Language and Body Image

As I was perusing pinterst one day I came across the alleged inspirational saying of, :Dear Fat, Prepare to die. xo Me.” This kind of inspiration is up there with fitspo and squat bums for me. Its a negative phrased in the positive and for a person who has and still battles body image issues it strikes a chord.
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The chord it strikes is the one that had me, thinking size 8 me was fat. You see size 8 me was skinny and didn’t know it. You may wonder how I didn’t, but I didn’t. I didn’t like my exterior, it was fat. That’s what I thought and I lived with that kind of thinking. That girl would have been happy for her fat to go and die.

Having a positive self image has been a struggle for since 6th grade. This was my pivotal moment of going from a girl with strong self esteem to no self esteem due to peer ostracization based on my religion.

Fat is part of you. Whether you have too much, just enough, or not enough. The condemnation of part of you is not cool. You may want to lose some fat but why use negative language. Die, fat die. How does that even help? Especially if you do not already like yourself.

Positive phrasing turned my weight loss adventure into an adventure of becoming a healthy person. I gave up goals for systems. Systems have proved my friend and have led me to a place where I like me. I like me just as I am. Yeah I have fat days but they are temporary blips in my world. I do not have a weight loss goal or an inches lost goal. I have systems to create healthy patterns and habits.

My goal is to be healthy and enjoy my life. I desire to celebrate what I am, what I look like, rather than kill parts of me off. I am over fakespiration, that pretends to be positive but at the same time belittles you.

Let’s say it together “We are awesome and wonderful.” Say it and believe. Because it is true. Language

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Body Image, Pinterest, and Me.

As I peruse pinterest I am always amazed at the amount of sexualization of fitness and fitness photos. It gets to the point where it feels almost overwhelming and disheartening. There’s the squat butt camp, the thigh gap group, the you can do it just ignore pain, etc. The one thing the have in common is a picture of a woman with no head. She is just a breasts, bum, and thighs, even the Venus of Willendorf got a head.
 photo Venus_von_Willendorf_01.jpgThere came a point where I stopped looking at these and started dissecting them. What are they saying to me and others out there? If you do enough squats you will have a perfectly rounded bum, work hard enough you too can have a thigh gap, never mind the pain hurting yourself is good. Are these healthy? I ask myself this and I wonder who out there is damaging themselves to get something that just might be unattainable for them.

I have a butt, it doesn’t matter if I squat or not. I have a butt: skinny, fat, and in between its just there. It is a matter of genetics for me. A college study buddy worked very hard to get a small bum, she squatted and did heavy weights, she will never have a “squat butt.”
 photo eosbvffrt76ee6r.jpgAs teen Mademoiselle magazine was where I first encountered the thigh gap concept. The gist being you did not have a thigh gap you were, not thin. First thought was crap I don’t have one, I’m fat. The truth is to achieve a thigh gap, maybe, because I haven’t ever had one, and might never get one even at anorexic body fat levels. It would take a lot of starvation on my part to get me anywhere near a thigh gap. And if you feel pain while working out, please stop, that is called an injury. Yes, you might feel discomfort but pain, pain is not good. Pain is your body telling you to stop.

We need to celebrate our bodies and not some in the future potential us. What you look like right now is gorgeous, what you will look like tomorrow is beautiful. Celebrate who and what you are now, because the truth is you need to love yourself, just as you are.

Venus of Willendorf picture from Wikipedia.

The Grilled Cheese Moratorium

I used to have a moratorium on eating grilled cheese sandwiches. The goal was not to eat them because well they are “fattening” and I was trying to lose weight and be healthy. Healthy living excluded some of my favorite foods such as grilled cheese and brownies. I did not have a grilled cheese for about a year.
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Seriously folks, grilled cheese and a side salad is one of my favorite meals. It is one of the few foods that I will cook for lunch. But at one point I decided no more, not eating them or I will get fat. It took awhile to work through that mindset but I did and the conclusion was grilled cheese sandwiches were back on the menu. Brownies made a comeback too.

With the lifting of the grilled cheese moratorium (yes I do really call it that), I started eating two to three of them a day. They were so good and satisfying. You know what happened? Nothing. I did not gain weight. I did not get fat. Nothing happened except after a couple of months I stopped eating grilled cheese sandwiches several times a day.

Avoiding the food that I want to eat and will make me happy usually ends up in mindless grazing attempting to satisfy that desire. It is not worth it.

Body Image: Fat knees

So, okay this is a blog post about knees, yes really.  My knees are fat, this is the opinion I have of my knees.  Are knees sexy, cute, or hot?  Not really. But for whatever bizarre reason, I do not like mine.  My knees have always been huge  no matter how thin I was, the knees looked fat. Right about now you are thinking this chica is crazy.

There they are my knees.
There is a reason I decided to write about my crazy fat knee obsession.  Firstly, I had a dream in which my girlfriends and I were talking about my knees and one of them agreed they were fat.  It was one of those vague dream people so I don’t know who to point the finger at.  Secondly, Molly Galbraith’s Its Hard Out Here for a Fit Chick blog post which talks about her struggle with body image.

They are not as big as my brain likes to think they are.
Body image can be such a daunting task.  Why do we make loving ourselves body, soul, and mind so hard?  I find I am much more forgiving of others than I am of myself. Nitpicking about our body parts when you take a step back and look at it objectively is silly.  But at the same time that nitpicking can destroy how we feel about ourselves which makes it not silly at all.  You have to love yourself where you are right at this very second, not some future you or past you. 

Seated view.

I have decided I need to make peace with my knees and love them for what they can do for me and how they look.  Really they are not giant and fat knees for a person my size, it is time to stop calling my knees fat. It stops now.  My knees allowed me to squat 99 pounds for three set of five reps, that is awesome of them to help me do that.

Finding My Healthy: Part 1

There was a time in my life when my disordered eating habits finally caught up with me.  I would avoid eating until two in the afternoon and then as little food as I could manage. I worked nights so waking up mid-morning was normal. It was coffee, diet coke, and water to keep me full. It didn’t feel like disorder.  I basked in the complements of how thin and skinny I was.  
Me 6 years ago, before I started lifting. Not at my heaviest but close to it.

Fast forward a few years later.  I couldn’t keep up with the not eating and starving myself.  I started eating and I didn’t really know how anymore. There were binges, being so full and miserable, and the attempts to restrict that failed more and more often at this point.  So I took to skipping real food, these were the nights when I would eat half a bag of candy for dinner.  We are talking family sized not small bags.

Few more years later and in the midst of a bad break up.  I just ate and ate and ate.  How do you cope with emotions.  I eat.  I am an emo eater, always will be.  There was weight gain, there were freakouts about the weight gain, and there were some big choices that needed to be made. It was time to put an end to the disorder and create something new.  The something new has taken years but it has been worth it.