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

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.

Finding My Healthy Part 2: The Ramifications of an Unhealthy Lifestyle

The ramifications of eating trying not to eat, binging, sugar, and eating non-nutrient dense foods was I got sick.  Looking back at what I was doing to my body it is no surprise that I got sick. What is surprising is that I did not get sick sooner.  My body had enough and sent me a very loud and miserable message.

I needed more of this.
I was never a big milk drinker and had started drinking more for calcium, really not the best way to get more calcium, go for some kale instead. I think I always had a mild allergy but with the increases intake of milk I started getting migraines and was snotty leading to sinus infections.  It took me about a year to identify what my migraine trigger was.  I went dairy free, it sucked.  I love cheese and was pretty pissed off about not being able to eat cheese pizza.

And less of this.
Candida was rampant in my body fueled by the large amount of sugar I consumed.  My skin was rashy on my face and digestive tract was inflamed and not healthy.  Yet more dietary changes to get rid of this.  When my acupuncturists handed me the do not eat list for candida, I almost cried.

Not eating had left me with cold hands and feet, that once fall hit never warmed up once they were cold.  Hello classic symptom of under eating. My head was an oil slick, while my body was dry a result of not enough omega-3s in my diet.

I always had a headache, my energy was low, dinner was often sugar, milk in the smallest amounts would give me a three day migraine, poop issues, etc.  This was one of the most miserable times in my life and I did it to myself.  It took awhile to start getting healthy, but other than not being able to drink milk and a random migraine, usually hormone induced, I healed my body by eating real food.

Full and Still not Satisfied

Today was one of those where I never felt satisfied with what I ate.  I felt full.  Why wasn’t I sated? It is a weird combo to have, not hungry but not satisfied.  It makes me want to keep eating until I do feel satisfied and who knows when or what will sate. One hears eat until almost full and then stop and it sounds so simple, so easy.  But sometimes it isn’t.  Today’s dissatisfaction started with a salad that originally sounded good, but had been shoved in back of the fridge and some of it had froze.  The pork and bread stick were fine, but what was the bulk of my lunch was meh.

No longer forbidden.
Dissatisfaction and being full rarely happens for me anymore. I make a point of listening to what my body is telling me to eat.  Doing this has helped me create a healthy relationship with food.  There were times when I had the dos and don’ts list of foods that I should or shouldn’t eat. This would end in full on binges or I’d end up full and not satisfied which lead to overeating.  In the long run if I should have just ate the grilled cheese sandwich or the cake, I would have ate less.

Eat food that you love and eat it because you love it not because you should or it is healthy.  You do not build a manner of eating that you can live with if that is your mindset. Find your healthy, try new things, retry old things and most of all enjoy what you eat.


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.