Archives for posts with tag: how to get a better body image

#ReleaseRevolution(10)

 

Want to deal with the remnants of body image issues left behind as a result of decades of dieting really fast?

Decide to become a yoga teacher.

In the summer.

I am so aware of all the messages we are inundated with this time of year.  Magazine covers with headlines like “Get A Bikini Body for Summer” or pictures of dimply bums that say “Worst Celebrity Bodies” or just threads on Social Media that shame the crap out of someone because they have body fat.  Bodies with fat in real life are not the exception to the rule. We actually NEED fat on our bodies to survive.  However, everyday we see bodies with fat  endure ridicule and shame.  What’s the solution?  Stop feeling bad about your body and go out and enjoy your freaking life!

So, back to yoga teacher training.  I am hyper-aware of the last of my insecurities as I approach the 2 weeks until teacher training starts.  I realize that I am going to want to ask questions about how to deal with breasts and tummies in certain poses to help my clients adjust accordingly – without shame or judgment.  I am afraid that I will be the only curvy person in my training.  I tell people that I’m worried about the schedule and all I have to learn – only because I want to release some of the fear and vulnerability I am feeling – but the truth of the matter is; all I am REALLY worried about is my body and my perceptions of it’s flaws and limitations.

I rolled my ankle badly a few years ago and in preparing for my training it has flared up – I genuinely worry that backing off from being gentle with this injury will somehow be about the fat on my body… like someone might think “it’s that fat spilling over her yoga pants that’s making that ankle hurt”… I know… ridiculous.

I had a quite a tremendous “aha” moment a couple of weeks ago when I finished a class.  The yoga teacher complimented my king pigeon pose (ahhh, my dream pose) and while I said “thank you” – I went on to complain that I had to use a strap.  She exclaimed “me too!” and we both commiserated that we are coming to terms with the fact that we will never reach our foot in this pose – that our physiology will not allow for it.  Huh, somehow I had made my short limbs about my body fat.  This teeny little gal that was sharing this “me too” moment with me might have had short limbs too – but I assure you – no excess body fat.

This is what I LOVE about yoga!  It’s about your body – but it’s not.  It’s about embracing your body and what it is capable of right in that very moment.  You can’t think about how a pose was easier yesterday – that just makes it harder.  You have to accept.  Yoga is breathing acceptance into every corner of your body. You will never receive the true benefits of yoga until you learn to bring your body to the mat and celebrate the shit out of that!  Yoga is not about having or achieving a “yoga body” if you do Yoga – you have a yoga body.

How you feel about your body is YOUR CHOICE. I have chosen decades of insecurity and shame.  I can assure you that neither of these approaches resulted in no body fat.  So today I CHOOSE love and compassion for my body and ALL of the bodies around me.  It’s not about your body lovies – all of those things that you like to blame on your body…  that’s just a fail safe to stop you from owning your shit.  CHOOSE to love your body – without apology – so that you can make room to find your passion and purpose.  I see so clearly now that without this body my soul resides in – I would not be about to embark on the soul-shifting journey that IS yoga teacher training.  Gawd, did I mention how scared I am????

 

There is this book called “The Four Agreements”.  I read it years ago and whenever I kind of lose my center I always re-visit these guidelines.

I have been thinking a lot about one of the Agreements, which is, “Always Do Your Best”…. I suck at this.  I don’t suck when my best is my best… I suck when I feel like my best isn’t good enough.  To be frank, I still grapple with the idea that I can’t be the best version of myself until I think my body is “doing it’s best” and by “doing it’s best”, I mean looking the way I think it needs to look.

 

always do your best

When it came to 2014 I struggled to do my best in every arena of my life.  And, by my standards, constantly came up short.  It was, to say the least, a year of tests… hard ones.  As far as body image goes I feel like I literally spent 365 days worried about my weight, my appearance, my body and if I wasn’t worried about it I was worried about not worrying about it!  There were days when I was literally consumed by food/exercise and how it all affected my body.

July brought me to me knees – I felt out of control so I went back to the safety of protocol.  Just a little FYI – our protocol doesn’t work when it’s about CONTROL and RESULTS and thus is was a half-hearted attempt.  But it wasn’t a waste.  Finally in a strangely exquisite way.

THIS.

WAS.

ROCK.

BOTTOM.

