Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We are more than our LOOKS!!!

disclaimer: I apologize in advance for any sexism that I imply here, because I do know that men go through the same kind of thing, but this post will be about my experience as a woman, so I will be discussing women's issues... not saying that this is ONLY a women's issue at all

Now that I've gotten the disclaimer out of the way, here's my topic: 

Why do we, as women, let ourselves care so much
about our looks?

one of the first results for search: what a woman should look like
Seriously.  I have been guilty of caring way too much about my appearance for most of my life.  I can't remember a time when it didn't matter to me at all.  Maybe when I was 5?  4?  3?  Even in my earliest memories, I can remember people making me feel as if my looks were more important than anything else.

Adults love to tell little girls that they are pretty, or that what they are wearing is pretty. 

And some little girls take that stuff seriously. 

"You look like a doll!!!  How PRETTY!!!"

I remember one time when I was 6 years old (ish) and I looked in the mirror, thinking that nothing about me was special.  Feeling terrible about how plain I was.  My pale freckle-less skin, my mousy straight hair, my uninteresting nose, eyes, and ears.  I hadn't yet started to worry about my weight (thank god) but I was still very much concerned about my looks.

That memory saddens me, and makes me wonder how many little girls I see every day have simular thoughts.  How many young girls put that much thought into their looks.

another "what a woman should look like" result

...And for some of us, it has never gone away.  That desire to be pretty, and the thoughts that our appearance somehow represents our worth.  That need to fit into a certain mold.  Whose standards are we trying to achieve?  And... why?

Some things are way more important than how we look.  Like... almost all things.  Just off the top of my head, here is a list of things that are more important than looks:

1) health
2) loved ones
3) work ethic
4) school and work deadlines
5) bills...?

All of these things are way more important than what we look like.  And the list could go on literally FOREVER. 

So, why is it that we put looks on such a high pedestal, and assume that if only we looked a certain way, everything else would fall into place?

another "what a woman should look like" gem.

Hmmm.  Here's a thought:

Let's stop the madness. 

I'm not saying that I'm going to stop caring about my appearance.  I am just saying that there is a balance out there.  I can still take pride in my appearance (shower, hair, makeup, clothes without holes in them) without making it a top priority.

I have been taking steps for weeks now to not care so much about food and exercise, and to instead focus on more important things (which is how I managed to ace my finals, BTW!).

I encourage all of you reading this to take a moment today and think about how much energy you put into your appearance. 

Are you only dieting and/or exercising for your appearance, or is health your main goal? 

Do you constantly (or nearly constantly) worry about how you look? 

Let's try to dial it back a bit and focus a bit more on important things. 

what a woman should look like #1 result!  (joke)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a perfect moment...

Have you ever have one of those, "WOW, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at the exact perfect time" moments?

I have, but I had completely forgotten them until yesterday.

I was at a study group for my Intro to Law class, and we were working on our final exam together, each of us contributing equally and working hard.

Some time during that study session, I had a "moment".

I was exactly where I was meant to be at the exact perfect time.

I was really in my element, and was ridiculously happy. I was amongst my peers, all of whom have simular goals to me, and we were talking about the history of law as well as how to apply law cases to examples of law cases... and it felt great.

For about 3 and a half hours, I was thinking only about law, and my place at the University of Memphis and what my current class schedule really meant for my future.

I was NOT thinking about my body, my food, or anything along those lines.

And I was happy.

I'm going to continue to strive for moments like this in my daily life. Moments of perfection that have nothing to do with my weight or my appearance.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How my non-tracking is going...

It's going really well so far!  There have been some bumps along the way, but I have basically been not tracking my food or exercise since December 1st, in an attempt to finally completely finish my EDNOS recovery and move on to a life that is not so food focused.

One thing that I've learned I'm pretty good at:  waiting until I'm actually hungry to eat.  I rule at that.  Sometimes it 6 or more hours between eating, because I'm really not hungry that often some days.

Here's another reason that it may take me so long to get hungry- I'm pretty bad at stopping eating when no longer hungry.  That part is still tough for me!  I think that part may be tough on the weekends for a while.  It's probably mostly difficult because I still eat while doing other things, mainly watch TV.  That is a habit too ingrained in me to give up.  Therefore, my meals tend to be so large that I don't need to snack between them, because they keep me full for hours.

