I often listen to how people talk about food and themselves. I listen because it seems like most of us talk down to ourselves especially in regards to food and body.
We say things like : "It's good to eliminate fats from my diet ", It's bad to eat bread", "It's ugly in the mirror".
Am I right ? I do it still and it makes me so upset inside. Why do we constantly do this to ourselves ?
The definition of Nutrition is below :
Nutrition, nourishment, or aliment, is the supply of materials - food - required by organisms and cells to stay alive.
Nowhere in that definition does it say that bread is bad !!!!! It does, however, say it is to STAY ALIVE .
So why do we make food an enemy? Why do we label food good or bad ?
When I was in the depths of my eating disorder and in the hospital, I was scared to death to eat certain foods. I will never forget my doctor saying food is fuel. Food is fuel for your gas tank. At the time, I did not want to listen to those words. I heard her loud and clear, but I did not listen. To me food was bad , food was ugly and I was not good enough to enjoy it.
Here I am 30 years later still pondering food and its purpose. There are still times ,I must admit, that I struggle with the voices .However, I can now understand fully what the doctor was saying. Food is fuel. PERIOD. Simple as that. Wouldn't that be nice to not call food good, bad or ugly?
Just fuel ?
All of the stories/articles on this page are real, unedited and from the heart. I write this way to relate to others and allow these real and true feelings out into the open. My hope is to create a comfortable space and let you know that you are not alone.
Getting on a scale has always been one of my worst nightmares.
Have you ever had anxiety ? The type that runs through your entire body leaving you short of breath with your heart beating out of your chest ? No matter what self talk you have to calm yourself down -it doesn't work right ?
For years ( I mean at least 20 years), I dreaded the thought of the scale. So much so that every time I went to the doctor, I would argue with the nurse about being weighed fighting it until ultimately giving in with my back to it.
The sound of the "click, click,click" on the scale still causes some ache in my gut to this day! The nightmare of a 3 second weigh in would dictate my day-actually the days before the weigh in, the day of the weigh in and usually a few days after the weigh in . A "good" number meant a good day. A "bad" number most definitely meant a bad day (or week or month).
Really ? A number ? To think a number took such control is incredible. My health, my wellness, my well being meant nothing to me-only the number.
All for what ? All for why ? All for who ?
I have not owned a scale for over 20 years. Has it been easy to break this cycle? No it has not been. It has taken a lot of work. I have had to learn how to trust myself and my intuitions.I have become in tune with my body and know in my physical body where my health is. I live a life of good health and wellness. I am empowered in myself and in the fact that that a number on the scale does not define my worth.
Do I care about my health and weight ? Hell YES ! First and foremost in my life, however I refuse to be a slave to a number . I am not a number on a scale .YOU are not a number on a scale.
A pile of clothes thrown on the floor. Sound familiar?I must admit it still happens sometimes. In fact, it happened just last week. All for what ?
I'm not talking about a couple tops or bottoms thrown on the floor, I am talking about the entire closet thrown on the floor with great disgust and anger. All for what ?
As healthy adults, don't we know what clothes we feel most comfortable in ? Why do we even put ourselves through the mirror scrutiny. All for what ?
When looking at others,I notice first and foremost a person's vibe, attitude and body language. I do not notice their shape and size! When someone walks in the room there is an energy they bring in with them and that is what I notice.
Is anyone a perfect 10? If so, are they ugly on the inside?
Funny thing is, we are the only ones that hold a magnifying glass up to ourselves. Most other people can care less about our body imperfections and do not even notice. They have other things to think about. They are probably worried about their own bodies!
Next time this happens to you , try this. Just try it even if it sounds stupid. When I was asked to do it the first time, I walked away and said " I will never do that because it won't work ." Well after doing it many (I mean many) times, it does work. It may not be a miracle cure, but it stops me in my tracks of clothes rage.
