I have not really felt like writing lately and keeping up with social media. I get done teaching first graders, going to yoga, making dinner, tidying up, and I am tired. I have felt drained, and writing for an audience feels emotionally tiring at times. The worry of judgments can be exhausting. Bringing up things from my past, struggles with disordered eating, and trying to go against the grain of diet culture is not easy. I feel like I am on repeat at times and no one is listening.
Fear of Judgements
My last blog led some to believe and share their opinion that I should go back on anxiety/depression medicine. This has really effected my voice lately because of the fear of judgments that has come with it. The fear that people are judging all my words and decisions. What I choose to share in writings is only part of the story though. Anyone can have a few bad days or a little rough patch. We all have our struggles. It does not mean I need to go back on medicine. I am not saying medicine is a bad thing at all. I really believe it helped me through some tough times. However, I want to try this without medicine, and I think I am doing alright. If it comes to the point where I think I need it, I may try it again.
You Know Yourself Best
No one knows the whole story but me. I know myself better than anyone else. While people have the right to care about me, it is also my right to set boundaries and make my own decisions. Some people do not see the whole picture. I share snippets of my journey to help people who can relate. I might share a struggle to let people know they are not alone. I try to use this as a positive space even with the struggles.
My point of all of this I guess is just to reiterate that you know yourself best. You are the only one that knows the whole story. Try to be honest with yourself and your intentions.
I personally am going to work on keeping my voice even with the fear of judgement because it has been so important to my recovery and continued growth.
I went to Colorado and stayed in a cabin with my family. Vacations always seem like a fun idea… but then it comes time to actually travel and the anxiety sets in. I always feel like I am the only one that gets that way, but I know there are others out there. Traveling is fun, but it is also difficult. My anxiety intensifies with the decrease in control I perceive I have.
It was difficult to share my space. I have been married to my husband for five years now, and I am used to roaming freely about our house and controlling the day. We shared the cabin with four adults and two little boys so this was completely different for me. They are family so it made it a little better, but it was still uncomfortable for me.
Not having control of what and when we would eat bothered me. I tried to prepare myself before we left and go into it with the mentality to be alright with whatever we ate, and I thought I did a pretty good job. I ate things that weren’t as nutritious. I ate past fullness sometimes. I ate more because I didn’t know when we would eat next. I can’t stand that feeling of being extremely hungry.
In the past, I had to run and do strength work on vacation whether I wanted to or not. I didn’t run, but I did walk a lot, and I practiced yoga every morning for at least 45 minutes. I never made it to a studio. The appeal wasn’t there for the ones that were somewhat close and a way to get there was kind of difficult since we rode with family. I accepted it and enjoyed the movement that I did.
Traveling is Worth It
I am happy we went, and I know it was good for me to be forced to let go of some of that control. I did have fun, and the scenery was so beautiful. I think it was worth the fear and anxiety I get about traveling. I have lots of memories, and it was not all about food and exercise even though there were still thoughts.
Looking at Pictures
I was looking at pictures the day before we left, and I cried a little. I thought my legs looked huge. I started to have thoughts of restriction and exercising a lot when I got home which I know is not what I am supposed to do. I started to feel guilty for talking about body acceptance and giving advice on how to look at pictures because here I was picking my pictures apart. One thing I have discovered is that it happens to so many women no matter where they are in their self acceptance journey though. The courage of women talking about it helps me to move past that guilt.
I still had trouble with the urge to restrict though. When we returned home, it was my birthday and few more not so nutritious foods. I know what I was supposed to do the next day. I knew I needed to try to move on and continue to work at intuitive eating and not start restricting. Well the next day, I started restricting amounts and “bad” foods, and it carried into the next day. I know restrictions lead to binging and that is exactly where it led me. I never say these things for people to feel sorry for me. I say them so that those who struggle with this can relate. I say this to bring awareness. I don’t like to admit that I struggle, and it is scary for me every single time. I want to say I have been doing alright with workouts and going to do things that I want without overdoing it.
