WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?

Judgment.

“What will people think?” is a near-universal human fear, at least to those living in Western culture.

Fear of being judged was one of the entry points to diet and fitness culture for me and it is also one of the obstacles for me in leaving all that behind.

“She’s let herself go”.

I don’t have to imagine that is what some people will be thinking as I gain weight, lose a bit of muscle and perhaps indulge occasionally in a “forbidden food”.

I know that is what some people will think – I have seen comments on the instagram feeds of former fitspo, diet and transformation promoters turned health at every size, body positive and intuitive eating advocates that say exactly that.

Gosh – let’s be honest here, as someone who has absorbed the mainstream messaging around health and body ideals, have had that same thought myself about others.

And as a “Type A” personality, the thought of not being in control or others thinking I am not in control is a terrible thought.

If I throw away these rules around what I should or shouldn’t eat, how much I should exercise and what my body should look like, then I lose control don’t I?

No.

In her article for The Unedit, @bodyposypanda aka Megan says this:

“…spending our lives playing by the rules only makes sense if the game is real. And it’s not. The game of winning in dietland is the greatest illusion that’s ever been crafted. One that’s been fabricated and sold to us over decades as the only right way to exist in a body, when there’s never actually been a wrong way to exist in a body. And the prize of happiness at the end of the game? We never get it. Because there’s always a new rule, a new body part to monitor, or a new goal to hit…The people who are the fastest to say that someone has let themselves go or given up on their body have no idea that the whole game is a lie…Because they’ve pinned their whole life on it being real.”

WOW.

rf-screw-your-rules-tank-white-01_300x300We have only “lost control” if we buy into the idea that there is something to control in the first place. I am choose not to “let myself go”,  but to “let myself be”.

Let’s be clear, it is not about going out there and saying just how much weight I can gain or junk food I can consume. I still want to honour my body and feed it with yummy, lovely nutrients. I still want to move by body daily and do exercise that is enjoyable and works for me in my current season … but, I can do this without striving for a false ideal and trying to make my body into something it was never supposed to be.  

There is a state in which my body will find a happy set point and healthy state of existence and I think “Health at Every Size” is simply about intuiting that and learning to be at peace with it.

#healthateverysize #antidiet #intuitiveeating #nojudgement #bodypositivity

 

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BE LIKE MELISSA…

I like to start the week by getting some Monday motivation and inspo from someone who has great perspective on life, weight and their body.

Today’s boss-lady was Melissa McCarthy. Her weight is something that often comes up in interviews with her, often as an unspoken premise for a question. For example, “where do you get all your confidence?” (implying that for someone who doesn’t fall into the conventional categories of ideal body shape or beauty, it is amazing that she is able to be so comfortable and confident with herself!). But Melissa handles all this with grace …

  • Melissa McCarthy is magnetic, fun, kind, intelligent and creative.
  • Melissa has a curvy, soft, feminine body.
  • Melissa is healthy.
  • Melissa is committed to modelling body positive behaviour for her kids…

CONCLUSION? -> BE LIKE MELISSA!

originalIn her own words:

“Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size six and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought. … But I am weirdly healthy, so I don’t beat myself up about it — it wouldn’t help, and I don’t want to pass that on to my girls.”

“We have to stop categorizing and judging women based on their bodies. We are teaching young girls to strive for unattainable perfection instead of feeling healthy and happy in their own skin.”

 

 

 

 

Why I am sharing…

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My Mum asked me recently, “Is writing all this & baring your soul publicly  helping you on this journey to recovery?”

My answer was a theoretical “yes”… though my explanation is more an instinct than scientific in nature.

Five thoughts on why being vulnerable and sharing with each other is important:

a) “Faking it till I Make it”  – perhaps I can speak internal change into being … proclaim to attain!

b) Encouraging a deep dive and exploration into my underlying issues/mindsets

c) Exposing those mindsets and core issues and by shining light, removing the power of the hidden/darkness

d) Accountability. I think part of deciding to post about all of this  now, is so that I am making myself accountable to changing. There is nowhere to hide now …

e) Only by sharing can we build a community for consensus and change.

 

Even in my small circle of “Friends”/”Followers”,  there have been quite a few who have responded to say how much they can relate or similar things they have/continue to struggle with … and I genuinely think that for too long there has been shame or fear surrounding actually admitting weakness, vulnerability or struggle. Or women, in particular, just accepting that this is what we have to put up with and strive towards our whole lives … and it is not actually true. And the only way that things will change, is by people rejecting the accepted ‘norms’.

 

I’m sure all of this makes some people uncomfortable. I’m sure some are thinking I’m “over-sharing”. To those people, I’d say, feel free to scroll on by  🙂

 

FIGHT THE STIGMA AROUND WEIGHT

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Why fighting the stigma is important

  • I don’t know why, how or when exactly it happened … but I know that at some point as a child, I became self-conscious of my body – my stomach in particular.

 

  • This picture is me when I was about 13. I was in my tomboy skater-girl phase. I was an outgoing creative teen, BUT I was so self-conscious about my stomach that I went through quite a long phase of holding my t-shirt out from my tummy so it didn’t press against it  – which would, in my mind, expose the curves to everyone. I’d roll around the skatepark, holding out my t-shirt.

 

  • I look back at this picture now, and don’t think I look fat. But the thought was a splinter in my mind back then for sure.

 

  • I didn’t grow up with the constant bombardment of the value-creating, image-defining and identity dismantling machine that is social media. Yet, somehow the messaging around acceptable and unacceptable body-types came through.

