Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Wednesday weigh-in’ Category

Yesterday my boyfriends daughter had her senior pictures taken. As we were scrolling through them on Facebook, I couldn’t help but be pained as I heard her criticize herself every which way. Of course, Tommy and I were blown away at how beautiful her photos came out, and we thought she looked absolutely amazing without a flaw to be seen. But, to her all she saw was the flaws. As her father walked away, he said to no one in particular “why are we so hard on ourselves?” And it struck a cord with me…

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Many of us have some perfectionist tendencies, some more than others. But why do people strive for perfection? Why do we expect to be perfect when most of us know that being perfect is unattainable? Why do we constantly set the bar so high, only to make a mistake and belittle ourselves over it. I know I am the first one to point out to someone that making mistakes is part of life; yet when I myself make a mistake I call myself out and chastise my error feeling like I am worthless.

I realize that my over-critical ways have increased as I have gotten older and I almost feel that I have used my “failure quota”. I know that a part of me does want to be near-perfect in every aspect of my life and I do things for the sake of being “perfect”. When I see pictures of myself all I can do (just like our 17 year old teenager) is think about what is wrong with me in it. All I can focus on is how I don’t like how I look, or how the photo didn’t come out right. When I make a mistake like forgetting about a doctors appointment or not remembering a birthday I berate myself for making such a stupid mistake.

Am I not allowed to make mistakes? Of course I am. Should I not be focused on what I look like in a photo, and instead be grateful that memory was caught on camera for me to look back upon? Of course I should…

—-

I know that trying to be perfect and getting down on myself because I am not is much more destructive than meets the eye and mentally giving myself slaps on the head is doing nothing for my self-esteem. I know that if my confidence is dependent on whether or not I am “succeeding at everything” this will lead to unstable feelings. I know having unattainable goals (like being perfect) will set me up for failure, and therefore set me up for a whole slew of self-bashing that will slowly rob me of my confidence and self-worth.

I need to stop trying to be perfect and trying to please everybody. I need to stop being so critical of myself  when I can’t be the “perfect” me… and if I do make a mistake, I need to not hold it against myself. I need to be confident that everything I am doing with my life, I am doing to the best of my ability. I need have confidence that I am being the best ME I can be. Instead of trying to please everybody else, I need to start thinking of myself a little bit more and doing things that make me happy. I need to aim for happiness – not perfection.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Fat Talk

If you asked me to describe my self-esteem years ago, I would answer you only one word: non-existent. Once I hit puberty, everything about me changed including how I felt about myself. As I got older, it just got worse and eventually became part of who I was. I was always fat talking myself (and others) and there was never a time that I felt confident in myself never mind be ok with what I looked like on the outside. The only thing I knew was how to put myself and others down.

From early on, I realized something: making fun of myself and pointing out my ‘flaws’ was a lot easier on me than if someone else did it. So, that is what I did. I would say things around people like “im not fat – just big boned” to make fun of myself. If I saw someone that was bigger than me, I would make a comment that “at least I wasn’t her size”. Unfortunately, in the group I was around, teasing other kids was a norm. You were either a) the teaser or b) the teased.  For the most part I was in a semi-popular group (being the “funny fat girl who is just like one of the guys” had it advantage I suppose) and had my fair share of being the bitch towards other people as well by pointing out their flaws – to lessen my own feelings of being insecure. When the insults were placed back on me and I was called “fat” and “cow”, every insult seemed to take a piece of my self-worth right out from underneath me. For a long time, every time I looked at my reflection I was flooded with insults and things that were wrong with me. By the time I finally entered into sobriety, the only feeling I had toward myself was hate. I truly hated myself.

I think psychologist Carl Jung said it best when he said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely” because changing the way I thought and felt about myself has been a big challenge for me. I was attempting to undo years and years of self-hating. Surprisingly (or not) even after I got clean, lost weight, and started actually living my life in a purposeful way – I still had low self-esteem and would always find something to pick on myself about.

It was actually Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point who posted a video (or article;I can’t remember) about fat talk that actually got me to really think about how I was fat-talking and how I actually, really felt about myself. Her posting that article set my wheels in motion and started me on a journey to self-esteem and acceptance. I remember thinking to myself that “I had come so far and should have be praising myself, but instead was doing the opposite. I didn’t even realize just how much body bashing and fat-talking I was really doing until I became aware of it.

