to stop pretending like I know it all and to get back on.
And then I cried a little. I cried because I was frustrated that I had slid back so far. I cried because I was upset at myself for giving in. I cried because I am tired of the fight. And then I cried because I was so relieved to realize what was happening to me. I cried because I knew I had trodden this road before and it would be easier this time. And I cried because I suddenly realized that arriving may never happen, but that the journey is well worth the effort.
Then I picked myself up. Put together a fun craft for my toddler and me to do together. Cuddled my sweet baby. And told her again that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. And I told her that mommy would do better. I looked at my children and remembered that in order for them to learn to love themselves they have to see me loving myself first, and I realized that they are saving me. And I understand now how much we can help each other along this path.
Oh yes, and I remembered that I am indeed beautiful.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Welcome back. It was a fun little run on our new blog while it lasted. But then you know. . . pregnancy. . . 2nd child. . . life. Yeah. I just didn't blog like I had thought I would when I first made the move. It is better to stay small right now. I'll keep posting when I can. But first I need to watch my little ones. So welcome back.
Posted by Melanee at 10:04 AM
Originally posted April 27, 2012
I've been thinking about my beloved blog a lot lately. But instead of actually posting I've been doing this:
And falling in love with this:
It's fun being a mom of two. But busy. I'll be back to blogging soon. But how can I resist such cuteness. Being there for my kids is my number 1 priority. Everything else has to take a backseat. I sure love these kids.
Originally posted January 18, 2011
It's harder to sleep all night. But it's also harder to get up in the morning. It's harder to prepare meals and take care of my toddler. It's harder to walk and bend. It's harder to blog. It's harder to put together a logical sentence. Everything just seems hard. I'm less than 5 weeks from my due date and everything is harder. I have so many things I desperately want to get done before #2 arrives, but as you may have heard me mention lately, everything is harder. Things just don't get done like they used to. I struggle to motivate myself to do the dishes, let alone paint the baby's dresser.
This state of affairs has brought me to tears of frustration a time or two (hormones don't help). I am so tired, but I have so much I want to do. There have been days where I have been so exhausted I didn't get a thing done, but that fact frustrates me. I want to be productive before everything changes again.
One day as I was feeling very "woe is me" over this state of affairs I had the opportunity to teach yoga that evening. So after an only somewhat productive day I taught a bunch of 14 to 15 year old girls yoga. They loved the class (which was really good for my pregnant self-esteem). They all gasped when I did a head stand. They all marveled that I can still do a push up. And they all got something positive out of the class for themselves. Or at least they told me they did.
That night as I was thinking about my situation I realized something: I need to chill. This body of mine is creating life! My body is working around the clock to grow another human being. And on top of that I take care of a toddler all day. So really, even on my days that I feel less than productive, things aren't really all that bad. I mean, my son gets fed and gets love. My baby is still growing and moving. Things are okay.
Then I started to ponder on the miracle the human body is. Not just a human body that happens to be growing someone else at the moment, although that is miraculous, but the human body in general. Think about it. Every moment your body is sustaining life. Your heart beats and pumps your blood. Your digestive system nourishes your body. Your nerves keep you from burning your hand on the stove. And you did nothing to make this happen.
When my son is starting to get sick he doesn't eat as well (not that he's a great eater generally, but it gets worse when he's coming down with something). He is generally not showing any other signs yet. But within a day or so he usually develops other symptoms that let me know he's sick. Isn't it amazing that his appetite automatically adjusts? His body has to deal with other things, like getting him healthy. So it shifts into that mode automatically.
Our bodies want us to be healthy and well. They work around the clock to keep us that way. Since having this revelation I have been trying to listen more carefully to my body. This usually means more breaks during the middle of a project than I had wanted to take, but it also means less pain at night from working too hard. I have been feeling a deeper appreciation for all that my body does. It really is an amazing thing. I mean, I am nearly 9 months pregnant and I can indeed do a push up (not that I really want to). But more than that, while all this development goes on inside me my body is also keeping me healthy and strong. My body is also allowing me to take care of my family even if we do have waffles for dinner far more often than we should. This body is amazing.
Yours is too. Even when things aren't going exactly how you want with your body. Even then your body is amazing. The only thing your body wants for you is health. So maybe we should try to remember that next time we are down with the flu. No it's not fun, but your body will be the one fighting the hardest to right things. Give your body credit for all the amazing things it DOES do. And maybe try a little more kindness towards it. It works around the clock for you after all.
