Archive for the ‘body image’ Category

Body Image Limbo

I recently wrote a bit about my struggles with body shaming, and touched on how I’ve been trying to see my body in a different light over the past few years.

I’m definitely more positive than I used to be about my body. I would use the words “hate” and “ugly” and “fat” a lot about myself and specific body parts (mostly my stomach) and, honestly, I’m surprised my body is still around after that much abuse. I mean, really, I would NEVER say those things to anyone else…why would I treat myself that way?

So, I have been making a conscious effort to try to love my body as is, but it is REALLY hard and is something I have been struggling with lately. I feel like I’m being torn between:

1) I must love my body as-is because that’s the best thing I can do for me, and to fight the body shaming brought on by patriarchy, society, and media.

and

2) Sometimes I just feel gross and fat, and I can’t stop these thoughts no matter how hard I try.

And if I’m feeling (2), I not only feel crappy about myself physically, but I also feel like a bad feminist and woman in general. I shouldn’t CARE if my pants are feeling snug or if I can feel my belly has gotten bigger. But, I do. I DO.

This has all come to a head now because I’m back into my normal weight range after losing a sickening amount of weight after I had my stroke and spent weeks and even months not eating nearly enough. My weight went up slowly in the months after, but then plummeted again when I started having serious anxiety attacks when C was about 6 months old and again when I started school last September.

Of course, even though the way I lost all that weight was not healthy, I felt great because THIN = HAPPY, right? DUH! I received so many compliments on how good I looked. How could I not love that? What’s the big deal though, right? Well, now I find myself hoping for an anxiety-inducing situation so maybe I’ll lose a few pounds again, and I have to fight those thoughts off. That is NOT healthy.

Changing my mentality about my body is a work in progress, and will probably be something I work on for perhaps my whole life. Thankfully, I came across this post written by someone who is battling the same thing, and I know I’m not alone.

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A Difference

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working out rather consistently. Nothing huge – just 2-3 times a week, but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my fitness level already, which is great! Looks like I’m not a non-responder, which I was a bit afraid of.
In the summer/fall, I found it was a lot easier to fit exercise into my day because it was warm and light enough in the mornings to go outside for a run or bike ride before I got ready for work, or I could ride my bike to work. But, once the winter darkness and cold crept in, I had to re-work my plan. I think I finally found a grove that works for me. It’s a bit hectic – I have to wait until DH and Evan are out of the house in the morning – and gets me into work slightly later (10-15 minutes), but I think it’s worth it.
I also have tried very hard to change my reasoning for introducing exercise into my life this time around. Instead of focusing on how my body changes (losing weight, losing inches, fitting into clothes, whatever), I’m focusing on how my strength and endurance are improving – that I’m doing something good for my health and well-being, not just for how I look. I find it’s been much easier to motivate myself because fitness changes seem to occur more rapidly than physical changes. Plus, it’s a nice change not having to focus on the way I look – something I’ve been growing tired of recently (not that I don’t want to look good, but I want to be finally happy with what I have and who I am).
My hope is I can continue this simple plan until it starts to warm up and get lighter in the mornings so I can start running and biking again.

Exercise & Eating Better Screws with Body Image?

Here’s a brain teaser: I actually tend to feel worse about my body when I’m exercising regularly and/or keeping track of my eating habits.
I think it’s because I’m focusing on my body when I’m changing my exercise/eating habits, and so I tend to look critically at myself more often. When I’m not doing those things, I’m not thinking about my body, therefore I don’t look at it in detail much.
I hate this, because it can negatively impact my progress and attitude and I start the downward spiral: Shouldn’t I feel and look better if I’m being healthy? If I don’t, then why do I bother? Quitting soon follows.
This time, I need to fight this. I’m not sure how, other than to just try my best to ignore it.
Does anyone else have this problem? How do you combat it?

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