Monthly Archives: November 2012

Back in the saddle again

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Recently, someone complimented me on a certain body part. I did not believe him. But, that’s his opinion, and who am I to argue (said while silently disagreeing with his point of view). I would dearly like to believe him, I really would. I’ve been focusing on the mental and emotional aspects of my body image issues, trying to find a way to believe him when he compliments me on my body.

It hasn’t been working all that well.

Sure, I can accept that he has an opinion about how he views my body. I get that part. I just don’t agree with his opinion. Quite frankly, because I so vehemently disagree with his opinion, it is oftentimes a huge struggle for me to accept it as fact and not just a nicety. And so, I sit here, mulling over it, trying to come to terms with it, pouring my heart out in my journal…. to no avail. I simply cannot accept the fact that someone could be physically attracted to me.

Tonight, I had a bit of a revelation. I was mulling over different blog ideas in my head, sussing them out, gauging my thoughts and opinions, when it hit me:

No amount of thinking or trying to change my beliefs is going to help me accept his opinion. The only way I can possibly agree with how he sees me is to actually have a great (insert body part here).

When someone tells me that I have a nice smile or beautiful eyes, I believe them. Why? Because I can look at myself in the mirror and see that I do, indeed, have nice eyes and a great smile. The eyes I have my mother to thank, and the teeth? A great orthodontist. But the rest of me? Yeah. Not so much.

I can psychoanalyze the heck out of my body image issues. I can try different types of therapy and counseling. I can buy fancy clothes and wear great accessories: none of it is going to help.

The only way I will ever be able to believe my boyfriend when he comments on my body is if I work hard to create a body that I can love.

I read a great blog post today by the KnowledgeMaven about filling yourself up with love. She writes:

Every now and again, though, we need to turn the mirror of veracity on ourselves and provide the same love and support that we provide to others to ourselves. For me, the truth is that I often found it easier to have enough faith for everyone else.

Upon reading this, I realized that I don’t love my body, and I definitely don’t treat it in a loving way. That’s why I have such a hard time accepting my boyfriend’s opinion of me. And, that’s why I often feel uncomfortable when he treats me in loving ways.

Confession time: I haven’t truly exercised in months. In the last two months, I’ve been using baked goods to deal with stress. My pants are getting tight and I haven’t stepped on the scale in a long time. In short, I’ve been neglecting myself. In the last few weeks, my body has been trying to send me this message; aches & pains, stiffness, digestion ailments, and general moodiness have prevailed. I really don’t like the way I feel.

So, I’m setting some goals for the week ahead:

1. Eat clean 50-75% of the time.
2. Reduce my coffee intake and swap it for green tea.
3. Drink more water (aiming for 2 litres/day)
4. Morning yoga 3x this week.

My reward will be a spa night for myself, including a bubble bath, mud mask, candle light and maybe a glass of wine. I like how this reward focuses on treating my body with love!

The truth we tell ourselves

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My friend Jodi commented tonight on how I hadn’t written a blog post in a while. It’s been over 2 1/2 months since I’ve written anything. In that time, I have really fallen off the wagon. I’ve stopped exercising (unless you count two or three sessions of my once-beloved 5am yoga as exercise), fallen back into terrible eating habits, and, honestly?, stopped trying.

It wasn’t intentional. It was very gradual. It all started when I started my new job teaching grade 2. To say I have a challenging class would be an understatement. Combine that with my relative lack of experience as a teacher, and my stress levels have been pretty high. And, true to form, I’ve reverted to sugary, fat-laden carbs to cope.

This weekend, I had a wake up call. Severe pain. My back is getting really bad again, and I have a pretty much constant pain in my leg from the nerves that are being pinched. The only time it doesn’t hurt is when I’ve been on my feet all day, teaching. I’ve been down this path before, and I know just how bad it can get. I can see that my self-neglect is having some very concrete, extremely painful consequences.

I’ve been mulling over this for a few days now. Asking myself some very pointed questions. Trying really hard to not beat myself up. I’m mad at myself for not sticking to all the great changes I had been making. I’m mad at myself for allowing myself to feel like crap. But mostly, I’m frustrated by the way I can’t seem to stick to the lifestyle changes I so desperately want to make.

I’m made a very important discovery: I’ve been lying to myself. When I started this blog, I had convinced myself that I was doing this for me. I did an excellent job of lying to everyone around me, and an even better job of lying to myself.

You see, if there is one thing that I wanted as badly as I want to be thin and healthy, it was love. Somewhere in my past, I learned to equate being loved with being thin. It became such a deeply ingrained message that it was a truth for me. I was truly convinced that no one would ever love me if I wasn’t thin. Hell, if I couldn’t look in the mirror and love what I saw, how could any man ever love me.

Y’know what? I was wrong.

So gloriously wrong. Entirely, completely wrong.

I was reading over my past entries, and recalled the conversation I had with my dearest girl friend this summer. She said, “Do you really hate your body that much that you cannot accept that a man may actually like you for you?” I remember answering quickly with an emphatic “yes!”

I am so SO SO glad I was wrong. I honestly thought that no man could ever love me and accept me for who I am. I have found the most amazing man who not only accepts me for who I am, he adores me, cherishes me, and loves me and (get this!!!!!) my body. Seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

But, as amazing as it feels to be in love with and be loved by a great guy, I still struggle with body image. The thing is, I can see now that I’ve been lying to myself: someone can (and does!!) love me without being the perfect weight. I don’t need to lose weight to be loved. Wow.

So this is what I’ve been mulling over lately: for decades, my “truth” was that no one could ever love me if I wasn’t thin. That “truth” has been utterly blown out of the water and exposed for what it really is: a lie.

Yes, I will admit it. I started this blog because I wasn’t happy with my physical appearance or health, but it was all in relation to being loved. Now that I am loved (more than I ever dreamed possible!) I have a very difficult truth to face: I am worthy of being healthy. Believe it or not, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this – it’s a complete shift in thinking.

I don’t need to lose weight to be loved, that has been proven in a way that absolutely blows my mind. Admittedly, I’m still trying to get used to it. Now, to wrap my head around the fact that I actually deserve to be healthy and feel vibrant, energetic and full of life.