Originally posted January 5, 2011
I am still a little in shock that we are in the new year. I don't even have a real calendar up in my home yet. I still have December 2011 hanging up because of the very small January 2012 block that it holds. I spent the days after Christmas mourning the fact that Christmas was over. I had convinced myself when I first got pregnant that I just had to make it to Christmas and the baby would practically be here. Well, we still have 2 months before baby gets here.
But now that the new year is here I feel overwhelmed with things I want to accomplish before the baby does indeed arrive. But I have so enjoyed reading reflections that others are sharing from their 2011 that I decided to wax nostalgic for just a moment before barreling ahead at full speed. I read the following questions from Teacher Goes Back to School and decided to link up and join in.
What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Opened a little home yoga studio and started teaching. I love, love, love to teach.
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I think I made several resolutions, but I only remember one: write in my journal every day. I only missed one day in 2011 so I feel like I was successful. I'll only be making one this year as well: practice yoga every day. I think just setting one goal and putting my whole self into it is a better solution for me. I thought long and hard about this year's resolution. Yoga inspires me to be healthier and happier in many, many ways so I feel like it is more than just a bit of exercise. It's putting my health first.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
I actually didn't gain any nieces or nephews this year, which is saying a lot. But I did have a cousin who had a baby.
Did anyone close to you die?
Not too close. No.
What countries did you visit?
Ha. Countries? I was lucky to make it out of the state this year.
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More yoga teaching opportunities. I want to teach more both at home and in other places.
What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
This is a horrible question for me. I can't remember my anniversary. Seriously. I have to ask my husband each January, "Now what day was it again?" So really, this is hard. It was really a mellow year, nothing too significant happened.
What was your biggest failure?
Sometimes I think my neglect of this blog the last few months has been my biggest failure.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the usual fibromyalgia and fatigue, but that's becoming nothing new.
What was the best thing you bought?
My jogging stroller. We spent hours walking the neighborhood. Great exercise and stress relief. I love to walk.
Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Isn't that where everyone's money goes?
What did you get really excited about?
Being pregnant! New baby on the way. And a girl! What is more exciting than that?
What song will always remind you of 2011?
Hmm . . . Probably "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter?Richer or poorer?
Certainly happier. Life just keeps getting better. I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin. Even though I'm fatter (to answer the next question). I prefer not to say "fatter" so much as "pregnanter." And on the whole we are probably richer. We most certainly are in the things that matter most (which isn't money).
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Fun crafts and projects with Cormac. And more yoga. Always more yoga.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Painting. But only because I'm burned out; I have so much more to paint on this house.
How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas was spent going to church, opening presents, eating yummy snacks and a good dinner, playing with my son, and snuggling with my husband. We even all got a good nap in. Such a wonderful day.
What was your favorite TV program?
Confession: we don't have a TV. Well, we do have this tiny little thing, but we don't watch it. But we do watch Hulu from time to time and we enjoy Modern Family a lot.
What were your favorite books of the year?
I didn't read nearly as much as I would have liked to this year. But as far as this blog goes, my favorite book was "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight," by Linda Bacon. Very eye opening. On a more entertainment level, I enjoyed the Hunger Games series very much as well as The Help.
What was your favorite music from this year?
It seems like I was really burned out this year with most music. I enjoyed listening to Adele some. But really, I spent a lot of time with the music off (a lot more than usual).
What were your favorite films of the year?
I didn't see too many. I enjoyed The Tourist. There are several movies that were released recently that I'd still like to see.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year for my 28th birthday my dear husband led me on a scavenger hunt that will forever be one of my most treasured memories. It was wonderful. I also got my hair cut (it had been nearly 10 months since I'd had a trim). I went to a church activity as well. A day later we went to see Christmas lights as a family which I loved.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More yoga. I needed to be better about getting on my mat.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
If it's not comfortable then I don't want it on. And I've suddenly become very interested in doing my hair every day. Usually when it's long it's always in a pony tail, but not lately.
What kept you sane?
