I am sitting here at the moment on our porch of a cabin in the Smoky Mountains of TN. I’m breathing fresh mountain air and looking at clouds eye-level. It’s a tad chilly, and everything just feels “crisp.” Nature at its finest…and I am part of it.
Time for some reflection and self-growth. A friend recommended a book (link below) to me that I am finding life-changing. I’m a little more than half-way through with it, but it’s already making me think.
As I sit here, what am I aware of? I hear the birds. I see the beautiful mountains and tree tops. Wait a second…what’s that there…hmmmmm…I also can feel were my stomach comes over my jeans a bit. Well, crap, how is THAT for ruining my moment? My mind goes further from nature and starts to become aware of daily thoughts of what I put into my mouth…I should eat this, I shouldn’t eat that, what was I thinking, etc.
Body Image: it’s this beast that I have dealt with ever since I was a teenage without even realizing it.
I remember, when I was around 18 or 19, going to the doctor. She weighed me. I weighed 137. She told me that I needed to lose weight. I did? A family member, around the same time, mentioned to me that my thighs were big. They were? I didn’t realize at the time, but those 2 moments burned something into my inner psyche.
140 lbs. THAT is the number that has defined me my entire adulthood. Weigh above 140 lbs…I’m fat. Weigh below 140 lbs…I’m “normal”…because I wouldn’t use the word…gasp…skinny.
Who the hell made up the rule of 140lbs?!?!?! I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wasn’t even aware that I did this to myself. Weigh below 140…license to eat whatever I want even if I gain weight. License to gloat that I am IN CONTROL. Weigh above 140 lbs…feel super crappy about myself and deal with it by eating more and feeling even more crappy. License to be OUT OF CONTROL. Hence, my yo-yo’ing weight for as long as I can remember.
Why, as women, do we do this to ourselves?!?!?!?!!?
In the 50’s, I would have been considered on the slender side. Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of voluptuousness. In the Renaissance time, I would have been WAY TOO thin.
Now I’m not saying to eat poorly and not workout. Not at all. We NEED to eat well and workout to feel good, have energy, and to be healthy. I’m saying that I need to stop beating myself up with these rules that I instituted on myself. I also need to figure out exactly what I’m HUNGRY for in that moment…it might literally be food or it may be something else that I’m afraid to be hungry for…so I stuff down the feeling with food.
We are complicated creatures.
If you have any struggle with body image, I seriously recommend that you read this book.