think about it: what’s more important than loving your body

Last week, I found my way to an article on The Huffington Post called “Why Love Your Body Campaigns Aren’t Working.”  Isabel Foxen Duke (she’s a coach) wrote the thing and I think she raised a really important point:

“…instead of simply shifting the global paradigm of beauty, we need to start exploring why those paradigms are meaningful to begin with, and challenge the validity of those beliefs.”

Amen to that.

If we want people to start loving their bodies, I don’t think we need to look at the bodies themselves. We need to look at the BELIEF systems around our bodies and particularly around weight. This needs to go on at an individual level and a societal level.

Individually, not using your weight or how your body looks as a source of self worth is a pretty big step, but big steps go hand in hand with a revolution. Imagine being able to look at your body as a gift–whatever it looks like–because it lets you live the awesome life you’re too busy enjoying to get distracted by anxiety over whether or not your cellulite is showing. That would feel pretty good, don’t you think?

So would getting weighed at the doctor and taking the number as just information—not a reflection of your self worth. Or buying the size of pants that fit you, regardless of whether they’re an XS or an XL–and wearing them with confidence.

I have a couple questions I think might help lead to what I’m getting at here.

  • What if your weight was like height and you couldn’t change it?
  • How would you talk to yourself?
  • Shop for clothes?
  • Eat?
  • Exercise?

Answering these questions while thinking about weight in a new way—as something we don’t need to worry about affecting directly—starts to hint at all that’s possible if we make that shift in perspective.  If you start focusing on your actions and on what you can control and let weight be the by product, you have the freedom (and the responsibility) to do what’s really good for you. So, what’s possible if you change what you’re making weight mean?

I’d suggest this: make a list of the things you think your weight (or if you’ve already realized that it’s not your weight but the obsession with it that holds you back, then the focus on weight) is stopping you from doing. Look at that list critically and ask yourself, is there any reason why someone with your body shouldn’t have those things? My guess is that the answer you’ll come up with is no. Skinny people are CEOs. Fat people are CEOs. Skinny people fall in love. Fat people fall in love. Skinny people can go to the beach. Fat people can go to the beach. Etc. etc. Like the article I linked to suggested, there’s a learning process here and when we go through it we can start to look at our bodies in a new light:

“Eventually my relationship with my body did start to change… when I finally realized I can get the guy, the job, the cute clothes in the window right now, regardless of my weight. Women with “non-traditional body types” are not disabled from creating what they want in the world, we’re just taught that they are.”

This leads me to my next point. We need a change in how we look at our bodies as a society.  We need to start valuing, displaying, and appreciating all body sizes and shapes. It’s not that we’ll never have a “skinny” person on the cover of a magazine and I don’t think we need to come up with requirements for how big or how small a person needs to be to be a model. I think we need diversity. I think we need to look at “Strong is the New Skinny” type campaigns with a critical eye and take them for what they are—a new method to get women to drive themselves batty chasing after another unrealistic ideal. Like I’ve said before on this topic, if we want to move forward, we don’t need a new skinny, we need to stop worrying about fitting into ideals (skinny, strong, curvy, whatever the flavor of the day is) that don’t serve us.

So, to answer my question, what’s more important than loving your body? Loving yourself, of course, and loving the way you live your life.  Another quote from Foxen Duke:

“When our belief systems around weight change — that is, when we challenge the “meaning” we give to weight or body shape — our bodies naturally become our allies in achievement, rather than an obstacle to overcome.”

Think about it: our bodies are the instruments that let us live our lives! If we love our lives, doesn’t it make sense that we would love our bodies? And if we love our bodies, wouldn’t we take exquisite care of them?

take care

 

What do you think your current body is holding you back from?

Sunday Sharing

Morning!

I’m going to go a little bit diary on you, so forgive me if you can’t follow!

