Month: September 2014

#’s (pounds not hashtags)

Do you love the scale? Do you hate the scale? Do you just not care? Whatever your opinion on scales are, you have an opinion. Hopefully it is a healthy one. Those of us with ED’s or are in process of recovery have a definite opinion of the scale. It is our frenemy (friend and enemy).  We love it because it brings us happiness when we need it. We love it
because it keeps our otherwise hectic life in control. Yet, we hate it because it brings us unhappiness. We hate it because it controls us. We hate it because it tells us our self-worth, self-value, and when people will love us. All because of one number we have in our heads. We cannot go above that number. We have a safety number (well I did). Once we go above the high number we starve and purge. If we fall below our safety number we binge because we feel sad and out of control than follow it up with purging.

When I was controlled by a scale I use to hide my insanity. The scale was in my parents bathroom. So I had to go in there to use it. I had to time myself and step on the white plastic scale when they weren’t around. If they caught me using it they would either check the number (which would result in gain weight comments), or tell me to get off it. I did it daily. Multiple times a day, knowing that your weight fluctuates during the day, I had to do it. Ask any one who struggles with this, it is only you and that scale. I had numbers on it where I felt my best and that I liked. I had numbers that were my heavy numbers which were signs that I need to lose weight. And I had a number that I couldn’t go under, mainly in part of a truce I made with my mom and gynecologist when I was severely underweight.

One of my first challenges was to step off that plastic white scale. To decrease my time on it. Instead of five times a day, cut back to three or four, etc…Eventually I weened myself off the scale and only stepped on them when I had a dr’s appointment. When I moved to my current therapist he came up with the idea to step on the scale sideways or backwards so I wouldn’t see the number. If I didn’t see the number I had no attachment to the number (I am not a math major but I had number attachments). It wouldn’t ruin my day with thoughts of “I am gaining” or “I am losing” etc…I felt like I looked stupid and I always made a joke of it but I soon came to realize that the nurses didn’t care. Most of them thought I was smart by doing that given my challenges.

The other day I had a major breakthrough. Probably one of my biggest ones in the almost three years of recovery. I saw a number on a white sheet of paper (my check out sheet at the doctor). On that white sheet of paper, I saw my weight. Here is the crazy part: it was heavier than usual, but I didn’t care. I knew that it may not be accurate because of the time of day, the time of month, and just took it with a grain of salt. I knew that I gained a few but that was ok because people still think I weigh less than that. I have muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. There are lots of reasons for that number. My current weight as of that day was how much I weighed in high school. I honestly think I look smaller now then I did around ten years ago. But my body has also changed shape (yay for late blooming).  I took that number and just let it be. I didn’t purge, starve, or over exercise. I just became mindful of it and went on my merry way.

A year ago that would not have happened! 2 years ago that definitely would not have happened.6 months ago there would be a chance that that would not have happened. But there I was completely ok with it. Melvin did creep in and try to talk me into starving. I disobeyed. I was in a good place. Especially since they are figuring out what is really wrong with my GI distress, and that is enough t over rule any weight arguments with Melvin.

So for those of you out there struggling with the scale, don’t give up. Try getting on the scale backwards or sideways. Don’t have the health practitioner tell you anything. Work on getting rid of attachments to numbers (they do not serve you). Keep trekking on. Eventually that white plastic scale (or whatever color of scale you have)  won’t have a death grip on you.

Till that day comes, practice Metta (lovingkindness in Sanskrit).

 

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Am I All About That Bass?

O the joys of pop music. It is either really annoying or really good. It can also be middle of the road, where it has some great things going for it but it falls a bit short in some areas. Now I don’t listen to much pop music/mainstream music, I only started back because I now have a car that has a working radio. Lately, I have noticed a movement in music that is attempting to be body positive. Which is a great thing! I love that. But, at the same time, most of the songs that seem to be body positive are falling a bit short. A prime example is the song “All About That  Bass” by Meghan Trainor.

I have a love-hate relationship with this song. I still don’t know if I like it, but it is a good pop song because it is catchy and I always listen to it (it is like Britney Spears, but Britney Spears reminds me of my childhood….). “All About That Bass” has some great body positive energy and lyrics but it does give some backhanded compliments to skinny girls and to males themselves. There is also the whole argument about the video and black women being used as props but I am not going to address that. I want to dissect the pros and cons of this song. I still cannot decide if I like it or not, but, I want to show that while people are wanting to show more body diversity and positivity, we are still have a long way to go….

On a side note, when I first heard this song I actually thought it was gonna be about bass as in the form of dubstep or electronic music, not bass as in a booty…..

Pros

1) She is happy about her size

This comes out right at the first of the song, “Yeah, it’s pretty clear I ain’t no size tumblr_mehf7rQ5xg1qeomyho1_500two, but I can shake it like I’m supposed to do”. We all should love our size. Each and every one of us is completely different and made by God so we should learn to love how he made us and be happy with our shape.

 

 

 

 

2) She sings that we are perfect 

The lyrics, “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”. Is sweet. It is a great reminder to the pro up above. We are perfect in our shape because God made us. When this song does get stuck in my head that lyric is sung over and over and over and over again in my brain jukebox. warning-mirror

 

 

 

 

 3) Her mom gave great advice!

If her mom really said to her, “Yeah, my momma she told me don’t4960567_orig worry about your size”. That is something all mom’s need to be relaying to their children. It isn’t about the size of our bodies…it is about the size of our hearts, our laughter, our soul, our personality etc…Children learn body image habits and acceptance from their parents and family. This is no different than the other things parents teach their kids like love, kindness, selflessness, etc…

 

 4) Photoshop is bogus

“I see the magazines working that photoshop. We know that shit ain’t real, come on now and make it stop. If you got beauty beauty then raise it up because every inch of you stereotypeis perfect from the bottom to the top”.

