Body Positivity Tuesday: Make a Bucket List

I spent a lot of years “future-tripping,” caught up in all my worries about the future. I would think about what I was going to eat the next day, wear next Wednesday, and how I’d fit in my workouts next July (seriously). I’d be tallying my calories for the day, prepping my food for the next week, and obsessively trying to control my world by taking it out on my body. While I think it’s great to take responsibility for our health, I know that crossing the line into obsession took my focus on my health to a point where it no longer served me. A big shift for me was realizing that I want to create health in my world so that I can live the life I want to live, no longer wanting to live my life as a slave to food or exercise or the pursuit of perfection when it came to my health. 

This shift, though it didn’t happen overnight and still requires me to step back and gain some perspective from time to time, opened up a lot of energy to use towards doing things with the health that I do have. Running races, learning new sports, building relationships, taking up hobbies, reading books…these are all things that I can do with the energy that I used to spend loathing my body or obsessing over how to “fix” it.

So, what do you want to do? Even if it’s not an eating disorder that distracts us, sometimes we can get so caught up in our day to day lives that we forget to dream. I think making a bucket list is a great way to channel our inner dreamers and reading over it is a great way to re-inspire ourselves. This should be a different kind of to-do list, one that excites you.

Today’s task is to come up with a little list for yourself of things you’d like to do, places you’d like to see, people you’d like to meet. These things don’t have to be directly related to loving your body, but notice that if you’re being body positive and taking care of yourself, you’re a heck of a lot more likely to have the energy to do the things you’ve decided on and to enjoy checking things off the list.

If you have trouble thinking of some things, maybe start here:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • When you look back on your life, what would you like to remember?
  • What is your dream vacation?
  • Do you wish you could learn how to play an instrument?
  • Is there a class you want to take?
  • Do you want to learn another language?
  • What is the race of your dreams?
  • Who do you want to meet?
  • What do you want to do before you retire?

etc. etc. etc.

I keep my bucket list on my computer, updating it on a regular basis. It’s never complete, and I like that. Things come off as I complete them or, at times, as I decide they are no longer for me. New things get added on as I discover new passions. This is by far my favourite to-do list of them all!

you shoudl go do them

Do you have a bucket list?

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No Diet Day–Should it be every day?

This will be a short post because I’m already a bit late for my afternoon run — it’s a speed sesh so maybe being hurried to get there will start the workout on the right foot? I didn’t want today to go by without putting a post out though, as it’s International No Diet Day.

no diet

In honour of that, maybe check out this article by Health at Every Size advocate Linda Bacon over at the NEDIC website.  She advocates for learning to trust our bodies, which goes in line with the kind of intuitive eating and self-acceptance/love approach that I myself get behind. I especially like the part where she hits the nail on the head when it comes to the element of control that dieting so alluringly offers:

“As long as things go well, the dieter can maintain control. But if anything gets in the way or changes, she can’t. The reason is clear: Dieters don’t rely on the normal signals of fullness to regulate their eating, so there are no brakes in place.”

…I know that when I have gotten sucked into restriction, or obsessing over/tracking my every meal, judging it, etc., there’s been a sense of control and power that I have–and it felt good. It’s nice to feel like you are totally in charge. And what thinking we need to get really strict about our food does all the time is convince us that we are otherwise out of control monsters who will binge at the first chance.

And unfortunately, after restriction, that’s what happens. I still have foods that were formerly “forbidden” that I have to remind myself–it’s OKAY–or else I end up overeating them to the point of feeling like crap. My experience tells me that I am not in fact a madwoman around food, but the more I think that I eat too much or eat the wrong things, the more likely I am to go ahead and go “off the rails.”

My hope is that some day, it won’t be the exception or the one day of the year where we don’t diet–but that we’ll learn to feed and take care of ourselves in a way that doesn’t require us to feel like failures or to give all of our energy to controlling ourselves.

two diets

 

Remember: we are not crazies. The diet industry likes us to think that, so that we keep paying them for programs. And trackers. And diet coaches. And unless these products and people teach us long term habits that make it so we don’t require them, I’m weary. Our bodies are on our side!