– – –

Even years later, I can’t say that I never “fat talk” or “body bash” myself because that just wouldn’t be true. I do have off days (who doesn’t) that I just can’t shake, and usually end up with a negative thought about myself; but thankfully I am no where close to how I was abusing myself before.

 

Q. Were you teased in high school? A teaser? Were you part of the ‘popular crowd’?

-A

Read Full Post »

Comparison Trap

A ramble:

I love magazines. All types too. I definitely am a sucker for the tabloid ones and always buy them after getting sucked into a story or two while in line at the supermarket. I also have my health and fitness magazines that are delivered to my door, filled with articles on healthy living and different workouts and such. I am always grabbing one of my magazines to flip through while I am on the elliptical machine or whatever, and have always thought of my mags as purely  mindless entertainment (tabloid) and educational (health/fitness) … until this morning. I was reading a copy of Star magazine and happened upon a page of ‘celebrity beach shots’ when I actually caught myself saying “man, I wish I had her abs”…

I am always drawn to a cover like this one...

At first, I couldn’t believe that I had actually caught myself saying it but then really started to think about how I look at myself and compare myself to others; particularly celebrities. I guess I had always thought myself better than that, and smart enough not to compare myself to photo-shopped photos in magazines. In the past, I was a person who struggled with an overweight body and therefore negative body image, but as I lost weight; I gained confidence. In our culture, thinner is better, right? Overweight people are criticized all the time, and thin and in shape people are praised. I mean everywhere you look, there are articles about how to lose weight, get celebrity abs, etc. and beautiful women are used to sell everything from clothes to cars.

I know I am a smart girl, so the thought of me falling into the “unattainable beauty” trap was shocking. I mean, I know I look in the mirror and I am happy with what I see (most of the time) but I guess unconsciously I am taking in the culture that we have here, and I wonder exactly what it is doing to me. I wonder if I am unselfconsciously comparing myself to different images I see out in the real world. Obviously, I compared my stomach to that of a celebrity (a celebrity that probably looks like nothing like the photo I was looking at) just this morning, but the difference is that I had actually caught myself. Have I done this before (I must) … When I do my ab exercises; am I doing it for the sake of a stronger core or picture-perfect abs?

 

So, where am I going with this? I am not sure. Just something to think about, I suppose. I do think that I am going to make a more conscious attempt at making sure I don’t fall into the comparison trap.

 

-Amy

edited to add: after doing a Google search, I came across this article .. kind of scary.

Read Full Post »

I am not a number person. Blame it on my hate for Math and any other math-related school subject, but numbers and I just do not get along. I always let someone else figure out the tip, always pass off the score envelope on Rummy 500 when the adding has to be done (because everyone else uses old mail envelopes for score keeping – right?) and 2 semesters ago was the hardest school semester of my life due to my statistics class. Why the number talk you ask? Well, yesterday I read a great post about calorie counting and it really got my mind going (love, love when a blog post does that, fyi) about my own relationship with calories and numbers.

source

I am sure like many other people out there, calorie counting and I go waaaaay back. When I first started on my weight loss journey I was completely clueless as to what a calorie even was. I never gave a thought as to what I was put inside my body, and thankfully not because all I ate back then was garbage. Salad, to me as a teenager, was two pieces of lettuce and half a bottle of salad dressing. I had no concept of what was healthy and what wasn’t, which is partly the reason I turned to so many fad diets.

I think the first diet I started was the Slim Fast diet; the one with the shakes that taste like chalk. I have said before that I have tried them from Atkins to South Beach to the Caffeine & Nicotine diet (similar to the ‘Red Bull Diet‘ except with the addition of nicotine) and of course had no success. I would “diet” for a bit and then lose steam and end up giving up and eating 2 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese. The cycle just kept going – and a vicious cycle it was. I would fail at whatever ‘diet’ I was on that week and then feel guilty and bad for failing, overeat and eat junk for 3 days, then feel guilty because of the overeating and try another diet plan.

