affirmation

All posts tagged affirmation

The great weight debate, and my inner critic and @womenfoodgod

Published May 26, 2015 by Crystal

quote-for-some-reason-we-are-truly-convinced-that-if-we-criticize-ourselves-the-criticism-geneen-roth-66-74-69

I was content to keep weighing myself.  Despite the fact that the scales have not moved much in a year.  I was content to believe that I needed that external monitoring, because I can’t be trusted to rely on myself.  I mean, look at me, overweight, unsuccessful dieter.  Letting go of that external monitor to tell me that at least I’m not gaining weight, it would be a mad idea for this untrustworthy woman.

But then Geneen Roth, in her kindness and her wisdom, called me into my body, and pointed out who I was listening to when I believed that I can’t be trusted.  She calls it The Voice.  That authoritarian voice that points out all the flaws it perceives, that reminds me of all the things that are wrong with me, that reminds me moment after moment how I am incapable of change and progress and success.

And she showed me how The Voice is not me.  It is a lying critic, born out of childhood memories of chastisement and hurt.

Calling me into my body, with the belly meditation was a first step to calling me home.  I think, in general, we are used to going through our day on auto pilot.  To become aware of internal sensations in silence and for a dedicated time is a powerful thing.  Or it was for me.  To feel my breath, my lungs expand, my tummy rise and fall.  To notice my fingers tingle as I breathed deeply.  To inhabited my body with awareness, after being separated for what feels like the longest time, is an altering thing.  And I admit, I was sceptical.  While I love it, I still scoff with embarrassment at naval gazing activities.  And a belly meditation was no different.  But already, in two days, it feels a valuable tool in coming back and finding myself and finding my calm.

Back to The Voice.  It’s an interesting thing to become aware of.  Because it does sound like me.  And I thought it was me.  And maybe it is easier to distinguish as something else, now that my depression seems to be blurring away.  I can hear that inner critic and know, that like depression, it is a liar.  Today, on going to weigh myself, and discovering that, oh, I’ve gained after a weekend of food and drink, that Voice said loudly to me “You need to keep weighing, because look, you gain so quickly.  You can’t honestly trust yourself to lose weight without it.  And you’ve attempted to lose weight without diets so many times before, why should this time be any different?  Keep weighing.  You know, just in case.”

And I could believe ever word.  Because it all sounds so reasonable.  But then I realised.  It is criticising me, and robbing me of my own strength.  Stealing any self belief.  “You can’t honestly trust yourself…”

I have decided to call bullshit.  And I have decided I am going to trust myself!  I am going to keep coming back to my body.  I am going to keep practising mindfulness, and I am going to keep going to those feelings, and sit with them, and let them happen.

It might not work.  I might be unsuccessful yet again.  But while I continue to listen to The Voice, I’ve lost before I’ve started.  And a year of weighing has made virtually no difference to my weight.  So The Voice is already wrong!

hot fudge sundae

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You say “Fat Acceptance” like it’s a bad thing?

Published January 8, 2015 by Crystal

The irony of the last couple of days is that currently I am working on losing weight.  I have lost 2 and a half stone in the last 18 months.  OK It isn’t the momentous 6,8,10 stone that some achieve.  It has been slow and steady.  And this Christmas I gained, because I had a mental health issue, and it hit me hard.  But I have, overall, maintained a weight loss.  Not through self hate, not through telling my fat it is unacceptable and disgusting.  But through being kind.  Through noticing how my body responds positively to certain ways of exercise, Through acknowledging how I feel after different foods and days.  It has been through forgiving myself when I have been critical and hateful to a body that has seen me through so much.

I grew up hearing the ridicule, the hate, the spite, from people who felt justified to comment on my body.  “You have such a pretty face, if only you would lose weight”, or “Have you got a sign to warn people?  You know, Wide Load!”  And occasionally those comments would spark in me some action.  I would lose 2 stone, maybe even 3.  But I would still hate myself.  I still disliked my body, this body I had grown to dislike and despise and ridicule as effectively as those that had poured scorn on it from a distance.  I was living in a body I loathed, and when weight loss didn’t fix that, when weight loss turned out NOT to be the answer I dreamed of, I would gain weight again.

