Monday, March 23, 2015

Positive Body Image

As many of you who have been following my weight loss journey know-- there is a point where I get discouraged, start binge eating and gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose.  Usually that point comes hand in hand with a big life event.  The passing of my grandfather, Jason losing his job, moving to Portland, the death of my grandmother, my other grandmother's battle with cancer, my move to Sacramento, Jason's move to S. Korea, and my Grandmother moving in to a retirement home and selling her house.  It's definitely a pattern of mine to eat my feelings when I'm down and out.

Over the past five years, I've begun to notice another pattern of mine.  I like to make goals for what I'm "going to do" if I ever lose the weight.   At first glace, this may seem like no big deal.  Just goals.  But after thinking about it-- I realized making these goals doesn't push me any harder.  In fact, I usually wind up shrugging and saying to myself: "Oh well."  And upon further inspection of these habits, I'm starting to realize that a lot of this comes from my complete lack of self confidence when it comes to my body.

Oh sure, I'm confident in my personality, my smarts, and my abilities.  But do not underestimate how little confidence I have in my body.  I've never really been all that confident in my body, to be quite honest.  I've always been on the bigger side.  Both in height and weight.  And for some reason, people have always managed to point that out to me.

"Man, you're tall."

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that sentence come out of someone's mouth-- I'd be a very rich woman.  And while I know the people who say it aren't meaning to be rude-- they are.  Growing up, it was a struggle for me to find shoes and clothes that fit properly.  The fact that I couldn't just blend in-- and people pointed that out made me feel a bit ashamed of my body.

Even now, when I look at myself in pictures-- I feel like a giant walking among regular folks.  But the time has come to start seeing myself in a more positive light, and I'm going to start doing that today:

I took these photos to the right a month or so ago.  I have been making an effort to look at it, and think of something I love about myself.  It hasn't always been easy.  In fact, there were a few days in the beginning where looking at it made me shudder.  (Hey, I'm not proud of it-- but it's the truth.)  The thing is, I'm starting to realize-- that if I can't love myself right now... fat rolls and all... then losing 50 or 100 pounds won't make a difference.

I think deep down, I've always known that-- which is why all my attempts at weight loss have ended with me giving up and running back into the comforting arms of junk food, despite how disgusting it actually makes me feel.  But I'm hoping this new effort to love my body will change that.  I've even started leaving myself a weekly mantra on the bathroom mirror.  This one seems to keep reappearing:

"It's easier to wake up early and work out, than it is to look in the mirror and not like what you see."

My weight loss goals remain the same-- to lose 150 pounds in the next 3 years.  I plan to do that by eating healthy, exercising and loving my body.  That starts with teaching myself to be more positive about my body.  I found a list of ways to do that on the "National Eating Disorders" website, and I would like to start with the two below:

"Appreciate all that your body can do"-- To do this, I'm going to keep a "Body Image" journal.  Each night before bed I will write one amazing thing my body did for me that day.  I want to remind myself of just how amazing I am, instead of thinking about why I can't do things because of my size.

"Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself-- things that aren't related to how much you weigh or what you look like.  Read your list often."  This will be the first page of my journal.  And I plan to refer to it when I'm feeling down about myself or wanting to go through a drive-thru.

It's a good start-- and I hope with some hard work that I can get to a better place, and get back into a healthy routine again.  Have you ever struggled with your body image?  What did you do to create a more positive image of yourself?

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