It was these times that I first began to count calories. At first, I was counting calories to go along with the crazy diets I was but the ‘diets’ stopped and I was counting calories so I wouldn’t go over a certain number on a specific day (usually 1500). Towards the end of my actual ‘diet’ phase, it was more about the calories in/calories out. It was a constant number game, and on some days my “calorie count” could make or break me.

Even though I had lost almost 75+ pounds with all my crazy dieting, I still was just as unhealthy as when I had began .. except I was struggling mentally and emotionally. I was beat and realized that I couldn’t continue on the path that I was on because I was just making myself crazy. So, I needed to change. I needed a way of life not another f-ing diet. I began to learn more about healthy eating and living and through blogs, books, and some classes at school. I learned about what a calorie really was (fuel) and began to re-examine the food groups and macros.

Although my fad dieting is long behind me, there is still one habit that I have not been able to give up: calorie counting. It is almost like it is ingrained in my head; it is automatic. Although before I kept a food journal, now it is a mental log so at the at the end of the day I know where I stand.

I have thought about really trying to rid my life of the habit, but realize that it does provide me with some piece of mind. As someone who can emotionally eat, calorie counting does keep my mind from going crazy. I also use calorie counting for the opposite reason too. I count calories to make sure I have eaten enough energy for any given day. After all, it is calorie counting that allowed me to account for my unintentional weight loss last year. Calorie counting is a double-edged sword for me – although it does provide me some comfort, I also don’t like that is a behavior (just a personal opinion).

For now, it goes in ‘working on myself’ category and only the future will tell where this habit ends up…

-Amy

Q. Do you count calories? Have you ever?

Read Full Post »

For someone that has been on both sides of the weight spectrum, I can say that sometimes it is true about what they say about the grass always being greener… especially when it comes to weight loss AND weight gain. Yes, I said weight gain. In today’s society, most of the diet talk out there is centered on losing weight. What about the ones that struggle to gain weight?

I don’t know if I mentioned on the blog before, but leaving my desk made a major difference in my diet. When I first got my desk job (at a college) I joked that it made me gain 5 pounds. Because I began sitting at a desk all day and not nearly moving around as much as I once was, I had put on a few pounds. Last May, after I left my crappy job, I noticed a difference in the way my clothes were feeling .. except they weren’t tighter. They were looser. Then other people started to notice too, and I got the words that I never thought I would hear in my lifetime: “You are too thin” Whhhhhaaaaatt?!?!? Of course, I quickly dismissed the remark as absolutely crazy. But then after hopping on the scale (at this point, I wasn’t weighing myself regularly) I realized that I had lost weight since leaving my day job – what the… Then after giving my daily routines some thought, a lightbulb went off in my head.

I completely underestimated all the “snacking” calories I was consuming at work. I was so bored out of my mind, that I was pretty much snacking and munching all. day. long. And although I was still snacking on healthy snacks, all those calories did add up and where I was sitting all day, my calories “in” weren’t balancing out with the calories “out” and so forth. Then, once I left my job I was not snacking nearly as much as I had been before. And I was moving around during the day more. That is when I started to lose weight. Makes sense. It also makes sense that I gained a few pounds when I first started there. But, something happened to my body over that three years at my job…

and when I left last May, I ended losing the 5 pounds I had gained but then kept losing. I wasn’t eating nearly what I was eating when I was working and I was constantly moving about, excited about not being chained to a desk all day. I ended up being on the skinnier side of my “happy weight” and (although it took me longer to realize than my loved ones) I had to get back into the middle of my happy weight spectrum. I had all this knowledge in my head about weight loss in a healthy manner, but never once thought about weight gain – in a healthy way (without eating cupcakes for breakfast…)

Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin. In our society, everything is about diet this or lose weight that. There is always a commercial about some new diet product or a celebrity endorsing a meal plan. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do know that for many, losing weight is an everyday battle. I am not saying that it is easy or making light of the issue. I just was surprised that with all of the information out there on diet and exercise, there was only about 1/4 of that on actually gaining weight in a healthy manner.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, actually hearing those words “too thin” definitely brought about mixed feelings. Isn’t this what the “fat” me wanted all along? Isn’t this what I had been working towards? All those hours at the gym, all those desserts skipped? And here I was being told that I was now too thin, and I had gain weight. I felt like I couldn’t win. I definitely had feelings of resentment towards my body, and the fact that I now had to try and “undo” the weight loss.