My husband and son. They are wonderful. Also hypnosis for childbirth has been a huge help in keeping me calm and at ease about this pregnancy. I highly recommend it.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
There is a season for all things in life. Right now I need to focus on the things that I can control and need to do. As a mother of a young child (soon to be young children) my first priority is my family. This is the season for me to take care of us. Other things can wait. Children don't wait, they grow up. I need to live in the now and enjoy every moment of now. Put things on hold that can wait, enjoy those that can't.
Want to play along? Either answer here in the comments or do a post of your own and link back here. Tell me all about your 2011.
Originally posted January 2, 2012
Well dear friends, welcome to 2012. It is still a little crazy to me. This year holds a lot of unknowns for me and my little family. Good unknowns, but unknowns non-the-less. I'm a planner. I struggle with not having a plan. But for some reason I am at peace with it this year. I know that whatever 2012 brings I'll get through it. I will have my family and friends. And that, my friends, is more than enough.
As the end of the year approached I started thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I'm sure the rest of you had those moments too. I have a problem with Resolutions though. Because let's be honest, the ones you hear the most about involve weight loss. I'm so sick and tired of everyone talking about the penance that they have to do come the new year for their bad behavior over the holidays. So much money is wasted on gym membership, special diet equipment, and other such hyped up stuff. All of these things are supposed to provide the magic bullet that will bring a thin physique and of course happiness. By the end of the year everyone is trying to get rid of the product they wasted so much money on via yard sale and then it all starts again.
Every time you go to the store all of the magazines in the checkout isle talk about your resolution to lose weight (because of course we are all resolved to do that, it is the universal resolution that brings mankind together. . . right?). All of the ads talk about losing weight. People post about it on Facebook and Twitter. From every single angle you get bombarded with the same idea: Resolve to lose weight now!
And I'm sick of it. So I had resolved not to resolve this year. To be honest all this diet talk can be a bit triggering for me. I've been doing my best to avoid any and all of it. I also feel that waiting until the New Year to start on something you've always wanted to start on is a little silly. Why not just start when you realize you have a goal?
But as I started thinking about 2012 I felt a little softened. Deciding to wait until the New Year may be silly, but honestly, who has time to start something new right in December. And there is something beautiful, refreshing, and hopeful about a new year. So maybe it's not that silly. But I'm still not resolving to lose weight (actually it is my goal to keep gaining for about 7 weeks, but that's a different deal).
So what do I want to accomplish in 2012? A lot. To be honest I have a lot of hopes, goals, and dreams for the year, but they aren't really worthy of being called a "resolution." I decided that this year I wanted to set just one resolution. Just one goal that would be challenging, but extremely achievable. Something that makes me happy and inspires me to improve my life in other areas. And yes, it has a everything to do with living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
In 2012 I am going to do a bit of yoga every. single. day.
Now, you are all aware that I'm going to have a baby in about 2 months. So I can tell you there will be days when I won't even get on my mat. I'm sure of that. But taking time to meditate, breathe, and carve out just a few minutes for myself each day is something that I need and want.
I'll be writing some about my experience here. That will help me stay on target. So here we are, January 2nd. I've done yoga 2 days in a row and am excited for the rest of the year.
Did you make resolutions this year? How do you feel about resolutions in general?
Originally posted December 28, 2011
It was back in August of 2010 that I was first introduced to Intuitive Eating. I borrowed the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch from a friend. My friend had changed her life using intuitive eating. She had given up on dieting. She had changed her attitude toward her body. She no longer saw her body as an enemy. She was content, happy, and beautiful. I wanted to be just like her.
When I go back and read the post I wrote about that time I realize now how little I understood intuitive eating. I had it in my mind that it was really simple. All you had to do was listen to your body. Eat when you were hungry. Stop when you were full. Only eat things that made your body feel amazing. Simple.
Except that I've been trying to do it for the past 17 months and am still not really there. I know that if I eat anything white and refined I will get a headache and feel terrible. I know this. I know that my body doesn't like it. And yet there are days where I look at those foods and say to myself, "Yes, it will make me feel sick. Oh well."
I have more of an understanding now though. You see, intuitive eating isn't easy when you've lived a life of denying yourself foods. It isn't easy when you've used food to cover up anything and everything you were feeling emotionally. It isn't easy when you've used food for comfort or rewards. For most of us, we have abused food. Learning to let go of that isn't easy.
