….and I thought this topic would resonate quite a bit:)
I’ve been much more aware of my relationships with food, working out and weight lately, and I thought it was time to talk about it here:)
Let’s start at the beginning.
Growing up, I ate pretty badly, to be honest.
My go-to snack after school in high school was a chili cheese hot dog from Wilco with a root beer and Doritos. Like, no bueno amigos.
I also hated working out and anything having to do with running, sweating, etc. I just found it all really miserable.
I barely ate any processed foods, worked out all of the time and was pretty militant about the food I put in my body, etc.
I was obsessed with Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet, I still re-read this book Thrive by Brendan Fraser and I’m pretty obsessed with some elements of the Paleo movement (although I have a harder time putting it into practice for myself sometimes).
But over the past 6-8 months, how I’ve been treating my body has changed a bit- and it’s forced me to do a lot, a lot, a lot of introspection about who I am, what I want from my life and where I want to go.
And honestly- this process…. it’s not easy. We get so much input on these details- from our parents, spouses, boyfriends girlfriends, FRIENDS most of all (you wouldn’t guess it but for realsies y’all) and the media (of course, the media. lawed help uz) that it makes understanding who you are difficult. It’s kinda messy to discover/figure out.
Do you ever have periods in your life like that? I like to call them “the soup”. (I am probably stealing this concept from someone, so I apologize in advance).
It’s the place where everything isn’t a total mess- but you can tell there are a lot of things going on and you definitely want to make some big plans and big changes but you aren’t quite sure about where/what/who/why/how.
Lately that has come up a lot for me around food/health/fitness/wellness and appearance.
Because for the past 5 years, I’ve been pretty skinny. Thin even.
And throughout that time, I felt lean. Lithe. Limber. Energetic. Focused. Powerful.
I’ve felt beautiful and happy, healthy and clean.
But the people in my life, the people had a lot of thoughts on how I looked.
My boyfriends had some opinions. So did a relative. So did a few of my friends.
“Women aren’t supposed to be so thin and lean”
“Women should have x, y, z.”
“You’re too thin, EAT THIS PIZZA”.
A few friends (this came out of the mouth of someone I loved a lot, for reals):
“You’re such a skinny b*tch I hate you!”
….. and it totally killed my mojo y’all.
And after about 4.5 years of being barraged by a gazillion different peoples opinions on my food and weight and my appearance, I started to make bad choices again.
They crept in slowly.
At the same time, about a year and a half ago, I got into a negative relationship with someone (again, an idiot who was severely disappointed by the fact that I wasn’t some insanely buxom curvaceous Kim Kardashian look alike (never gonna happen)) and it killed my self esteem even more.
I started thinking I needed to be “bigger”. Have bigger everything.
So I started adding in more sugary foods and breads, and pastas and pizzas.
And I slowly gained weight, and my food habits got worse and worse, I meditated less, worked out way less….. and that brings us to today.
(My skin also started to break out more consistently and it drove me crazy).
Now, let me be clear, I am not overweight or obese. Nothing is wrong with me physically (ok, there are a few things, I’ll get to them in a minute).
But what I AM is sick of is listening to other people’s opinions on my body, how I look and most of all- what I’m eating. I’m tired of letting other people’s opinions dictate how I treat my body.
I was talking to a Clear Your Skin, Change Your Life™ member and she was saying that it’s so hard to deal with some co-workers sometimes because as she sticks to her diet, she often hears: “You can’t just eat a LITTLE bite?” And I kinda wanted to punch that person for her. (OK, not REALLY I would obvio NEVER do that haha, but I felt her pain).
Making healthy life choices is hard freaking enough without having to hear and filter and fend off one gazillion opinions over how you look, what you eat and your general life choices.
So lately- this has all come together for me in a big picture, because I’ve been a bit unhappy with a few things and the way I’ve been feeling physically. Here are a few things that are going on:
- Often, after getting home from particularly “naughty” weekends, I’m “swollen”. Like, with salt. Not like, CRAZY swollen, but my feet, my fingers and toes all look a little swollen, my jeans are a bit tighter and my my rings don’t fit right. I have to put my feet up on the wall to just feel some of the excess salt and water weight out of them. My face looks puffy. It doesn’t feel good guys.
- I also have been experiencing a ton of dizziness and lack of focus/hyperness throughout the day which I know to be mismanaged blood sugar in disguise.
- I also have a ton more cellulite- which wouldn’t really bother me if I didn’t know how/when cellulite forms; its basically due to the breakdown of a cellular process in your body. I don’t see my cellulite as “fat”- I’m not fat and I actually kinda hate that word- but I see the amount that I have as an indication that there’s an cellular breakdown and aging process happening that’s been accelerated by the sugary and processed foods I’m eating. No. Bueno. Amigos.
- My skin looks yucky. Dry. Scaly-esque. I have little teeny breakouts around my period (only little ones that I would see, but STILL, they’re there). It’s not good. It’s because I’m eating too much sugar and processed foods. See, you naturally gain weight when you eat crappier foods- but it also just naturally affects your skin- and even MY skin- someone who has kinda “solved” her acne issues, has problems when I don’t maintain healthy habits.
Now, keep in mind- I’m hypervigilant about my health. So all of these things have really come to my attention because I watch my bod and pay attention to her like a hawk.
I’ve been eating “worse” lately, and it’s been making me FEEL bad, and you know what it all comes down to at the end of the day?
What the overriding thought is at the end of the day?