The struggle to show myself compassion has been real, but that is what I am going to continue to work at. I keep telling myself I am stronger than I think I am, and I CAN show myself love instead of hate. I WILL continue to work at intuitive eating. This can be a little hiccup and not a big rut.
Be Kind Always
If you have seen me out and about the past couple of days or looked at my social media feed, I am guessing most would never know the fight going on inside my head. There are so many people that appear to be fine but are dealing their own struggles. That is why it is so important to always be kind and try to get rid of assumptions and judgements. We never know what people are going through.
I am a first grade teacher, and school ended for me on Friday. I always am excited to be done, but I also get a little anxious and lost feeling. “What am I supposed to be doing?” Yesterday, I felt like I had way too much free time in the afternoon. When I am busy, I don’t have as much time to worry! I cleaned some and added the crab rangoon tacos to the blog, but it still seemed to drag on. I am a little rigid with my routines sometimes so it is hard for me to work out so late in the evening…. especially for a 5K event because I always get a little anxious for them.
I have not even been running very much and decided where ever I was at by race day was what I had to work with. This is a much different mentality than I have had in the past. I have not even ran three miles in a row since last summer. This was definitely the least prepared I have ever been for one that I signed up for and that may be partially why I was feeling a little anxious. I started feeling like I couldn’t go to the race because I started feeling really lethargic too…anxious but lethargic. A strange combination, but it exists. I started to think that if nothing else, I had at least donated money to a great cause. I kept telling myself that I could do it, and that I was going to run. I drank some coffee and moved around. I even asked my husband to go support me, and he said that he would. That helped ease some of the anxiety.
I also told myself I could just walk if I needed to, but I really didn’t want to. (I did end up walking a couple times by the way!) I finished the 5K in about 31 minutes (my worst time for a 5K ever). I thought that was pretty alright for the amount of training I have done though. The great thing about this race was that it was for a good cause though (proceeds going to colon cancer). So I felt like everyone who participated was a winner. I have never done a race before that went to such a worthy cause. I think that in the future I should sign up for more of those types of runs.
You don’t have to be in great shape if you want to run/walk in a 5K. You don’t have to overtrain either. You can do it just because you want to, and it is a great way to help motivate you to run a little extra. I am a fan of movement, and I love running. I like the idea of moving because you want to move and you want to take care of your body. Signing up for a 5K can help give you a little extra motivation for movement though as long as you can do so safely.
After the Race
After the 5K, my husband, our friend, and I went out to get Sushi. Then we went and listened to live music. It was a beautiful evening, and I was so happy I had signed up. That is how it always goes though…I get so anxious over nothing! Maybe someday I will learn. Maybe.
When we got home, I slept great. I woke up at 5 a.m. like normal, but sleeping the whole night through instead of waking up at 3:00 extremely anxious has been an improvement. If you have been following me, then you know that I stopped taking my anxiety/depression medication. Since then, I have not been having night sweats, and I feel like I am doing alright for the most part. When I first quit taking it, I felt like I was in a slump, but as time has gone on, I have felt like I am handling things ok. I am doing a good job of eating and taking care of myself.
I never wanted to go on medicine, and I always knew that I would want to try to stop taking it at some point. I actually do support it, and I think it helps a lot of people. I may even go back on it at some point. I try to stay open-minded about it, but if I can go without it, I personally am going to go without it. I feel like I am at a place where I can do that and things are alright now after getting out of the initial rut. My coping skills have improved a lot since I started taking it. If you are trying to make a decision about medicine, you know yourself best… just be honest with yourself.
P.S. This morning when I went in to do yoga, I found out that I actually got third for my age group. I do not feel like the time was third place worthy, but hey, I’ll take it.
I quit taking my medicine for depression about a month ago without being advised to do so by my psychiatrist. (I don’t advise you to do that, by the way!) I was told that the kind that I was on can stay in your system for about a month though. Well it has been a month. I don’t know if I have noticed a huge difference. I felt like I have had good and bad days on the medicine and without it. One thing I am noticing is my urge to restrict food seems to have increased. I still have been eating, but it has been more of a battle.