I had grown up with food being a comfort, an answer to many of life’s problems.  It’s not an ideal.   But it is what it is and it was what it was. The thing is, no amount of weight loss, founded out of self loathing and hate, is going to change that need to comfort eat when it is all you know.  So I would revert to food.  I was disgusting anyway, why should i deprive myself of burgers.  I didn’t deserve to be slim and happy, and anyway I was slim, but not happy, and what good had that been?

This was a vicious cycle.  It went on, and on, and on, and on, and on.  Each time I lost, each time I would ultimately gain.

So then I came across Intuitive Eating.  A way of tuning in and noticing yourself.  But more importantly, oh so much more importantly, a way of becoming compassionate to myself.

Gradually I learnt how to say kind things.  To acknowledge the wonderful things my body had done.  To thank it for carrying me.  And when it was hard to say kind things, just to not say anything nasty was enough.

And it has taken many, many years.  I am still a work in progress.  But I now, depression aside, enjoy my lie far more than in all those years of diets and self loathing.  If I follow a diet plan now (and I do, periodically, because it supports my needs and  find a way that works for me) it is done with compassion and forgiveness.  It is NOT done with judgement and scolding and criticism.  Because for me, that way to ruin and misery lie.

This is MY story, My experience.  Being larger doesn’t lessen me as a person.  I am choosing to get healthier for myself through ways that work for me.  With LOVE and Compassion and Acceptance of where I am now.  Training to run a marathon, and accepting that some days will be easier than others, but that it will be worth it in the end.

Fat Acceptance is not about getting people to eat themselves to death.  It is about learning to love ourselves where we are right now, and to come to believe and know we are worthy of love and acceptance.  It’s about sticking a finger up at ridiculous unrealistic media ideals that we all have to be some fantastical version of perfect.  It’s about acknowledging that health isn’t simply about size, or exercise, or food.  That there are mental and emotional aspects that impact greatly on our lives and they need addressing as much as everything else.  It’s about learning to live in balance in our own body, and finding what works and what is perfect for us.

I will continue to champion the larger lady, along with the slimmer lady.  The runner, and the writer.  The dancer, and the sunbather. The skater girl, the rockabilly belle.  The academic, and the sales assistant. I will champion every single woman who is living a life that works for her.  Because we are diverse.  No size fits all.  And this planet continues to be a beautiful place full of the unique and individual.

It’s just for me and my dog

Published January 7, 2015 by Crystal

We took a walk.  My dog and I.  That’s my exercise today.  It was nigh on four miles.  To Pets At Home.  He likes Pets At Home.  It means he gets a treat.  The fact he was getting a treat every few yards doesn’t matter.  You see, I was attempting to train my middle aged dog to not be such a so and so on the lead.  He’s a staffy.  He pulls.  And pulls.  And pulls.  And it’s a battle of wills as to who can hold out the longest and command obedience!  Today I think we met half way.  He started to pull a lot less, and will sit to command almost straight away.  So it’s a result!

And while it wasn’t high impact, fast paced exercise, it WAS a substantial walk, in wet and windy weather.  My fitbit has congratulated me 10,000 steps, and my legs ache nicely.

So that’s my 7th January #Janathon entry.

A lot more has happened today in the spheres of twitter and facebook.  A wonderful and delightful response to the ridiculous “Lose a friend by telling them they’re fat” Day.  Mr Miller isn’t too happy that his day has been robbed and replaced by plus sized lovelies telling each other #youarefab!  He is complaining that those who go against his idea want their friends to die an early death!