All I can think is that if I become super healthy again (remember, this is the way that I feel my best and my most powerful) I will be thinner and everyone around me won’t like that/will have something to say/will criticize me.
That’s all I can think.
That is freaking insane. Right?
I’m a normal human, though, right? And I’m impacted by everyone’s opinions just the same way you and anyone else reading this is. I want people to perceive me as attractive, pretty, sexy, strong, etc. etc. etc.
And for the past six months, I’ve been dying, dying, DYING to get back to my much stricter health habits (because they feel better to me, heal my body faster AND help me feel more stable and focused throughout the day).
I have moments where all I can think is…
If I’m skinny “they” won’t like me.
If I’m skinny my relatives will drive me insane about it.
If I’m skinny, my friends will tell me I look anorexic.
If I’m too skinny I won’t have so and so celebrity’s boobs and people won’t find me attractive.
And y’all, I’m over it.
I’m over viewing my body, my attractiveness, my sexiness and my life as dependent on someone else’s opinion for approval.
I’m over it.
Now, this may seem simple to you- and in the back of your mind you may be thinking- is she really complaining about this right now? Being too skinny? But the specific issue isn’t the point here- it’s that my body is subject to a gazillion other people’s opinions when it’s MY body.
And I think we all experience this problem, especially as women, as something that affects us all- this hijacking of our bodies to be used for someone else’s approval, pleasure, etc.
That’s what I’m trying to get at here in particular- just the fact that even with strong self esteem and body image- I am constantly deriving my sense of self worth, sexiness and appeal based on what other people are thinking about my body.
It’s freaking insane.
To give you an example, a few days I ran my first half marathon – such a huge, amazing accomplishment – and my boyfriend at the time made a comment about how I looked:
“You’re too skinny, women shouldn’t be this skinny. Women are supposed to be curvy and soft.”
And I remember being CRUSHED.
I just ran 13.1 miles for the first time in my life after training healthfully and powerfully for almost 12 weeks and you are LEGIT criticizing how I look?
That is the one detail that you’re focusing in on?
And I just remember sitting there and feeling so small… and powerless.
And you know what that translated to as time went on?
“You can’t be a woman who achieves amazing things and still be attractive”.
That was the message I got- if you go after your dreams and accomplish amazing things that may or may not change how you look- boys won’t like you and you won’t be desirable. The end.
I was healthy, I ran my half marathon in great time and great strength, I was stronger and healthier than I had ever been in my life.
But I wasn’t “wanted”.
We see this all of the time, especially as women, in different ways. The same exact story could most likely be told for someone who has trouble losing weight and feels judged on that.
Or has blonde hair, or wears one piece bathing suits over bikinis.
Or who dresses a bit differently… it’s never ending.
And so I’ve done a lot, a lot of brainstorming and thinking over the past few months.
Trying to drill down into the center of ME, what I want, how I want to feel in my body- regardless of how other people perceive me.
Because this ain’t gonna work y’all and I don’t want it to “work” for you either; if you feel at all the way I do in any shape or form- I want to help you feel differently as well.
So what I did was this:
I’ve done exercises like this before- but never so intensely as this time around.
I spent the past few months doing a lot of writing and focusing in on how I can feel better in my body. More alive. And I was able to really drill down into what that meant for me.
Because it’s not about the cellulite or the bodacious butt or the Kim Kardashian boobs, it’s about how I feel, look and experience the world in my physical body.
I’ve never had body image issues really (thankfully) but I didn’t really understand how deeply affected I was by others opinions until all of this has come up over the past few months.
I wanted to talk about this on the blog today because I think all of these elements can affect all of us in very different ways- we all feel a great pressure to “be something”.
- To look perfect.
- To look like x, y, z celebrity
- To live up to x, y, z’s standards of beauty.
- To lose weight
- To gain weight
- To wear make up
- To not wear make-up
I kinda wanted to publicly out myself here because this is an issue I believe in so strongly and I really wanted to share my journey with you guys about it because I know some of you MUST have similar experiences in terms of being expected to look a certain way.
We all have so many expectations put on us and after a while- it can/does feel like you’re being strangled with them.
I think it directly impacts our acne a lot as well- feeling terrible about ourselves, feeling unworthy or unattractive because of our acne- something that’s happening on our physical body that we don’t have control over.
So, all of this changes today, with the reading and publishing of this blog.
I’m going to try my hardest to get back to the consistent, healthy habits I had made years ago, in a way that is in total alignment with how I want to eat, who I want be and how I want to feel in my body
I wanted to publicly declare it because I think… well, I know, that publicly declaring anything is usually the way to get ‘er done, right?
So here are some words/feelings that I came up with and how I want to feel in my body every day.
I want to eat and look and feel attractive in a way that feels “home” to ME.
I want to eat and look and act in a way that makes me feel:
- Lithe ( I love this word, look it up if you don’t know it)
I want my bod to feel clean and vibrant and healthy and strong.
And I don’t care if that means I become skinnier or bigger, I just want to feel focused, healthy and strong.
So I’m going to be taking time with this question- in fact it’ll be a daily question for me, but I want to leave you with some of my ideas on my brainstorming board that helped me come to my greatest plan/body love etc.
How would you eat/treat your body/exist in the world if you knew you’d be loved unconditionally?
When you feel the best in your body, what does it feel like to you?
I hope my story can give you some inspiration, and to help you shine a bit brighter- no matter what anyone else has to say about your body and/or how you exist in the world.