Tag Archives: Body Image

Self Acceptance: My A-Ha Moment

The number one thing that allows me to feel good about myself and keep disordered thinking and eating away is true self acceptance.

The idea of self acceptance sounds so simple, yet for many can take a lifetime to achieve.  However, I fully believe that it can be achieved right now and at any moment in time when you are willing to fulfill your desire to truly accept yourself.

Self Doubt

I remember days in junior high and high school where I truly felt lost in my body.  I felt uncomfortable and I was often consumed with thoughts on what others thought about me.  Does anyone think I am pretty? Do people think I am weird? Am I wearing too much make up? Is there something in my teeth? Am I too tall? Will anyone ever want to date me? The questions went on and on and on in my mind.

High School Graduation

I was filling my mind with negative thoughts and plain old self doubt.  I didn’t believe in myself in the slightest and often sought out others to feel validated.

As I look back on those years, I do have good memories.  I had great friends, who I still keep in touch with regularly, and we had a lot of fun.  But I would not want to relive those days.  Sure, I was younger, skinnier, and didn’t worry about my future or paying bills, but the negative mindset is something I would not want to experience again.  There’s something to be said about aging.  You certainly do get wiser.  That is if you choose to…

Flipping the Switch

Through my college years, I was inflicting misery upon myself with my disordered habits.  It was my doing, yet I thought it was helping me cope with life.  In reality, it was making my life an unhappy existence.  When a diet becomes your friend, that’s a problem.  A big problem.  And for a moment in time, my dieting habit became a friend.  I relied on it to fill a void in my life.

As time went on, I became increasingly aware of how my “friend” was really not  a friend at all.  And eventually I flipped the switch and turned my negative existence into a positive one.  I chose to change my life by changing how I viewed myself.

True Me VS Physical Me

I spent a lot of time reading and getting in touch with my spiritual side.   For me to accept who I was, I had to make a separation of the true me and the physical me.

The true me is not my physical appearance.  It is my true essence and being.  It is who I am as a spirit and it’s my heart.  It’s how I think and feel about myself and the world around me.  It’s my love, my compassion, and zest for living.

My physical body is just my outward appearance.  It’s my vessel that I use throughout this lifetime.  But it’s not truly who I am.

A-Ha Moment

As Oprah puts it, I had my “A-Ha Moment” when I finally got it.  I finally understood how to separate myself from my physical body and my spiritual self.  Somehow, it just clicked inside of me and I really understood what that meant.

With this understanding came self acceptance.  I can’t change my appearance.  This is who I am on the outside and I can either choose to accept it and live happily or I can choose to speak negatively about myself and pick my body apart, limb by limb.  I think I’ll choose my first option.

I can tell you with the up most honesty and truth that because I have chosen to truly and fully accept myself, my life is filled with so much joy, love and peace. My life really is that much better because of this simple choice: self acceptance.

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I hope you too can find your own self acceptance if you have not already.  Choose to be happy, loving and peaceful towards yourself and that will radiate to the rest of the world.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Breaking the Pattern: Disordered Eating and Thinking

I clearly remember when I began having disordered thoughts and actions about food.  I was 17-years-old and was dealing with the tragic death of my best friend’s mother.  The death was shocking, and at 17, I didn’t know what to do, let alone how to be there for my friend.  If I was feeling this way, I couldn’t even imagine what she was feeling.  All I know is that during this time in my life, I felt myself shut down emotionally.

Control

Not long after the tragic news, I turned to food.  I had never done this before.  I had never given it a thought.  It just came to me.  I realized that food has always made me happy and therefore I can use it to my advantage now to feel better about life.  Food can be my friend, my confidant, and my way to control the world around me.  The fact is, I knew I couldn’t control everything in life, but I could control what I ate and how I ate.  It was my body and I was calling the shots.  I wanted control.

I started cutting back on what I ate and it didn’t take long for friends and family to realize something was up.  I was not the same person.  Luckily, my mom put me in counseling and for the first time I was able to understand how something tragic can make you turn to unhealthy patterns for comfort.  I stopped my disordered ways, and eventually, I felt like myself again.

The Pattern

Although I beat disordered thinking early on, it didn’t go away 100%. My past of disordered eating and thinking has come back to haunt me on a few occasions since then.  After about the third time of it rearing it’s ugly face again, I saw a pattern.