I want to be sneaky and secretive. I don’t want to talk to people that I normally do about it because then I am afraid they will try to make me eat more, and I don’t need to. At least I don’t think I do. At this point, I am still eating when I am hungry, but I really want to lose weight. Right now it is really difficult. I do see diet culture everywhere and lots of people talking about getting their body ready for summer, and it is hard. I feel like I need to change my body too. Maybe I gained too much weight? Maybe I have too much food freedom? Maybe I need to have more will-power? Ugh. Everything I have worked for feels stuck.
I went to my psychiatrist yesterday and told her the news that I had stopped taking my medicine. I didn’t want to talk about anything. The meeting just seemed off. She could tell I was on the verge of tears, but I just told her I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to ball in front of her. I knew it was not going to be a couple tears. It was going to be the opening of floodgates, and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. It was like I didn’t want help even if that is what I know I needed. Why do we do this? Why do we turn down the help that is right in front of us? Why is being skinny more important than being happy? Why do we try to hide everything and all those deep feelings.
I Never Wanted To Take Medicine
I never liked the idea of taking medicine in the first place, and I hate having to deal with making sure it is refilled and having to go get it. It was a fight for me to start taking it, and then later on increasing it. Everything was a battle. Yesterday, my psychiatrist let me know that she can’t make me take it. She just tried to encourage me to. Then she sent me on my way and told me to call if I needed anything.
She probably wondered why I even went. It was really a pointless appointment. I had made up in my mind before I even went that I wasn’t going to open up. I wanted to actually cancel, but I never called, and my husband and my friend told me I needed to go and tell her that I had quit. Well my stubborn ways said to them… you can tell me to go and I will, but you can’t make me get anything out of it. I don’t think I really did. All I ended up doing was crying in my car after the appointment.
I Am Not A Good Actress
When I talked to my husband after the appointment, I was trying to seem all cool like everything went fine, but he could see right through me. He could tell I was off, but I still didn’t want to talk about my insecurities and self hate at the moment. He tried to get me to talk about it, but I kept avoiding and bottling it up.
Climbing Out of the Ruts
I don’t know if I will go back on medicine soon. I don’t know how long I will keep feeling stuck either. I don’t know when I will try to get help if I really need it. I just want you to know that I have come a long way, but I still struggle. I can make it sound like I have everything figured out sometimes, but I don’t. A lot of the social media posts that I do are reminders to myself of things I need to hear over and over again. They are mostly my wins and not my losses. This is to let you know that sometimes the mental illness wins. We just have to pick ourselves back up and keep fighting. It may not be right away, it may take a little while. Sometimes, we fall in a little rut, and sometimes, we fall in a big one, but that doesn’t mean we won’t climb our way out.
Yesterday was a rough long day. I arrived at yoga training in the evening pretty much trying hold back tears. I was tired mentally and physically. One of my students had a rough day, and I let it really effect me even though I know I shouldn’t. I was feeling overwhelmed with everything, and just not good enough. It was just one of those days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I was comparing myself to others and worrying about what everyone thought about me. I was already feeling so much different than everyone else and alone. Then I had to listen to a bunch of talk about diets, and I didn’t have the energy to say anything against it. I just sat there, feeling like no one understood me. I feel like I am the only one out of the people that I know in person who has an issue with diet culture. People don’t even realize how often they mention it and where all the messages are. I didn’t used to either. This acceptance of diet culture, has made me feel like a weirdo overreacting to all of the messages that are given to us by society just because of my experiences.
Mental Health Plays A Role
People want to be healthy, and I believe they all want to promote being healthy. Healthy is tricky though. I went through a period of time that destroyed me in the name of health. I was already at what is considered a healthy weight when I started to try to shape my body, lose weight, and restrict food groups. All it took was once, and my obsessions and disordered thinking ran wild. Many people can’t relate to that. Many people don’t understand it. I know mental issues are the cause of many of my problems, and it is not all diet culture’s fault.
Diet Culture is What People Know
However, I look at what I have learned about intuitive eating and exercise, and I feel like it is something that has helped me so much. I feel like it is something that would have helped me mentally and physically before I even tried to lose weight. It would have helped me be healthy as a whole. I truly believe it would have changed my life for the better no mattter what. All people know is diets and diet culture though, and it is what is promoted everywhere as health.
