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Body Peace, Six Packs, Weightloss Loss And Feeling Good

Something that helped me when I first started feeling worn down by the pressure to lose weight (before I was ready to let go entirely) was giving up the idea that weight gain or loss was “bad” or “good”. I’d already given up the scale because it wasn’t helpful or healthy for me to have it around, but I needed to work on gaining acceptance of my body in all states.

That meant finding joy in jiggles. And shimmies in shakes. And magic in muffin tops. And celebration in cellulite. Because my body was and is gonna change. But how much energy I spent perfecting it or fighting that change the was up to me. And I was TIRED. And I needed that energy elsewhere.

At the time, illness had given me a wake up call that there were more important things in life: it had forced me to re-evaluate why being as small as possible took up such a big part of my life. At first, I decided to call weight changes “feedback”. That worked for awhile. Weight gain was no longer failure or something I had to urgently address. It was the result of my life at the moment, which included periods where I couldn’t move like I wanted to, didn’t have the energy or motivation to eat how I wanted to eat (or, many times, was eating more after a period of restriction). It gave me freedom and wiggle room. I’d never felt those things before.

I repeatedly told myself “it ain’t a big deal”. I’d been heavier before, I’d been smaller before and in my head I decided that’s how life goes. I got rid of the “wagon”. I knew I felt good when I could move and I ate tons of veggies. Putting my energy into that goal instead (feel good), replaced the “I suck at life because I’m fat” guilt trips I used to have that never, ever, served me. Ever. So much energy had gone into feeling bad about myself. I decided that was enough for one lifetime.

The idea that “old Chichi” would have thought “current Chichi” was too fat to…

- Have a fitness page
- Be a trainer
- Share anything with the world
- Be inspiring
- Be herself
- Be happy
- Call herself sexy, beautiful or awesome
- Take pics of herself
- Live freely
- Eat what she wanted and do what she likes.

… seems freaking crazy to me. Cray cray all the way.

Getting to a place of peace with my bod took lots of little steps and changes in my thinking. And time. Each small step lead to bigger ones, and soon the whole idea of having to mold my body into perfection seemed dumb, dumb, dumb. But when I look back on my journey, I realize that for me, it wasn’t just ONE lightbulb moment, but a series of them. And daily effort to keep my environment and headspace clear. Others might feel the same way; if you are struggling with having a “lightbulb” moment and the mantras aren’t working, start smaller. One step at a time. Some people have massive “a-ha” moments. The rest of us have to work at it a bit. All you need is the desire to want to change your narrative. And some guts.

I gave up magazines and blogs I was obsessed with, but we’re making it hard to love myself. I started questioning marketing, specifically in fitness. I shared my thoughts and found others who felt the same way. I dug. I looked for the root of where and why I was dissatisfied with my body, and opened up to seeing how I’d been taught to hate it. I decided the only “rule” that served me was “it should feel good”. And obsessing over my bod didn’t feel good.

This meant giving up working constantly towards six pack abs and living my life to be as lean as possible. But it also meant giving up the idea that anyone else should feel that pressure either. I gained an appreciation for my love of physical fitness, but as a marker of individuality not superiority. I like what I do. But not everyone has to. I hate the notion that some people would consider that “lucky”. It’s not luck, just my thing. I like burpees. She might like knitting. We’re both awesome.

All this to say, I never found body peace in abs or weight loss. I found it in being okay with OR without those things. I found/find pleasure in eating well and moving, but never in thinking those things made me better than anyone else. I found love for myself when I ditched the rules on how, when and what I needed to be allowed to feel that way. For the first time in my life, I feel confident that I’d be just as awesome in a body 100lbs heavier because my priorities are straight. I’m grateful for what my bod can do, but if for any reason it can’t do it any longer, I know I’ll be okay. I’m not sure the same can be said for a lot of weight loss enthusiasts: take away their abs, guns and ability to do what they do, and they might not be able to identify themselves.

Just some things to think about. Baby steps and end game are very different, but my end game would not have been possible without a TON of baby steps and effort.

What’s your end game? If it’s body peace, six packs and weight loss might not cut it.


*shit i wish people would forget about

(via jazzyfemme)

Go Kaleo’s frequently used term “Dietary Dogma” has to be one of my favorite’s this year. Love, love, love it.

Personally, I don’t care which lifestyle diet you choose, so long as it actually benefits your health (lifestyle = set of principles that you choose to live by. Not being on A diet). If it includes lots of fresh veggies, enough protein, is mostly clean, allows for occasional treats and makes your BODY feel AWESOME, you get high fives from me. And if it doesn’t, hopefully you’ll make healthier changes over time that suit you.

But… feeling awesome is about how your BODY responds to your diet. Not how superior YOU FEEL because you follow it. That’s where dietary dogma can get tricky and MAY cross over into orthorexia: a growing problem in the fitness & health community.

Orthorexia is an unhealthy fixation on healthy foods. Unlike anorexia, the goal is not to be thin, but rather to be as healthy as possible. While that may not SEEM all that bad, there is a VERY big difference between someone making healthy lifestyle choices to ENHANCE their life, versus someone who’s healthy choices ARE their life.

Most simply, the difference can be seen in how two individuals handle a situation like hunger….

When faced with the option to either A. starve or B. eat McDonald’s, a person with a healthy relationship with food will choose McDonald’s. They know their body needs food, even if it’s not the kind of food they’d regularly have. They know that the only thing WORSE than eating McDonald’s is starving their bodies.

A person with orthorexic tendencies, on the other hand, would rather starve than eat unhealthy OR will experience SEVERE feelings of guilt, self-loathing and anxiety should they eat the undesirable food. Even when the alternative was starving.

See the difference?

**UPDATE: Just a little add on, since some people seem to be going NUTS over the idea of eating McDonald’s in the example above. I don’t want McHate to cloud the points being made. 

I’m not talking about having to wait an hour before you can find yourself something healthy to eat. In the extreme example below (which, by the way would probably never happen in real life. Figured that most people would ‘get’ that, but hey), I’m talking about a hypothetical life or death situation that highlights the thought process of someone who might suffer from orthorexia.

Someone who would rather starve to death than eat McDonald’s HAS ISSUES (considering that most of these people avoid McDonald’s in order to be healthier, it seems funny that they would choose ‘death’ over it. If anything could be considered unhealthier than McDonald’s, it’s starving or dying. Hands down). That’s all I’m sayin’. I am not, nor have I ever, encouraged people to eat McDonald’s, lol. But if the thought of eating McDonald’s versus starving (not just for an hour or two) actually makes you anxious, stressed, or ________, you MAY want to look into that. That kind of thinking crosses over into MANY behaviors (and most don’t have anything to do with McDonald’s).

Like all eating disorders, it’s about your relationship with food AND there’s a scale. You may have some orthorexic tendencies, without it having a SERIOUS impact on your health (though it may cause you more stress than you’re aware of). The biggest concerns with orthorexics involve the anxiety & stress they experience surrounding food (and meal planning), a decrease in quality of life with increased focus on diet ‘perfection’, ignoring warning signs from the body and potential malnourishment/health problems pertaining to dietary restrictions (very severe at that point. Ortho-anorexia)

Some Signs You May Have Orthorexic Tendencies

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