 

  • The Huffington Post article I shared recently stated that “Forty-five percent of adults say they’re preoccupied with their weight some or all of the time—an 11-point rise since 1990. Nearly half of 3- to 6- year old girls say they worry about being fat”.

 

  • It’s bad enough that adults are conscious of their weight, but 3-6 year old children? This is why we have to change the way we think & TALK about “weight”, “fat” and “food”. Not just for us, but because we are modelling behaviour to our children.

 

  • “It takes a strong sense of self-worth to feel safe in your skin in a world where some bodies are dubbed “good and acceptable” and others are dubbed “bad and unacceptable”. We need to make a world where all bodies are good bodies, where children can feel good about themselves in their own unique and precious bodies in all of their glorious diversity” (Body Respect, 2014, Bacon & Aphramor, p. 34)

LIES I TELL MYSELF – Part 1

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Just a little bit more …

  • I’ll be content with my body once I’ve lost just a few more centimetres
  • I will return to eating normally after just one more week
  • Just a little bit of restriction won’t set me back  

-> These are thoughts I have struggled with over the past few weeks. Lies I tell myself to convince myself that I haven’t “backslidden” in my thinking and restrictive eating habits. But if you have any internal struggle of this nature, then you will know that it takes some truth-talk everyday to keep things in check.

 

->  At the end of last year I committed to going “all in” in my journey to heal from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.This was caused by prolonged periods of emotional and physical stress (which included calorie restriction and high intensity exercise), sending my hormones out of whack and putting my body into a constant state of “fight or flight.

 

-> “All in” for me, meant eating an excess of calories, eating some “forbidden” foods, stopping all forms of high intensity exercise and in a nutshell, gaining some weight.  It was not a comfortable process or an easy one. I had to keep my eyes on the prize and gradually, my body began to feel “safe” and began to heal and return to balance. I had many more days when I was NOT happy with my body than days where I was … but, funnily enough I was happier overall.

 

-> That’s the kicker isn’t it? We tell ourselves we will be happy and content when we just lose those few extra kg … just one more day, one more week … But contentment will elude us until our goal is acceptance and appreciation, rather than criticism and self-improvement (“less fat”, “more muscles”, “nicer curves”, a “cleaner diet” or an admired exercise routine).

 

-> It sounds so simple, but to appreciate the beauty, power and capabilities of our body at its natural “set point” is still so counter-culture.

 

-> BUT if you are on this journey, then like me, you have to keep consistent with the internal work. When my gaze drifted from recovery to feeling “happier about my weight”,  I found myself once again restricting and telling myself I could drop some body fat and still stay healthy and balanced. Thankfully I have people who know me all too well and love me enough to call my on my BS.

 

-> So here, before you all, I expose the lies I’ve been telling myself and remind myself that the “ideal” body is not that which I see celebrated on the TV or by the health & nutrition professionals on instagram. The “ideal” body, is the one that is happy, balanced and functioning as it is meant to! What that looks like is slightly different for all of us!  Time to stop comparing and start tuning in.

 

(P.S. Disclaimer: I am not normally an over-sharer to people I don’t know all that well … but so many ladies have reached out and thanked me for my frank and honest sharing that I feel like this sort of vulnerability might be what is needed right now. I know I gain strength from other people getting real …)

FREE YOUR MIND

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In the words of Morpheus:
After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”

I am starting to see where conspiracy theories gain momentum. It only takes poking a few holes to see how the ideologies, facts and realities we are presented with are very constructed.

A few years back, I went to the doctor. At the time I was not restricting my eating but probably more ‘emotional eating’ to deal with stress. I was, however, doing high intensity workouts 5-6 days a week. My doctor told me I was overweight. That stuck in my mind and influenced the way I saw myself. How did she determine I was overweight? By calculating my BMI. Who wrote the BMI standards currently used? The pharmaceutical industry, who have a clear vested interest in making us believe fat is dangerous (Body Respect, 2014, Bacon & Aphramor, p.15).

If corporations can make people feel “less than” or think they are “sick”, then they can sell them the solution (the latest ‘magic pill’, ‘8 week cleanse’, summer-body bootcamp).

It is easy to get cynical about it all. But I prefer to think of it all as a “fire-starter” – an impetus to become more empowered in our thinking and our pursuit of health and happiness. Question assumptions, read, listen to podcasts and let’s start to think for ourselves again.

I’m committed to taking the RED PILL. I’m sick of existing in “the Matrix” and being a victim to mainstream messages and ideals.

My journey is about seeking truth … and the outcome? Hopefully a rediscovering and authentic, uninhibited expression of my true identity and greater understanding and compassion for myself and others.

 

#freeyourmind #antidiet #healthateverysize #thinkforyourself #redpill #nourishnotpunish #throwback #thematrix

MONDAY MANTRA #1

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MONDAY MANTRA: I’m not meant to be perfect, I’m meant to be WHOLE …

Pursue wholeness this week! ☀️

JANE FONA – a woman who many would say has and continues to be an icon of beauty, fitness and grace. A woman whose self-described “toxic” pursuit of perfection led to years of eating disorders, bulimia and anorexia. 💚

Now at 80, Jane offers us this wisdom from her long and rich journey … “It look me a long long time to realise that we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be WHOLE”. Amen lady! 🙏 ⬇️

P.s heard this in latest episode of Oprah’s Master Class podcast … Well worth a listen!

 

#mondaymantra #edrecovery #antidiet#selfcompassion #nourishnotpunish#janefonda