I realized that my negative self-talk and thinking would return when I was faced with extremely stressful situations.  High stress is my trigger. For instance, when my first boyfriend broke up with me while I was a freshman in college, I immediately wanted to go on a diet to feel better about myself.  And when I graduated college and had no clue what I was doing, I wanted my diet “friend” in my life.  Then there was just last year when I lived out of state and desperately wanted to be back in Ohio.  I started up a new diet plan to have my old pal back in my life.

With all of these instances, I was seeking control for what seemed like an out of control situation.  I wanted to call the shots in my life and food was how I could do it.

Breaking the Pattern

Most recently when I was in a minor car accident (that made me feel out of control and stressed), I felt the negative thoughts come creeping back.  I even started making a mental plan of how I can begin to restrict my intake and diet.  But before things got out of hand, I made a conscious decision to stop. 

I knew that going down this slippery slope of dieting was not fun.  Sure, in the beginning, I feel a great sense of control and accomplishment for being able to stick to a plan. But it doesn’t last long.  I begin to beat myself up when I slip up and go off plan.  My self esteem takes a dive and I feel even worse off than I did before.

Being Aware of the Problem

The first step in breaking the pattern of anything is to become aware that there actually is a problem.  So that’s exactly what I did.  I chose to become aware of what I was doing.

With this added awareness, I realized I was putting myself through my own self inflicted misery. I was choosing to deal with my emotions in a negative manor rather than actually feeling my emotions.

Stress Relief

Stress, I’ve come to realize, is a powerful thing.  If not dealt with properly, it can cause all sorts of mayhem in life.  Adequately dealing with my stress has been one of the ways I’ve effectively beaten my pattern of disordered thinking (which can lead me to disordered eating).

Exercise is one of my main stress relievers.  It’s essential for me to do.  Even just a walk outside allows me to decompress and let my mind rest and have my thoughts wonder.

Stress Relief

Nurturing my relationships with my family and friends is also another way I relieve stress. I love my family and friends so much and spending time with them, either in person or on the phone, automatically makes me feel better.  Even just anticipating a get together in the near future with friends and family makes me happy.   My relationships mean everything to me.

Nurture Relationships

Another way that I relieve stress is through reading.  I love to read and recently I can’t get enough of it.  I even find going to the bookstore to be stress relieving.  I love being around books and stories and I love getting lost in a story of characters.

Find Your Outlet

These are all things that relax me and help me be a better person who can adequately deal with the stress of life.  My point in sharing these examples is to say that everyone needs to find positive outlets in life to deal with stress. I truly believe it’s essential to living a healthy and happy life.

My Outlet

Self Love

Having self love is another factor that has allowed me to break the pattern of disordered thinking.  Love is a powerful thing and I’d go as far to say that it is the most powerful thing in life.  Loving yourself is absolutely crucial in life.   I’ve written posts on how to stop food obsession and really, they all boil down to having self love.

Loving yourself to me means being kind to your mind, body and soul.  Living out your dreams and passions in life, taking time out to relax and unwind, eating well and exercising, spending time with loved ones, and having fun are all ways to be kind to your mind, body and soul.

Take time out to enjoy nature

It’s OK to do things for yourself and for your own well being.  When I became more aware of the importance of self-love, my disordered thoughts have almost diminished.  I can say with confidence that I go many days without a negative thought about myself. This is a huge accomplishment coming from someone who would go weeks on a restricted diet and demand my body to become something it clearly isn’t.  Those days are long gone and I’m a much happier person because of it.

Not Seeking Perfection

Am I 100% happy and positive all of the time? No, I still get stressed and still have negative feelings. I’m not seeking perfection here. Heck, just a couple of months ago I was starting to fill myself with doubt about my weight. I thought that this doubt was coming from my weekly weigh-ins and being number obsessed.

After taking the scale away, I realized it wasn’t the scale I was angry at.  I was feeling negative towards myself because I thought I shouldn’t be at that number. Those pesky negative body thoughts were creeping back in and I was for whatever reason attaching my worth to a number.  When I made the decision to accept that this is where my body functions optimally and where I feel great health-wise, I realized my thoughts were silly.  It really is just a number and it’s where my body likes to be.   I chose to accept it and to not worry about it anymore.

With having more love and acceptance of myself I am much more aware of how to deal with the negativity that can arise in me. I am able to turn things around much quicker and see the greater picture in life rather than sweat the small stuff.

Making the Choice

The most important thing I’ve done in breaking the pattern is to make a conscious choice to do so. I’m the creator of my own happiness and I choose to live my life in a positive way, not wrapped up in my own negativity.  Making this choice has made my life much more enjoyable and full of wonder.

Make the Choice to be Happy

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Question:

How do you handle negative self-talk?