I do realize that this was most likely some of my disordered thinking talking in my head, partly because when I did take a good, hard look at myself, I knew that I was too skinny for my liking. But, even knowing this, why was it so hard for me to grasp that I had to “gain” weight. It was like my mind was just revolting against the fact that I had gain. The emotions that came about all by three simple words: you’re too thin. And of course, the even harder-to-swallow words: gain weight still are with me to this day.

Even though I slowly realized that I could get back up to my “happy weight” without getting back up to 200 pounds, it was still a hard process. A process that did make me realize that for some, the quest to gain weight is just as hard as the quest to lose weight for others…

source

The grass is always greener..

-Amy

Read Full Post »

The Mirror

Mirror mirror on the wall, who in the land is the fairest of all? If only our lives played out like a fairytale…

Do you ever feel like you are dodging the mirror?

I used to despise having to look at myself in the mirror. Ever since I can remember, I never liked what I saw staring back at me. However, over the years the issues in what I saw staring at me have changed…

In the beginning, it was a physical thing. I was never comfortable with myself and the body I had. One thing that was a major source of stress for me was my chest. I ended up blooming at a pretty young age compared to my peers. It was like overnight, I had this big pair of boobs that I had no idea what to do with, let alone feel comfortable with. My peers also did not make this transition easy on me or the one other girl that also had a big chest. Prepubescent boys taunted us, and were constantly staring at our boobs. Boys and girls alike were constantly making fun of me and spreading rumors that I stuffed my bra. Even as I got older, the stares were even more obvious, and in the beginning of high school I wore a size 38DD. The beginning of high school was even worse though, because I felt different than my girlfriends. While they were always sharing clothes, I was left the odd ball out and always got the “No, Amy you can’t borrow that shirt, you’re going to stretch it!” And although my friends weren’t purposefully being mean, the comments did get to me. My girlfriends nicknamed “Tatas” which of course, I rolled with but deep down felt so self conscious… And it was my chest that was one of the main reasons that I wanted to lose weight.

Source

However, as my life took the turn the turn it did, the mirror angst became less physical and more internal. During my years when my drug addiction was at its worst, every time I would look in the mirror I felt like I died a little bit more each time. When I looked at myself, all I saw was the shame and guilt that I was carrying around with me. I saw the drugs, the desperation, and the life I was leading taking its toll. The mirror reminded me of not only what I was becoming, but what I once was: a bright, happy young lady. Now, the mirror was proof that I had become someone I never wanted to be…

But even as I embraced my sobriety from drugs, I still was not comfortable with what I saw in the mirror. I was unhappy with my weight and had had enough of my big chest. As I started my weight loss journey, the mirror was both good and evil. It was good when I was feeling good and evil when I felt like shit about myself.

It wasn’t until years later, that I realized something about the mirror. Even though I had lost the weight (and my boobs!), even though I was clean and sober for years, I still did not always like what I saw. Why? I guess I always assumed that when I “fixed” what was broken all would be good; except it wasn’t. Then it donned on me: it wasn’t the mirror. It was me. I realized that the mirror was literally just a reflection of what I was feeling on the inside. The mirror “mirrored” how I felt. If I was having a good day, then the mirror was a welcomed piece of wall decor. However, if I was feeling down the mirror was the last thing I wanted to see…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another aspect of the mirror that I hadn’t realized?? I was constantly checking my reflection. It was BF that pointed out to me, smiling that big smile of his, that every time I passed my reflection I had to check it. I denied it at first, but then realized he was completely right. What the heck! Why did I feel that necessary? I surely was not that vain, am I? Nope. Just self-conscious. Still. I thought about it for a while and realized that the reflection checking and mirror checks were just a way a for me to “double check” myself. It was this small comment from my BF that literally changed the meaning of the mirror for me (I don’t even think he realizes this…)

I needed to stop being so hard on myself. I needed to stop focusing on my flaws, and start focusing on more important, more positive things in my life. Of course, everyone has days where they just don’t feel pretty or handsome (and that is totally fine) but in general I needed to “re-wire” my thinking and attitudes toward myself.

