One of my favorite ways to deal with body image issues and stay in a healthy mindset is reading, and I found a gem.
Hungry is the story of Crystal Renn, today's leading plus-size model and in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous women on the planet. She tells about her struggle with anorexia and exercise bulimia as a struggling young model while offering an honest, insider's view on the fashion industry. When her agency gave her the boot for being too fat, she decided to stop living off steamed veggies and exercising up to eight hours a day. She stopped fighting her body and surprise, her career took off and she found love. I love this because it debunks the false notion that one's life will be so much better "when I lose weight.." Today, she's a healthy size 12 and works much the same way as straight sized models, in dramatic, "editorial" photographs and runway shows.
I think every woman should read this, especially if you struggle with body image.
Speaking of body image, something happened to me yesterday that hasn't happened in a long time.
I had a "fat day".
Fat days used to be every day for me, but working with intuitive eating and body acceptance, I've learned that "fat" isn't an emotion, and I know myself well enough to know that when I feel "fat", something else is bothering me, usually a feeling a general inadequacy from a lifetime of self-esteem issues. When this happens, I try to take a step back and reevaluate a few things.
Sometimes I notice the diet mentality sneaking back in and I use IE as a weight loss tool. This isn't what IE is about. The goal here is not to lose weight, although that may be a side effect, but to create a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. Here's what I usually do when a "fat day" attacks:
- Exercise only if I feel like it, and only if I enjoy it.
- Sit with the emotion for awhile, journal about it so I can get everything out and organize my thoughts.
- Wear something flattering.
- Give into a little emotional eating sometimes, so I can really understand that dieting will never again be part of my life.
- Do not feel guilty for anything I eat or any exercise I don't do. I still struggle with this sometimes.
- Watch a funny movie. Laugher can fix anything.
I do this until I feel better. My "recovery" periods are getting shorter, so I count that as progress.
On a happier note, tomorrow is my birthday, and Sam worked some extra hours so we could spent the night at my favorite bed and breakfast, and he even booked the Bridal Suite, which is where we stayed on part of our honeymoon! I'm so excited and I'm trying to decide which restaurant I want to hit tonight...so many good ones. I'll try to remember to take pics of whatever amazing thing I eat.
So whatever we end up eating in the next 24 hours, I won't let any nasty diet thinking ruin it. Delicious meals are triggering for me sometimes, so instead of getting on a bunch of restaurant websites and thinking of how I'm going to balance the calories in this meal, I'll do this instead: (sorry, I love lists)
- Pick whichever restaurant sounds best tonight.
- Order whatever the hell I want (whatever sounds best to my body and tastebuds)
- taste every single bite that goes into my mouth
- not feel obligated to eat anything I don't like
- try to stop when I'm full and satisfied (this doesn't always happen, but I won't beat myself up if I eat past full.)
- enjoy time with Sam on our little getaway
Stay tuned for a lesson in making homemade almond milk!