Posted in Friday Finds

We are glorious

I am who I’m meant to be. So are you.

 

For a great review of this film, check out The Binge Guy!

Peace . . .

 

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Posted in Meditative Monday

Everything I learned about body positivity I learned at the dog park

Sabbie runs into the park in circles. It’s all about the ball.

Throw the ball! Throw the ball! Don’t just stand there, throw the ball! What are you waiting for? Throw the ball!

Mosh gets so excited he can’t believe they’re actually there. He drives Sabbie nuts.

Sabbie! We’re at the park. Can you believe it? We’re at the park! Play with me! Play with me! Come on . . . play with me!

As he settles into it, it’s clear all Mosh ever really wants in life is someone to chase him. He doesn’t care if your fur is white, or mottled, or toasty brown with the little burnt tips on your ears and toes. In fact, I’ve never met a dog who cares if another is purebred or a mongrel. It’s what’s under the fur that counts. We could learn a lot from our canine friends.

DSCN0639There are dogs in wheelchairs and three-legged dogs, and blind dogs too. The great thing about dogs is that they don’t leave anyone out. Everyone with a nose and a butt are welcomed to join their circle.

Ever seen a dog tease another one about his age? No, I didn’t think so. If you’re willing to play, join in! If you need to take a break and watch, that’s fine too.

I’ve seen little terriers humping (or trying to, anyway) Great Danes. The heart wants what the heart wants. More importantly, I’ve never seen any of the other dogs care.  Why do some people care so much who someone else loves?

Are female dogs concerned with their body image? No way. They know they’ve got it. If she swings her tail in just the right way, it doesn’t matter if she’s the shape of a German sausage, she’s going to have that boy-dog on a short leash.

A dog doesn’t care if you’re sporting a diamond collar or a fleece sweater or little rubber boots. Well . . . okay, those boots are kind of weird. But he knows your human put those on you, and those humans? They have issues.

Peace . . .

Posted in Self Acceptance

When the Universe Speaks, Listen

Sometimes the Universe speaks to me. You might call it God. I call it coincidence, but it’s fun to think the Universe is speaking to me. The day I decided to quit dieting, the battery on my scale died.

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Credit Wikipedia Commons

This is significant, because another first step to intuitive eating is letting the scale go. You might need to take a sledge hammer to it, or give it to a charity thrift store, or if the Universe is so aligned, let it take the juice from your battery. Because if you’ve been dieting almost your whole life, you won’t even know how to feel until you step on that thing. Sometimes I’d step on it twice in the same day, because using the bathroom might have changed the number. TMI? Anyway, that’s how I’d know how to feel about the day ahead.

So when the Universe spoke, and my battery died, I put it in a closet, and there it’s been ever since.

But as it turns out, there are several ways to measure your body and how it makes you feel for the day. And at the same time that I was trying to imagine what the scale would say if it hadn’t been rendered mute, I was learning the fine art of body acceptance.

The first few days of eating intuitively I went crazy with bananas and avocados. And amazingly, what was supposed to happen, happened. By the fourth day, bananas and avocados were no longer the forbidden fruits. They were just bananas and avocados. Eureka! I mastered it! This was going to be a snap.

That fifth day I had a hot fudge brownie sundae for lunch. I repeated that three times in the same week. But none the following week. A few months later I had another and realized that craving had probably run it’s course. So yes. I was getting it, but how many foods was I going to have run through? How many foods had I even forgotten were on my forbidden list? How long would this take?

Cream cheese? Why had I stopped eating cream cheese? Was it forbidden, or just disliked? Unlike a diet, these intuitive eating books didn’t offer a complete turn-around in 30 days. There was no 8-day foolproof detox for my diet-brain, and my list of demonized foods was long.

Donuts. Cake. Chocolate chip cookies. Sour cream. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hot chocolate. Butter. Cheese. Mayonnaise. Ice cream. Candy. Full fat lattes. Pie. Pancakes. Toast. Fried chicken . . .

 

Fried-Chicken-Leg
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Oh . . Fried Chicken. Golden brown, steaming hot, perfectly seasoned, juicy, crispy, battered and fried chicken. For six months I ate chicken from every grocery store, family restaurant and fast-food chicken place I walked into. Colonel Sanders found his way into my hottest fantasies. I had chicken fingers for lunch. Deep fried chicken for dinner. Broasted, nuggets, tenders, wrapped sandwiches, wings, pretzel-bun sandwiches, salads; I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Until eventually I did.

 

But along with all my other food exorcisms, this took a toll on my pants size. Like I said, there are other ways to measure your body than with a scale. And while I think I could have learned to accept my body at any stage along the way, that goalpost kept shifting. Just when I was about to accept my body, it changed. So okay . . . let’s accept this size. Fried chicken for dinner? You bet!

What I learned is that the only way to fully accept the body you’re in, is to be in the present. This bears repeating.

The only way to fully accept the body you’re in, is to be in the present.

Because at any time your body can change. You could lose a limb. You could contract a disease. And yes. Your weight could change.

You only have the body you are in. Right now. You can never have the body you had ten years ago. You don’t know what body you will have ten years from now, or even tomorrow.

This is the body you are given today. This is your Universe. And it speaks to you.

Listen.

Peace . . .

To follow this story from the beginning, check out The View From Here

Posted in Well-being

Now what?

