Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a LOVE/HATE relationship

It's complicated right? The relationship with your body. In an effort to make any change which direction do we head in? Do we choose Hate to keep ourselves in line or do we choose Love to gently guide us?

    Sometimes I ask myself, "Why can't I get this by now?" Why is this so hard? Why can't I just stop overeating and be motivated to exercise more? Then I think, I need a plan. I need to get into action, get my shit together and just stay on it! Then it becomes a battle between me and the willpower to stay with the new plan. I feel that in order to succeed I must beat my willpower into submission. I am weak, no good, never make it... And it goes on and on. I'm the monkey on my own back treating myself like shit in order to reach a goal that I'm infatuated with, a belief that obtaining this goal will satisfy my life... Then I cant take it anymore and I binge. I'm off the wagon. I'm no good...see you failed again!
Ugh, does any part of this vicious cycle sound familiar to anyone?

     In the past I always felt that I needed to implement my own militaristic style of control over my behaviors in order to keep myself from acting badly. But when I do that, I end up rebelling against myself and run towards all the bad things I've been forcing myself to avoid. I felt that if I was accepting or gentle with what I wanted to change about myself, I'd get lazy, I was giving in, and Giving up

     Think about this: If you love someone else, do you treat them badly and put them down all the time? NO! If you love someone,  you treat them well, with kindness and respect. Why is this so hard for us to do for ourselves. I recently had an Ah-Ha moment when I realized that all this negative self talk leads me to treating myself harshly by the end of the day. What if I change my outlook to love and acceptance towards myself... will I start treating myself better? will I want to naturally take better care of myself and my health?

     Throughout my journey I find that the more gentle and loving I am to myself and the less harsh and restricting I am, the better I actually treat myself. When I'm in a place of self love and acceptance, I respect and honor by body. I'm more in tune with what I need to do to take care of myself to meet my goals. I can ask myself "am I really hungry right now and if so, what am I really hungry for?" or "what physical movement would feel good to my body right now?" instead of being obsessed about all the BAD food I shouldn't be eating or how much exercise I need to do to burn off the calories I just consumed.

     So I say, ENOUGH ALREADY! Be nice to yourself. This is the only body you have to carry you through life. If you live in a nice house and have nice things, you don't trash your house. You treat it well, take care of it and ask others to do the same. Why aren't we like that with our bodies and ourselves?

     Negative thoughts and ideas still float through my mind frequently. The change has been that now I recognize them as such and dismiss them instead of adopt them into my self conscious.

I challenge you to think of Love and not Hate next time you start feeling bad about yourself and want to embark on a path of change.

YOU get to decide how you feel about your body and how you treat it.
Don't let society and the media choose how you should FEEL about YOUR body

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can we focus on changing our lives and not just our size?

In 1998 I was working at Lane Bryant in Santa Barbara. Our store always fell short of daily sales goals and the store was empty a lot of the time. While standing behind the counter one day I realized what a coincidence this was to how I felt just living in Santa Barbara at a size 14/16 and always feeling like the biggest girl in the room. This was an exaggerated perspective from an 18 year old middle class chubby girl growing up in the land of the rich and skinny... oh and didn't I mention blond and tan? I had no role models in my size group other than Mom's and school teachers, it felt. And that was about the only clothing I could find at the time as well.... I felt that by working at Lane Bryant I was doing something and promoting healthy body image and showing the superficial world that big girls are beautiful too. At that time I was also trying to convince a local modeling agency to bring me on as their first Plus Size model. I had dreams of being a fashion designer and promoting fashion lines that real women could wear and how I'd take the fashion industry by storm.
But, I was also a typical teenage girl and suffered from horrible body image problems, hated being fat, was binge eating and compulsively weighed myself multiple times a day and just plain wished that I were thin. If I was thing, then I'd be like all the other girls I went to school with and then maybe I'd fit in, have the life I want... oh and get a cute boyfriend. I also felt sometimes that accepting your size was giving up or giving in, saying that you weren't committed to changing for the better and that i better stay on the diet and self hatred band wagon with everyone else. It is hard to stand for what you believe in, when what you believe in isn't the norm.

