body acceptance

All posts tagged body acceptance

The Fall Out of a Weight Loss Holiday

Published July 16, 2015 by Crystal

Four pounds heavier, full of food and drink that do not nourish.

It was a blow out.  But I think I am beyond the post diet binge.  It isn’t even about them any more.  I’m rebelling, I’m self sabotaging, I’m doing everything that leaves me feeling crap and guilty, but I am finding it hard to analyse why.  The thing is, I now know the benefits of eating more veg, drinking less alcohol, drinking more water.  I know that less bread for me means less bloating.  I feel the physical and mental benefits when I do these things.  But then something snaps, and I want all those foods that make me feel below par.

Is it some sort of punishment for myself?  Do I somehow feel I don’t deserve to have good health and happiness?  And feel that I need to make it harder for myself to achieve those goals?  Or do I self sabotage because I feel I never succeed, and if I don’t let myself succeed, then failure is the inevitable, and I’m used to that, and I won’t be disappointed?  Mad, backwards thinking, but somehow it feels like that is the issue at the moment.

I feel on the edge of depression again, not quite falling in, but dangerously close to that edge, and I am desperate to turn it around before it’s too late.  So today I am making better food choices for me, increasing the water, and avoiding the caffeine.  Tonight is outdoor fitness, and I will treat myself more kindly.

Having food issues is all consuming, and exhausting.  And it’s why I get so mad at the Fattist and Sizest tweeters who are dead set on fat shaming.  I don’t like myself too much right now, and it isn’t encouraging me to lose weight.  It’s led to a week of overeating simply because.  And it’s exhausting for not only me, but my husband. Not because I am hideous and too fat to have sex with, but because I am emotional and needy and lacking in the self confidence.

Time for some kindness once more.

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“#fatacceptance is ruining the world!” bla bla bla. But what about life before it?

Published June 15, 2015 by Crystal

It dawned on me earlier, as I munched on my luscious salad, and perused twitter to see what bile Mr Miller was spewing today.  It dawned on me how fat acceptance is seen as this big evil, and how “normalising obesity is crippling our NHS” is the biggest pile of poop, because it has only just got legs in the last decade, and this country has been getting bigger for a lot longer than that!

I have been on a diet of some sort for a substantial amount of time each year for about 30 years.  And I am in my mid 30’s.  In primary school I was teased and bullied for my size, in PE lessons aged 6 I specifically remember how different I was to other kids because I couldn’t feel my ribs.  In secondary school I was also teased and bullied for my size, and then as a youth worker I had snide comments from shitty little brats who found it hilarious to comment.  The 80s and 90s were not kind to girls of a larger stature. At Secondary School our Home Economics lady was big.  And the boys in the class felt no shame in loudly mocking and ridiculing, and making her aware of how they felt about her appearance.  Fat acceptance was not a thing.  Thin was acceptable.  Fat was not.   It’s safe to say I grew up with enough self loathing to see me through the rest of my days.  And as a result of believing that thin was good and fat was very, very, very bad, I spent many days, months, years, on ryvitas and cottage cheese, or slimma soups, or dust.  I followed Rosemary Conley’s recipes to the letter, I exercised each evening to Cher.  I tried my damnedest to fit in to the acceptable norm, knowing that big was not acceptable.

And I doubt I’m alone.   In fact I would go so far as to wager that many of the fat acceptance campaigners will have grown up with similar experiences of torment and ridicule, and will have seen others dealing with the same.  I would wager that fat acceptance has come about as a reaction to years and years of fat shaming.  So to be blaming the “obesity crisis/epidemic” (really, that deserves a whole other blog post of its own) on a movement that has really only gained ground in the last few years seems somewhat ridiculous, no?

Think about that for a moment.  These people who are fighting for acceptance have endured years and years of ridicule, and have remained fat.  Often in spite of diet after diet.  So while Mr Miller sits there on his throne of judgement, he is merely continuing a behaviour which is what many of us endured in childhood and teendom.  And fat acceptance CANNOT be blamed for a situation that was taking place for decades before it even existed.

So what is the answer?  Well, for me, it is about kindness and care.  I want to look after my body.  I want to feel healthy.  I want to protect myself from disease if I can, and be around for my kids.  Sometimes I fall back into old coping mechanisms.  Sometimes eating gives me a way of not dealing with feelings I don’t want to face.  But day by day the self acceptance and self care gets easier, and the critical voices of old get quieter and quieter.  It may not be the whoopy doop super fast weight loss that Miller demands of fatties everywhere, but it is maintainable and life changing.