Once I gave up dieting, sold all my diet books to the half-price bookstore, and unfollowed all my diet social media, I began the process of learning how to decide what to eat on my own. That sounds so silly, doesn’t it? I’m a grown woman who raised four human beings into adulthood. I’ve been buying groceries and cooking for forty years. And I woke up that first morning like . . . now what?

One might think I dove headfirst into a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes with real butter, pools of syrup dripping over the edge of the plate. But I didn’t. I reached for a banana, because it was familiar and safe. I grabbed a knife, and in my mind I was deciding whether I should eat a half or a third. Numbers danced in my head. Calories.

And then I did the unthinkable. I ate the whole damn banana. 489px-Banana

It wasn’t that I’d never eaten a whole banana before. Usually I ate it in segments; a half banana for breakfast, calories logged, with a serving of oatmeal and skim milk. Midmorning I might browse through the kitchen and snip off another quarter, justifying that it was a harmless fruit. After lunch the last quarter would go into a scoop of ice cream with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, if we had it. I might even have added nuts.

And there it was. I’d blown it.

By 4 PM I was crabby, defeated, and angry. Fight or flight. Except I’d used up all my fight trying not to eat that sundae, and consequently wishing I hadn’t. So I’d fly into the kitchen and look for that One Thing that was going to make me feel better. I’d eat toast. Nope, that wasn’t it. I’d try fruit. Not quite. Maybe something salty? Gooey? Protein?

Eventually, I’d sit on the couch, stuffed to the gills. I no longer felt angry or crabby. The demons had been sufficiently numbed. Sometimes I’d sleep, waking groggy, guilty and full. But there was one more phase — keeping the secret.

Because . . . This was embarrassing, this weird afternoon rage through the kitchen. So I would fix a perfectly normal dinner for Bubba and I, with meat and vegetables, maybe a salad or potatoes. And I would eat that too. Because otherwise I’d have to admit I had already eaten toast and fruit and chips and candy and cheese and god knows what else. And having him forage through the fridge looking for something to eat on his own would have deepened my guilt. Then the meat and vegetables I had planned to cook would rot in the fridge, and I’d have to throw them out. More guilt. Better to keep the secret, eat like a bird, and end the night in gluttonous discomfort.

So, yes. That first day I ditched dieting I ate the whole. goddamn. banana.

I ate it with whatever else I had for breakfast. But I remember that full banana because it was the first full banana I’d eaten in years without bargaining a smaller bowl of oatmeal, or promising myself I’d leave the rest until the next morning, knowing full well that fucking thing was going to land in an afternoon sundae.

And I was full until lunch, when, making my salad, I picked up a ripe avocado. I pulled out a sharp knife, and sliding it through the rough skin to the inner buttery flesh, numbers began to dance through my head. Calories. Should I slice up a third or a fourth?

Then I sliced half of the avocado and laid it gingerly on my salad . . .

Peace . . .

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Posted in Well-being

There Is a Voice That Does Not Use Words

Quitting the diet scene wouldn’t be so hard if it weren’t so terrifying. It’s not just knowing what, when and how much TO eat. Four decades of intense diet mentality had proven to me that I couldn’t trust myself to STOP. Clearly, I couldn’t be left to my own devices without raiding the refrigerator or finding myself inexplicably in the nearest drive-thru.

Realizing I had a trust issue with myself sent me into a tail-spin. I pride myself in being trust worthy. It’s my brand. It’s who I am. If I say I’m going to do a thing, I do it. I’m reliable. You can count on me. Yet here I was saying that I couldn’t even count on me.

So I realize it gets a little weird because I talk about myself as if there are two of me. If you can keep all the Game of Thrones characters straight, this ought to be a breeze.

I decided I would have to actively work to rebuild the trust I’d lost with myself. I, being my best friend, was not going to allow this mistrust to ruin the relationship I’d thought we . . . er, uh . . . I shared. With myself. Try to keep up.

As you can imagine, healing trust issues takes time. It takes demonstrating consistent reliability to show that you can be trusted. It takes communication, which requires listening; lots of listening. And so I began the arduous task of listening to my body’s cues. Was I hungry? How hungry? Was I satisfied? Full? Overly full?

I didn’t hear anything. Nothing at all. I’d spent so many years letting diets talk over my own inner voice, telling it what I wanted it to say, that it had stopped speaking. I was afraid the voice had died. That I had killed it, and it would never speak again.

I listened harder. I mediated, and when I did I cried.

One day, I followed the tears to a corner of my heart where a child version of myself hid, alone and all but forgotten. I coaxed her out where the air was fresh, the sun shone, and bees buzzed. We were alone in a woods, and I let her lead me to the tiny things she found interesting. In silence, we found a connection; a trust in one another. She understood I would listen if she spoke, but that it was okay if she didn’t. Together we walked into the light and I awoke from my thoughts.

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Now, I know this all sounds a little woo-woo. But it was one of the many corners I’ve turned on this journey, and the thing about corners is that you never know what’s around them. This path I walk is big enough for the both of us, me and myself. Sometimes this inner voice speaks loudly, and the voice is wise and strong. And sometimes she speaks softly until I slow down enough to sit quietly and hear.

She still resides in my heart, but it’s a lovelier place. The inner child is doing some redecorating in there. It’s sunnier with flowers and colors — lots of colors that make me smile.

And I am no longer afraid to trust myself. Surely, I will make poor decisions that affect how I feel, but I trust myself to listen and learn. The pendulum will swing. Life has a way of balancing itself. How can I possibly be different?

Peace . . .

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The View From Here