I'm all about fake it till you make it thinking and turning lemons into lemonade. I was desperately afraid of being viewed as fat and lazy. I would never wear casual clothes, always had makeup on and tried to look my best. I thought if I was funny, educated and fashionable, maybe people wouldn't notice my large ass and I could seduce them into not judging me. I felt I was defying the stereotypes of big girls. I'd show them all they were wrong! But still suffering inside. I would never show it to the world though. This facade of confidence served me well though and got me through my 20's.
While working at Lane Bryant, we were promoting a book called "Change your life not your size" and it was written by a plus-size model (I no longer have a copy and cannot seem to find the book online). I was stoked. Finally a book I could dive into, jump on board and help carry the message! Women: Live the life you want right here right now, stop living in the shadows because you weigh more than others! You have worth! You deserve it! When I got to the end of the book however,  saw that the model ended up losing weight in the end anyway. I judged her as a SELL-OUT  for losing the weight and felt in the end it was just another diet book or sorts. I put the book down and forgot about the model but always kept the message with me... "Change your life and not your size".

Through the years we've seen full figured women in the media and the spotlight, sometimes ridiculed for their extra flesh and flab and sometimes celebrated for defying the image of beauty and showing that big girls are desirable too. These full-figured women in the spotlight don't seem to stay that way for long, they don't stay or large and lovely role models for long... It's as if, once they finally make it big and more spotlight is shown upon them, the smaller they become until they are an accepted size and no longer noted as the big girls. A few of my favorite examples have been: Christina Ricci, Kate Winslet, America Ferrera, Jennifer Hudson, Camryn Manheim & Tyra Banks to name a few... If we do ever end up finding a role model with curves... we are let down again.

Do these women actually change their life and the weight falls off as a side effect of success?
Or do they fall prey to the diet industry and the pressure to be thin like everyone else?
My point is, there are not many real Role Models for a full figured woman.
In the future, I will feature blogs on full figured women who inspire me and who I believe can be called a role model.

Does this upset you? Do you always feel that you must CHANGE your body size in order to be accepted, loved, or desired?
Can you as a woman walk into ANY clothing store and know they carry your size?
Can you buy any magazine and know that you'll be able to relate to maybe just one of the body sizes portrayed on it's pages?
Can you find comfortable exercise clothes or a sports bra in a plus size?

Today I went to a newsstand downtown and searched for ONE magazine that was either Plus Sized or had a mix of models body sizes. There used to be one or two magazines FOR plus size women, but not any more. The feminist magazine BUST is the only one I can find with varied sizes in models.

What I did find were rows and rows of women's magazines, appealing to all different demographics, and nearly every single one of them had something on the cover about dieting, losing inches, flat belly's, losing baby weight, slimming secrets and the like. On the other rows I saw magazines like US Weekly and People that show graphic pictures of cellulite ridden thighs and women with bars over their faces so you can try and guess who let themselves go and who has the guts to show themselves in public looking like that.

I'm personally FED UP with the lack of representation that this growing (literally and figuratively) population of women have in mainstream media. Is FAT the last minority with no civil rights?  Fat is feared. There is a war on obesity! Who is afraid of the big fat chick? Everyone it seems!

Well I'm here to finally speak up and speak out. I'm for size acceptance! Loving who you are right now. Stop thinking you have to change your body to be the person you want to be. I'm here to show you that you can change your life, live your life and be amazing without changing your weight!

I have thrown away my scales and thrown out all my skinny clothes. I'm living for Right here Right now.
This blog is going to be my outlet for things I love, things I support, things I'll promote and things I want to cause a reaction and get people thinking!

Accepting your size doesn't mean giving up or giving in... it means your MOVING ON!