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Archive for April, 2009

highlight___two_by_annetteks

I am moved to call out some size-acceptance blog posts.  In addition to these posts being highlightable in and of themselves, they also are related to the stuff Sas and I have been delving into lately.  Bonus!

Mouthfeel’s Peggy Nature frames the body and dieting in a way that I think is very compassionate and insightful here

Tantalizing tidbit:

[I]n my experience, treating my body like a machine has not ended well. Treating it like an expensive outfit designed to impress other people has not ended well. Treating it like an unruly child or pet who needs to be reckoned with and brought under submission has not ended well. And I’ve lived for long periods of time where it was as if my body and myself were no longer on speaking terms.

If you want to find out what does work, you gotta go check out her post.  As a neat extra, she links body acceptance to Star Wars.  Awesomeness!!!

 

Next, we have Welshwmn3 at A Day in the Fat Life talks about how fellow blogger Big Liberty helped her to better understand dieting as self-harm.  (And, I just realized BigLiberty is not on my blog roll!  Oh… that is so getting fixed as soon as I post this!)

Which brings to my mind that old cliche “no pain – no gain.”  How many times did I have that idiotic phrase thrown at me.    This “no pain – no gain” junk can translate into the mind that self-harm is a good thing… maybe even a self-loving thing.  Linear thinking could stretch this out to the idea that the more pain – the more gain… so self-torture is somehow a good thing.  This is how it all cropped up in my mind anyway. 

While challenges can feel so satisfying and rewarding – real suffering is a sign that something harmful may be going on.  The journey towards all kinds of goals can be enjoyable.  In my experience, allowing some enjoyment in so that the journey is a more effective way to achieve goals. 

–AngryGrayRainbows

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meditation-cat-12

I got annoyed today when Abilene (pictured above) waddled into my lap just as I was starting meditation… and then I thought, wait!  Maybe she can help!  Abilene is a very cool character (and the pic above doesn’t come close to doing her justice… I took the pics with my phone).  She doesn’t get ruffled easily and loves to sit quietly in a lap.  So, I slowly and rythmically petted her while focusing on my own breathing… and it was the best meditation I have ever been able to practice while still in my own home!  It is way easy for me to be distracted at home, but with Abilene there purring and breathing with me I felt as if I was at a meditation center and was far better able to quiet my mind.  Has anyone else every tried pet-assisted meditation?  I think I’m going to be trying this regularly now… it is way too awesome if you have a pet that is willing to just BE with you and won’t cause distractions.

Twenty minutes into meditation, my mind started getting wily, so I took a short break… and Abilene changed position… then we meditated some more.  She’s so beautiful:

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My therapist told me some things yesterday that inspired more motivation for me to meditate.  I told her that when I’m emotionally overwhelmed, my reaction is usually to sleep… then I wake up grounded.  When things are emotionally really tough, it becomes hard for me to stay awake.  Recently circumstances triggered me enough so that my fear of men has been super-active for the last few days.  It has not been fun and it has been causing an annoying amount of sleep.  My therapist suggested that meditation is rejuvenating and that if I could ground myself via meditation BEFORE I got to the “I’m so overwhelmed that I’m going to pass-out for three hours” stage that I might be able to sleep less and live more.  She also told me that sleep is rejuvenating, but meditation is too and in some ways meditation is even more effective than sleep.  Well… that sold me.  I have been meditating on and off for years and I think I’ve gotten fairly good at it… but a regular practice has been hard for me to keep, because I have this craving to know WHY stuff works.  If I don’t know WHY, keeping a regular practice is very hard.  I like to know the mechanism… the nuts and bolts… otherwise I have a very hard time getting myself to do some things … like meditating.  😉 

Do ya’all meditate?  Have you tried animal assisted meditation?  Do you have any info nuggets about meditation you can share to inspire more motivation in all of us to meditate more?

There is another cat in my lap now.  He seems pretty grounded himself, so I’m going to try for another 10 minutes of sitting with him and then I’m getting onto some laundry.  In the meantime – folks, don’t be shy to share your meditation stories!  At the very least, you will have my gratitude, because the more I know (good or bad doesn’t matter… I just want facts) the more I get bring this into my life.  That is just how I work.  😉

–AngryGrayRainbows

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a5b90652833be1141When I think about the changes I’ve made in the past three years, my mind goes back to the first books I read that started me on my road to intuitive eating.  The author who made such a huge impact on me was Geneen Roth.  I can never say enough great things about this woman and her books.  There are other books in my collection that mean a lot to me for different reasons but when I think back to my beginnings of self-acceptance and intuitive eating, I think of Ms. Roth.

The books by Ms. Roth were where I first heard about legalizing foods.  OMG!  Eating whatever I wanted?  (I’m not going into the other crucial things like eating without distraction, eating when hungry and stopping when full, I’m just focusing solely on legalization in this post.)  I loved legalizing foods!  Or at least I thought I loved legalizing foods.  Truth be told, I just loved eating everything.  I missed out on what I’ve only just now figured out is the real meaning of legalizing foods.

Legalizing foods.  “L-E-G-A-L-I-Z-I-N-G” 

I’m almost embarrassed that this just hit me but I’ve gone about this the wrong way.  Sure, I’ve gone out and bought my favorite foods – pop tarts and tater tots! – I’ve eaten pop tarts and tater tots to the point of not wanting another pop tart ot tater tot for a long time.  BUT I didn’t really legalize them.  To legalize them would mean to take the guilty stigma off of them…not eat them until I get sick of them.  I still see brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts and tater tots as  “bad” foods only to be eaten in secret.  That’s not legalizing.  Legalizing them would be to have them in the house in multiple quantities and not be afraid of them.

This may seem very remedial to some but, for me, this is a huge breakthrough!  I’m actually quite excited to have made this discovery.   For a split second I got really disappointed in myself for feeling like I was starting this all over again and then I got excited all over again…I’m grasping things now for the first time!!  It may be the first time but the point is, I’m grasping things!

~sas

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community_meeting_by_macsimc

The title of the photo up top of this post is “community meeting.”  Cute, yes?  I also think it is fitting.  Regular commenter h0tm0mma recently posted a comment about a problem she faces and I decided to make it its own post for various reasons.  😉  Speaking for myself, I love to challenge folks when they are struggling.  Last I knew, Sas did too (correct me if I’m wrong 😉 ) and these kinda posts are right up our alley.  Second, I think this particular issue that our commentor brought up is something that lots of folk can relate to and benefit from seeing it challenged…. so here goes…

Says h0tm0mma:

 

My main concern which also pertains to self-care is why can’t I comment here;

http://aboutbeautyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-need-to-vent.html

I REALLY want this lady to know, for the most part that she is not alone and I feel her, can you help me b/c my comment to that is (if she’s reading) is;

“I wanted to comment on your “I Need To Vent” post but was unable to,so here’s what I have to say about that;

Holy Heck!!!

First off, I can never, EVER know the kind of pain and distress brought on by having a child with this condition! I do, however have a Daughter who is Type1 Diabetic and I TOTALLY and FULLY hear you on the health insurance/co-pay issues!!!

I have to cram 4 ppl in a tiny room in my abusive Mother’s house b/c we got evicted, we have no car and I’ve had to push her Doctor’s appointment she sorely needs back by 2 months!

Why? No car and no co-pay money!! I also really feel you on the Government assistance thing! Makes too much? Hello? Do they even SEE how much the health insurance/co-pays are costing? It’s frickin’ ridiculous!  This post really almost made me cry, I really feel a lot (but, obviously not ALL) of what you’re saying!

Having a sick child or a child with a condition SUCKS!!! Not to mention not having the necessary funds for basic living much less the extras!

My heart, soul and entire BEING go out to you! God Bless and keep your head up!”

So… why do you feel that you can’t comment at that blog?  Is there some real restriction or do you just not feel that your support isn’t worth posting?  Or.. maybe you’re feeling shy?  LOL… you?  Shy?  Okay, I have a hard time imagining that, but it could be possible.    So… what’s the dealy?

–AngryGrayRainbows

 

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siena_ii_by_callu1

It is time to post a celebration of self-care in action.  😉  This kinda thing helps remind me that self-care is a good thing when my brain goes all wonky and thinks that I don’t deserve any kind care and should just scrape by with only enough to not be in too too much pain.  *headdesk*

