Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freedom from myself

For as long as I can remember I've felt like I was trapped in a body I hated. Over the years I've constantly berated everything about myself, from my fat thighs, flabby upper arms, saggy stomach, hair that's always too blond or not blond enough or too long or too short, and the many imperfections of my face, always too fat or too thin, too long, not pretty enough. Nothing could escape my critical eye. Basically, my entire self was flawed regardless of how I tried to fix it.

Recently I've been reading Women Food and God bye Geneen Roth. I won't say it's changed my life but it has certainly given me a lot to think about. She tells the story of when she "lost her face". Basically, she had a severe allergic reaction during the second day of a six-day retreat. Her face became extremely swollen and almost unrecognizable. She thought it was the end of the world. It wasn't. People hardly even noticed. She was still the same person, even though she lost her face for a few days. It really didn't make any difference in who she was or how people saw her.

I've constantly criticized myself with The Voice (again, from the book). This is  my own highly critical devil that lives inside of me, that's always yelling at me that everything about me is bad or broken or just wrong. The Voice tells me I'm fat and ugly and how could anyone possibly love me. The voice. It's time to shut it up.

It's like I've been released from myself. I realize that sounds slightly schizophrenic, but it's exactly how I feel. I feel like it's okay to just be me, flaws and all. Even if I lost my face, I'd be okay.

Getting back into the swing of things
Exercise. It's so hard to get back into the workout routine after ten days of vacation and only three workouts (with my sister at her gym in Fairbanks which has the coolest cardio equipment). I blew off exercising yesterday. First full day back from vacation, the house needed a thorough cleaning, I was tired, and blah blah blah. I was full of excuses for skipping the gym. Surprisingly, I talked myself into not going.

Today was almost a repeat of yesterday. Suitcases still packed, laundry to the ceiling (well, almost), house still dirty, and I was still tired. Yet I told myself exercising really isn't an optional task. Just like doing laundry, even though I don't really like it, it has to be done.

It was 80 degrees in the shade when I took off on my bike at 4pm. I was heading to the gym. The ride, round-trip, is only 9 miles, but there are lots of hills. It was absolutely perfect bike riding weather. With the sun at my back and the wind in my face, it couldn't have been better.

My maximum heart rate was 156. I did seven upper body exercises at the gym, three sets each. It was ridiculously hot in the gym (it felt like a sauna). With the 50-minute bike ride and 45 minutes of weight training, I burned 637 calories. Not bad.

The food
Being conscious of what I'm eating is entirely new for me. I'm use to eating in front of the TV or eating standing up. Sitting at the dining table while I eat, without a TV or a magazine or book is difficult. I'm starting to actually taste my food. Although I still enjoy eating, it turns out I don't really love food as much as I thought. I've always said it's not my fault that I'm fat, food just tastes good.

Sure it tastes good, but it's kind of boring just sitting there eating, tasting each bite. Being conscious of my food. Sometimes I eat alone, sometimes with my husband. Either way, slowly eating food with no distractions sort of seems like a waste of time.

Conscious eating is a new mindset for me, one I'm still trying to grasp.


Miz said...

"Im starting to taste my food"

That was life altering for me too and I clearly recall the AH HA! of it all.

and I also recall trying to explain to my then boyfriend/now husband and he thought Id lost my mind :)

until he had the SAME AH HA!! years down the road.

Roxie said...

I think The Voice is just a habit that we women get into. If I really listen, I can hear us running ourselves down to each other! It's almost like a ritual bonding thing. I've made a decision to try to stop that because I don't think it does anyone any good and it focuses to much on the physical.

I'm glad to read you are deciding to give yourself a break from The Voice. I think you are gorgeous and stunning and wouldn't want you to think otherwise!

Being in the moment can sometimes be a lot of hard work!

I've got to get the book!

Happy Wednesday, Diana.

Splurgie said...

I've read about this book so much. I'm downloading it to Kindle today. I hope I get as much out of it as everyone else has.

Kyle Gershman said...

I think it is okay that food is more than just something we eat to keep from fainting, but I do respect the approach that you are taking and think that it will help bring a new perspective.

Helen said...

The biggest thing I'm enjoying from mindful eating - even more than weight loss! - is that I've stopped thinking about food all the damn time. It's such a relief. I eat and when I start to think about food again I sit very quietly and so far, it's been because I'm hungry.

I always take a break from planned exercise during vacation and I find I'm usually raring to go although it takes me a couple days to get back into my routine. You'll get there soon enough.

Glad you're telling that Voice to shut it. You deserve only the sweetest nothings whispered in your ear.

bbubblyb said...

I'm noticing with time that voice is saying nicer things to me. It really is about rewriting the voice in our minds. Glad the book is helping so much. Last night after reading your blog yesterday I watched the Oprah with Geneen on it and I too got a lot out of all she said. Mike even watched it and we commented to each other about stuff she said. Thanks for talking about it. Glad you enjoyed your workout.

Grace said...

As a child, I was criticized relentlessly by my mom, about my height, my weight, all things physical. That's one reason the mean Voice is so loud in my head. According to Dr D, it's the little child in me that needs to be loved and have nice, positive things said to her.

Dr D suggested I find a picture of myself as a child, one that I really like, and put it on my desk. Every day I should tell that child how beautiful she is, and how loved and special she is. Sounds hokey, but it kind of makes me tear up when I think about that little girl, so it must be meaningful. So I'm going to do it.

Rettakat said...

It sounds like you are having new insights along this journey. That tells me you have an open, teachable heart, willing to consider new perspectives! I'm happy for you. :-)


The Newsham's said...

Love you blog!

Jennifer in Texas
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M Pax said...

You are OK, Diana. That's why I'm here. You are not flawed. You are the perfect Diana. Hope you are beginning to see that. :)

Splurgie said...

I'm back. Just for the record, I soon discovered that this book isn't available on Kindle. Guess I'll have to go with the hard copy!