Monthly Archives: June 2013

Filled with Cookies, I Sunk to Diet Bottom

My first brush with intuitive eating, the first time I realized that dieting was a choice – there was another option – I was a junior in college and had recently shrunk the gap to my “goal weight” to just under 15 pounds.

I was fitting into all sorts of old jeans, pulling out four-year-old pants I had kept stored away and trying them on in front of every mirror I could find, scrunching my elbows back to see if it created any back-fat (it didn’t)… I was even beginning to like pictures of myself again, and to get second glances from attractive men. It seemed like Weight Watchers was working, it was the perfect solution, I’d just keep at it till GOAL, and then maintain it till…

when?

I tried not to let myself think about that.

I also couldn’t ignore the binges, which were getting more and more frequent.  I’d go to the dining hall, with the iron-clad intention of eating only a chicken breast over mixed greens, then inevitably end up trying just one egg roll at the Asian foods bar, and tasting an onion ring at the grill, and just scooping a tiny bit of lasagne onto my plate, and hey maybe just that small pizza slice.  And the cereal afterwards.  Endless cereal.  Cracklin’ Oat Bran was my favorite, particularly over chocolate-and-vanilla swirl frozen yogurt.

But the worst part, for me, was after all this.  After I was full beyond measure, there always remained the final challenge: leaving the dining hall without taking a cookie/brownie/tartlet/slice of cake off of the dessert table.  That table was nearly always between me and the exit.

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From Succulent Wild Woman by Sark:

Somehow as women, we connect our various sizes to our self-worth.  We have mental images of ideal sizes–even if it’s not in our heritage to be that way.  We know that men appreciate actual-sized women–and that other women struggle with this issue–yet we wish we could be smaller.

We want to shrink ourselves.

We compliment weight loss, monitor our appetites, and shrink ourselves to fit some kind of standard.  I wish we could all be the size we actually are.  One size doesn’t fit all–because there are as many sizes as there are women.

Let’s look closer at the size of our hearts, the width of our souls, and the length of our spirits.

We Want to Shrink Ourselves

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Good Morning, Fat

I’ve become painfully aware of how often, over the course of one day, I make body judgments.

"And the verdict is... TOO FAT!"

Me, from the perspective of my love handles.

Once I really started paying attention, I noticed how rarely an hour goes by in which I don’t find myself judging, comparing, envying, speculating, scolding…  I make countless judgments about my roommate’s thighs, my sister’s waist, the girl who pours my coffee’s arms, and (duh) my own body in comparison.  It’s gotten to the point where I am afraid to go to yoga, due to the glistening six packs and never-been-chafed thighs surely waiting for me there.

The other day, my therapist suggested I come up with some affirmations, some positive, individualized statements that I can repeat to myself in these circumstances, when I find myself comparing or judging.  “Ultimately, as you continue repeating them, they’ll begin to be true!” she said.  I held back a scoff.

The word “affirmation” invariably makes me think of Charlotte from Sex and the City (the crazy one!).  I’m not gonna go around spewing some new-age mantra, and tiptoeing through the self-help section.  It hasn’t gotten to that point yet!  Right?

Well, maybe it has.  I started yesterday, and the affirmation of the day was: I accept my body.

It’s kind of nuts how many judgments can present themselves in the mere moments between waking up and dragging yourself to the bathroom.  I think I repeated that statement at least five times before I even got out of bed (in my head, of course.  I could summon the courage to say “I accept my body” aloud only once yesterday.)

The thing is, how are these judgments serving us?

They’re not.

The world wouldn’t end if we abstained from turning and lifting our shirts in the mirror to monitor muffin-tops, or if we refrained from gathering our tummy fat together in our hands.  Our bodies aren’t malicious, half-inflated balloons waiting patiently for that window free of body-checking when they can blow up beyond recognition.  Our bodies are on our team.

I don’t know how the start of your morning generally goes, but mine go something like this:

I wake up.  I throw the covers off, lift up my shirt and look down at my stomach.  Is it bulging more than it was last night? Does my underwear look tighter? I squeeze my tummy fat.  Then, still laying on my back, I bend my knees and look at my thighs. Are they inching closer together? I try to remember what they looked like when my favorite cutoff shorts fit comfortably.  Surely much less triangular.  I then get out of bed, walk a few paces, turn and lift my shirt in the mirror… don’t get me started on mirrors.

I think you get the idea.  Maybe you can even relate to some degree.

So, basically, yesterday morning went something like this: I accept my body, I accept my body, I accept my body, I accept my body, I accept my body…

I can’t say just yet whether these affirmations will work, or what “working” even entails, necessarily… but I will keep at it and keep you posted.  Though I will say, there was one encouraging moment. Towards 8pm, I finally got so fed up with repeating the statement that I changed without looking critically in the mirror or body-checking at all.  I just changed clothes and walked out of the room.  Less opportunity for judgment.  It was kind of liberating – and, hey, it actually saved quite a bit of time.

Do you notice yourself making constant judgments?  How do they serve you?  Have you ever experimented with affirmations?

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