Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Body Image

I've put much thought into this topic over the years. Very much thought.

Now that I'm in my thirties, I am happy to be over the stage of life where I compared my body to others' bodies and felt constant inadequacies.  In fact, I feel so strongly about what a waste of time and energy that is, that I wish there was some way to inject that peace of mind I've found into the minds of every teenage girl out there, or inject it into the me of the past.

It is very difficult however, for me to deal with and make peace with the fluctuations of my own body as it compares to itself at different times. I will admit that there is a vain side of my inner self that would be happiest to be a certain size (which I discovered during my second pregnancy when I reached an all-time lowest size that I have yet to replicate), which corresponds to my own body shape and not that of another's.  I will also say that I feel my body frame looks best a certain way, but that it also looks good a little bigger than my particular preferential ideal.  That was a rather nice revelation of mine, that moment where I had gained some weight, but still felt like I looked good.

Because of these feelings, I have often wondered: Why am I dieting? Do I really need to diet? How much should I weigh vs. how much do I want to weigh? etc.

Lately though, I have put all of that questioning to rest because of something I witnessed this year.  Either because of my lifestyle or because of my hormones (or both because doesn't my lifestyle affect my hormones?), I am not able to maintain any certain weight. This means that even though I've had moments this year when I felt like my body looked just fine if unfortunately not perfect, I was in a state of gradual weight gain.  This is what justifies my drive to diet, it is not constantly feeling like my body is hideous and has to be a certain unhealthy perfection, it is to prevent and/or stop weight gain. As I said in my first post, I am prone to extremities in behavior, and as it seems, just in general.  I am in a constant state of either gaining or losing 15-25 lbs, and I'm certain this isn't healthy.

I've been back and forth about what is ok to like about my body and what is ok to want to change about my body.  This is a highly controversial topic, especially in my particular religion where I believe that our bodies are sacred and a gift from God.  On the one hand, if you diet or want to surgically change something, it feels like the vanity card gets played, but on the other, it is deemed irresponsible to not take care of our bodies.

I love my body.  I really do.  I'm not just saying that because we are "supposed" to love our bodies, I do actually love my body.  My body isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I have grown to appreciate my body and love its shape and differences over the years.

I think everyone has to decide for themselves what to do with and for and to his or her own body, and ideally make peace with it at some point in their lives, and I'm pretty sure that looks different for everyone.

I feel like it has been my quest over the last ten years or so to figure out exactly what my body needs to be normal and healthy.  I feel closer than ever before to having those answers, and I really hope that I am there.  Maybe my actions won't be perfectly executed all of the time, maybe there will be mistakes, but I'm desperately hoping that my knowledge on how to keep my body healthy is full or very close to being full.

It is on this point that I feel somewhat defensive.  I've often wondered why it is that we can't seem to stop nitpicking at other's and our own healthy or unhealthy habits. Or why it is that people feel threatened when someone decides to make a change? I already know that some of the things I'm going to change about my lifestyle will be scrutinized or even criticized for being extreme, but I think my head is in the right place and I really feel like I know now how to care for my body.  I'm just hoping I have what it takes to stay strong in my convictions and weather the criticism.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The End

In the interest of keeping you guessing, or maybe because I'm lazy, I thought I'd dive right in and save the background story for later.  All you really need to know right now is that I've committed to putting healthy eating and exercise to the test for one whole year. I was originally going to start in May due to a vacation I have at the end of April, but just today I've decided to start sometime toward the end of next week.
It seems as though I have terrible timing for choosing to change my eating habits, I usually get fed up about a month before a major eating holiday or vacation, and I can't seem to make myself wait until after the celebration to start a diet. I'm famous for going on a diet two weeks before Christmas and sticking to it through the holiday (ironically, only to ditch it a month and a half later--more on my sordid relationship with food and dieting later), which brings me to now: A couple of weeks before a trip to Hawaii with my husband, and I'm about to start the hcg diet which means I'll be dieting a very strict diet while in Hawaii, land of the best food this side of the US.  
Why do I do this? Well, this has a small bit to do with my twisted and unhealthy relationship with food. First, you should know that I suffer from "All or Nothing" -itis.  My behaviors are extreme and this very real part of me makes me prone to harmful behaviors and even addictions.  Thankfully, for religious reasons, I abstain from Alcohol, drugs, and the like so there is no real danger there.  I digress, back to the why.  Right now, I am in full swing of what I affectionately refer to as the "all" phase of eating.  This means I'm eating all kinds of junk, and without digging too much into the details, I'm sick. I'm actually literally not feeling well, and I am also figuratively sick of the shame and emotional stress that comes with eating like I am. I am also terribly sick of the extra weight I am gaining.  I've discovered that one of the best physical feelings in the world is losing weight and feeling your body reduce, conversely, that makes one of the worst physical feelings to be gaining weight and feeling your body gradually expand and your clothes tighten.  Really, its the most hateful feeling in the world, and it can make a person very miserable and bitter. And mean. At least this is my experience.
So I was faced with a decision: Continue this horrid way of life for one more month so I could "enjoy my vacation," or just stop it already and lose some weight so that I could actually enjoy my vacation.  I always decide to do the latter, and I have never regretted it.  The junk food is never worth it.  Actually I could market that last sentance and have it tatooed on my forehead.  THE JUNK FOOD IS NEVER WORTH IT. 
I've actually noticed that junk food doesn't taste as good as it used to, or as good as I remember it tasting, I'm not sure which it is. Which begs the billion dollar question: Why the hell do I keep eating it then (insert a few more cuss words)?
Want to know my theory? No, my real theory? Not the polite answer I give when talking to friends, or the facetious answer I use at parties-- but the REAL reason? Honestly-- it's addiction.  The topic of Addiction really deserves its own post though, so I will stop here for now.
Thanks for joining me-- I should leave you all with a caveat before we part:
I am doing this blog to help me.  I need to journal my feelings and discoveries to help me kick these bad habits for good. Hopefully, I will be able to help anyone who has felt the same feelings I have to change their lives for the better.  That's what this blog is. This blog ISN'T however a forum for multiple people to debate my decisions.  I'm in a very delicate state right now as you will soon be made aware, and I am not interested in defending my decisions to anyone.  I am doing what I feel to be right for me at this time in my life.  Maybe I'm wrong, it certainly wouldn't be the first time, but I don't want to hear it from any of my readers. If my personal decisions bother you or threaten you in any way, please keep it to yourself.  It's with this declaration that I have decided to allow comments, but honestly, if it isn't helpful I may remove the option.  What I really need is support, not negativity, and this promises to be a difficult and very personal journey. Thank you for your understanding.