Stop and picture a STOP sign. Really - just try it now. Red with capital letters in white spelling STOP. Are you doing it? Then in your head ( or out loud if the coast is clear) yell the word STOP as many times as you need to. Seriously , try that .It will stop you in your tracks. Put on what makes you comfortable and walk away for goodness sake.Leave the pile on the floor and go into your day with comfort in your own skin.
Once dressed, walk away and ask yourself this," If someone notices my natural body imperfections, do I want to be hanging around with them anyway?" Life goes on and life is too short and way too much fun to be raging in the mirror when you have lots of people out there that love you for YOU.
I sometimes wonder and worry about this. Now that I am a Certified Recovery Coach, do I have to be perfectly recovered ? After the brutal circle of negative self talk, I realize that I do not have to be in perfect acceptance of my body to help others. In fact, human imperfections make us real and genuine human beings! I appreciate and believe that my body image insecurities have made me more empathetic to all people.
I still have good days and bad days. I still have exercise anxiety . I still have to catch myself sometimes listening to toxic messages . The difference is I can tune in and take notice of the voices . I can choose to sink into the trap or I can choose to stop the negative talk, tune in and shut that "fat" voice off.
This is the key to turning your life around . You hold the key and only you. Tune in and become aware. You can not fix or change anything until you you acknowledge it, mentally grab it and set it straight. Some days will be tougher then others and that is ok. Just notice and tune in. You are stronger, braver and capable of shutting that negative chatter off!
Ever have those days that you feel down, low, blah and can I say the F word ? FAT? At times, it is hard to be positive and smiling for the world we are a part of isn't it?
I love the holidays - don't get me wrong -it just sometimes feels overwhelming doesn't it? Often when we are overwhelmed, we are the hardest on ourselves. This in fact, is the time we need to have the most compassion for ourselves.
How can we do this ? We can breathe, meditate, do yoga, etc... I love all of that, however sometimes
( when I am my lowest ) I need to pull out the STOP sign trick that I learned many years ago in therapy. When I learned this , I laughed and swore it would never work. I called it stupid and a waste of time. Boy, have I learned my lesson . I want to share it with you-judge if you want, but at least try it or think of it when you get in a nasty fat funk .
Picture a STOP sign. The shape, the bright color red, the capital letters S-T-O-P. Picture the pole it is on. Mentally, grab the pole ( it bends because of your strength ), pull the sign off of the pole and look at it for a full 5 seconds ( feels like forever) and yell the word STOP ( in your heard or scream out loud). Yell it slowly, fully in control three times, take a deep breath and let it go.
Sounds ridiculous probably. I know- I thought it was too. Then I did it over and over and over for all kinds of situations in my life ( not just the fat thoughts). I found that after doing this , I have some clarity back in my brain and thoughts and brought the "crazy train" of thoughts to a halt.
Just remember that voice that sometimes tries to drag you down is an asshole and you are a strong person and do not allow any asshole ( even if it is you ) to get you down!
When I journal, I don't censor or rewrite my thoughts. I just let them flow. I was just thinking about the fact that every person has their own story and truth.I just held a workshop and one of the participants said something at the end about looking at people differently now and not assuming how they feel about themselves. Everybody has a story and a belief about themselves. Sometimes I look at people and assume they are comfortable and happy in their skin because they look "the part " , but sometimes that is incorrect.Even was I was 80lbs and severely malnourished I felt disgusted by myself and saw an overweight 20 year old.
We all have our own life history and experiences that have created our thoughts towards ourselves . For some reason, from a very young age, if someone commented on my body in a negative way I would hold on to that as life or death. I still remember being told I was bubbly and stocky. This enraged me! You see , I already felt chubby and those words hit such a deep root in my heart and soul. THIS CONSUMED ME!
Don't get me wrong, I had a full and complete life with lots of friends and family. I was and still am a passionate person and have so many interests and desires HOWEVER I WAS CONSUMED with negative self talk and body shame underneath the bubbly smile.
