Tag Archives: body image

Blizzards and Accomplishments

It was the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show last week.  Not sure if you watched it, but I did, as I do every year, and this was my view:

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Yes, those are DQ blizzards.  And yes, I realize the irony of watching women with 2% bodyfat parade around in lingerie while downing 800 calories in a single go.  And that’s why I did it.  Because I am about enjoying the simple things in life, like couches and ice cream with my husband.  Because I will never be a Victoria’s Secret model.  Because my body-image has shifted ever-so-slightly over the years.  Because I love blizzards.

I’ve written about my personal struggles with eating disorders, so this isn’t a surprise to many of you.  But the surprising part to me is how my thinking has shifted away from my own struggles, and onto changing those  future struggles for my daughter.  As a mother, I’ve become much more aware of the images that bombard our young girls.  I can now see the damage that photoshop and magazine covers and yes, Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, can do.  Most of us will never be 6 feet tall.  Most of us will never weigh 110lbs.  And yet, skinny is still lauded and valued and praised.  As is height.  And blond hair.  And blue eyes.  And the thing is, I actually have a few of those qualities.  But I don’t have the skinny.  And so my body-dysmorphic thinking only focuses on that.

But instead, I have the strong.

This is a relatively new world for me.  A world where strong is praised and skinny is secondary.  A world where how much you can lift, how fast you can run, how high you can jump, are more important measurements than your 36-24-36.  A world where you can work hard, reach your goals, and keep striving for more.  Where accomplishments are calculated against your own personal bests rather than against external factors that you cannot control.

My three-year-old daughter proudly dressed herself yesterday morning.  When she was done, she went running to find her big brother.  “Look, look,” she squealed, “Look how beautiful I am!  I got dressed all by myself!”  Can you see why her statement is so magical?

Because she measured her beauty based on her accomplishment.

Brilliant.  She thought she was beautiful not because of how she looked, but because of what she could do.

And I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way.

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For those Still Searching for Skinny…

Sigh.

It’s not often that I re-blog something.  But this week I feel like I need to.  I had a patient in my practice earlier this week criticizing her non-existent “fat”, a friend who spoke about “losing 10 pounds”, and an acquaintance whose teenage daughter is battling the early stages of an eating disorder.  Three strikes of the post-it-again bell wins the prize.

I’m sorry that I needed to write this post to begin with.  I’m very sorry that I needed to re-post it.

We need to change the mindset.

*****

This post makes me sad.  It makes me sad for all of the hours spent, the energy wasted, and the food-related guilt and shame in my quest for “skinny.”  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m unique in this quest, and that’s what makes me even more upset.

I’m sad for the 8-year-olds who use the word “diet”.  I’m sad for the teenage girls who think they’re fat.  I’m sad for the 20-somethings who eat only grapes and rice crackers.  I’m sad for the moms who hate their bodies.  I’m sad, because I’ve been there.  That used to be me.

photo-31In fact, I came across an old competitive running journal of mine, which I wrote in my early 20s, and that’s what prompted this post.  Aside from writing down my daily mileage (which, at the time, was upwards of an obsessive I-must-run 100kms/week) I also recorded how “fat” I felt.  I was 135lbs, wore a size 6, and most of my journal entries centered around varying degrees of “feeling fat”.  Because skinny runners run faster, right?  Skinny girls are pretty, right?  Skinny is perfect, right?

I’ve always struggled with body image, but seeing this journal years later made me see how far I’ve come.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad moments, bad days, bad thoughts, and sometimes the body image beast still rages; but the tide has shifted.  My relationship with food has changed (“Food for Thought”), which is my biggest personal victory.  I no longer look at numbers on the scale and on clothing tags.  Ironically, as my obsession with weight and calorie-counts have decreased, those numbers haven’t changed much almost 15 years and two kids later.  I now look at numbers in my training journal:  I can deadlift 225lbs.  I can climb a rope.  I can do 10 pullups in a row and I can do “real” pushups from my toes.  But more importantly, I look at my daughter.  I can see her looking at me, and she’s learning how to define beauty and self-acceptance.

I hope that these very personal, very honest revelations don’t ring true with you, my female readers.  But I suspect that they will for many.  That’s why I wrote this.  That’s why I pushed past my should-I-shouldn’t-I doubts and feelings of uncomfortable vulnerability into complete openness and soul-baring confessions.  I hope that you can find a way to look at your body as strong instead of fat, as capable instead of weak, as beautiful instead of ugly.  Don’t seek skinny, seek acceptance.  And most of all, certainly most of all, I hope you can teach your daughters to do the same.

accept yourself

 

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The Search for Skinny

This post makes me sad.  It makes me sad for all of the hours spent, the energy wasted, and the food-related guilt and shame in my quest for “skinny.”  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m unique in this quest, and that’s what makes me even more upset.

I’m sad for the 8-year-olds who use the word “diet”.  I’m sad for the teenage girls who think they’re fat.  I’m sad for the 20-somethings who eat only grapes and rice crackers.  I’m sad for the moms who hate their bodies.  I’m sad, because I’ve been there.  That used to be me.

photo-31In fact, I came across an old competitive running journal of mine, which I wrote in my early 20s, and that’s what prompted this post.  Aside from writing down my daily mileage (which, at the time, was upwards of an obsessive I-must-run 100kms/week) I also recorded how “fat” I felt.  I was 135lbs, wore a size 6, and most of my journal entries centered around varying degrees of “feeling fat”.  Because skinny runners run faster, right?  Skinny girls are pretty, right?  Skinny is perfect, right?

I’ve always struggled with body image, but seeing this journal years later made me see how far I’ve come.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad moments, bad days, bad thoughts, and sometimes the body image beast still rages; but the tide has shifted.  My relationship with food has changed (“Food for Thought”), which is my biggest personal victory.  I no longer look at numbers on the scale and on clothing tags.  Ironically, as my obsession with weight and calorie-counts have decreased, those numbers haven’t changed much almost 15 years and two kids later.  I now look at numbers in my training journal:  I can deadlift 225lbs.  I can climb a rope.  I can do 10 pullups in a row and I can do “real” pushups from my toes.  But more importantly, I look at my daughter.  I can see her looking at me, and she’s learning how to define beauty and self-acceptance.

I hope that these very personal, very honest revelations don’t ring true with you, my female readers.  But I suspect that they will for many.  That’s why I wrote this.  That’s why I pushed past my should-I-shouldn’t-I doubts and feelings of uncomfortable vulnerability into complete openness and soul-baring confessions.  I hope that you can find a way to look at your body as strong instead of fat, as capable instead of weak, as beautiful instead of ugly.  Don’t seek skinny, seek acceptance.  And most of all, certainly most of all, I hope you can teach your daughters to do the same.

accept yourself

 

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