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Posts Tagged ‘positive self-image’

The cart and horse scenario

In Being Healthy on March 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Picture for a second a horse pushing a cart up a hill. First of all, the horse would have to be trained a bit extra, I’m sure. Then you’re working against physics. Not to mention, I’m not sure there is even a horse pushing harness contraption. You might eventually get there, but it’s going to be a pain in the ass, fraught with delays.

It’s not going to work as well as harnessing the horse and letting it PULL the cart up the hill.

cartoon horse laughing

“So how YOU doin’, sexy lady?”

Women every day are taking part in a similar exercise in frustration, and we have been for decades. We try to make self-hate motivate us to squeeze into an irrational standard set by a distorted societal opinion. Let’s all face it. Society’s opinion of what is beauty is distorted by media, by Photoshop’d images in fashion magazines, not reality. We and OUR CHILDREN, our DAUGHTERS, are paying the price. But I digress…

Self-hate is never going to be successful in anything but breeding obsession, yo-yo dieting and eating disorders. Changing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one happens slowly.

Major change is incremental. It doesn’t happen overnight. Self-love is the only way you can sustain slow, permanent change. You have to love yourself even if it takes a year for regular exercise to become a habit. You have to love yourself even if you make unhealthy food choices along the way. You have to love yourself in order to not cross over into the unhealthy practice of purging or obsessive diet restrictions (both unhealthy!).

I’ve played out the self-hate scenario many times in my life. Let me tell you how it goes:

I wake up from the pits of depression by somehow convincing myself that I can do it THIS time. Somewhere in the depths of my being, I’ve found the motivation to NEVER EAT sugar or bread EVER AGAIN. I just know that THIS time the weight is going to go away for good…and fast. That’s what the book said. It will be FAST. Good thing because if I have to spend one more minute in this disgusting body, I’m going to puke. I don’t even want to be seen in public. Hide all the mirrors and stay away from reflective surfaces.

One problem — weight-loss isn’t fast. Sometimes, the less you eat, the slower your metabolism crawls. This is how it is in my world. I am a miracle of natural selection. My ancestors must have survived some serious famine because my body can function and retain weight on unbelievably small amounts of food.

Two weeks into my sugar and starch free world I feel like life is out to get me. “Why is it that I have to restrict myself so much when all these thin people are eating hamburgers and drinking cokes? I haven’t had a soda in over two years. I live on beans and raw vegetables. I haven’t had ice cream in forever. Bacon? What is bacon? Hell, I only eat meat twice a week. Why does the scale still say the same thing?” I’m depressed, discouraged, and bitter.

I go home and eat a pint of Moollenium Crunch because I feel like shit. Then I feel even more like shit for eating the ice cream. Then I hate myself even more. Next thing you know, I feel as if I can’t get up in the morning. Life has lost its luster, and I am having difficulty getting through my normal and necessary routine of working and being a mother.

My biggest fear last year was that if I loved myself and quit judging myself, I’d be a fat, unattractive whale my whole life. For a person who hates themselves, that thought is like being sentenced to an eternity in hell. If you truly love yourself, that may not be such a bad thing.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: a lot of skinny women hate their bodies too. If you are a body/self-hater, being thinner isn’t going to solve the problem. You just go from a miserable big person to a miserable small person. New wardrobe, same problems.

Fat is Not Evil

What’s so wrong with being a big person? There are pros and cons, but is it wrong? Isn’t it true that there are heavy people who are happy, secure and live fulfilled lives? It is. What’s the difference between having a body that is exceptional at conserving energy and being born with a club foot or frizzy hair? All three are considered unattractive by our glamorous society, but only one is considered evil.

Our society demonizes fat cells. If a person’s fat cells are in storage mode, they immediately are considered slovenly, lazy, unmotivated, lacking self-control, less intelligent…you name it. It’s just fat cells in storage mode, conserving energy for future use. It is impossible to know a person’s character traits by the size of their fat cells. There are MANY factors that contribute to the size of a person’s body. MANY. Regardless of the factors, a person’s size is not WHO they are. Period.

Fat limits what you can do physically. Fat can affect your heart health. Fat can contribute high blood pressure. A lot of fat can make you uncomfortable in theater seats and on airplanes. Fat contributes to Type 2 diabetes. Fat can make running while wearing corduroy awkward and noisy. Fat is not evil. Fat, at one time in history, was ATTRACTIVE. Fat is attractive in some cultures TODAY. GASP!

Would it kill you to accept and have compassion on your fat cells today?

If you knew that accepting and having compassion for yourself was the first step — the KEY — to being more fully healthy, free of obsession, and on the track for a fulfilled and satisfied life, could you give yourself a break and just relax?

Why don’t you try it today? See how it feels.

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