Diet Culture Is Triggering
I just get discouraged like people don’t see a problem. They would rather blame mental issues than a problem with society. In actuality I believe it is both and society can trigger people who otherwise would have never had an issue. Mental issues surrounding food just get worse the more malnourished you become. The self hatred gets worse too. There are a lot of deep issues there.
The Anti Diet Community
My Instagram community of self love, intuitive eating, and exercise people get it, and they make me feel like maybe I am not so different after all. Then I join the people in my life, and I feel like the outcast. Like why do you have such a problem with eating “healthy?” I don’t know if that is true, but it is how I perceive it since diet talk and eating “healthy” is constant. It is not that I have a problem with eating whole foods…it is the mindsets, the diets, the restrictions, and strong focus on weight and appearance that I struggle with.
I Support Health
I completely support health. I support eating all different kinds of foods with out restrictions though. I support the mindset of want to, not have to. Again, I think that mindset would have helped me before I ever even struggled with strong restrictions… the mindset to eat intuitively and exercise intuitively has led me to actually take care of myself and not worry so much about size. It has led me to believe that food is food and taking away all the labels helps create food freedom, happiness, and less stress around food. It would have helped me with eating mindfully and chewing my food for enjoyment and satisfaction instead of in the name of just trying to eat healthy, unprocessed foods for fuel.
Food Is More Than Fuel
Food is fuel, and satisfaction, and love and so much more. Sorry, but I just love food! If you know me, you know I love all different kinds too! I am very enthusiastic about all kinds of vegetables and fruits, meats, breads, pasta, and ice-cream and butter too! Mmm butter! I am also cheap and like to avoid spending a bunch of money on groceries and eating out though too. Balance!
The Anti Diet Movement is Stronger Than You May Think
Yesterday, I felt so outcast that I thought about quitting. I thought about giving up balance queen and all my social media posts. I thought about dieting again and focusing on eating only “healthy.” I think part of my purpose is to keep sharing though, even if no one understands it. It is part of who I am and one of my passions. I may feel a little left out now… but I truly believe in this movement. I believe it is stronger than most people realize. A year ago, I had no idea how many accounts there were like mine about self love and intuitive eating and exercise, and just thinking about the growing number of accounts gives me hope that I am not an outcast. It gives me hope that I am part of something amazing.
Will you be a part of the movement, or will you continue to conform and let diet culture rule you?
I read online that some say you are not truly practicing yoga if you eat meat. The practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence, can imply not eating animals because it is violent to take the life of another being.
Just Starting Training
I want to say that I am just starting yoga teacher training Friday, so I am not completely familiar with the whole practice. I am not vegan, and I probably won’t be. Does that mean that I will be looked down upon in the yoga community by a few? Possibly… I don’t really know because acceptance is part of the practice as well.
Why We Judge
It is difficult not to judge people. It is difficult not to think that your way of living is better… you chose it after all right? Why would you choose it if you didn’t think it was better? Therefore, I think it makes it extremely hard to move past at least some judgement.
One of my goals in this journey is to try to choose acceptance of different lifestyles over judgement though. I will try to choose acceptance of myself and others. I realize I am not any better for eating meat, but I also don’t think I am worse either.
There is no such thing as perfect and balance will look different for everyone. After struggling with restricting food and overexercising, I don’t like the idea of me ever going back to restricting foods that I crave. If a vegan diet would be what I was craving, and it was what I would be at peace with, then that would be fine though!
Food Does Not Determine Worth
One person is not better than another because of the food they eat. I know I can get a little preachy sometimes because I try to present intuitive eating and how it works for me. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing what you eat though, and again everyone is different. I do think we should try to take care of ourselves, and I love fruits and veggies, but I also am thankful for a good steak. If that goes against your personal beliefs, that is fine too.
I believe you can truly practice yoga and eat meat. What do you think? What is right for your healthy, happy, balanced life? What will help you accept that it is not the same for everyone?