I came into August with a level of Apathy that actually left me concerned.  I have suffered situational depression in my life.. .but this was different… this was not sadness – I just didn’t care. About anything.  Everyday was a struggle to muster up the energy to do anything.  It was the strangest feeling – this not caring.

I see now that I needed to get there to learn that not caring anymore was not going to kill me. That spending precious energy on making my body perfect was not going to absolve me from feeling imperfect.

I’m learning to love all of the lessons that 30 years of dieting has taught me…. in my heart it feels so liberating!  However, my brain is taking awhile to catch up… all this hard wiring of immersing myself in that culture is difficult to un-do.  Every day it’s gets a little closer to my heart and my soul. And my heart and my soul is where the real work needs to be done.

I am currently doing our Protocol. Along with several of our clients.  I feel very zen about it and whenever I am having a rough day I am finding ways to PERMANENTLY overcome all of these issues.

2014 was not the best example of myself and who I want to be and who I am capable of being… but I was “doing my best”. And that is enough.  ❤

When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM  work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism.  Some of it is real – some of it is imagined.   Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth??  Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.

I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”

The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.

It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff.  The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.

But that destructive criticism?  That’s the shit that gets me.  That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart.  How do these trolls know where to get you?

The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.

That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena…   I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!

Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies. 

Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”…  I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.

This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion.  This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤not the critic

I feel like I have said this too many times to count over the last two years but I think it bears repeating…..  If you want to feel good about your body, if you want to set yourself free from insecurity surrounding your body…. You MUST accept your body;

All of it;

The scars;

The squishy flesh;

The shiny stretch marks;

The too short legs; and

The fwappy arms….

You must ACCEPT….. and then…. learn to love.

There is NOTHING I mean NOTHING good in this entire Universe that comes from hate…. hating your body will not force it into submission, will not erase your wobbly bits…  hating your shortcomings whether they are related to your physical appearance will not result in self-acceptance and love.

It’s okay if this concept seems ridiculously foreign to you.  It’s okay if right now this seems impossible…. but you can start… just a baby step.

Today – what if you started with love.  When you feel a hateful thought bubbling in your brain… what if you stopped it?  What if you said “Nope, not today” and moved onto something with love… maybe it’s too soon to direct a loving thought towards yourself…  do a loving thing… go find that book you have been meaning to dig into, knit a scarf, phone a friend…

Move through this world with love and the intention of love…. and then when you’re ready… Maybe think something loving about yourself.

Love is easy.

Hate is hard.

Simple as that.

 

love and hate

This video featuring Brene Brown and her speech on vulnerability has been floating around for awhile and I have never taken the time to watch it… until yesterday.

I probably spent 1/2 of it bawling my eyes out because it rang so true for me as itapplied to my body image and self-love.  It was the very first time that I was 1000% certain that I was going to find myself on the other side of this battle very soon and breathe the sweet fresh air of finally living authentically and in the moment…  I do have some work to do but I see now that it can be done and that I have the strength and the knowledge and the ability to do it!  I am WORTHY of this personal freedom.

But first, I have one last war with my demons…. all of them…  Brene Brown talks about how we Numb ourselves out to deal with uncomfortable feelings and I have been doing that for decades… I numb… but not anymore.  The fact is, if anyone is struggling with contentment – they are likely numbing themselves…. the balance of this post will talk about numbing as it pertains to weight issues and attitudes.

WE NUMB

Some of us turn to pills, to alcohol, to exercise, to cigarettes…. to FOOD.

We are all NUMB!

We go through these motions too afraid to finally admit that we aren’t afraid of fat – NOW we’re afraid of what life will look like if we stop fearing fat!!  Who would we be? Who would we be with? What would we think? What would we look like?

So we NUMB.

Your problem isn’t your weight.  Read that again.  Your problem isn’t your weight.  It’s the numbness, it’s the fear, it’s the guilt, it’s the shame!

We will all argue (very effectively and justifiably) that we all have been conditioned to BELIEVE these things.  We have been brainwashed to BELIEVE that true happiness and contentment will be found at the end of a diet in a string bikini.  That’s the hard sell… that’s what people who are selling shit do to get you to buy their shit!