It takes time to learn to trust yourself and your body again. I think this was a key understanding that I was missing. I thought that since I had made the decision to never diet again I would be off and running, but it hasn't been that simple. First I have had to really truly convince myself that there are no off limit foods. That process has been interesting. It sometimes takes a very scary turn when I start using it as an excuse to binge. It takes time to learn that balance and to learn trust.
But lately what I am discovering is much more profound. I didn't realize how much food was intwined with every aspect of my life. I have used food to mask emotion, cure boredom, and to bond with friends. I have used food for nearly everything except to nourish my body. I had assumed that when I started listening to my body I would automatically just use food for it's proper use. But it isn't that simple.
You may have noticed my lack of blogging lately. I've been taking the time to sort through things. I've been sorting through the clutter in my home. My poor basement and office were in desperate need of attention. I've taken time to process being a mother of two. That change will be here in just two short months. I've taken the time to enjoy being in the moment now. I've been trying to enjoy every moment of having an only child. I never would have thought the clutter in my home could effect my eating, but it certainly has.
Learning to eat intuitively is a wonderful goal, but what I now understand is that it comes hand in hand with learning to live intuitively. It is difficult to honor our body and mind in one area (like eating) when we are out of order in another area (like in our finances).
Looking back on what I thought about intuitive eating when I first learned the concept I'm glad I thought it would be easy, or I maybe wouldn't have tried it out. But 17 months into this journey I'm glad it hasn't been too easy. I've learned more about myself then I ever would have had it been the "magic bullet" I had imagined.
So if you've thought about trying intuitive eating, or if you are trying it and find yourself on a roller coaster know that this is normal. It's okay. It's all part of the journey. Even though it can be difficult I believe it is worth it. I haven't been this content in my own skin since I was a very young child. And though I think I have a long way to go it's nice to feel liberated.
Originally posted November 23, 2011
It is 4:00 am. I want to be asleep. My body is physically worn out thanks to the demands of a busy day and the fact that I'm now 5 days away from my third trimester. But alas I cannot sleep. I finally got out of a restless bed to do something more productive, but relaxing. Writing is relaxing for me. My nights are getting a bit harder in general. It's not easy to get comfortable when you can't lay on your back or stomach and you have a basketball for a belly. A basketball that kicks. Tonight was different though. My shoulder is burning. I get this horrible, burning, aching pain in my shoulders and upper back. It's my body's way of letting me know I overdid it. I guess all the cleaning, baking, laundry, dishes, and toddler chasing from yesterday were a bit much. The pain is always the first thing to remind me that pushing myself too hard has consequences.
I shun pain as much as the rest of the world. I don't like to hurt. Not physically, mentally, or emotionally. Especially the later two. But in all reality, I am thankful for pain. I truly am. It may seem strange, but I can honestly say that without pain I wouldn't be the person I am today.
When I was young, probably about 7, I broke the blinds in my brother's room. When confronted about it I lied and said my sister did it. She denied it. We were both punished until the truth was found out. It was a very painful and horrible ordeal. I had disappointed my parents terribly. I hated disappointing my parents. It was painful for my sister, and I had caused that. I finally told the truth and was grounded for a week. I had to sit inside while my family was out raking and jumping in leaves. I love fall. Jumping in leaves was my favorite. But I learned. Lying is not acceptable. That experience shaped me.
There was the pain of losing 2 of my friends in the same year. That year happened to be when I was in 6th grade. Even though my grandfather had died when I was 8, this was really my first experience of loss and death. It shaped me.
From 4th to 6th grade I had very few, almost no friends. I was alone during most recesses. I sat and ate alone. I was teased. The few friends I had were mean to me. When I entered middle school I found true friends. Friends that valued and loved me. The way I pick and choose friends was shaped by that experience.
There were plenty of painful experiences in high school as well: abusive boyfriend, the beginning of an eating disorder, 9/11. Things that shaped me.
In college I developed fibromyalgia. Constant physical pain. That started me down a path to self-kindness. Oh this path took years (and I wouldn't say I'm "there" yet), but the pain started it all. I was running myself into the ground. I couldn't physically do everything I was trying to do. I started learning to pace myself, to say no, to set up boundaries, and to be kind to myself.
The pain of my disordered eating finally caught up to me as well. Resulting in this blog. It has changed the way I eat today. It has helped me to be healthier (in the end). It has shaped my attitude towards food and my body. No longer in a negative way. I got fed up with that. I was tired of the pain. So I made a change.