Obviously, I would love to say that this happened overnight. But, it did not. It is something that I sometimes still struggle with, but thankfully the majority of days the mirror is just a wall piece that is a pain in the ass to clean than it is a day ruiner.

Has the mirror ever ruined your day?

Amy

Read Full Post »

Fat

The word fat. It can mean so many different things to many different people. I would love to say that the word has no meaning for me, but I would be lying. Even to this day, the word fat haunts me…

I will never forget the first time I was called fat as a child. It was the summer before 5th grade, and like many other inner city kids, summer days were spent at the local YMCA Day Camp. Although I had a “group” that I belonged too, there was also the “mean” group — a group of girls that thought they ruled the world. They would say mean things to pretty much anyone and everyone who wasn’t part of their clique. Unfortunately for me, I was not part of their clique and felt the wrath of these real-life mean girls. They called me fat and if I walked by them at the pool or at the beach, they would always say something mean to me in regards to my weight. The whole summer was filled with mean taunts, but I usually just ignored them and carried on. I would laugh it off and pretend that I didn’t hear them or pretend that I didn’t care. Heck, that is what all the kids did who was made fun of by the mean girls.

Except, I did care. My feelings were hurt. I began to look at myself in a different way that summer. I started paying more attention to the size and shapes of my peers, something I hadn’t done before. From that summer on, every single time I was insulted by another peer – it contained the same word – fat. Now, I understand girls fight growing up, but it was always the same insult that came my way. Even in junior high school, where I was best friends one minute with a girl and enemies the next, it was still that same word that would just crush me… fat

…I think the only time when I actually didn’t care about my weight (after that summer, that is) was during the days of my drug use and addiction. What started as a way to cope with trauma, also ended up being an outlet to just “not care”. Using substances not only let me escape reality and not deal with the feelings I had, but it also allowed me to justify not caring about myself as well. Although I do remember thinking to myself on more than one occasion that I wished I “looked” like a drug addict. I was about 160 pounds or so.

It wasn’t until I got clean from drugs, that I really started to focus on how I looked, and this was because with sobriety came weight gain. Getting clean meant actual meals, eating regularly etc so naturally my body put on weight. During the first 2 years of my sobriety I gained about 35-40 pounds, leaving me at almost 200 pounds on my 5’4″ frame. I knew things needed to change and quick.

This is where I realize my thought process was skewed: 1) I wamted to lose weight for one reason and that was to be skinnier and not fat. 2) My personality is the “I wanted to lose weight quickly” type and I had no idea what a healthy weight loss and diet program was. 3) I turned to all the wrong sources and all the “quick fixes” to aid in my quest to be skinny.

As a result of my crazy diets and misinformation, the word fat slowly became less of an insult and more of a component in my diet that I needed to avoid at all costs. Fat free this and fat free that became a way of life, and a regular staple in my diet.

[ Fast forward: a few jumbled thoughts here…

So, even though I am not currently on a weight loss program I still find myself eating the same “fat free” products I did when I first started dieting. (I eat both — full fat/fat free — but at home I eat the processed crap products)

Except, now it is more of a bigger deal to me because I know of the processed ingredients in these products and how unhealthy they are for me (especially as I am trying to find my balance) but I have been using my fat free/sugar free products for so long now, that my tastes have changed and I actually enjoy the taste (where as most would find fat free cheese  gross I am sure)  I also feel that there is a label on these products. This isn’t the case for me. I do not feel like I am restricting or withholding from myself by using these products. If anything, I like to enjoy other decadent eats, so using a lower fat recipe can help balance eats on a certain day (for me personally of course)…

But even more so, I do realize that with all the crazy and fad diets I came across, “full fat” products were the enemy. It is ingrained in my head, so am I unconsciously keeping these processed fat-free products in my diet by liking the taste? (If I know anything, I know the power of the brain!)

As I make little changes every day in order to try and find my balance, there is one thing I know I have yet to  overcome deal with … and that is my fear of “being the fat girl”- again. ]

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »