Monday, February 23, 2009

Personal Waste

This evening I was reading an essay called "To Be Fat and Recovered" by Marcia Germaine Hutchinson. It was written from the perspective of a woman who after recovering from a lifelong history of disordered eating accepted that she would never be thin. In fact, she describes herself as fat despite eating healthy and exercising regularly. Her metabolism, she suspects, is a train wreck because she spent over three decades of her life either on a diet, failing a diet, rebounding from a diet, or planning another diet.

The entire essay was worth the read, but there was one particular passage that really jumped out at me:

"Reflect on how many minutes and hours you spend obsessing about your body in the course of a day. How much time do you spend worrying about food? How much over what to wear? How much about how others are judging you? How much in judging yourself? Multiply this amount by 365 and you have some sense of the magnitude of your personal waste."

Just last week I spent way too much time obsessing over one, now that I've had more time to think about it, fairly innocuous comment in response to a pregnancy photo I posted and how people were judging me. I invested all of this precious energy - and all my energy is precious right now, given how tired I've felt in my eighth month of pregnancy - on worrying about not only how I look to myself (do I look too pregnant or pregnant enough?) but also worrying about what judgments others make based upon one isolated photo my preschooler happened to take.

How narcissistic is that?

Thankfully, Lent is right around the corner and fasting on food isn't going to be half as cleansing for me as fasting on my own personal waste. Any time I'm tempted to think about my weight or what I'm supposed to look like or what others think I'm supposed to look like, I'm going to instead turn my thoughts heavenward.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"

-Matthew 6: 25-27

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tummy Tuck and Tell

I'm working on a writing project about how our view of our bodies changes as we age, and I'm looking for input.

Are you a Christian woman who has found challenges in the aging process? Have you taken measures - like botox or cosmetic surgery - to slow the hands of time?

I'd really be interested in comments from women who have had abdominal surgery after having children.

If you'd be willing to share your thoughts - knowing the info will be used to help other women grow in self-acceptance - leave a comment here or email me at brokenandblessed at gmail dot com.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Full Scale Battle

I've been noticeably absent, haven't I?

I've been wanting to share about the battle I've been waging these past few months, but I find that the more difficulty I'm having the harder it is to write about it.

Some time ago I ditched my scale. Then it came creeping back into my life. (Is that thing alive? Is it stalking me?) It's currently hanging out in the bathroom, but I've somehow managed to ignore it most days. That is quite a triumph.

I predicted that eliminating daily weighing would lead to weight gain for me, and I was correct. A self-fulfilling prophecy? I don't think so. I think the truth is that my body is just content at a higher weight than I'd like.

I gained back the 10 or so pounds that I lost last spring. At first my blood ran cold as I realized this was happening. I was just horrified. I had worked so hard to slim down, and I mean worked. I counted every calorie and fiber gram. I wrote down every morsel I ate. I worked out for at least an hour a day, plus walked for several miles.

It "worked." But when I went back to a somewhat normal life, the weight returned.

Popular thinking would say I failed. I fell off the wagon. Like Oprah, I just wasn't following directions any more. I should be so ashamed of myself.

Is that really how I should feel, ashamed?

At first I did. I felt ashamed that I wasn't able to maintain the results of all my hard work.

But was is that I was spending my days stuffing donuts in my face instead of exercising? Hardly. I just returned to a "normal" way of eating, moving, and being.

As the weeks went by my weight leveled off. I've reached a point where I'm almost comfortable with myself. I'd still like to be thinner, but I have achieved some self-acceptance.

So that's what I choose, not shame, but self-acceptance. I am eating nutritious foods in moderate quantities. I am using my body in healthy ways.

Why should I be ashamed of that?