So we try the hard sell and succeed for a minute, only to fail again (’cause remember success is measured by your ability to manipulate your body into giving you a certain number on the scale)… and then we feel sorry for ourselves… we tell the same sad sad stories of when we started to diet.. we regurgitate the stories of the times we were told we were fat or were made to feel fat.  We remember with longing the times we got “there” only to remind ourselves that we didn’t enjoy it as much as we imagined… ’cause we were still scared – we were still numbing.  We talk about the times when we tracked ever calorie, every rep, every heart beat and bead of sweat… We talk about times that we felt
SO.
IN.
CONTROL.

NEWSFLASH:  Life is not meant to be controlled!  It is not meant to be measured or compared or tracked or monitored.  Life is meant to be LIVED!  And as long as you numb yourself you will never be content in the moments, you will never love the skin you are in, you will never be happy with the simplicity that life has to offer.

Get REAL, stare your shame and your guilt square in the eye and tell it you are NOT fanning it’s flames any longer!  Reach out to us!   Listen, we give you the drops, you follow the book… you go on your way… But if you are really, really, struggling still that’s the part that we love about our Company – the chance to change lives forever and help set people FREE!

worthy

Oh my friends… having some weird times lately.  Feeling stuck, feeling overwhelmed and then feeling numb.  I realize that I have spent so much of my life in the pursuit of weight loss that I don’t know what to do with this free space in my head – so I dip my toe in the possibilities and everything comes rushing at once and I want to do it all… RIGHT NOW!  So… back to stuck again… and I run through the cycle.

So in noticing all of this lately – something else has been cropping up… some little part in my noggin’ that I thought was gone has started picking on me again… Those “After” pictures that I was so proud of 2 or 3 months ago are starting to look different to me. I am starting to criticize them and “find the fat” if you will.  It’s like this track in my brain wants to keep playing the same old song and dance and the only way it can get me to do that is to change what I see so it can keep me a prisoner of how I feel about my body.  So, now, instead of feeling proud of my “After” pictures I start to see where I could lose some more weight, where I could “tone” things up, where I need to ask the people that I’m coaching for forgiveness because I know my body isn’t “just right” so who am I to tell them how to change theirs???  Ugh, so gross.

So, now I see the cycle of the last year and everytime that asshole in my head started to pick on me and my body I would do another round of protocol… I would change my “After” picture a little bit more…  but something has changed that’s bigger than just an “After” picture…  I acknowledge that over a year ago when I was contemplating doing my first round of protocol I remember negotiating my little deal with the Universe… I remember saying “if I could JUST get there…” (with my weight) “I’ll be happy… I’ll be satisfied…”  and guess what? I’m there.. and most of the time I am happy and satisfied – but oh that asshole in my head!   I see decades… yep, I said it DECADES of wishing for a body I was NEVER going to have… Even when I was “imaginary fat” I was ALWAYS chasing 5 or 10 pounds…. 5 or 10 pounds kept me away from body satisfaction and made me a prisoner to diet and exercise…  So I see it now, truly – that even another round of protocol is not going to be the cure here…  It’s NOT about my body…

So… my solution?  No protocol.  Just maintenance. Just living. Just learning to treat my body with love and respect. Just yoga. Just sex. Just eating good food when I’m hungry.  Just celebrating life as it is.   Just being in THIS body. Right now.  To let who I want to be realize that I want to be so much more than a pant size or a number on the scale.  That I NEED to teach two amazing little girls that how much physical space they take up in this world is irrelevant to who they are and how much spiritual space they must contribute!

What a waste… what a waste… what a waste…. time to focus on things that I CAN change….

waste

The following is a submission I received upon request from a Goodbye My Muffintop Client – she has asked to remain anonymous but I am sure that many, many of you will relate to her story.  She is such a perfect example of why a person could benefit from the hormonal re-set that our program provides!  She didn’t need to eat better or exercise better… she wasn’t doing anything wrong.  She just needed to learn how to listen to her body…   To date her pounds lost remain an unknown… but after her first round of protocol she lost an incredible 44.5 inches!

My body image issues date back literally as far back as I can remember.  Even around the age of 4 years old I have memories of being called the “chubby chicken” & compared to my “skinny minny” sister by my mother.  Now if you want some deep seeded issues, I’ve got them.  Can any of you imagine being in kindergarten and not wanting to eat your snack because you thought it would make you fat and mom would get mad for it?  These nasty little self destructive voices took up permanent residency in my brain by the time I was 7 and took up dance.  I remember being fitted for a costume and being told to suck it in because I was big enough, I need shrink room not growth room. I was NOT overweight by any means at this time but I lived in a toxic environment.  My mom and dad had divorced a year prior and my mom was essentially anorexic from the stress.  Of course, she thought she looked great and for the next 17 years we lived on this diet roller coaster with her.