Today I slept in because last night turned into a later (fun!) night than I thought it might. It also involved more m&ms and beer, and me having to tell myself “it’s okay even if you had eaten the whole bag, which you didn’t” and stopping any bingeing inklings. Because the truth is, m&ms are fine, and even a half a bag is OK if it wasn’t in a bingeing setting. I do NOT do this on a daily basis and the risk with it is that I let it drive me to restrict, to overeat, to alter things in any way. Instead I’m looking at how I kind of wanted to keep going with eating them as a signal: why? Why do I want to sabotage myself when I start to feel good? With my old belief, I get it. I would be restricting soon and I would then be eating as a “last chance” kind of thing. But the truth is, if I can believe that “I am perfect the way I am” and that “My body will take care of itself in terms of weight” and just keep trying to do this til I make it, forgiving any little “mistakes” and seeing them as learning opportunities/insight, I don’t have to feel bad about anything. So I’m not, which is refreshing! I know normally the day after I go out, I feel bad—even if I haven’t binged. But when I look back on my m&m indulgence from a place of curiosity…hmmm…and see that I was a) hungry b) tired and c) tempted to use them as a way to sabotage, I don’t have to feel that guilt.

So anyways, ranting done. I started today off with my trusty bowl of cereal/nut butter spoon and now I’m just doing some lazy sitting stuff while I work up the energy to do my training! I know I’ll feel energized after a bike ride (which I think I’m doing inside since it’s a bit chilly and I rode outside all week) and maybe some yoga! I’ve got Sunday Funday to look forward to and then I think I’m heading to Sarnia for the evening.

I wanted to share the guest post I loved about injury on Carrots n Cake. I am clicking over to WY I Run  because I can relate to the insight on injury oh so much! I might not have had a hip stress fracture (though I was sure I did), but with my spending three months off and coming back slowly I can totally relate to this stuff! I also really liked the post on Drop it and Eat it about what happens when you change your relationship with food (it might as well be with yourself, I truly think our relationship with food mirrors our relationship with ourself a la Geneen Roth) — while it’s “thrilling, liberating…refreshing” as the post says, it’s also “frightening” — so true! I think, and the post takes a similar view, that at some point you realize that it’s not worth it and that since you are in control of your own life, you just have to get excited about the potential, not scared of the possibilities. 🙂 Amen to that!

TGIF on time

After last week’s failed Friday post that ended up being on Saturday, I’ve made sure I’ve been paying attention to things going on this week and making some bookmarks to get this Friday post fired off for you guys!

Did I mention I love Fridays? And life?

5 inspirations

1. 

2. 

3. 

4. 

5. 

4 things I am adding to my summer to do list

1. Healthy Living Summit – With Chelsea, Meg, and I hope Bee, maybe Courtney, and whoever the heck else wants to jump on this awesome train. Takers?!

2. Canyon to Coast Jasper to Banff 500 Cycle Tour – Click on the link! This is my grad gift and I am freaking excited. 106 days (but who’s counting?). The description is good — “This tour for serious cyclists features the incredible beauty and diversity of British Columbia’s interior and coast. On this 520k / 320 mile tour you will not only get to ride the entire Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff, but you will also get to see some of the hidden and less visited gems in the Canadian Rockies and ride all of the amazing climbs to stunning vistas. This tour is geared toward ambitious intermediate to serious road riders and features 5,300 metres or 17,500 feet of elevation gain.” but the picture of the bear is funny. So long as I’m faster than one other person on the trip, I’m going to be good.

3. Yoga Slackers Adventure Summer Camp – This one I’ve not signed up for and think I might be jam packing my August a bit too much but I want to do it so I thought I’d share! A girl can dream…of slack lining, doing yoga, and trail running like a kid for a week, can’t they?

4.

including but not limited to: biking anywhere and everywhere in Ontario, trail running our faces off, kayaking, jumping in the river, eating copious amounts of fro yo and ice cream, hanging out on Barney's patio, doing ropes courses, going rock climbing, going to as many concerts as possible, signing up for races galore, etc. etc. etc.

3 blog posts you should read

1. Angela’s “An Injury Update & Finding the Silver Lining” : “When things happen in our lives that take us off our planned course (and they will), it’s a great time to stop and think about what other doors have opened. It can take time to figure out, but that’s ok too. Do a bit more of what feels good to you each day, and a bit less of what doesn’t.”

