I’m not at home in my body. I know that everyone reading this understands what I’m saying.
I’ve spent years trying to get to a place of feeling at home. I’ve had times when I’ve felt at home – but it never lasted. Why? Because home was a reflection of my size. Home was only available to me if my hips and stomach were a certain size.
I am part of a book club for the book Loving Bravely (led by the amazing Mark Groves). It’s been a week and I’ve had so many insights already! One big one that came up for me is my body image. I do have a positive body image a lot of the time – however it is very much wrapped up in how I eat. I’m currently heavier than I want to be due to a variety of reasons (hormones, lack of hiit/sprints, loving food). So right now I can feel the weight of my food choices on my shoulders. I’m very careful about my thoughts and how I talk to myself. I’m aware that I’m in a period of transition and that it’s ok to look this way. But, the control issues I’m realizing I have around food is still kinda insane. The mental weight of a food choice blows me away. It’s why I do incredibly well with ways of eating that have clear rules. So diets, really.
We recently had Halloween candy on sale at work and I spent a stupid amount of my day waffling over wether I buy some or not. I see the pattern of restrict, indulge, restrict, indulge. (With some justifying food choices and promising myself I’ll fast longer the next day). The only way to break a pattern is to understand where it comes from and then reframe it.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on why I have this pattern. Growing up I didn’t see a lot of positive body image being modelled (and I’m sure almost everyone can relate to that). All I saw were diets and not being happy with our bodies, commercials for low fat/diet products that implied we’d be happier if we took up less room. Meanwhile images of famous people in phenomenal shape (or photoshopped) were the picture of health and what to aim for. The stories I created were:
I feel like I don’t have value unless I’m a certain size. I feel like I can’t show up as a coach if I’m not a certain size who has her shit together. I don’t want to be seen if I’m carrying extra weight. I’ll never get to an accepted size.
So, I recognize the stories I’m telling myself. It’s time to reframe them.
My size is not a reflection of my value.
I am a valuable coach due to the space I can hold for clients and how I can guide them to a better place. Clients connect more when they can see how you work through your own stories so there is no shame in showing up as you are.
I see myself. I see myself as a caring, kind, and ever evolving human. That’s all that matters.
I don’t need acceptance from others, just from myself.
I see you. I see the burden of body shaming ourselves. I know how hard it is to break. I see myself pulling away from showing up on this platform and struggling to be honest about what goes through my mind.
Tonight I was moved to tears as I did a restorative yoga class and just continued to tell my body all the ways I’m grateful for it.
These journeys we are on always push us – we can either listen to what is coming up for us and use it as a way to evolve or ignore it and not grow. I truly believed I was meant to be in this body and this size at this moment so that I can break these patterns and help other women do the same. To not be wrapped up in food choices and shame. To enjoy our bodies and feel love regardless of size.
That means we have to love ourselves regardless of the vessel. The love for ourselves is at a soul level – not physical.
This is where intuitive eating comes in. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and like me thought it sounded amazing and completely unrealistic.
If I just ate what my body told me I’d be eating candy and poutine every day and would gain a ton of weight. Except I know that’s not true.
I read a post recently that said ‘if weight loss wasn’t a concern what would you eat more of every day?’. My answer? Rice. Without thinking that was the first thing that popped into my head. Rice.
I can trust my body. I’m constantly going on about listening to our bodies and trusting our intuition – I have to trust it with food choices as well.
So what does that mean for how I eat? Less labels. I’ll probably eat almost the same I do now but with more rice 😂
I’ve felt for a while that when we label how we eat it can create obsession around that way of eating. I’ll still follow a mostly paleo template because I know that feels really good in my body. I’m sure I’ll eat a lot of low carb meals and maybe I’ll be in ketosis from time to time.
But, I think it’s time to let go of the wheel. I know enough about my body and what works to let it do what it wants. And yes, it’s absolutely terrifying to let go of this control.