I totally forgot how important a good fitting bra is.  I have spent months with these stupid bras that weren’t big enough around the rib cage.  It really annoys me that bra makers seem to think that my rib cage size is something that shouldn’t or doesn’t exist in nature.  Even as a thin woman, I still had a hard time finding 38’s or 40’s that would fit me.  Since I don’t have a job right now, I have been trying to manage braless.  I am a pretty modest dresser, so a sweatshirt over a t-shirt so my bralessness didn’t cause annoying stares worked beautifully… sorta.  The main problem was my cats.  What is it about cats and nipples???!!!!????  It’s like they have nipple-dar on their feet!  They know JUST where to step and for months I have been crying out in pain several times a day, because I didn’t realize some cat was about to walk across me and step down on one nipple and then the other… and then they’d look at me like I was some kinda nut for yelping in pain.  It doesn’t help that three of my four cats are very large cats!  And, when I did wear one of my old (too small) bras, I’d have really bad back pain for days afterward.  I didn’t make the backpain/bra connection until very recently, otherwise I would’ve had new bras a long time ago.  Not only that, but not wearing a bra was messing with my back too. 

Now, I’m not one to think women HAVE to wear bras as some obligation.  I happen to be one of those women who like to wear them – most of the time.  Boob whip-lash is something I have always hated and I generally prefer something nice and supportive.  So… I went to Target.  It has been years since I went anywhere but a Macy’s type store for bras.  As a teen, once, I bought horrible bras from Walmart and in reaction decided to pay a mint for all bras going forward.  Well, money is tight now, so I gave Target a try.  Whooo hoooooo!!!  I had to really dig to find my size, but I found a few that fit me and OMG I feel SO MUCH BETTER!  All this reminds me of the importance of wearing clothes that fit in general… not just bras.  It has been straight depressing to not have good fitting bras and to avoid wearing my tight bras when I like wearing them generally!  And yay for bras that don’t cost an arm and a leg!  Whooo hoooooooooooooo!  Yay Target!  Not to mention that my cats seem way happier without me yelping in pain all the time and startling them.  When we take care of ourselves, our loved ones benefit too… 😉

On the otherhand, this whole experience underlines to me the pain that the majority of clothes designers create for women of size.  I’m 5’9″ and somewhere in the overweight range and 90% of the time, I cannot find clothes for myself.  I remember SweetMachine (at ShapelyProse) describing herself as an “in-betweenie.”  Yeah… me too.  The “normal” sizes are usually too small and the “plus-sizes” are often too big.  There are a handful of stores that have plus-sizes that work for me… NYC & Co, JCP’s, Old Navy… and that’s really about it…. sigh….  Anyway, I’m starting to feel like a lack of nice clothes that feel good is an attack on self-esteem of some kind…. it makes me so mad.  It makes me wish I could sew, so I could make a spiffy plus-sized line for women who aren’t of the average or smaller body type that most clothes designers seem to make clothes for. 

Otherwise, I am rediscovering the miracle (for me) that is ritalin.  I’ve been on it for a while now (four months, I think?) and I am STILL seeing improvements in my focus.  Focusing is becoming more and more FUN.  I’m loving “taking my brain for a spin” by trying new things that require more and more focus.  I’ve found myself reading articles about improving concentration and actually being able to implement some of the advice.  Pre-ritalin I was way too all over the place to get almost any focusing technique to work for me.  I can’t believe how much I suffered… and what is more unbelievable to me is that for my whole life, I thought this suffering was normal. 

The moral of this story is to not be shy when it comes to self-care and self-love – these things pay off in ways you might not be able to envision before you enact them.  Besides, YOU ARE WORTH IT.  And, so am I.  Every now and then I forget this and rediscover it, but I’ve noticed that with more acceptance work that I forget this less often and remember it faster when I do.  Here’s to increasingly shallower valleys of self-care and peaks that seem to just keep getting higher and more amazing!

I know a lot of my readers are good at self-care and prolly have some things they could teach me… for those of you who struggle: Where do you struggle with self-care and why?

–AngryGrayRainbows

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I’ve been noticing lately that those thoughts when I look in the mirror and “see” undiscipline have been coming back… and I realized (yet again) that this is not even close to being true.  Not.  Even.  Close. 

I’m using this pic of me again to remind myself what I look like and who I am… that I am not just this blob of undiscipline that I envision in my worst moments.  I believe what has triggered this was hauling out last year’s summer clothes.  Normally, I gain weight in the winter and then lose it in spring, summer and fall.  The winter really brings me down and the cold is very painful to me.  So anyway… last year’s summer clothes are (in large part) unwearable.  Thoughts pop into my head that I should feel some guilt over this… that I somehow haven’t been “good” over the winter and that I have become some lazy slob since then.  *headdesk*

And, I realized that undisciplined is the last thing I am.  Sheesh… these last few months I’ve been eating healthier than I ever have in my entire life (that I can remember anyway) and healthier than anyone I can think of…. and this has been effortless.  I don’t restrict the foods I love that society too often finds “sinful.”  At the same time, I have ignited a love affair with vegetables.  It is pretty sweet.  I have made an effort to add more activity to my life.  I have challenged myself.  I have treated myself well.  And yet, I am still fatter than last summer.  Yet, I am still plus-sized and can’t even dream about thinking of fitting into anything non-plus-sized today.  What the heck is all this judging based on appearances??!!??  Do I not even KNOW me?  The last thing I am is undisciplined and yet, I am fat.  This is the case for so many fat people and right now all the judgement we get from society is really pissing me off. 

I’ve also noticed that I haven’t felt worthy of feeling sexy or beautiful, because I have seen myself as such an undisciplined moron.  I have felt like I have no sexuality at all.  I have felt like I wasn’t worthy of being a female.  It has sucked… and ya know what?  I am over it.  I deserve better than this and I don’t have to live like this.  I am remembering that I am sexy and that I am beautiful and that I am a woman.  It is time to own these REALITIES again.

I learned long ago that eating disorder/depression/ptsd/non-acceptance recovery isn’t this perfect straight-line trend up into perfection.  It is a hilly ride and right now I’m realizing that I have been in a valley for a week or two (or three?) and I am ready for the climb out.  It doesn’t even intimidate me.  I have climbed so many times it is like breathing. 

Not being able to fit in the vast majority of clothes doesn’t make me any less of a person.  It makes the majority of clothes makers out there unrealistic and prejudiced.  If you aren’t the size of the “average” woman or smaller, forget about finding clothes easily for yourself… and that is just ridiculous, because BY DEFINITION HALF (approx) of all women are going to be larger than average.  That is a WHOLE LOT OF WOMEN that are being left out by most clothing stores and this situation is, frankly, disgusting…. And, yet, sadly…. it is all too easy to feel that it is our fault for not fitting into the clothes at the GAP.  This is just insanity and we deserve better. 

Anyway… my problem has never been undiscipline and I am sick of it being framed that way by me or by others.  My obstacle has most often been a lack of self-regard, self-trust and self-love… and labelling myself in cruel ways isn’t a part of any of these three things.  I think when we start labelling ourselves undisciplined (etc..) that this is a red flag not in regards to our self-discipline, but in regards to our self-LOVE.  It’s a red flag that we aren’t seeing ourselves in a loving and healthy way.  Becoming more of a hard-a$$ on ourselves isn’t the answer – this is further descent away from self-love.  TLC is what we need and deserve… and it’s time to remember that.  😉

–AngryGrayRainbows

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tornadodm3030b_468x312If you haven’t yet, pop over to Fat Fu and read Meowser’s post on Intuitive Eating.  I read it this evening and it was exactly what I needed to hear right now.  The validation within that post is phenomenal for me.

The quote that really validated me was:

The thing is, those it’s-bad/I-shouldn’t/I-want-it-even-more effects can persist for years — decades — after you cease trying to lose weight. (Remember the Ancel Keys semistarvation study? It doesn’t take much calorie restriction, or too long a period of time doing it, to potentially screw your head up but good.) That’s why not everyone can practice IE out of a book, or a blog post, without outside support (and why people with full-blown eating disorders can especially find it problematic).

I’ve been trying my darnedest (notice the implication that I’m failing) to practice IE and living by HAES principles for at least a couple of years.  The only thing I really think I have succeeded in is turning IE into another diet of “shoulds” and “should nots” with some “goods” and “bad” thrown in quite often.

I can truly say that, for me, it may take me a few years to really get a hang of living intuitively.  For meowser to point out that it may take some people decades to retrain their brain to think along the lines of being intuitive was a god send for me.  I’ve been beating myself up for not being “farther along” than I had thought I would be.  I’ve been wondering what is wrong with me that I can’t get the hang of IE or HAES as quickly and fully as I would like to.  After I read Meowser’s post, I started putting some thought into what’s going on in my brain regarding IE and my seemingly opposition to living it.

Of course, the first thing that pops into my mind is that I’m now 45 years old and I’ve been dieting since I was 7 years old.  I’ve been told by my parents, society, my “friends”, complete strangers yelling at me out of their cars as I walk around the track and salespeople that I’m fat and need to lose weight.  I’ve been led to believe for 38 years that I’m not good enough, I’m lazy, I’m worthless, I’m “bad”, I’m ugly and I’m stupid. 

