Friday, June 8, 2012

You Don't Know Anything, Mrs. Body Image Therapist!

   So yesterday was my rest from running day, so I tackle the weights on that day. Yesterday, I did them with Jillian Michaels. Yeah, I secretly think she is out to kill me. She will get to talking, say 4 more, then talk through the 4 and make you do 4 more from there. With 8 pound weights no less. Okay, so she didn't make me choose 8 pound weights, but as Jillian would say, "You want to see results don't you?"
  I also was able to leave Miss Addison with Mark in order to go to a mommy's group last night. For the event, we had a therapist that works with girls with eating disorders and specializes in body image. She focused on what our body does during and after pregnancy and how we can have a better body image during a time of so much change. She pointed out what celebrities have said about their new mommy selves (Like Gwenyth Paltrow, who works out 2 hours a day and did so within 4 weeks of delivering both her children, told reporters "Every woman can make time [for exercise]--every woman--and you can do it with your baby in the room."). She talked to us about the media's influence on breastfeeding and getting plastic surgery to look like "our old selves" after baby. It was all stuff I already knew.
   But then, she turned the discussion to ways we can improve our body images. "Don't diet" and "throw out your scale" were high on her list. WHAT???? My life is a perpetual diet and scale watching exercise. I have learned through watching the Biggest Loser, I Used to be Fat, and so on that if you aren't dieting and weighing in, how can your blame yourself for not doing enough? Why can't the number on the scale be your motivator? Oh, right. She works with women who have eating disorders and she must be coming at us from that extreme perspective.
   Oh, but then she listed warning signs of an eating disorder and I have like 6 of the 9 warning signs. But anyone who is walking around after years of dieting can tell you it is hard to eat without a judge, jury, calculator, and the Weight Watcher's points values for every food swirling around in your head. So OF COURSE I am counting calories in an obsessive way (I just feel bad about eating them. I can never say no to them!). OF COURSE I have a preoccupation with food. Honestly, who doesn't so some signs of an eating disorder. Where is the threshold between what most women do to themselves every day and what is dangerous? Maybe it all is?
   So after talking to her about how to break the cycle of punishing yourself in your head for the food we eat and how to work to have a better dialogue with ourselves about ourselves, I think I see the line. If you are always saying how ugly or fat or how you wish this or that would change on your body, and you can't, even for one second, see the wonderful and amazing things your body is capable of, then you need to work on yourself. So that is what I am going to set out to do. Focus on the fact that my body is capable of a half marathon and silence all my inner critics.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I hear you about dieting. It's hard to shut off the calorie counter or the guilt valve. That's one reason why I follow the 80/20 rule and allow myself a free meal and dessert each week. For that one meal, I don't feel guilty at all! Plus, looking forward to the meal makes me want to stick to the diet plan even closer.

    I love your last line. That's been the biggest key to my running and time improvement. The body is an amazing thing and sometimes you just have to tell it to just do what your body doesn't think it can do.

    Odds are you can do it.


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