Sunday, January 29, 2012

Backsliding and Body Image

I Am Falling
Photo by pchow98 via flickr
I did really well for the first couple of weeks with my new food plan, but I have definitely noticed some backsliding this week. I have been getting a little looser on tracking, planning ahead a little less, and letting my portions creep up. Time to readjust and recommit. I have been doing well on the exercise front, at least.

I think a big problem is that I have been feeling frustrated with some things at work.  I have been feeling like there is something wrong with me, because I have my "dream job," but haven't been feeling very happy with it lately, and that makes me feel guilty.  There are some real reasons that this can be difficult.  Our terms are short and intense.  Teaching at night (my classes are four hours long and I sometimes don't get home until 10 if a student stays after to talk) is a real drag.  It's hard to wind down to get to sleep afterward.  My husband gets up early to teach high school so that means I find myself short on sleep.  I only teach two nights a week, but because the classes fall across the dinner hour, it does make it tougher for me.  I also have to be on campus a lot during the day for meetings, office hours, and more meetings.  I need to plan what I am going to eat and bring it with me.  I have to also realize that I need to get my grading and other work done earlier in the week so I'm not stressing out about it.  I find that I tend to stress-snack when I'm under the gun.  I think I need to manage my time and energy better.

Going back to the basics will help on the food front: Tracking, planning, slowing down to decide if I'm really hungry or just want to distract myself.  It's just a course correction.

In other news: I have noticed that being matter-of-fact and honest about wanting to lose weight makes people uncomfortable. Maybe it's just weight talk in general that makes people uncomfortable, but I think there might be more to it in this case.

A [much thinner] friend of mine seems to be obsessed with trying to figure out what is wrong with my foot.  I have explained that I am seeing a podiatrist for it but she keeps bringing up weird, unlikely possibilities. I explained to her the biomechanical explanation that my podiatrist gave me, I said, "I also think that it will help to take some of this extra weight off.  If I drop 20-30 pounds, I would be putting a lot less stress on my foot." She quickly said, "But, who wants to be a toothpick? It's good to have curves." I said, "I think there's a difference between trying to be stick-skinny and wanting to get to a healthier, more comfortable weight." I let it drop, but I thought the whole thing was a little weird.  Maybe she was trying to reassure me, and didn't see it the way I saw it: A matter-of-fact statement that I want to make a change. Maybe she thought I was being mean to myself or thought I was fishing for compliments.

I really think it's possible to honestly want to lose weight without hating myself now. I had plenty of curves and was far from a toothpick when I weighed a lot less.  I actually feel less "curvy" at this weight, because my waist is thicker. I think I will look more shapely when I'm not carrying so much weight around my middle.  I think I am being realistic in my goals, that they are achievable but will just take some work.

But I definitely do feel some distress and despair about my body sometimes, so maybe it's not surprising that she felt the need to jump in and "fix" how I was feeling, just like she was trying to fix my foot problems.  I think that since this kind of talk is distressing to her, I will just save it for my blog.

Maybe that isn't even safe. Kim recently posted an honest question about why she felt the need to compare herself to other people after being unhappy about a photo of herself, and all of her commenters (including me) felt the need to jump in and say that the photo looked good. I could see what she was saying, though, and tried to acknowledge that too.

This stuff is so hard. A fundamental question I continue to wrestle with is, "How do I accept reality and work toward change while still respecting the person I am today?"


  1. "How do I accept reality and work toward change while still respecting the person I am today?"

    That's the million dollar question, isn't it?

    Having jut spent a week at Green Mountain At Fox Run, I have a little more understanding than I did's about finding words and plans that don't ignite our inner child rebels. Like I've said many times, the word "goal" doesn't work for me. That doesn't mean that I don't accomplish things. The word "motivate" bugs me...but "inspire" is great! Coming from a place of criticism, realistic/constructive or not, does not work for me. I have to come from a place of compassion.'

    As I said in a recent blog post: It’s not about what I should do, it’s about what feels good. But if I'm stuck in a cycle of self-loathing (the opposite of love, acknowledgement, and safety), what I should do will ignite my inner-rebel and what feels good will most likely be self-destructive and punishing, not nourishing and healthful.

    And I recognize that this is not for everyone...

  2. People get uncomfortable when others talk about wanting to lose weight because it reminds them that it's something they or someone they love also wants/needs to do but haven't committed to yet. Been there, done that, still do it myself.

    I think your goals are realistic and appropriate for you, coming out of your experience and knowledge. FWIW, I love you just as you are and will love you with the changes, too, because it's where you want to go.

  3. Thanks for the shout out :)

    I have one friend at work that I can talk frankly about wanting to get healthy with, and it makes me feel so good. Other people though, act the way your friend did about your foot? You know what... since losing weight I have noticed less issues with my plantar fasciitis, so I totally get what you are saying.

    I was so shocked I felt unhappy because I usually am happy with how I look/feel (to an extent). Ugh. I just hate all this weight loss stuff!

  4. I think it was probably well-intended, but it felt like she was saying I shouldn't want to make changes. I'm in charge of me!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07