What he doesn’t seem to grasp is that love and compassion are far, far more powerful than loathing.  People might be able to hate themselves slim for a while, but it doesn’t last, because the motives aren’t in the interests of health and happiness.  And a good point raised by many is that “Fat” is subjective.  What one person may see as grossly overweight may, to another, be slim.  Shouldn’t we be supporting the idea of health and longevity and the many facets of those words, rather than making a judgement based on how heavy a person looks?

So today, on the 7th January, 2015, I want to tell you You Are Fab.  And don’t let any halfwitted diet “guru” tell you different! (and contrary to what he says, I don’t want you to die early).

Sore throat. Panic. Depression has rewired my head.

Published October 8, 2014 by Crystal

As time passes, it is the little things that show me how my brain has changed through its interaction with depression.  A mole hill becomes a mountain.  A small inconvenience can become a massive tragedy.

Two nights ago my throat started to feel sore.  You know that sweet feeling you get in the back of your throat before a cold?  And the hard lump that makes swallowing uncomfortable?  I went to sleep making excuses.  Dust from sanding things down.  Paint fumes irritating.

I woke yesterday morning.  My throat still sore.  The hard lump uncomfortable.  My nose was itchy, my head slightly stuffy.

Panic.  “How can I carry on my training which is so so early on and every run important in extending my staying power?  If I don’t run today when will I start again and will I have to start all over again?  Every run counts.  Every day is important.  Every single run needs to happen within a couple of days of the last or I will need to start all over again.  I can’t start all over again.”

It was the beginning of a cold, but my very real panic was whether to run through it and risk making it worse and potentially missing lots of days, or whether to hold off, dose myself up with everything that might help kick the cold to touch, and give myself a day off.

I searched Mr Google “can I run with a cold?” and the overwhelming advice that came out was that if it is above your throat, running is ok.  If it is in your throat or your chest or both, then running is a no no.  Obediently I decided to stop, have the day off, get lots of drugs from Boots, and hope that this cold would go nowhere.  I had to go shopping anyway, so while not running I did walk and walk and walk through the day.

Today I woke up, and the cold seems to have been halted.  It hasn’t gotten any worse, and my throat might even feel a bit better.  With echinacea, garlic, and zinc taken this morning, I have to stay in and wait for a delivery, but after that I am going to attempt a run.  If I don’t complete it it is not the end of the world.  But believing that is a hard thing.  It seems that now my head is hard wired to believe the worst possible outcome of every inconvenience.  My brain will rush forward 6 months and see the failure emblazoned over my life.  It actually takes a lot of effort now to break things down and look at situations logically and sympathetically, and with kindness to myself.

A cold is a cold.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s a small inconvenience, and it could potentially delay my training.  But training if I can’t breathe properly would be pretty pointless anyway, wouldn’t it?  It would be draining at least, and potentially make me feel worse.  In the *cold* light of day I can see how unreasonable I am being on myself.  But it has taken 24 hours to realise that.  To reflect and allow things to run their course as much as possible.

Today as I write this, there is a lot of news coverage around Mental Health.  The Liberal Democrats are seeking to improve waiting targets for sufferers.  Katharine Welby-Roberts is on the BBC talking about media coverage and the stigma from those around us as sufferers.

We are still a long long way from wide understanding and acceptance as sufferers of Mental Health issues.  And for me, it is understanding from myself too.

If you would like to sponsor me as I train and run the London Marathon, please click the button to the right of the blog entries.  I am raising money for SANE

I, weary traveller, must always take the slower path.

Published September 9, 2014 by Crystal

When I was getting married, I lost about 6 stone in a year.  It was a hard, hard year, and I remember a lot of emotion, a lot of eating foods I really did not like, and hating myself every time I didn’t follow the diet plan I was on.   I didn’t it the target I had been aiming for.  But I got close.  I look at the wedding photos and I like them.  It was a happy day.

The next few years consisted of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and a diet plan didn’t really feature.  The weight came off, because of habits I had established with Slimming World, eating mostly “green” each day, but I was busy and running around, and so food wasn’t a worry.  It was only after my 3rd child, when that last stone of baby weight didn’t seem to shift after a year, that  I got stressed and something snapped.  I look back now and realise I was fine.  But changing a way of eating, and living with depression.  It was not a good combination.  Suddenly I was losing and lost a lot quickly.