Everyone will agree that photoshop has definitely impacted body image in a negative light. You can take one person and change everything about them with a few simple swipes of a computer program. There you can take what was made specifically for you and no one else and then change it to someone else’s ideal. The beauty ideal is what companies want you to think and feel so you will buy their products. It is made up. Also, an ideal, just like a norm, is made by others put on you. Not your own experiences or own thoughts. So each and every one of us needs to think about our own beliefs and look inside our hearts to define for ourselves what beauty is and not rely on photoshop and big business.

Cons

1) Just because you don’t have a booty doesn’t mean you can’t shake it shake it

I know plenty of slender, what people would call “bootyless”, individuals whDayna-H-body-positive-media-literacy-300x300o can  shake it shake it with the best of them. It isn’t about how big it is, really it is more about how you can manipulate your spine, low back, hips, and muscles. I can’t shake it. I can move my hips in a Latin ballroom way, but ask me to shake my rump and it doesn’t go. But, I have been in dance classes where girls can shake their tailfeather’s  but do not know how to do ballroom hips. It is ok. Really, are we suppose to shake it shake it? I have no desire to shake my butt. If you do then great! Also, last time I checked, there is no dance syllabus on how to properly shake it shake it.

2) Skinny=bitch

Skinny Bitch. That is phrase used a lot, not just in this song but in everyday life. In movies, in media, in TV, it is equated that if you are skinny then you are a bitch. Just like people think that fat people are lazy. These are ideals/images/stereotypes that have been pushed into our brains by society. I know skinny people who are lazy. I know faweight-stereotyping-w724t people who are hard workers. I know skinny people who don’t take care of themselves. I know fat people who are very health conscious. So honestly these stereotypes are wrong. It is up to us to stand up, change the stereotypes, or not give in to what they are. We make a choice. We can make a change.

 

 

 

 

3) All guys like bigger women

“Boys like a little more booty to hold at night”, “Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase”.

If this were true, then I would have never ever been on a date, yet alone married. A lot of dancers would not be married. Models would not be married. Athletes would not be married. Sure, there is some anthropological evidence that guys look at hips and breasts to decide if a mate can have a child but things are changing. I definitely do not send signals out via my body that I am ready to have your child (good thing my hubby and I are DINKS).  That doesn’t make me any less of a woman or less attractive. Guys will find attractive whatever they find attractive. Be it a beautiful big woman or a petite, looks like they are 12 years old woman. You cannot pigeon hold men, this classification is no different than funny-picture-skeleton-girls-goal-weightsaying only real women have curves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) If we don’t have a booty then we want one

This is something that is in the video. A white, slender, female model seems to longmonique for a booty of an African-American female. That alone seems sort of stereotypical, as well as wrong. I do not have a booty and I don’t want one. I am sure I am not the only one. I am sure there are those that want a bigger butt. But why do they want one? Could it be because society is saying that you aren’t a woman without a big butt? Wait, let us call it, “curves”.Or do they want one for themselves? Also, African-American women are not the only women that have booty. All races have females with booties and all races have those without (even though technically we all have booty, because the butt is made up of 3 muscles and everyone on earth has those 3 muscles).

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Exercise

There once was a time that I was addicted to exercise. Even though I was dancing five days a week, teaching group fitness classes five days a week, I ran plenty, and did Olympic lifting, I couldn’t get enough. I was working out, or moving my body, seven days a week. There was no such thing as a rest day. To me a rest day was for the weak. Resting meant that I would get fat, lazy, and lose all my gains. Even though-and here is the BIG part-I knew I was wrong.

In college I spent my time battling an ED, exercise addiction, all while studying Exercise and Sport Science. I knew everything about training and exercise. I knew that I had to take a day off because it makes you stronger…but try and tell my disordered self that. Also, spending time in a major that puts emphasis on exercise, weight lifting (Olympic style) it is hard to not to want to do more. Part of our major was to get in the gym and work out, all while building our own periodized training program.

I remember every time I was forced to take days off, be it due to injury or I had other things to do. I literally remember twitching, having anxiety, and all withdrawal symptoms. When I was injured and couldn’t work out I thought I was gonna die, or get fat. Then my anorexic mind would take over and I would eat nothing but fruit and soup. After all this I never thought that I was addicted. Until I took a sport psychology class and we studied exercise addiction. BAM! It was as if they were writing about me. I had all those symptoms. I scheduled life around my workout. I had the withdrawal symptoms. I exercised for more than just health reasons. I would do extra sets of squats or other exercises before I would put on certain clothes.

While I had all this, I never thought about changing it till I went into recovery. In recovery I had to use my knowledge of exercise and learn to use it properly. I had to make a program and stick with it. I had to do a program with set exercises on certain days. I scheduled in rest days, or active recovery days. People had to hold me accountable. It was tough. It has taken me quite some time to get use to it. It probably wasn’t till a year ago that I become fully ok with taking days off. And taking off more than one day in a row (but I never go more than two, I will at least walk). And now I workout for health sake not just to look good and burn calories (though sometimes that is great motivation to get through a tough workout).  But I don’t beat myself up for missing a day or quitting a workout early because my body tells me too. I don’t crave exercise anymore. I crave being injury free. I LOVE not being over trained. I can actually sleep at night! 

All of this is was inspired by a post I saw on the NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) Facebook page. It was about exercise addiction. It is great to see exercise addiction being written about and taking seriously as an addiction. The link below is a really honest and true statement. Now, there were things we did differently, but like any recovery, we are all different. I do suggest that if this is you  or someone you know PLEASE get help.

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14650/12-signs-youre-exercising-too-much.html

Peace and Namaste.