My salad, by the way, was yummy!

My salad, by the way, was yummy!

Dry #Juneathon? Who am I kidding? (Day 3)

Published June 3, 2015 by Crystal

Today’s exercise is complete.  It wasn’t running in the end.  For several reasons.  One. I felt particularly self conscious on putting my running gear on today.  My tummy, while no difference in size to 6 weeks ago, felt big.  My tights felt revealing, and I felt conspicuous to every passer by.  So naturally, I donned my bright yellow rain coat, which covers my bum.  It also has helpful pockets for things like wallet and phone, which I needed as my exercise involved walking to Tesco 2.5 miles away to get my prescription (apparently Duloxetine is something they need to order in, albeit super fast, they just don’t stock it.  Now I know for next time).  Anyway, I started out, and I felt a bit meh about it anyway, but also particularly self conscious, so I tried a little running, but decided that walking would be fine.

2 miles in and the blister started.  3 miles in and there was the feeling when the blister has popped.  Home and I have a lovely large empty blister.  I was miffed as yet again my twin skin socks had let me down.  Whilst the likes of lidl trainer socks never have.  I won’t bore you with the photo.  I already did that on twitter.  At least now I have my Duloxetine, and I have 5 miles under my belt.

3 days of exercise, it’s a roll!

Food wise I am loosely following Joel Fuhrman’s GBOMBS plan.  I like the idea of all the nutrient dense foods, and am feeling pretty good.  The smell of the KFC I passed did absolutely nothing for me, and my craving for lunch was avocado on rye bread (which I have just had).

What I am really fancying though, is a nice glass (bottle) of wine.  So I had a think to myself What would Geneen ask me re the wine?  How am I feeling?  Am I anxious or agitated?  Is there something I am trying to avoid?  And I’m thinking Well I am starting a new supply job on Friday, and it’s my first shift, but it’s cleaning, and it’s only 2 hours.  Logically there isn’t really any reason to be anxious.  And when it comes down to it, I think the reason I want wine is because I told myself I can’t have it!

What is it about us humans that want the one thing we’ve told ourselves we shouldn’t?  There’s a rebellious streak in me that really does not want to grow up.  I want to smoke, drink, and spend long lazy days at the pub as I did in my teens, which is nearly 20 bloody years ago!  So it’s that, that feeling of sensibility and responsibility that I seem to be fighting against today and I want wine to prove that I’m not yet a fully responsible 30 something, and that I can still play and have fun.  I don’t know where I am going with this awareness, but I guess awareness is the first step towards something positive!

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

#selfconfidence and #anxiety affect weight? Haven’t we, the cardigan wearing, hairy feminists #sizeacceptance trolls been saying that ALL along, @steve___miller?

Published May 25, 2015 by Crystal

Block out the negative messages.  Lift yourself with the positive ones.  Never stop believing your body is a wonderful thing

I sincerely hope Steve Miller is turning a corner, and realising all his fat shaming is ineffectual when it serves to knock a person’s confidence.

I sincerely hope this is the start of a step back from fat shaming and size shaming, and a move toward working to build esteem and confidence and see where that takes people.

As someone coming out of the other side of a rather long period of depression, thanks in part to running, and starting duloxetine, and good support from friends and family, I can say that my self confidence is below what it used to be.  And it is something that I am addressing at the moment.  When confidence is low, and anxiety is high, the old comfort mechanisms pull strongly to help me make it through the day.  And it’s not a bad thing.  But it’s not a great thing either.  Drinking or eating too much are temporary plasters that don’t leave me feeling great in the long run.

As self confidence increases, and anxiety lessens, and overall mood improves, the need to use food and drink to calm and soothe diminishes.

I know I am turning a corner because self care is getting better, and my drive to look after myself in better ways are getting stronger.  And Geneen Roth and her book Women Food and God, is giving wise words and ideas in the search for self care. You can read an excerpt here.

It is a shame Steve Miller has spent so long shaming already, when hypnotherapy can be used to bring about very positive changes.  It is a shame he prefers to use hate motivation rather than kindness and care motivation.  I sincerely hope he is actually turning a corner here.

I understand he is out to make a living, but he could do it without bullying and hate speech.

I’ve been running away from myself and I didn’t even know, thank you @geneenroth

Published May 18, 2015 by Crystal

There are many ways to bolt.  Walking out the door.  Renting a helicopter.  Distracting yourself from your pain by doing a thousand things: thinking about something else, blaming your mother, blaming someone else, getting into a fight, comparing yourself to other people, dreaming about life in the future, recalling life in the past, never getting deeply involved.