I think she was speaking to me! Injury or not, it’s a good message! Look at the opportunities, not what you might have missed out on. An injury blows, yes indeedy! But my own injury taught me a lot, got me back in the pool, and I’m not going to lie and say I’m not SCARED of getting hurt again, but I do know that I am bigger than letting my ability to run or bike or do whatever determine my happiness or self worth. Yeah, it blows not being able to do what you want to do. But if I’d been down in the dumps for the last 3 months because of my hip, I think I’d have missed out on the best semester of my life. An injury doesn’t stop you from living your life or give you an excuse to be miserable—it took me a lot of tears and being miserable to realize that, but life is too freaking short! You could be in the best shape of your life and die tomorrow, and if you spent your whole life working out and controlling things in order to be that fit, what do you have to show for it?! Toned biceps in your casket? Yeah…I’m seizing the day!

2. 7 Essential Steps to Giving Up the Fight with Food and Your Body  at Body Love A- The steps are awesome but so are the questions she asks of you at the beginning. And she ends things with “Your thoughts are creating your reality,” which sounds kind of familiar to a little epiphany I had this week, doesn’t it?

3. Tina’s Motivational Musing: This Is What It’s All About  post – her message = “Don’t let life pass you by. Take care of your body so you can live life abundantly. View a healthy lifestyle as a blessing to help you get the most out of life, instead of an obligation or obsession that robs the life out of you.”

And that’s a good message worth checking out! Did I mention I love her blog?!

2 things that made me drool this week

1. boys

2. Leanne’s 20 Healthy Gluten-free Power Snacks post filled with tasty looking eats I really want to try! Gluten or no gluten, they look good. Yummmmm.

1 new blog I found/loved this week 

1. Medical Marzipan – Learning to Love Your Body One Day At A Time – check it out. “Medicinal Marzipan is a blog about learning to love yourself a little bit more every day – to the best of your abilities and without any regrets.”

Sounds like a good goal to me!

Happy weekend!

What’d you stumble on this week worth sharing?

Fro yo fosters deep insight

I’m skipping yoga for this so you know it must be good.

Where to start?

Right with the good stuff?

Or maybe with a quote?

Yeah…

This quote means a lot to me. Not just because it keeps turning up in my life — remember how last week I watched Cinderella Story…

Creepy!

Anyways, it reminds me of an epiphany I had. Today’s session with my therapist brought up the ideal of beliefs. In particular, false beliefs. And after the session, where we worked through some of the things I tell myself that are just downright wrong but that form so much of how I treat myself, how I view the world, and all that good stuff, I had a couple of other realizations. Good session, much?

Now I’ll dive right into it–what does fear have to do with fro yo?

…well. Tonight I was going to meet some friends for fro yo. I had in my mind that I would be A OK and that I just wouldn’t have any since I am trying to lose weight.

Logical enough, right?

Wait, W T F Cheryl?!

Something’s up when I’m telling myself I need to lose weight and accepting it at face value….

As recovered as I am, as much as I want my weight to be “happy” and to take care of itself, I still have a belief about myself that says I need to lose weight. And regardless of whether or not this is true, it informs everything I do. Yes, I am free from ED, but I am not free from this belief and I have a feeling that the belief has been around longer than ED and that it’s something I need to work through if I really want to live the life of my dreams—and since I’m not ready to settle for anything less than that, here goes! It’s like if I give up this belief, if I start to trust that I really AM awesome already, I’ll be doing something wrong. But that’s wrong–there’s nothing great about settling.

One thing my therapist did to help me bust through my beliefs was to ask me what it would look like if I still believed them in 5 years. So with this one, how will my life look in five years if I still think I need to lose weight? What might I miss out on? It’s kind of sad. Maybe I’ll get a job, maybe I’ll get through nutrition, maybe I’ll feel like a phoney because shouldn’t dietitians have this weight stuff under control, maybe ED will still be lurking around the corner, maybe I’ll still feel unattractive, maybe I’ll still be single, maybe I’ll still devote my energy to managing my weight instead of finding and pursuing my purpose, maybe it will be just okay.

