Okay, while I am getting all raw and vulnerable on it, I may as well pen part two of my ‘failure currency’ blog. Thanks to all of those of you who commented on my last one around how we measure ourselves by the money we earn. It does sound like it resonated with a few of you and I don't feel alone with this self flagellation.
I also realise there are people, who know me, who will be thinking something along the lines of ‘’not quite so vulnerable Laurel!” But my drive for cutting out the crap in my world is a stronger one, and there is a curiosity to explore this further, so here’s part two;
WARNING: This is probably more relevant to my female subscribers; many males are going to read this rant and think 'really'? (having said that, body image is becoming more of an issue for males so there may be something that resonates).
Another key area in my life where I have felt completely bloody useless has been my constant weight wobbling (you know what I mean by that, when your body shape swells and shrinks and swells again over a period of time).
I will go a wee while totally committed to my exercise regime and whatever limits I am placing on my eating at the time and start to feel and look better. But as I get older it is just such a SLOOOOOOOW improvement and the truth is, usually I just get over it (usually after say two or three months) and lighten up a bit on said regime.
Case in point, latest ‘reduction in sugar, wheat and dairy’ when I returned from Bali in late May. I earnestly gave up some favourite comfort foods, stocked my ‘special shelf’ (that no one else in my family wants to go near) with kelp noodles, chia seeds and paleo crackers and even went as far as trying almond milk flat whites and dairy free cheese. Huckleberry’s did well out of me, and I really did enjoy the new flavours and experimentations … for a while.
At the same time, I was getting up early four or five times a week, and attending my barre classes. And there was no doubt, my body shape started looking just a little bit better. My problem flubbery upper abdominal area was starting to look like more like I wanted it to and my face was taking on a slimmer shape.
But the reality was, in spite of the constant exercise and new ‘cleaner’ eating, I didn’t actually feel any healthier! My energy levels have always been good anyway, but I was desperately looking for some validation that my body was thanking me for the wonderful self care, and wanted to have even better energy levels.
So what happened after eight weeks of this, and no real change visually or feeling wise? I got a bit bored with it. The minimal gains I was observing weren’t dramatic enough to keep me motivated and even the impending birthday celebrations (lots of photos!) and tropical holiday didn’t do the trick.
So I ‘relaxed’, dropped my barre classes back to once a week (and upped the walking) and introduced limited dairy and wheat back into my diet (no more almond milk flat whites – yipppeee!).
And this is where it gets frustrating, and it’s happened time and time again in previous weight wobbles. I may work my butt off exercising and managing my eating for a few months, with very minimal results… but when I STOP these habits? The problem areas become more problematic VERY quickly.
I love the following quote;
‘I wish I was as fat as the first time I thought I was fat’.
As we get older, it seems that it just gets trickier! I am 50 and for my age, if I was to get really honest with myself, I am doing pretty well. Being tall helps. I know that there are some 50 somethings out there with amazing bodies, some genetically blessed and some who just work really really hard at it.
Try having an identical twin who is 10 kg lighter than you (when we say that comparison is hard, imagine the brutality of that comparison!) I have to hand it to Josie though, she is way more committed than me with her various programs.
So here’s my realization – I just don’t care enough!!
Well, I do care about my health, and my eating (and limited drinking) is healthier than any times in my past, but when I have a birthday celebration, an emotional upset, a bit of boredom or a holiday away then enjoying great food, awesome cocktails and a bit more wine than normal wins out. And I fill out a bit!
The fabulous Lisa O’Neill has made it her life lesson to support women to have the best and happiest lives that they can and I love her take on this;
“Quit wishing that you were thinner and just start wearing better clothes”!
She also has shown me some fabulous ways to stand in photos to take a few kilos off and lose a chin or two!
And that is going to be the way I deal with this whole body image lark. I am not looking to ‘love every inch of my figure’ but I am not going to beat myself up for my lack of willpower, my emotional eating or my ‘sabotage behaviour’.
I am not going to cry when I see the number on the scales (in fact I gave up weighing myself a while ago). Seriously, I used to do that! The irony is, it was often when I was actually feeling better about my body and I was so disappointed when the results didn’t show up in reduced kilos. There would be a cue for feeling completely bloody useless again. And it also makes me shudder to think of the way I used to look at parts of myself and feel so incredibly revolted and unattractive.
I have invested in nutritionalists, hypnotherapists, personal trainers and Weight Watchers, and each time I got caught up (and very excited) in their enthusiasm about 'their way' and how it works. Funny, but I do find that the wellness industry is one of the most dogmatic. But it never lasts ongoing, which probably says more about me than them. Some people find their 'thing' and drop masses of kilos in a healthy time frame, and maybe that will still happen to me; it's just I am not going to earnestly be on the search for it (and please don't send me any well meaning suggestions, I am all good!).
I am going to continue to enjoy good unprocessed yummy food most of the time and crap yummy food from time to time. I am also going to honour the significant shifts that I have made with my eating in general, and curbing my more predatorial food behaviour of my past. This is going to be driven by what's actually important to me, like;
- Being a role model to my children (one practice that I do now subscribe to is mindful eating, after attending a course)
- Feeling way better energetically when I cut the crap (I may have not felt different when eating 'clean' but when I start eating processed food etc, I do really feel it).
- Feeling way better when I am active (if I don't exercise for a while, I start to feel very grumpy)
- Taking responsibility for my health, especially cholesterol wise (if you have challenges with your cholesterol, I have found a Melaleuca product has lowered mine significantly, get in touch with the gorgeous Lynette Barrow if you would like to find out more).
And if my weight drops as a result of this focus, then great, if it doesn't, then it's ok, I know I am healthy in the main.
So I like the idea of being ok with what I look like. I am unapologetic about what I eat and what I don’t eat. I love the massive enjoyment I get out of food. I am also truly grateful for what my body has done for me, particularly my great energy levels and carrying two healthy babies!
Giving up this deeply embedded hope that I will significantly transform my figure THIS time around is immensely free-ing and I recommend it (without being dogmatic; it's entirely up to you what you take out of this blog, of course)! It’s certainly going to free up some think space to start focusing on the more exciting stuff in my world. The other crazy irony is that most people around us are probably not even aware of our weight wobbles. Case inpoint, one of my gorgeous friends cleverly lost eight kilos since the time I had last seen her. I thought she looked amazing, but I thought she looked amazing the last time I saw her too! Life’s too precious, don’t waste time berating your body!
I really must watch the movie Embrace, I understand it is along the same theme?
Footnote: Today I got a message from Facebook advising me it was my 10 year anniversary of being a Facebooker. I looked through some of the randomly selected photos, and became very emotional. I think this is the key to my challenging everything stage I am going through right now; forget money, forget weight, maybe even forget purpose (within reason). It's our connections to others, friends, family and communities that truly counts. Sometimes they are with us for a life time, and sometimes they are with us for a short time, but they are all precious. And that's what my next blog is going to explore!