Then there was the day all the pain medications failed 3 times. I was in labor for 2 days. That was real, physical, intense pain. But now I watch as my beautiful little boy runs around the house and tells me to, "Mon" (come on) when he wants to show me something. Lots of physical pain to get him here. But now that he's here I have the most joy I've had my entire life.
So when I say, on this eve of Thanksgiving, that I'm thankful for pain I hope you can see why. I can't say that my burning shoulder is teaching me any profound lesson tonight (other than I should have taken more breaks yesterday), but I do know that some of the hardest fought and most precious lessons I have learned in this life have come as a result of pain. Letting ourselves feel our pain is a beautiful, difficult, sometimes horrifying, thing. But if we allow it to teach us it can shape our lives. We choose how to react to the pain and how to let it change us. The first step is feeling it.
*This post is part of November’s Self-Discovery, Word by Word series, hosted by Shannon over at Nourishing the Soul. If you want to participate check it out.
Originally posted October 28, 2011
Are you one of those people who reads a blog about eating healthy and think, "That's easy for you, but for me in my real life that's just not practical?" Because I am. And I write a blog about better health. I hope that doesn't make me lose credibility in your eyes, but the truth is, this doesn't come naturally. I'm not someone who has always hated desserts anyway and wanted to be health (like my sister). No, I love me a big old chocolate bar. Every day if I could. Every meal if I could for that matter. French fries and other deep fried goodness? Why yes, please pass it my way. I love the taste of these foods. I also love eating out. It's so easy. I don't enjoy cooking all that much most of the time. I do enjoy baking desserts and then consuming them. I hate cleaning up after kitchen adventures. I admit to being an emotional eater. I eat when I'm bored too. No, eating a whole foods diet that is mainly homemade was never something I saw myself doing.
Sometimes when I read blogs with people and families who have given up processed food I'm a little down on myself. Why can't I be better? The truth is I love the way I feel when I'm eating well all the time. I hate the way I feel when I eat processed food. Which is motivating, but then there are days like every day since I got pregnant. Days where you say I-just-need-to-eat-and-it-needs-to-be-fast-and-tasty-freezer-section-here-I-come. Days where you simply don't care. Days where you don't have time to care. Then I read those blogs and I think well all you perfect people leave me alone. Normal people are like me, not you.
But here is what I've learned: Forgiveness is key. Now I've written about this before, but the longer I strive to be healthy, live well, and eat good things the more I believe that the only skill we really need to master in order to move forward is the skill of forgiveness. As usual, let's paint a picture:
So you've decided you want to eat better. You're giving up processed foods. You feel a big difference and you love it. But then you have a bad day and decide that what you need is a day of eating junk. And you go for it. There are a few different things that could happen at this point:
- You feel horrible that night and beat yourself up about it.
- You feel fine, but the guilt of eating junk all day is killing you. How could you be so stupid and weak?
- You feel fine and decide that eating healthy is over rated. Maybe you keep eating horrible for a few weeks and then it catches up with you, but the guilt is too strong. If you couldn't do it right the first time what makes you think you could ever eat a healthy diet?
There are maybe other consequences, but let's just go with this for now, you get the idea right? What I am submitting to you is that all of these things are a recipe for failure. Instead in any of these situations what we need to learn to do is observe how we feel. Realize that we aren't happy when we eat poorly, overeat, or otherwise derail out health. Then we forgive ourselves and move on. Forgive and start fresh. If you can't forgive you can't move on and the truth is, you will never be able to live a healthier lifestyle.
Everyone makes mistakes. I know I do. Dwelling on them or feeling like we can't move on because we've screwed up our "perfect" record is not healthy. It does nothing for us. In fact, perhaps it is time to change the thinking all together. You didn't screw up because you weren't healthy today, no, there are no screw ups. Rather, tomorrow you aren't going to eat junk because you like it better. Beating ourselves up does nothing but hold us back.
So to all those of you who, like me, may never have a perfectly "healthy" diet please know that's okay. What we do most of the time is so much more important than the occasional McDonald's hamburger. Let go of the idea that you've been "bad," and learn to move on to a new day.
Originally posted October 18, 2011
I know, two posts in a row. What is going on? I don't know either. The creative juices are flowing again or something. Anyway, I wanted to talk briefly about avoiding Fat Talk because, let's face it, it's not always as easy as we would like. Let's paint a picture:
You have decided to stop fat talking. You know that it creates negative energy in your life. It damages the way the children around you see themselves. You no longer want it. It's been two days and you are doing great. Then you go out for lunch with your girl friends. The menus come out and guess where the talk goes? Straight to calories, diets, and other talk concerning weight. Inevitably someone says something negative and the whole group joins in. What do you do? Do you join in? If you don't you're weird. You don't want to insult your friends, but you also want no part of this talk. How do you deal with this situation?
Well, I don' t have all the answers. In fact I have very few answers, but I do have a little life experience here. I thought since this week is the week to stop fat talk that it would be a good place to let you all in on a few techniques that have worked for me.
1. Avoid the subject at all costs. This is easier in small groups, but whenever possible I just steer the conversation away from anything having to do with body bashing and fat talk. If I think the conversation is heading in that direction I generally try to insert some comments on living a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes that means talking about yummy food that is healthy and amazing. Sometimes that means telling people why I don't engage in fat talk anymore. I find that many people are receptive to the idea of talking about better health, and if you are careful it can be a very loving conversation without the bashing.
2. Get your friends on board with you. This doesn't always work. It is important not to interrupt a body bashing session to preach about how good you are to never do it again. That just doesn't come off well in my experience. Rather, when the moment is correct I tell people about what I have researched and now believe. I try to be kind and loving to all view points. A large number of people I love are currently on a diet that I do not agree with. It's not something I would do, and I have expressed as much. But it has not stopped us from sharing. They are comfortable telling me about their diet, and I am comfortable telling them my feelings toward food and body image. It is all done out of love. We all approach health differently. Our choices concerning health are incredibly personal. They come through much experience, research, doctors' opinions, and other such life circumstances. Even if we think we are right we should be wary of telling others they are wrong. Share your opinions in love and leave it at that. Those you like what you say will join in. Others won't. Those who don't will generally respect your perspective in the future. Thus the fat talk can stop.
3. Change the subject. Have you ever picked up a friend and had her tell you how such and such makes her look fat? The natural response is to soothe her feelings by telling her that she looks great compared to you. Right? I know many of us have been there. Rather than putting yourself down to elevate your friend tell her she looks amazing and move on. If she persists in feeling down about whatever it is point out all of her great qualities making sure to include things that are both visible on the outside and those that aren't. She'll get the pick-me-up she needs, and you can keep your own integrity.
4. Don't participate or put a positive spin on it. There have been times where I have found that I have no power to change the subject, interject a contrary opinion, or otherwise influence the drift of the conversation. In those cases I generally just sit quietly until the conversation moves on to something I can get behind. It's not my favorite, but sometimes there is just no other way. If asked for an opinion I usually put in a little comment about how I feel that negative thoughts do not create positive change and then shut up again. It's my mini protest.
Now don't get me wrong, my record is certainly not 100% since I have started to avoid fat talk. There have been plenty of slip ups. There have been days I just didn't care and wanted to be negative. There have been days that I just wasn't really thinking and got sucked into the talk. It happens to all of us. But the key is to move on and forgive. When I realize I have been negative I notice how it makes me feel worse. Then I forgive myself for my weakness and commit to try harder in the future. Getting down on yourself is maybe the worst thing you can do in your quest to become Fat Talk Free. Take it one day at a time, and remember the key is to be loving to yourself and others.
What are other things that have worked for you? How do you avoid fat talk?
Originally posted October 17, 2011
There are a lot of exciting things going on this week in the body lovin' world. I thought I'd share a couple real fast so you'd be sure not to miss out.
October 19th (this Wednesday) is Love Your Body Day. What exactly is this day all about? Well, from the site here is a quick summary:
"Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make each of us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement. Print ads and television commercials reduce us to body parts -- lips, legs, breasts -- airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. TV shows tell women and teenage girls that cosmetic surgery is good for self-esteem. Is it any wonder that 80% of U.S. women are dissatisfied with their appearance?
Women and girls spend billions of dollars every year on cosmetics, fashion, magazines and diet aids. These industries can't use negative images to sell their products without our assistance.
Together, we can fight back."
This is something I can get behind. I don' t know about you, but there are times I just want to be told that I'm okay just the way I am. As part of this day Rosie Molinary has written a Body Warrior Pledge. I'm really excited about the pledge. It's beautiful. So I went over signed up (which automatically entered me into an awesome giveaway), and I encourage all of you to check it out.