My yoga practice has been all about letting go lately. The goals that I have had for poses just have not seemed to be there. I think that this has been important though because it has helped me deal with my attempts to control everything. Every week does not have to be about making huge gains. Sometimes the week is just about maintaining sanity and letting go of things you can’t control.
Focusing on the Breath
I originally started yoga to relax and be healthy; body, mind, and spirit. Some where along the way I got a little caught up in controlling the practice though. I was able to practice yoga at home for longer periods of time once I started to understand it better, and I started to control it… like I try to control so many other things. The past week it has been all about letting go and focusing on the breath and letting my body guide me. It has been about the focus to relax and not push for poses, but just move intuitively. The movements and breathing have been about accepting my body and life for what it is.
Struggling to Cope
The main goal is to always take care of myself, and I will admit that I have struggled with that this week. I didn’t want to eat intuitively. I didn’t want to do yoga. I didn’t want to drink water. I didn’t want to write affirmations. I wanted to turn away from things that help me and I did. Why do we do that? I was having trouble letting go of so many things, and it was making it hard to care for myself. It was and is taking a toll on my health.
My yoga practice was hard to start, and a couple of mornings, it didn’t even happen. I knew I would feel better, but it was so difficult to just get started. My only motivation was to feel better and try to care for myself even when I didn’t want to. That is the healthiest way to motivate myself. Once I started, I just focused on letting go and not trying to control everything so much. It was my place of comfort. It was my place of letting go of the control that I always crave. I tried not to control the practice like I normally try to control it or think that I should be doing this or that. I just let it be.
Yoga is About Getting Better at Life
Letting go of what I thought the practice should be and what I thought my life should be were what kept me going this week. Yoga is so much more than just poses. It is so much more than pretty pictures. I love those things, I do. When it comes down to it though, yoga is all about getting better at life. It is about helping me cope and navigate this crazy, beautiful world.
How will you use your yoga practice? Will you let go of how you think things are supposed to be and appreciate them for what they are?
Do you look in the mirror and say awful things to yourself? Do you look down at your body and feel disgust? Do you feel your body and obsess about areas you don’t like? I used to be so hard on myself daily, and lots of times even hourly. I used to body check by feeling my arms and measure my wrists with my hands. I used to check in the mirror every time I went into the bathroom to see if my thighs touched when I stood with my feet together.
I think EVERYONE has bad body image days! Some obsess about it more often than others and have no tools to deal with it. You can feel so alone like you are the only one who hates their body. I used to feel alone and I had no support. Now I still struggle, but at least I have some tools in my toolbox to help me out. No matter where you are at in your body positivity journey, I hope you can find some of my tips helpful! These are things that have helped me. I know it is a long list, but I put a lot of thought into it, and I hope you read to the end!
I Accept My Body For All It Can Do
When I look at areas of my body, I try to think about how that area serves me and what it can do. For instance, my legs help me walk, run, and do yoga. They allow me to do new activities, like rock climbing and barre class. My arms and hands help me do everyday tasks like cook and help students with their work. What does your body do for you?
2. Keep a List of Three Things I Like About Myself
I actually keep a list of three things (you can do more) that I like about myself that have nothing to do with my body. One of mine is that I am caring. It can be other things like a good sense of humor, friendly, determined, etc. Don’t tell me there is nothing great about you!
3. True Beauty is On the Inside
I remind myself that true beauty is on the inside. When I start to get caught up in body image, I try to think about other areas of my life I can improve that have nothing to do with outer beauty. I try to focus on my character, learning something new, or doing hobbies I enjoy. I also try to think about other people and reasons why I like them that have nothing to do with their appearance. It helps me realize that I accept them for who they are and people who matter will accept me for my soul rather than just my body. In addition, I have tried to stop wearing as much make-up. It makes me feel like I don’t have to cover up my face. I don’t have to change my appearance to be a good person and neither do you.
4. Wear Comfortable Clothes
I try to wear comfortable clothing. When I put on tight, restrictive clothing, I am almost sure to have some trouble with body image that day. Unflattering doesn’t really bother me anymore, but tight is sure to set off negative thinking. I try to wear clothes that stretch and move with me. If your clothing is too tight, then my advice is to go buy some new clothes you feel comfortable in.