My mom went through a series of rollercoaster relationships which in turn led to crazy ups and downs for us in the eating/diet department at home not to mention the emotional toll it took on me.  By 7th grade on the doorstep of puberty, I was miserable, I had gained weight (mostly due to puberty) and was constantly criticized for it by my mom, hearing things like “I guess it wasn’t just baby fat after all”.  I had even adopted the nickname “hippo” from I don’t even know where.  Entering high school I was an emotional wreck, I wanted so badly for things to get better, I found a new group of friends and tried to pick up the fragments of self-esteem I had left.  Of course as we all know, high school is a vicious place, I was tormented for being fat, which I wasn’t, but it didn’t matter those nasty little voices were in my head and had me completely convinced that I was disgusting.  It didn’t matter what kind of reassurances my friends (who were genuinely good friends) gave me, the whispers, pokes in the stomach and taunting from others just reinforced those nasty little voices in my head and amplified them.

In 9th grade I started making myself throw up so I didn’t have to go to school.  I thought if I could escape the torment, I would be able to cope.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t, it was a slippery slope for me, I saw the number on the scale going down so I continued.  I struggled with bulimia for the rest of high school, eating with my friends at lunch then the first chance I got during class, going to the washroom to purge.  I would get a high from the little bit change on the scale which pushed me further and further down the downwards spiral, leading to other forms of coping like alcohol.

On my graduation day, I met my husband to be and felt that the pressure was on more than ever before to maintain my body image so that I didn’t lose this wonderful guy.  it wasn’t until almost a year after we had started dating that I was driving home from work (with him following behind me in his car) and almost getting into a head on collision because I had not eaten in 3 days and my body was literally shutting down, that I was completely shaken.  I can barely remember any of what happened but he still reminds me of how terrified he was that he would lose me.  I spent the next 2 years overcoming my battle with bulimia but fueling it with another diet for me to fixate on.  I got pregnant and we were ecstatic, then I lost the baby because my body was struggling to keep me alive, let alone grow another life.  This broke my heart and shook me to my core.  I dug deep and started fighting for me.  Slowly, I stopped extreme dieting, started eating a little more and more until I had energy again.

A few months later, I got pregnant again and started to panic that I would lose another baby so I ate, and I mean I ATE.  Everything and anything that appealed to me, I ate.  Around the 2.5 month mark, I got what everyone told me was just morning sickness, but in my case it was terrible, I was sick all day every day, there wasn’t a meal that I ate that didn’t come back up.  The sick thing is that my brain was telling me “that’s great, you won’t gain a bunch of weight while you’re pregnant.”  It took every ounce of strength in me to do everything in my power to get food into me but I wasn’t doing it for myself, I was doing it for this helpless little life inside of me.  Getting praised by the doctors for not gaining weight would be music to most pregnant women’s ears, but for a recovering bulimic who is fighting to eat while her body is essentially forcing her to be bulimic again, it’s a nightmare.  Finally after giving birth to my son, I was able to eat again and destined to prove my body wrong, that I wasn’t still bulimic, I ate and ate and ate.  When I got pregnant again 1 year later, my new doctor figured that my “morning” sickness would be less prominent so I continued to eat whatever I wanted, looking forward to having a normal pregnancy.  WRONG, the sickness hit me again and I again went through the same battle.  After our next son was born, I gorged myself again, I was miserable every time I stepped on the scale but it didn’t matter, I was insistent on proving to myself that I was not the girl I was in high school and I was trying to set a “normal” example for my kids, not allowing diets to be present in their lives.