This body pledge was a wake up call for me. Since I got pregnant I have been obsessing about my weight and body. It's been very hard around here to keep a healthy perspective. I have found myself getting lazy, beating myself up, and eating poorly because "who-cares-I'm-going-to-get-fat-and-feel-like-crap-anyway" syndrome has been easing into my life. But I'll tell you more about that another day. The bottom line is that I needed a reminder of what I really believe and want to foster in my life.
The other cool thing about this week (and something I certainly needed to recommit to) is that this week is Fat Talk Free Week. Don't ask me who comes up with all this stuff, but I'm sure glad they did. Now, if you need a reminder of how I feel about Fat Talk you can read this post. I truly believe that nothing will change until we stop body bashing ourselves and others just to fit in. So, I have pledged to end fat talk and hope you will do the same by clicking on over here.
Let's make this week a positive week. Life is too busy and stressful to be adding body shame to our daily lives. Get rid of it!
Originally posted September 12, 2011
I took my morning constitutional today. What a beautiful day. September has given way to cooler temperatures. I no longer start sweating the second I step out my front door. What a relief. It rained last night and everything smelled fresh. Some of the leaves are beginning to turn. It makes me so happy. I love fall. Gardens are being harvested, flowers are still out in full beauty, and everything just seems calmer while we wait for nature to move forward. I had the majestic mountains that I love so much to one side of me, and a gorgeous view of the valley and the lake beyond on the other. Life was good. Above us some very loud birds caught our attention as they soared through the air. Cormac leaned clear back in his stroller, looked up, and whispered under his breath "wow." I couldn't agree more. Wow.
But I wasn't just enjoying nature this morning. I was enjoying the feel of the pavement and dirt roads beneath my feet. I love to walk. It makes me happy. I love looking at the scenery. I love seeing new neighborhoods. I love, love, love looking at the houses that surround me. I walked 3.5 to 4 miles today. How blessed I am that I can do that. I'm on Cloud 9 already because I felt this little baby move for the first time yesterday. How incredible, not only can my body walk and move, but I'm blessed to have a little person growing inside of me. What is there not to rejoice about?
Let's switch gears for just a second. Don't worry, I'll bring us full circle. Did you know that this month is National Yoga Month! (Who makes this stuff up? Do you know? I sure don't, but I'm going with it anyway.) As a fan of yoga I am naturally excited about it. Let me tell you a bit about me and yoga. I came to yoga out of desperation. My body was in constant, unexplained pain and I had heard yoga could help. So I got a DVD and gave it a shot. It was so very hard. I couldn't reach my toes. Downward Dog was the hardest thing I had ever done. I couldn't hold it for more than a few short breaths. But after each practice my pain would ease up and I would have a few minutes of beautiful relief. So I kept at it. I was amazed that within just a couple of short weeks I could touch my toes with ease. Downward Dog took more time to feel comfortable (and is still a challenging pose for me thanks to my weak and inflexible shoulders). But what was exciting was what I could do. And how fast my body adapted to yoga. It was like we were made for each other. My body wanted yoga, craved it, and responded well when I would practice. It was love.
It makes me sad when I hear people say they can't do yoga because they aren't this, that, or the other. They are missing the point. Yoga has never been about what you can't do. Yoga is a celebration of what the body can do. So maybe you can't turn yourself into a pretzel, but you can do a beautiful headstand. There are so many possibilities with yoga. And your body changes with each practice. With each practice you can do a little more. Your body wants it. And it's a beautiful and amazing thing to celebrate the things that our bodies can do.
As I was walking this morning I was thinking about how boring the world would be if it were all mountains or all plains. But it isn't. It is diverse and beautiful. And it should be celebrated. The Earth i s a gift that we've been given from God. It should be celebrated. But how much more should we be celebrating our bodies. They are different, diverse, and oh so beautiful. They are gifts from God. Special gifts that He constructed just for us. Each is unique. Each has its own abilities. And each is beautiful and needed.
So celebrate that beautiful body this month. Move in a way that makes you feel fantastic. Try some yoga and this time don't you dare look at your neighbor or the person on your screen to compare what you look like with them. No. Instead acknowledge the greatness that is your own body and movements. You are beautiful. Take a few minutes to celebrate that.