5. Critically View Social & Media Messages & Avoid Them
I didn’t used to think about how images were edited every time I see a picture. I didn’t used to think about how they pose and what lighting they use to look more flattering. I didn’t used to think about what some of those women and girls went through to get the body that they have. I know some are naturally small, but it shouldn’t be the only picture of health. I was looking at a Victoria’s Secret add that came to my house yesterday and all the women were small. They may naturally be that small and have to work very little to get their body, and some may have to work really hard and deprive and restrict themselves in unhealthy ways. I don’t know by just looking at a picture. I do realize that now I prefer companies to show pictures of women with different body types though, and I try to look critically at all pictures. In addition, I have tried to avoid some of those images. For instance, the people who I follow on Instagram has even changed. I like to follow women who keep it REAL and promote body positivity. Who will you follow?
6. Shut Down Negative Thoughts And Avoid Body Checking
One of the hardest things is to shut those negative thoughts down and avoid the body checking. You have to realize what you are doing and transform those thoughts as quick as possible. One of the ways I have done this is to turn the thoughts into funny upbeat songs. For instance, one of the things I have had trouble accepting is cellulite. Whenever that thought pops into my head about how much I hate it…. I start singing, “Me cellulite (instead of milkshake) brings all the boys to the yard!” Sometimes, I even dance a little. I really can’t do it without smiling, and it helps me move on.
7. Stop Comparing and Competing
Comparing or competing with another girl can be mentally and physically exhausting. I always wanted to be better than the girl standing next to me in every way. My thoughts made it hard for me to like them because all I could think about was how I wanted to be the best. I would put them down in negative ways in my head to prove to myself I was better. I did not realize that I just needed to try to work on self improvement. I do not mean compete with my prior appearance either. I mean making a shift to be a better person as a whole and work to complete personal goals.
8. Look for Positive Traits in Others
Rather than looking for negative things to say about another person’s body, I try to look for positives. The more I look for the positives in others, the more positive my thoughts are about myself because I am training my brain to look for the good. I actually have become more accepting of lots of body types as well! Bonus!
9. Listen To The Needs Of My Body
If I do not nourish my body, mind, and soul, then my brain and body do not function properly. I had to start nourishing my body and respecting it. This means eating intuitively and a wide variety of foods. I even have worked to change the meaning of healthy in my mind. Healthy could be, but is not always a body of defined muscles. Healthy is about being happy too and living your best life.
10. Find A Purpose
I have tried to focus more on living life and eating to live, rather than living to eat. As I have tried to shift the focus away from body image and put more emphasis on having fun or achieving goals, I have thought less and less about my body and food. The combination of eating mindfully for satisfaction and the excitement to move on to other things has helped tremendously. What is your purpose?
11. Feel Worthy
I have had to teach myself to feel worthy no matter what I look like. My body is worthy of love and respect. I am a human being and this is where I live. I try to care for myself because it is the only place I have to live. A number does not define me and my appearance does not define me. One of my “I am….” statements when I do yoga is “I am worthy.” If yoga isn’t your thing, maybe look in a mirror and say it to yourself.
12. Ask For Help
Sometimes you need the perspective of someone else you trust. We can’t always do it all alone. We can distort our bodies with our minds so I have talked about my body image with other people (professionals and friends). I let them know that I still want to lose weight sometimes, and I have trouble accepting parts of me. It really helps me to talk about it.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would talk about the most important person you should love… Yourself! Don’t forget to love yourself first. It is difficult to focus on loving and taking care of others if you don’t accept yourself first, and it makes it so hard to move on from mistakes and grow as a person. I am not saying don’t be honest with yourself and try to improve, but I am saying you have to accept yourself no matter what.
Negative Self Talk
I know I used to say the worst things to myself daily. Can you relate? I would focus on all of my negative traits. I would say that I was not skinny enough. I was not pretty enough. I was not outgoing enough. I was not athletic enough or good enough at sports. I wasn’t smart enough. I always thought people thought of me as such a snob because I was so shy, and I have a little bit of what you would call resting, well you know what, face. I would play mistakes over and over again in my head and call myself stupid. It was hard for me to move on because I was so caught up on what I did wrong and what people thought of me. I wasn’t good enough.