After my third pregnancy, I was frustrated and fed up.  I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and was looking for something, anything to grasp at.  I started working out with a wonderful group of ladies and I felt great, I was losing a little weight and gaining confidence, which was great.  However, it became an addiction, I was there 5 days a week with all 3 kids in tow, sometimes there for 2 classes.  It became all about seeing that number on the scale go down now that I knew we were done having kids.  I thought I was setting a great healthy example for my kids.  We adopted a clean eating (for the most part) lifestyle, my kids saw me working out hard both at the gym and at home and I felt great.  Great until I stepped on the scale every time.  I spent a year busting my ass at the gym and eating predominantly clean to only watch my weight fluctuate up and down by a few pounds.  My trainers all told me that I HAD to hit my caloric goal each day or I would continue to put the weight on so I had to obsessively journal everything that I consumed.  It was tedious and I was exhausted, I knew mentally there had to be more to it than a magical number of calories but I trusted my trainers, I had seen their successes so I kept on trotting down the beaten path.  I weighed myself daily like I had done since the age of 9, had my measurements taken weekly and the scale had become my lifeline more than every before.  It was the largest key to my happiness and success.  If the scale didn’t budge or heaven forbid went up, I beat myself up mentally, measured, journaled, worked out just a little bit more.

It came to a point where I was completely and utterly done, I had injured myself at the gym, I couldn’t work out and I fell into a depression.  I just didn’t care, if I couldn’t work out, I wasn’t happy, if I wasn’t I didn’t care what we ate, if I didn’t care what we ate, we ate crap and I felt like crap.  Even more so when I stepped on the scale.

A few months ago haphazardly and only from a miscommunication in a message between Kelly and myself, we got to talking about the GBMM products and she started asking me some questions.  To say I was skeptical would be an understatement, I was completely and totally against it.  But some of Kelly’s questions/statements (some of which I can’t even remember now) got me thinking.  I started on a mission to uncover the skeletons in my closet and deal with them one by one.

What a shitty month, my poor husband lol.  One of the last demons I had to deal with was my dependance on the scale.  It had dictated more than half of my young life.  I had tried a couple of times in the past (mostly during my hardcore workout phase) to ditch the scale, I hid it under the bed but I would sneak off and weigh myself anyway.  I weighed myself on Valentine’s Day morning and let me tell you, it totally ruined my “mood” for that evening with hubby, beating myself up and thinking that if he knew the number he would be disgusted and that was the final straw.  I couldn’t, wouldn’t allow the scale to dictate my life anymore.  I was punishing more than just myself,I was punishing my husband and I’m sure many others along the way.  I vowed to myself I wouldn’t live this way anymore, I threw out the scale and haven’t looked back.  I cannot tell you how completely liberated I feel.  It really is like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  It’s not easy, it’s only been just over a month and it’s a completely foreign world to me, to not get up every morning and weigh myself.  But I’m starting to finally find me for the first time in my life, setting all of the bullshit and demons aside and realizing that I’m more than just a number or how someone else perceives me.  My body is just that, my body, it doesn’t define me and neither does the scale (anymore)!

the scale

So… I am preaching and begging that people ditch their scales…. if you are on a lose weight/get fit/get healthy quest … don’t measure your progress by using the scale.  I must admit 4 weeks ago when I was telling people this I was really only half-way in it – not totally committed to this way of coaching.  However, The Universe, that tricky little thing, really, really wanted me to believe it!  Another week has gone by and my scale has not moved at all… not at all….  If I was only using the scale to measure my success I would be very, very sad indeed.  Lucky for me I had some other ways of measuring;

1.  My thighs are no longer rubbing together when I walk!  Seriously, what would you prefer – to lose 5 lbs. or to liberate your thighs from each other?

2.  I can do so many more yoga poses so much more comfortably now that my belly is out of my way!

3.  Yesterday I tried on a top that I bought 2 summers ago.  It WAS a  cute little baby toll TOP.  Now, it’s a cute little babydoll DRESS;

4.  I tried on a dress at  Le Chateau and it fit!  It fit!  For those of you who don’t know about Le Chateau their idea of a sizing is not generous… 10 months ago I was wearing a size 18 pair of pants… and they were tight but I refused to buy a size 20… I was not going to be a size 20.

little things

These little things make me so happy.  It’s just these little accomplishments that I note along the way that keep me going and further convince me that the scale is such a teeny, tiny snapshot of who you are.  It’s like measuring your self-worth by something as arbitrary as the size of your feet… I am sure in the morning our feet are these cute little dainty things but after a day of chasing kids, wearing some heels, running errands… they are probably bigger at the end of the day…  we don’t beat ourselves up about that one.. who decided on the scale?