Of course, the deprivation hit me.  I had not established good long term habits, I had been starving myself for the goal of loss on the scales.  It wasn’t healthy.  I passed out in a restaurant once as my blood sugar was so low.  Ridiculous now I look back.

But that was 7 years ago, and 7 years has taught me a lot.

For instance, when I would lose a significant amount quickly, that significant amount would return equally quickly.    I would lose and gain a stone, then gain the extra weight on top.  My weight increased over those years.  In spite of the hypnotherapy.  In spite of the herbalife.  In spite of the Slimfast.  In spite of the juicing.  Because they all, in some way, forced a way of limiting food and restricting what or how I should eat.  And since discovering Intuitive Eating, the deprivation felt all the more keen.  The deprivation felt harsher when I read there was an alternative way to live.

But 7 years has allowed me to experiment, and become more in tune with myself.  I am finding a way of being able to lose weight with the help of the Slimming World plan, but I am doing it with far more kindness and acceptance than ever before.  A significant loss on the scales means nothing if my week has been full of deprivation and annoyance and not eating something or drinking something I wanted.  And so my syns will exceed the 15 a day at times, and I will look at ways of eating more healthsome foods at mealtimes to allow myself to benefit from those to perhaps compensate for the excess.  But a loss that is slow is still a loss.  And 11.5 months on from starting Weight Watchers, I am nearly 3 stone lighter.  I have achieved and maintained a significant loss, while still enjoying food and drink and social occasions!

I have lost nearly 3 stone in the time it takes some people to lose 6 or even 8.  But in losing slowly, I am coming to terms with how different my body shape is.  I can accept and get used to the different curves and abilities and it is not a drastic shock.  A size 20 to a size 16 is a significant loss and and there is a significant difference.  A bigger bounce in my step, a desire to look my best at nearly all times, not feeling exhausted after every little thing.  No hiding under big tent like dresses and play suits and kaftans.  I wear items that emphasise a waist, and show off my more shapely legs.  I enjoy my body now and I enjoy dressing it.

It may take me another year to lose the next 3 stone.  And I am content with that.  I may not be a size 14 this Christmas.  Will Christmas be drastically affected if I don’t lose a single pound between now and Christmas?  Will it affect how I cook a turkey, and whether I roast the spuds in goose fat?  Not a chance!

But I have found a way of losing weight that fits in to my lifestyle, and it’s the slow path, but it’s a path that works for me.  And it’s progress

slow progress

 

 

 

The post holiday critic.

Published August 27, 2014 by Crystal

It is half a week since we returned from our holiday.  We’ve unpacked, unwound, and uploaded the photos.  I decided at some point the holiday mentality of wine every evening had to stop, and food has become more filling and rewarding the last couple of days.  But I was looking at my photos today and those nasty little voices started to creep in.  “Look at your tummy.  You didn’t get anywhere near that size 14 wetsuit!”

And then I compare the holiday of last year to the holiday of this year;

2013

2013 Durdle Door

2014

2014 Pembrey Sands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year I felt huge.  I covered my form with baggy clothes, I refused to get into the water.  My wetsuit wouldn’t get past my thighs.  I spent a lot of time sitting and drinking, and watching the others run around.  When we were in Bude a few weeks later last year it was that lovely time of month, and I used it as an excuse to avoid excessive movement.  I was tired, and that tiredness penetrated through the whole holiday.  It was the same delightful situation this time around, but fortunately I was less tired during the holiday.  I refused to let it stop me getting into the water, or enjoy the walking around, and while I was probably more grumpy and tired than I like to be on a holiday, I got a good hour of body boarding in and it was only the last couple of days that exhaustion limited me more than I liked.  Fortunately once home I could flake, and flake I did!  Flake and moan and grumble.