I still have some of those same thoughts, but they are not as frequent. I don’t really know what the exact turning point was. I think there were lots of little things that happened that finally added up to me finally learning and practicing ways to try to love myself. I have a come a long way, and I still have a long way to go. I am not perfect. I have not turned all of my negative statements into positive ones, but I have improved. I continue to try to recognize, evaluate, and improve my self talk.
Recognizing Self Talk
Recognizing what you are saying to yourself and trying to change the statements can be difficult. I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about how I should talk to myself or ways to cope with what I was feeling. I think it is so important to have those conversations now. I actually had a conversation with my first graders one day about how they talk to themselves and you might be surprised at what they are saying to themselves at such a young age. They were already so mean. They had never even thought about how they were talking to themselves. If you consider you have been creating this negative self talk since such a young age, it is understandable that it can take such a long time to overcome those thought processes. Just to recognize a problem isn’t enough though. We have to focus teaching ourselves and others strategies to cope and develop self love.
Five Strategies I Use to Develop Self Love
“I Am…” Statements
I start the morning (4:30 a.m.) with “I am…” statements. I am good enough. I am able. I am strong. I am flexible. I am relaxed. I am smart. I am determined. I pick one to three statements to focus on for the day. I find this helps me prevent negative self talk right away, and I can remind myself of these things throughout the day as needed. It has helped me develop confidence in myself and my abilities to handle whatever comes my way.
Ten or More Minutes of Yoga
Taking some time to accept my body, and where it is that day is a form of self love and respecting my body. Something about moving and breathing deeply calms me and helps me deal with morning anxiety and my anxiety about having anxiety. It was really hard for me at first to calm my mind, but it has become easier.
Nourish to Flourish
I eat intuitively for satisfaction and what will fuel and nourish my body. If I am not nourished and satisfied, my brain and body don’t work like they are supposed to. This is no food rules and eating a variety. Taking a few moments to be mindful of this helps me appreciate what I am doing for my body and cultivating that self-love.
Focus on a Growth Mindset
When I make a mistake, I try to focus on ways to solve the problem or what I can do next time to improve. I used to beat myself up over it and replay it over and over again. Switching to a growth mindset has helped me move on from these mistakes more quickly. I try to believe in my abilities and recognize that growth takes time.
Get Out of My Comfort Zone
I try to force myself to get out of my comfort zone. Facing fears and overcoming them has been monumental in developing self love, and it is something I push myself to do. I am very cautious and some of the chances that I have taken this past year have built confidence and helped me grow. I still get scared a lot, but I try not to let in control my decisions. I can’t let fear control me and run my life. I can be the driver and you can, too.
What strategies do you use to develop self love?
Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t Forget to Love Yourself!
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” -Albert Einstein
I used to run and count my steps. I wanted to make sure the fitness tracker was getting my steps accurate on my run. I would count my calories that I took in by weighing my food and only eating foods that I could track. I counted macros and tried to get my macros just perfect. If I was low on something, I would try to eat something that balanced it out for my goals. I counted how many days I worked out a week and how many workouts I did. I did everything but listen to my body. I counted, counted, counted, and tried to will my body to be something it wasn’t.
The focus on appearance was obsessive, and it would never be good enough. I am a competitive person, and I wanted to be skinnier and skinnier. I thought it would set me apart from everyone else in a good way. I wanted people to say she is such a hard worker, and she has amazing will power. I wanted to control everything that I could. I felt like I had little control over everything else so it was the one thing that I felt success with. What I didn’t realize was that the counting was controlling me and everything I did. I was in denial that I even had a problem. I didn’t realize at the time that the counting was useless and making me even more miserable. All the counting is not necessary, and I am going to explain how I have come to the conclusion that listening to my body and doing activities that I enjoy is a less time-consuming, healthier approach. This is all from my personal experiences, and I am not a nutritionist or doctor.