Truth is, up until about 6 years ago, I was still trapped in this jail of body hate. All of this turmoil in my head and heart at all times and most people didn't even have a clue.
I had to rewrite my story. I had to realize that my story was more than a "body story". I have a "human story" and my body is only one chapter. I also have a heart , mind and soul story . You do too. You are more than a number, more than a shell, more than your outside.
Last but not least, don't be ashamed of your story. This is your unique path in life. Use your story to empower and help others. I truly believe my "body story" has allowed me to be where I am today on the journey to help others.
I used to hate my body-literally despise it. I would journal day after day about the disgust I felt deep down inside of me. Anxiety laced my body from head to toe about the size of my legs, the soft flesh of my core , the shape of my face.. the list goes on.
No matter the scale said, it was never small enough. The more weight I lost, the more weight I would want to lose or even worse the fear of gaining it back haunted me. I would just fall deeper and deeper into the black hole . The obsessive thoughts , the calorie counting, the good food- bad food games, the scale, the pills -ugh- THE TORTURE! It never stopped for years ( I mean 20 years) of my life. Behind the smile that the world witnessed everyday , I was living in my own chaos.
After a long painful divorce, I was left with two choices-stay stuck in self inflicted secretive misery or become grounded in my own two feet and open my eyes and heart to intuition ,How was I supposed to do that?I was so deeply rooted in despair ( despite the smile on my face). I was my own worst enemy. I had two choices and for both myself and my beautiful children, I had to turn this around no matter how slow or hard it was. The decision was all in my hands- nobody else but me had to make this choice. That was hard, because I had nobody to blame or make excuses to, but myself.
Why in the world would I let myself bully myself ? I would never even imagine treating anyone else the way I treated myself. When I think about it now- it is quite simple. It all starts with a little bit of self compassion and forgiveness.Every decision I make must be rooted in self compassion, tolerance and free from judgement.
Don't get me wrong- this is not an easy journey. It is very difficult to undo such destructive habits and unwind the broken record that plays in our head. HOWEVER IT IS SIMPLE. Simple , but not easy.
As you live your life everyday, stop and think of those words as often as you can.
SELF COMPASSION,TOLERANCE,FORGIVENESS and turn it inward for a change. Something happens deep inside when you practice this everyday. The power of the language you use towards yourself with ultimately be the first step into a life in which you can breathe in the air without self hate and irrational judgement.
As I walked out of Starbucks yesterday, I saw two young girls ( probably 13) sitting at the table outside chatting. As I walked out, I heard one of them say ( as she looked at her cell phone ), "I wish I was skinny like her.". Of course, I immediately felt my stomach drop into my feet for so many reasons. Number one- the little girl that said that was tiny in every way from top to bottom. However, it hit me even harder to hear how the friend reacted with the same thought . I wanted to stand there and pretend to be looking in my purse for something because I knew their conversation continued on into how skinny was beautiful and how they did not like the body that carries them around all day. Heartbroken #1
Then today after teaching a cycle class, I was talking to a member at the gym about her beautiful daughter who is 9 years old. I see the daughter often as she happens to be a student at the school I teach as well. This little girl is adorable in every way. Her mom tells me that the kids at school are calling her FAT and she wants to lose weight because of that. THE HAIR ON MY SKIN STOOD STRAIGHT UP because of this craziness!!
How can we help these kids see the beauty is beneath the surface ?
How can they believe that health is more important than being skinny ? How can we help them understand that the body is a shell that encases such beauty and strength?
How can we help these kids see the beauty is beneath the surface ? How can they believe that health is more important than being skinny ? How can we help them understand that the body is a shell that encases such beauty and strength? If you are a mom , please think before you talk BODY SHIT around your children. Even when you think they are not listening or do not care what you are saying-THEY DO!
Show them you love your body despite its imperfections. We are all perfectly imperfect. Be grateful your body takes such good care of you everyday !