I’m trying a new feature: Throwback Thursdays. As I search to find my way again, I’m going to re-read old blog posts and revisit the themes. I’ll give you the link to the original article, and then some commentary on how my thinking has evolved or gotten tangled up.
I’m picking Would You Talk To A Friend Like That? from September 2014 as my first TBT article. Two weeks ago was my daughter’s 22 birthday party. At the party someone commented on her body transformation. My daughter is autistic, a struggling reader, and a person who needs support to function in the community. But when asked about her weight loss she spoke about nutrition and exercise as if she were majoring in it at college.
For the past several years she has struggled with various diets and exercise regimes, as I did when I was her age. She’s tried “magic pills,” food replacement shakes, starvation, kick-boxing, etc.
Most recently she has been following the “Beachbody” food and exercise plan. I don’t know a lot about it, just what I observe. It is fairly expensive, but she pays for everything herself and I only give her advice if she specifically asks for it. She measures her food using plastic colored containers. And she makes these chocolate shakes which she says helps with food cravings. From my point of view it seems like she is eating healthy foods and enough calories to not be starving herself (a vast improvement on some of the crazy plans she was following). She wakes up early every morning to get in an exercise routine (DVD).
Physically she is getting the results she wants. She is losing pounds and gaining confidence. She posts before and after pics on Facebook. She is proud of the hard work she is doing an loves getting a chance to share her success with others. In the middle of the conversation she made a statement that made me want to cry:
I used to love going to the beach when I was little, but when I got fat I was ashamed to wear a bathing suit.. Now, I won’t go swimming until I can wear a bikini– not a fatkini or plus-sized bikini, but a real bikini. I won’t feel comfortable until I feel good about how I look.
My immediate reaction is “I’ve failed her.” It didn’t help that everyone else at the party was oooh-ing and ahh-ing over her weight loss. She has told me that body-acceptance is fine for me (since I’m old so it doesn’t matter how I look, I guess) but that she can’t love herself unless she has the type of body that society deems acceptable.
When I started to think about it, though, I realize that I let a lot of that slip into my own thoughts far too often. I continue to have internal thoughts that are negative. I can’t until… I won’t because… I’m too old, too fat, too plain…
Self-love and body acceptance isn’t a thing you achieve. It is something you have to work for all the time. Sooo, I’m re-committing to my relationship with myself. I promise to be a better partner to my body and start treating my body as a cherished friend, not the enemy.
Here is my updated list to help me woo myself:
- More massages, mani-pedis, and haircuts. (Boy do I need a haircut)
- Looking at myself in the mirror every day, and looking for what I like best in the reflection. (I’m pretty good with this one most of the time)
- Letting people take pics of me, taking selfies (it’s not a bad word) with my loved ones, and posting pics on my social networks. I don’t Photoshop out fat, wrinkles or birthmarks. (I have to do this more. I’m better than I was, but not there yet)
- Buy myself beautiful clothes that I love, rather than waiting until I’m a specific size, because damn it, I’m worth it. (Do running clothes count? Cause I buy a SL of them)
- Taking some time for myself every day, even when work is super busy, and my personal life is super crazy. (This. I need to do this more!)