Embracing the New You

I just went to see the movie Embrace with my new friend and fellow HA warrior Kate. It was lovely meeting her in person and we spent a lot of time over dinner before the show bemoaning how our society has encouraged us toward the predicament of treating our bodies so harshly in an attempt to be healthy – and also how much more common hypothalamic amenorrhea is these days with the latest trends in “clean” eating and strength and endurance training for women.

embrace_showing

Anyway, the movie was utterly fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough. Whatever your personal situation is, I can pretty much guarantee that Embrace will speak to you. I love the idea that is becoming more and more commonplace: that we should love ourselves and others for what we accomplish and *think* instead of what we look like (and heck, let’s do our best to pass this idea on to the next generation!). I know, not really a newsflash anymore, but at the same time it’s an idea that is easy to give lipservice to without truly believing. Embrace took me even further than I was down the path of believing. Find a way to see this movie! #ihaveembraced

Along the lines of switching your outlook, a woman recently posted in a facebook support group of which I am a member (join mine here) about how she was struggling with feeling frumpy and not hot when she went into a fashionable store to try on some new clothes. The responses were amazing, insightful, and inspiring, which is why you should join too if you’re working on recovery. Who doesn’t need an army of HA warriors at their back?

Lindsay said, “I’m so sorry you’re having a rough day. I understand; I had MANY of them. The next time you go shopping and you don’t like how something looks when you try it on, try to shift your mindset from “This fabulous shirt doesn’t fit my body” to “My fabulous body doesn’t fit this shirt“. There is nothing wrong with your body; it’s the shirt that doesn’t work. Take it off, and try on a different style. Do you remember the show What Not to Wear? I like to think of that show every time I go shopping, because Stacy and Clinton could always make ANY person look fabulous, no matter how big/small/short/tall. It’s just a matter of finding clothing that really flatters you. Body love and acceptance takes time… you’re just getting started here, and the changes are fresh and new. Over time, you’ll get used to your new self, and you will grow to love it as much as you did your old self. Maybe even more. Remind yourself daily that you are a multi-dimensional person… you are not just a body. And truly, the other aspects of your being – your personality, your sense of humor, your wit, your charm – are what people are most drawn to. Don’t let any perceived ‘imperfections’ of your physical body spoil the rest of that.”

Yes, yes, YES!

<3

Self doubt

I was talking the other day with my friend Meret about how so many of us are able to be kind and compassionate to others, but not to ourselves. We see the best in our friends, acquaintances, strangers, both in terms of looks and accomplishments, but struggle to find something pleasant to say to ourselves. Or we look around at the work that others are doing and admire it, but cannot find the value in our own endeavors.

I’ve been struggling with the latter recently. Since finishing our book, and now working on getting the word out, I find myself plagued by doubts on a daily basis. I have three half-written blog posts because I get something started and then go out and find that someone else has done it better. Or I look at another website and it’s all splashy and pretty, but this one is like me – simple and straightforward. And in comparison I feel … less. Not worthy.

But at the same time, I’m NOT splashy and glittery, it’s not who I am and even when I try it just feels wrong. So I’m holding myself up to a standard of comparison that I can never attain. And so I find myself lacking motivation, lacking purpose, just lacking.

I suck at social media. I’m an introvert, I have never ever been comfortable in the limelight, I don’t brag about my accomplishments (because most of the time I don’t feel they’re particularly special), I’m never ever good enough. For me. Everyone else seems to be impressed, but I always find what’s wrong, what I could or should have done better.

I don’t know how to fix this. I have gotten past caring what other people think about how I personally look – everyone I know is way more wrapped up in their life than to give two hoots about whether I’m a size 2 or a size 10, whether my eyebrows are perfectly plucked or not (generally not LOL), whether my hair is beautifully coiffed or thrown back in a pony tail (again, almost always the latter)… and if they do notice, so what? Really, no effect on my life at all if someone notices that my hair is a little greasy because I haven’t showered since yesterday. Or the day before. Or maybe even the day before that (when I get to the point when I can’t remember the last time I showered that’s a good sign I do actually need to). So my physical appearance, I’m good. I’m done with buying into the myth that I need to live up to some beauty ideal.

But. I cannot apply that same principle and wisdom to my work. Because it matters so much more to me that people like and appreciate what I DO, because that is what defines me. I am so passionate about helping other women to likewise let go of the strictures of our society as far as appearance goes, letting go of the rules that we’re supposed to follow about what to eat and not to eat, how much to exercise, that the “epitome of health” comes in a pre-pubescent-looking package. But I am really struggling with how to share that passion because of all the doubt I feel about “not doing it right.” I am totally new to anything more than facebook and I feel lost as to the etiquette. That makes me feel really tentative and scared and like I’m doing everything wrong and I’m going to be ostracized.

I think I just have to forget about potentially being perceived as too self-promoting, and be more like I am with my appearance – just say what I feel like saying and hey, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. But if you have any tips, I’m all ears!!

I’d also love to know if you have similar thoughts and feelings. And how do you encourage yourself to just keep pushing through?