There’s my two cents!
What do you think about ditching diets?
Do you make a point to avoid diet talk / dieting / buying diet books, or do you just go with it?
Does controlling your food work with you? Tracking? Monitoring? 
Have you given up on diets? What have you found?
What keeps you dieting? 

Body Positivity Tuesday: Clean Out the Closet

Many of us have closets filled with clothes that we never wear. I’m guilty of having more clothes than I could possibly need, but one thing that I refuse to do is to keep things that are too small or too big for me hanging around. Those clothes that we don’t feel wonderful in are just taking up space and not serving us.

Today’s task is to let those things go. If you’re keeping your “skinny” pants or your “fat” pants around, what for? If you have a whole wardrobe that you can’t let go of, what’s up? Is it the cost? If you can’t wear them, I’d encourage you to think about the cost to your self-esteem on a daily basis.

You could always move them to a “maybe” bin. If you still haven’t dug them out in a few months, it might feel easier to donate them to charity, sell them, or give them away to friends or family. It comes down to deciding how you’d like to feel when you open your closet door every morning. The best kind of closet is one where you know you’ll be able to reach in and grab something that makes you feel like a million bucks.

closets

Weight a minute: Perfectionism rears its ugly head again

Morning!

I am just caffeinating and getting myself ready for what I’m sure will be a beautiful day at the park. I’m volunteering at the road races at Springbank, which are some pretty fierce bike races that I am too scared to participate in personally. There’s geese, there’s curbs, and there’s corners—on top of all the other parts of cycling that make me prefer tours/club riding and triathlon.

And I’m thinking about my ongoing recovery from perfectionism, scales, and a reminder why I don’t want to rely on the scale to assess where I’m at.

recovering perfectionism

Yesterday I had an awesome brick workout: 70km on the bicycle followed by a 5km run. My half ironman is just over two months away and I haven’t felt this consistent with my workouts in a long time. The bricks and the runs more generally are feeling better than ever and I’m sure that now that we have warm weather I can get my biking legs back on the real road in no time!

brick

I can’t remember doing as many workouts as my coach has scheduled me as this year, or feeling good while I’m doing them. Other than some migraines that I’m addressing with my doctor and some complimentary stuff, I think I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time: hormones in check, staying on top of injuries, etc. I’m winning.

But I weighed myself today.

And it shouldn’t surprise me that I stay the same weight or slightly change, as I’ve been at this weight for years now, save losing ~2 or 3 pounds a year.

But I think I was looking for some kind of validation, or comfort that I hadn’t gained weight or something, because I wasn’t feeling proud of my choices yesterday.

After the workout, my appetite felt off. It came in waves and as it often does when I’ve done longer rides or workouts, I, I felt like I’d “messed up.” Brent and I had frappucinos (because Starbucks is out to suck all of us into it’s delicious and sugary web with their half price frappucino happy hour), I ate all kinds of trail mix and granola, and I think I ate the equivalent of half a veggie tray and a pre-made salad at dinner time.

rapps

So feeling a little uncertain of whether I’m “OK,” stepping on the scale was perhaps an attempt to wipe it all clean or to show myself that I’m still “good.”

But I know that you don’t gain or lose a whole bunch of weight in a day. A solid week of training doesn’t do it. Getting hurt and taking a few days off won’t affect you greatly. Further, what I really want to focus on are habits. I think it’s tricky when you’re feeling less than proud of your habits: how do you feel good then?

Well, I’m trying reminding myself of a few things:

  • I know that regardless of whether I’d done a hard workout or not, a day of eating things that aren’t perfect like yesterday is fine. Workout or no workout, I can count the number of frappucinos I’ve had in my life on one hand – it’s not worth fretting over yesterday’s treat!
  • I know that over the long term, I’ve been more consistent with my training and prouder of it than ever before—even if it hasn’t changed my body (and if I have to be reminded on occasion that I’m fitter, and that’s what it’s about–>Thanks Brent).
  • I know that my idea of a healthy diet is mostly around eating enough real food to keep me feeling good so that I don’t turn to chocolate every night or feel like I need to use food and my weight as a distraction from the rest of my life.
  • I know that if I weigh this amount for the rest of my life, that would be okay—and if I think about what I would do in terms of food and exercise if I knew that it wasn’t going to be about weight, I should probably trust that guide to help me on this healthy, happy journey.
  • I know that there’s a lesson here–maybe it’s about what I need to feel good when it comes to eating after tough workouts, or maybe it’s about throwing my scale out again (I was planning on weighing myself once a month, ideally).
  • know that I could have saved myself some trouble if I’d remembered the advice of my dietitian to aim for 80/20. I am learning just how much of a trap perfectionism can be, and this is a testament to the idea of needing to plan for imperfection–so that when we don’t hit perfection with the habits we’ve set out as our goals, we don’t feel like failures and jump on the scale.