Eating.

Spending your life trying to lose weight or figure it all out.

Resigning yourself to the endless struggle with food so you never have to take the dive into the meaning of it all.  Or discover who you are, what your relationships can be without the drama of food.

Geneen Roth; Women Food and God

I’m tired.  And I feel like I have been struggling with my weight for the last year.  I didn’t realise I felt like this.  But I weigh now, what I weighed 10 months ago.  Something isn’t working.  Something isn’t right.  The diets aren’t working.  And I realise I am obsessed with food once more.

I didn’t realise all this until I opened up Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God, a book I read several years ago, but the message of which I have forgotten as time has gone on.

I didn’t realise how much I have been running away from myself over the last year.  I distract myself with a hundred things at a time.  Books go half read, films go half watched.  Life goes half lived while I obsess over what to eat next, or how to deal with having eaten outside of the diet plan for several days.  Weigh day has become a panic inducing, anxiety enhancing main event, a test which I fail again and again with my minuscule losses, or impressive gains.  The thoughts of slimfast, or herbalife, or lighter life rush through my head as I wonder what I can do to fix this never ending plateau.

In my head I know that the real trick is to accept myself.  I can talk the talk.  “Appreciate yourself, be thankful for all your body can do, accept yourself as you are.”  I know all the lingo.

But somewhere down the line I have stopped believing it.  I don’t think I like myself very much at the moment.  And I think I am running away from looking into why.  It’s easier to distract myself with the laptop and twitter and facebook and candy crush, and trips out with friends, and endless background noise.  It’s easier to avoid thinking too much, or question that feeling of dissatisfaction.

Diets aren’t working.  And the self loathing is increasing as that belief that I am a failure seeps into those little vulnerable spaces.

And Geneen suggests this obsession with food and diets is serving a purpose of avoidance, that it drowns out the madness of life. 

So I’ve decided to give Geneen’s way a chance.  To bring myself into the present, and to allow myself to feel what I am currently stopping myself feeling.  To address fears that are hidden away.

I think I want to end the drama, and to start living a whole life again.  To really enjoy the days, not to simply exist in them.  Depression has played its part, but I have colluded, and it’s time to find another way.

It’s scary.  But change is scary, isn’t it?

#ThisGirlCan, This Woman did, and Now my kids want to too, and for @charitysane

Published April 28, 2015 by Crystal

I am still buzzing from completing the London Marathon.  I am still in pain, and utterly exhausted.  But the buzz of completing this surpasses any challenge I have done previously.  It is amazing.  So much so that I signed up for my next challenge this morning.  Only a half marathon in October, but something I can really work to and improve on.

But even better than the buzz of completing a marathon, is the impact training and completing has had on my kids.  More than once we have discussed signing up as a family for a 5k, and now the marathon is over, the conversation has become more impassioned.  My children have told me how proud they are of me (cue lots of tears and a lot of blushes).  And we have discussed training together to work toward an event as a family.

I am beyond proud of my children.  But more than that I am so, so glad that I have put myself through the training and pain of the marathon and given them that pride in me.

Th news is full every day of stories linked around the “obesity epidemic”.  Either children are spending too much time on computers, or are eating all the wrong foods.  And parents are being blamed for not getting their children outside, and for feeding them poorly, and lazily, and so on and so forth. And I am more than aware of it.  I am a woman who was put on a diet around the age of 5, and am more than aware of the lasting effect of that action.  From their births I have been conscious of nutrition, and not making an issue around food, and not making foods good or bad, and allowing everything, but trying to teach that everything has its place.  And it’s exhausting.  But we are doing ok!

As parents we have always endeavoured to be fairly active anyway, with regular country walks, and active holidays, and the kids moaning “But can’t we just stay at home” more than once.

Because while I have always had weight issues and food issues and body issues and confidence issues, I have been determined that my children will not grow up with similar issues if I can do my best to avoid it.  I don’t doubt they will have their own concerns and anxieties, but while I can steer their food and activity levels to some degree, I can be a positive influence.

But marathon training has stepped everything up, and my kids are truly inspired, and I love it!  And what pleases me most is that they feel they can do something too.  They believe in themselves.  They believe they can achieve.  They don’t see me as a fat mum who can’t do much.  They’ve seen me make my way around London!  And so I am trawling through events to find a challenge we can do as a family.

And to top all this wonderful stuff off, my children have all decided to make Sane our family charity, and to raise money for them through whichever challenge we choose to take up next.

For all the frustrations, and annoyances, and bickerings and fights, I couldn’t be more proud of my kids than I am now!