Counting Steps and Calories Out
The fitness trackers are not accurate ways of counting steps or calories out because they don’t measure exact steps, intensity, or personal factors. The fitness tracker steps are rarely accurate and can be off. You may have 9,887 steps displayed, but you may have only taken 9,800. (I am not saying go take more than it estimates by the way.) I used to walk around at night to make sure I hit 10,00 on my tracker. The goal to have 10,000 exactly is really kind of silly when I think about it now. I even thought that if I worked out and didn’t have the tracker on, the workout was a waste because it was not recorded.
The estimated amount of calories burned are not accurate either on most fitness devices including treadmills and so forth. In addition, it does not really measure the intensity of the workout. I could do a really intense strength workout that didn’t use many steps, but burned a lot of calories. You could have ran those steps, instead of walked them and it makes a difference. You could have been moving periodically throughout the day, or you could have done a workout then sat the rest of the day. Not to mention every body’s body is different and the amount of calories you burn can be different!
Not only is the tracker not accurate, but it emphasizes numbers instead of listening to your body and moving because you want to. It becomes a chore and a stress. Now I challenge myself to workout without the tracker and not even wear it sometimes. The goal to listen to my body and move intentionally has created less stress and worry about being active enough for the day. I do wear it still because it is my watch and connects to my phone, but I just do not put emphasis on it. The emphasis is on listening to my body and what it needs.
Counting and Measuring Calories In and Macros
Eating a certain amount of calories or measuring your macros is unrealistic, time-consuming, unsustainable. Counting calories and macros on MyFitnessPal seemed to do more harm than good. I went through some different phases trying to figure it all out and lose more weight. For a while, I would feel deprived if I didn’t get a certain amount of calories or if I was not high enough on certain macros so I might eat even if I wasn’t hungry. Later on, it was usually more along the lines of depriving myself when I did feel hungry because I didn’t want to go over on calories. I was completely ignoring my body. When I would measure my food out exactly… it took a lot of unnecessary time and work when my body already knew what it wanted. The portions never looked right. In addition, if I did’t measure the food out exactly, it was just an estimation and not really worth counting anyway.
Focusing on counting and measuring out food can wreck havoc on your social life as well. I was never very social to begin with, but it got worse. Social gatherings became full of fear and anxiety about food. To be honest, they still are sometimes. I would not go out with friends either because I would feel guilty for eating bad foods or foods that I couldn’t measure myself. I still cringe a little when I get asked to go get ice cream sometimes, but I try not to let the disordered voices win. I try to focus on having fun and eating the food that is there and what looks right. I obviously still have some things to work on and reminders to give myself.
Listening to Your Body is What is Important
You don’t ever have to track your food. You don’t have to eat something you don’t like or don’t want just because you are low on a certain kind of macros. You don’t have to track and hit calorie goals and macro goals. You don’t have to deprive yourself. You don’t have to ever eat out of containers that measure your portions to live healthy. You don’t have to focus on appearance to be healthy. You don’t have to eat the same foods over and over again. This goes for everyone! Developing holistic healthy behaviors and relationships is key for everyone no matter where you are at in your journey and no matter what size you are. Listening to your body is what is important.
There Is No Perfect Balance
Eat for satisfaction and what looks right. I just try to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein where it works for me. I feel like we try to make healthy living so complicated, when it doesn’t have to be. By listening to my body, focusing on living life, and eating what is available or easy, I have had more success with naturally being healthy and happy as a whole. Everything does not have to be planned and every meal does not have to be balanced. I do strive for balance in life, but it is important to remember there is no perfect balance either.
The Counting Doesn’t Count
All that counting really doesn’t count when it comes down to it. It was setting me apart in a bad way… not in a good way. I was not looking at being healthy as a whole: mentally, physically, and spiritually. I still struggle with counting things sometimes, but I have to keep telling myself that the counting doesn’t really count. I have to keep listening to the rational voices and not the disordered ones. The things that really matter in life, can’t be measured and counted. The types of things that I should work hard at, have nothing to do with counting and appearances.
Are you going to count and worry your life away or are you going to try to live intentionally and care for your body, mind, and spirit?