Mind & Soul (Body? Eh,not so much...)
I've almost always had a contentious relationship with my body.
As a kid (as you can see...) I had a lovely mushy round belly. I was a chunky little kid who got teased in school for being a chunky little kid. And over the last 46 years my belly has gotten bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller as I've battled through anxiety, depression, crazy dieting and an eating disorder. I've weighed as much as 260 pounds (although I lie and say that my heaviest weight was 245...why I think this makes a difference, I have no idea...) and as little as 130 pounds. On my five-foot-nine frame. There have been times when I've actually been in decent shape and physically active. Even when I wasn't "thin." But regardless of whether I was at my heaviest or my slimmest or at my most sluggish or at my fittest, one thing has remained the same....
I always FEEL fat. I always dislike my body. I'm tall with a broad frame. I always feel gigantic compared to other women. And I have struggled for years to feel good about myself. Never have.
In recent years my belly has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.... eventually taking up so much real estate on my body that I felt she deserved her own name.
Bernice loves french fries, potato chips, cake, cupcakes, and pretty much anything that is just plain bad for you (except Twinkies and Fruity Pebbles...I mean, eeeuuwwwww...)
Bernice needs to go. And I am not just saying that out of vanity. I'm not saying that because I hate my body.
I started having some health issues a year and a half ago and one of my lovely, very smart doctors put me on an anti-inflammatory diet. Unfortunately, things on the diet that I am no longer supposed to eat are some of Bernice's favorite things: gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, potatoes, fried food, processed food, cashews, peanuts, soy.
"Screw the anti-inflammatory diet!" Bernice yelled. And kept yelling all through the first year I was supposed to be sticking to it.
And I just let her walk all over me. I ignored the advice of my very smart doctor and let Bernice eat whatever the heck she wanted to.
Because by the time my health started failing I was worn out. I had reached the point in my life where my only strategy for dealing with the body I hated was to just ignore it. My body was simply a vessel used to carry around my active mind and my spirit. A vessel that was so less than perfect that I didn't bother with it anymore. I was sooooooooo tired of trying to "lose the weight" and "get fit" and all of the work that went along with that. The anti-inflammatory diet just seemed like the most ridiculous and insulting end to a very very long road. What do you mean I can't eat all of my favorite foods anymore? Eating is the thing that keeps me sane! Are you kidding me??? Argh!!!
Nope. No anti-inflammatory diet for me or Bernice. And for a year after the doctor prescribed the diet, I didn't change one single thing and continued to ignore my body completely.
And then I landed in an ambulance which took me to the emergency room and then overnight in the hospital.
Not just once.
So apparently ignoring my body and the advice of the very smart doctor was a terrible, terrible strategy.
That was back in October. Since then I have worked hard to follow the doctor's advice. Bernice still yells and demands stuff she isn't supposed to eat. Not going to lie...I give in. But when I do, I usually have a very small portion or even just a few bites of the forbidden food. I keep my medicine on hand. And I've started working out again. I even signed up for an 8-week weight loss challenge at my gym. I feel good. Still fat. Still struggling to accept my body. But I feel good that I'm taking care of rather than ignoring the vessel of my mind and my soul.
This year is The Year of Getting Healthy.
And the year of dealing once and for all with my relationships with food and my body. I want to be around and healthy for my family. Not dealing with my body and my health affected my friendships, my business ( so sorry Glue Nerds - I promise there will be newer workshops soon!), my ability to be a good parent and partner, my life. So I've created SoulCollage® cards about food, bingeing, body acceptance, exercise, anxiety, and my body as a healthy happy vessel and I am using them to help me get to a better, healthier place.
What area of your life are you ignoring that is holding you back and affecting you and those around you?