Looking back, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of the 80/20 as it applies to my goals. I can be honest and say that there’s room for improvement, but when I get away from focusing in on the less than perfect efforts (because they fit in that 20% and it’s part of the end goal), I can start to at the same time feel proud of all the progress I’ve made. Anyways, part of health for me is moving on and making the next meal one that feels good and trying not to get swept up in the past or too worried about the future. So to that end, it’s time for me to go watch fast people in spandex race by me!

perfectioninsm

Do you struggle with the scale?
What happens when you don’t nail the habits-based-goals that you’ve set for yourself? 

Owning it: Athletics as (a) source of self-esteem–and why we need to take a darn compliment

Lately, I’ve noticed a(n unfortunate) tendency for some of the most badass women—the strongest ones at CrossFit or the fastest or most experienced ones on the bike—to play a game of downplaying their achievements. They ask “Who, little old me?” when someone tells them that they’re great or assure people that really it wasn’t such a great job or that someone or something outside them was the reason for their success.

This makes me sad.

I know I’ve returned a compliment with the kind of downplaying I’m talking about. But this is an issue I’m working on. Ever since I had the experience of a friend telling me she was going to be “slow” and then proceeding to be much faster than me in a running situation, I’ve tried to watch how I talk about my own performances or abilities—whether I think they’re good or bad. I’m sure that my friend was innocently trying to appear humble—not to make me feel bad—but it certainly made me think about times when I’ve maybe done the same thing to other people.

This is cute, but be careful whose accomplishments you downplay.

This is cute, but be careful whose accomplishments you downplay.

I know some people who can’t just take a compliment are after reassurance and want to be told a little bit more how great they are. That’s fine. I want to talk about the times where it’s more about not being able to own up to how great we are.

My fellow blogger and cycling friend Sam and I had little bit of a chat about this issue as we watched a club race together last week. Our coach (a man) worked with two ladies to do really well in the race together. It was a men’s race. The gal who won absolutely impresses me with her talent and dedication, but I can remember the first time I met her being met with the kind of downplaying that I’m getting at. Sam pointed me towards “Self-Deprecation and the Female Cyclist,” which is certainly worth a read if you feel like you hold yourself back or downplay your athletic accomplishments and want a reminder to stop that right now.

Maybe for some of us, this comes down to perfectionism—or that ever-looming sense that we aren’t good enough coming back again. We focus so much on what we aren’t or on where we fall short that it’s hard for us to appreciate the things that are really worth celebrating in ourselves. You just ran a great race? Yeah, but it wasn’t as fast as my PB. You just did your first CrossFit competition? Yeah, but it wasn’t Rx.

But it was still badass.

It was still worth being proud of.

It was definitely worth celebrating.

While you’re at it, stop adding the word “just” to things. You didn’t “just” do a 10km when someone else did a marathon. You didn’t “just” go to the gym twice this week when you meant to go four times. Those things count for something.

I’m torn on whether or not I think celebrating our abilities is unquestionably the best way to build our confidence. I certainly don’t think that our only source of empowerment should come from our abilities.  But I do know that pretending that these things don’t make us feel good or don’t contribute to our sense of self-esteem would mean we’d miss out on a whole lot of potential. Maybe the answer is that we can’t base all of our self-worth and confidence on what we’re capable of (so that when we aren’t so capable, we don’t suck), but this kind of appreciation can be a valuable part of what fills up our confidence buckets.

redminer

Anyways, I don’t think that it’s fair to expect anyone—man or woman—to be confident all the time. But it’s my hope that we can think about the way that brushing off compliments or trying to convince people that we’re really not all that good is a habit worth getting out of.

What do you think?
What have you done lately that’s worth being proud of?
Where do you downplay your accomplishments, and what’s up with that?