I'm still eating mostly healthy foods when I do eat, and of course everything is vegan.  :-)  The only difference is that I'm no longer measuring portions (except with my EVOO, I still use a teaspoon out of habit) and that I'm no longer tracking it.  So at the end of the day, I have no clue how many calories or PointsPlus I have consumed. 

And I'm not going to lie, that is kind of scary to me.  It would probably be less scary if I actually could master the "stop eating when no longer hungry" concept.  So that is my goal right now, is to really hone in on that skill this week.

The other good news is exercise:  It's my goal to no longer exercise just to burn calories and lose weight, but to actually exercise because I want to exercise.  And to do exercises that I enjoy, with no pressure of a time goal or calorie goal to reach.

On Saturday, the weather here (Memphis, TN) was amazing.  Stacey and I decided to walk a lot.  We walked to my mom's house, which according to is 1.74 miles there and back.  Then we walked to a local holiday parade, which is another 1.7 miles.  So, without really thinking about it, Stacey and I walked more than 3 miles on Saturday.  This was fun, it felt great, and totally counts as exercise. 

Yesterday, I really felt like getting some exercise in, but to make it fun I used my mini-trampoline.  I did ten minutes on it, then ten on the bike, then ten on the stepper.  Then I did another ten on the trampoline and three on the bike before I realized that I wasn't having fun anymore and was in in just for the calorie-burn and for the "exercise for one full hour" goal.  So I got off.  43 minutes, undetermined amount of calories burned, but a lot of fun had. 

I did not get on the scale this weekend.  I will probably step on the scale this upcoming Saturday, and do my measurements, and see how this is going.  But I look thin and I feel healthy, so that's all that I'm really concerned about.  Oh yeah, and I'm happy.  :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recovering from EDNOS

Time for another reflective and honest post about my history with disordered eating.

Only, I'm going to be talking in the present tense a bit...

...because lately I've been thinking that despite being "recovered" from anorexia/EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) for years, I still have a bit of it inside me.

And it is that I'm pretty much obsessed with tracking my food.  Or with following a food plan.  Or both.

When I tried to break myself from this obsession with Intuitive Eating, I failed because I was still being obsessive.  I was trying to follow Intuitive Eating to a T.  I was on the non-plan plan (isn't that a quote from a movie?).

Anyway, my point here is that I am still (slightly) suffering from EDNOS.  It's not life-threatening like it was seven years ago, because I don't under-eat and I don't over-exercise.. 

But my mind is still overly cluttered with thoughts of food and exercise. 

I am proud that I've been able to make diet and exercise less of a priority for me lately, but it's not enough.

I think that for me to truly recover from my EDNOS once and for all, I need to stop tracking my food and exercise completely.

Not by following the Intuitive Eating book, but simply by just learning more.

This blog may change a bit as I try to release myself from these obsessive thoughts and the preoccupation with numbers (weight, size, calories/PointsPlus, calories burned, etc.).

I hope that you still enjoy my blog when it's no longer about how much I've eaten, how much I've exercised, or how much weight and inches I've lost or gained.

There will still be entries with vegan recipes, and also entries that will touch on the following themes (which are all goals of mine):

1. Learning to love the body that I have.
2. Not dieting. (no tracking my food or avoiding any foods because they are "bad")
3. Eat when hungry, don't eat when not hungry.
4. Exercise when I want to, and do fun exercises for the sake of feeling good, not for the sake of burning calories.
5. Get stronger, faster, and healthier.

But I am also going to be posting on topics of mental health and well being.  How I'm doing, if (when) I slip up, and of course there is the very real possibility that I will change my mind and go back to Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal, or any other number of tracking sites. 
This is the beginning of a new journey, one that will focus on my letting go of the diet industry and the pressure to be thin, and learning to love myself and my body. 
If I lose more weight, I'm fine with that.  If I don't, I'm... learning to be fine with that.  If I GAIN... ?  Still hoping that doesn't happen, but as long as I'm healthy and happy, that's what the focus will be from here on out.
Thanks for reading.  :-)  I love you guys.