Only last year did my doctor get on board and see that I was more than just a fat person in his office.  Before that I was told by all of my doctors that I “had” to lose weight….no reason why, just lose weight.  An old gynecologist of mine told me that even though I’m in my time frame for perimenopause that I probably wasn’t having hot flashes, I was just wearing a “permanent jacket” and that I needed to lose weight.  (Notice I said he’s an old gyno of mine….don’t go to him anymore.)  The therapist that I found in my city, who I thought would be able to help me so much told me within the second or third visit that I needed to either lose weight or have gastric bypass surgery.  He said that the root of most of my problems was my weight.  As a child I was taught to respect my elders, believe the professionals, blah, blah, blah, I believed all these professionals.  “They’re professionals, they must be right!”

My first diet was Weight Watchers at the age of 7.  My sister was constantly dieting (still is) and she and my mom decided I always needed to be on a diet.  I can’t tell you how many organized diets I went on from elementary school through high school but it was a lot of them.  My parents shelled out the money to get me to look thin.  Each time I lost the weight, only to gain it back plus more.  When I dropped out of college and disappointed my father yet again, I started working in a factory with over 300 women (very few men) and a friend of mine and I joined Weight Watchers (probably for my 10th time) and every week we would meet at the WW weigh in, sit down in the small chairs that were placed WAY too close together and listen to the wonders of dieting.  I lost over 50 pounds at that time.  Within a year I had gained almost all of it back.

I’ve taken dexatrim, fen phen (or however you spell it), done Nutri-System, WW, The Diet Center, the grapefruit and boiled egg diet, the Mayo Clinic diet, the cabbage soup diet, 1200 calorie diet, 1500 calorie diet, 1800 calorie diet, American Heart Association Diet, Diet for Diabetics, the Food Pyramid Diet, etc….and now apparently, the IE diet.  My point is, I’ve done this for a freakin’ 35 years!  It’s engrained in my brain to choose grilled chicken instead of fried, to look at labels to count calories, fats, fibers, sodium, etc…, to eat a salad with low fat dressing instead of full fat dressing.

So after thinking through all that, I had a real AHA moment.  Not only is that engrained in my brain but so is the sense of rebellion that comes from restricting and dieting.  From the time I was a child and going to WW, I was sneaking food into my room at night or sneaking to the store to buy candy and eating it before my parents found out.  When I got old enough to drive, I would eat my diet meal at home then make an excuse to go out, go through a drive-thru and snarf down all I could.  Of course, on the way home I had to drive with my windows down to get rid of the smell of the food.  In college I would eat one meal with my “friends” and then go to my room and find something else to eat.  I still do that today.  I still get the sense that someone is trying to control what I eat because I’ve lived it for so long.  You cannot turn on the news without seeing a diet related news story or a story about obesity or about the stupid airlines charging fat people double for a ticket.  You can’t pick up a single magazine without a whole 4 page layout being dedicated to the “right foods” or what you “shouldn’t eat”.  My mind instantly goes into rebellion stage. 

My AHA moment:  I’ve been in this rebellion stage for about 3 years now.  I have purposely over-analyzed and over-thought IE and HAES to the point of rebellion….just as I did with dieting.   I know in my heart that IE is what I want to be about.  It’s how I want to live my life but as soon as I rededicate my life to it, the rebellion rears it’s ugly head.  I turn IE into a diet.  I have turned IE into another set of rules and by doing that, I’ve created the rebellion that comes from restriction. 

What do I mean by that?  As soon as I pick up my IE book and refresh my memory of things, I start saying, “yeah, I can have ANYTHING I WANT, WHENEVER I WANT, HOWEVER I WANT, IN THE QUANTITIES I WANT.”  Yes, my brain does go in that direction.  My brain is still functioning in the “rebellion from restricting” phase.  There is no middle ground.  There is either restriction or rebellion.  Even if I post about it and I sound like I could be a guest speaker for IE, I’m still taking it to the extreme and not seeing the “intuitive” part of it.  35 years of dieting has brainwashed me to believe there are only two ways to live – restriction or rebellion – and I can tell you from personal experience they are both hell!

I would really like to open this up for discussion because I feel like this really has me stuck.  Any ideas on how to deprogram my brain?

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