And today/in my current life, the belief that I need to lose weight is dangerous. It keeps me on the edge of relapse, wanting to restrict, saying that it’s okay to skip a meal here or there and eat frozen yogurt instead (and then questioning how it’s ever possible to allow myself to have it on top of dinner?), adding extra training into an already solid training plan, working out through injuries, not giving my body the fuel it needs, leaves me feeling unattractive, sets me to self sabotage when I do eat something I think is “bad” or won’t help me “lose weight”, saying no to invites and thus missing out on experiences etc. etc. etc.

In short, it leaves me living a half assed life.

Conversely, how awesome might my life look if I decide that I am perfect the way I am and start really walking the walk (not just talking the talk). In five years, I might be a dietician with a successful practice working with athletes who struggle with their own body image, I might have written a book about all of this, I might be a regular contributor to magazines out my whazoo, I might be qualifying for Kona, I might have a boyfriend, I might love my body and think of myself as beautiful, I might be the person I want to be! …yeah, I dream big. Change those “mights” to I will, and I think I have a plan.

And in the short term, it’s not might. It’s will. I’m changing the belief. So tonight instead of believing that I need to go to yoga because it’s exercise and I should exercise more because I need to change my body, I am going to believe that I need to listen to my body, recognize that I’ve already worked out a lot today, and save the yoga for when I’m fresh. I’m going to take the time to write this blog post and then I’m going to meet up with friends and eat fro yo even though I had dinner. I’m going to wear my clothes that fit right now and make myself look good in them instead of wearing gym clothes and telling myself I’ll wear my “real clothes” when my smaller stuff fits. I am giving myself permission to be happy regardless of my weight and am going to really take to heart that advice that I like to give: if you are healthy in your actions, your weight will end up where it needs to be.

Basically, what if I change my belief so that I truly believe that I am exactly the weight I need to be? Instead of whining about feeling like I “deserve” to look fitter or to be smaller, what if I accept that this is what my body wants to weigh and give myself credit for running, swimming, biking, and doing yoga like a boss (shout out to Kate on that one). And if I treat myself differently for it — allow myself the rest/recovery I need, give myself healthy meals, have room for frozen yogurt and treats, and exude happy cuz that’s what I am — isn’t that kind of more important than being a size 4? If I go out with friends, sleep in, go on road trips, and smile the whole time — isn’t that kind of the point of life? What if I already deserve all that?

I’ve read a lot about how letting go of your need to lose weight will set you free and you will find your happy weight. I really thought I was doing it, but I kind of had the realization that I was just faking it. Maybe half-assing it. And I don’t believe in that! Already I’ve noticed the ways that this belief plays out in my life: telling me that I should  go to yoga and that I should just meet my friends at the yogurt place but not have any. And that’s huge–consciousness has to come first! And I’m ready to take action, because to be honest, this belief hasn’t gotten me anywhere in the past except frustrated and unhappy regardless of what the scale says. That’s the kicker. When your whole belief system says you need to be lighter or that you are somehow wrong, how could you ever be happy, regardless of how small or big your butt is? When you shift that belief and really believe that your body is perfectly perfect the way it is, I am guessing you find that blissful happiness and confidence that has been so elusive for so long.

And I’m rambling. But I’m letting it all out because I’m dedicating myself to actually changing this belief. It’s not really easy to change something that I’ve believed for as long as I can remember (recall diaries from when I was 9 talking about how I was going to lose weight), but I kind of feel like I’ve stumbled onto a huge realization here that’s going to just catapult me into awesomeness.


But NEWS FLASH: we are meant to be awesome, happy, and to love ourselves! I’m done holding myself back and keeping myself miserable. It’s time to get happier. 🙂

It all reminds me of, Life Doesn’t Begin 5 Pounds From Now, a book I read a long time ago that I think might need to come off my bookshelf now. And of a whole bunch of quotes about seizing the day, living your life, and all that good cheesy stuff.

Here goes…

And sigh*

What kinds of beliefs do you have about yourself that might be limiting?
Did you follow this post at all or was it too much word vomit?