Anyway, I looked at that photo on the right, and others, where I was boarding with my son, and those little voices highlighted that tummy of mine that was totally relaxed and not sucked in at all, and those little voices didn’t comment on the exercise I was getting, or the invigoration of being in the sea.  Or the time spent with my youngest while he was brave enough to try body boarding for the first time.  Those little voices are vain.  Image and appearance is all that matters to them.  Not the fun, not the memories.

I look at those photos and I know I had a good time in Dorset.  Even with the limitations I felt I had, or that I set myself.  I can look back fondly.  Yes it was a larger me, but there was a pub with the most awesome onion rings I have ever tasted!  Yes it was a larger me, but the afternoon wandering around Weymouth was lovely!  And the time in Bude a few weeks later, sitting in the van near Crooklets Beach and reading Anne Rice while the menfolk hit the waves, I actually enjoyed that peace and quiet.  I felt it restorative. Which reminds me, I still need to get the next book! Lasher, I think…..

The walk down to St Nectan’s Glen, standing in the pool.  It was peaceful, it was calm, it was what I needed at that time.

So I didn’t hit that goal of the size 14 wetsuit this summer.  But it didn’t limit my holidays, or the memories my kids will have of the awesome family holiday.   We walked and explored, we sat and socialised, we braved the windy beach, we sat and watched kids play together in a playground.  There was enough activity and enough rest.

Two photos, two different holidays.  Both with happy memories.  And really, when I look into it, my weight has had the smallest impact in affecting what those happy memories could have been and what they are.  I don’t loathe last years photos, or look at myself in disgust.  And I refuse to do that this year either.

 

 

 

 

 

Making plans during depression

Published June 5, 2014 by Crystal

Woke up and decided I need to make some plans.  Lovely messages from lovely friends who understand, maybe who have been there.  I cancelled a meet up today because being social seems to take everything out of me this week.  But I know in reality that I am not helping myself.

There’s a few reasons why I think I’m struggling with the idea of being social;

Smiling seems an effort.  I can laugh at a joke but the next second be back under the cloud.  It’s like one of those cartoon clouds, maybe, following only me around, and every time I try to dodge, it realises and realigns itself right above my head.

Making conversation seems so, so hard.  A) I don’t feel like I’m worth listening to, no one wants to listen to me drivel on about something and nothing.  B) I am definitely having a concentration issue right now, and actually actively listening to someone else talk is really, really, really hard.  And I don’t want to come across as rude when I have to ask them to repeat because, squirrel!

Food is an issue right now.  I don’t want to eat in public just now.  At home with family, that’s ok, that’s normal.  But in public, just the thought sends my pulse racing.  Will I eat too much?  Will I eat the right thing?  Will I be able to control myself?  I know they’re not healthy thoughts, but I’m dealing with that.  I’m being kind as I can right now.

 

 

BUT 

If I want to get out of this fug before it goes on and on and on I know I need to take action.  So I’m committing to one thing a day for the next week.

Today is to make Hairy Dieters Cheese Leek and Potato Pasties.  They are yummy, my husband loves them, and they’re a good ready made lunch (once they’re made, obviously), and they will be useful during my second round of commitments.

Which is clearing out the old shed and putting up a new.  I won’t be doing it alone, fortunately, but I commit to throwing myself into it and being present while doing it.  Manual labour, decluttering, creating new.  It has to be a positive thing.  I envisage it taking 3 days.

I’m up to Monday.  And I don’t know yet what my plans can be for then.  But I have decided it will involve meeting up with friends, of visiting those that have come to see me or kept me going with witty banter.  Because good friends do understand, they know that it’s not personal.  They know that sometimes depression leads to irrational thoughts and actions, but they love you and are there for you despite it, and I know that, because they all told me that in these last few weeks.  And I am grateful for that.

So those are my plans.  Starting with today.  And when things don’t happen.  That will be ok too.  Part of the thing is seeing that there is even a reason to make plans. xxx

 

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