Self Acceptance

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I am always telling you girls to ditch the scale…which I know is not easy.

I don’t have a scale in the house, nor do I weigh myself at the gym. The only time I know what I weigh, is when I go to the doctor. For years, I took off my shoes, dropped my purse, stripped off my sweater, let out all my breath….then faced backwards on the scale and told the nurse not to tell me what I weigh. This whole routine fell to the wayside when I was pregnant and I was are forced to know what I weighed, since I had a baby to take care of. Since then, I have been totally comfortable with the whole weight thing.

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Its been about 4 years since I was weighed. I figured I was about 145, maybe 150. But then, the doctor’s high tech digital scale read: 155.

My heart sank. I was like “what?, can’t be right, 155, I’ve never weighed that much.”

The thoughts continued on, “that thing was wrong….I was PMS’ing so that counts as a few pounds of water weight right?” Then again the thing was digital, it was probably accurate as hell. That number really bothered me.

So this weekend, as I said goodbye to all of you wonderful ProAna Challenge participants, I went off to a hotel, ready to have fun and play in the pool with my kids.

I noticed something I did not like. Something I have not thought or felt for a very long time.

When I saw my body in the mirror, in my swimsuit, I suddenly thought my thighs looked fat. Yeah, my arms were kind of heavy in back. My ankles aren’t looking too good…..and on and on and on.

So why did that number on the scale suddenly trigger all these insecurities? The day before I was feeling good about myself. Why does that damn number matter?

It doesn’t. I am what I am, I think I look damn good for my age, and let’s face it, with age comes a few extra pounds so why not make the best of it? My boobs are bigger, that’s a plus!

Easy to say, hard to do right? I ‘m with you.

I am not saying I am totally over the whole thing, I just wanted to share these thoughts with all of you since I consistently say I am “recovered” from my distant path of modeling and the whole striving to be thin routine (if you are curious, my weight now is about 30 pounds more then when I was modeling).

I don’t think as women we ever fully recover, do you? I think we are somehow born into this whole facade. We all have this internal weight meter that tells us we must meet its requirements or we are not good enough.

How sad it was to feel these feelings about myself. They had been gone for so long. Maybe I was meant to feel these feelings again, so I remember, and I have a taste of what you girls go through each and every day as you grapple with the ED voices in your head telling you “don’t eat that or you are a loser, a failure, a lost cause.”

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This morning I woke up, got dressed, looked in the mirror (at all angles) and said to myself, “Damn, you’re good lookin’ mamaV” and went on with my day.

Haven’t looked back since 😉

mamaVISION

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32 Responses to Self Acceptance

  1. Gina says:

    I was actually surprised to hear you felt self conscious.
    I have really bad body image.
    I have to go on a trip this summer that requires jeans and t-shirt.
    All I wear is sweats I never show my arms or legs. I absolutely hate my body.
    I don’t know that kind of was encouraging what you say. I like how you just looked once and went on with your day, my bad body image ruinous my day every day.
    It’s hard for me to move on in life when I am constantly thinking my self if I weighed this then I could be happy or if I was in the hospital again and at my lowest I would be happy or if I was back at Remuda again.
    It’s all so hard.
    Recovery is hard in general.
    I honestly never thought recovery was this hard.

  2. Laura says:

    Today I called and left a voicemail for the leader of my local ANAD support group. They meet Wednesday’s and Saturdays. I don’t know that I will have the courage to actually go, but I can say that I made a first step…mostly because I have read so much here from girls trying to get better…

  3. A Villager says:

    I struggle every day still. I was so thin in high school that it almost killed me. It makes me sad to realize no one cared enough to say “Here, please get help.” I was raised in a very bad household, no matter how thin I got.. I was told I was fatter than they were. The adults in the house were actually overweight, near 300 pounds each. I was down to about 80 pounds and losing still.

    I only stopped barfing when after graduating, my brother finally begged me to just stop. Just stop doing it, every time I wanted to I had to remember him begging me to stop. The look in his eyes it makes me cry even now, so many years later to remember. He just wanted me to not die he said. He said he wanted me to be around so when we’re old, he can pick on me and I can return the favor hehe. So every day, I remember that he cared. I lost contact with him for many years, just recently got contact back again with him. He asked me if I kept my promise, and it felt good to be able to truthfully say yes I did keep it!! He remembered and so did I.

    No one would look at me and ever guess I was bulimic and anorexic, surgeries and medication through the past few years have caused weight gain. I’ve lost some weight to a more healthy weight level, safely and eating right and some exercise when health permits. I want to lose more, I’d still be a healthy weight.. but I am afraid that if I do lose more (which is incredibly difficult to do due to medication) .. I’m worried.. could I stop? I don’t know. The fact that I am worried about it makes me a little afraid.

    I told friends and family, don’t let me get too thin. They’ve all promised to help watch out for me, I have people who care and that helps me care a bit more about myself. It’s still hard. I can’t read fashion magazines, or watch any shows where they’re modeling women usually. I know full well that even sites like that will spiral me and I won’t be able to eat, the stress and all will set in about weight. I can’t stand commercials for makeup, diet products, or anything else that implies that people are too fat.

    No matter what I look like, I’ve always seen myself as fat. I can’t even look at a photo of myself without having problems. I feel fat and I’m afraid I’d feel fat even if I was thinner. It’s scary. Then ther eare other days where I feel okay, but those are rare. Sometimes I don’t really think about it, and that is really nice. I never used to have days like that, but now and then.. I do.

    Wow hehe your comment font is super tiny, hard to read over what I wrote. My apologies if it’s typo filled, really hard to see though. Sorry I didn’t mean to write so much. Your blog is great, I’m glad someone cares.

  4. Jen says:

    “This whole routine fell to the wayside when I was pregnant and I was are forced to know what I weighed, since I had a baby to take care of. Since then, I have been totally comfortable with the whole weight thing.”

    ~I hope this happens for me too!

  5. Christy says:

    Hi mamaV,

    Glad to see you back!

    I was not very surprised to read your latest blog because I think that once a sufferer always a sufferer (to a certain degree). I think that even post-recovery, it’s difficult to completely escape the thoughts related to an ED. That voice is tricky and can sneak up out of nowhere.

    As usual though, you proved inspiring by not letting that voice overcome you. For me, that’s been a huge challenge. I’ve tried many times to convince myself that who I see in the mirror is beautiful, acceptable, or at least okay. But, because I never feel good enough, it’s too hard for me to believe.

    I did try hard to avoid the scale, but I just couldn’t. I absolutely must see the number to just help me get through the day. It’s this thing with me that if I don’t my anxiety elevates and I can’t stop thinking about it. Even though it sometimes makes me irritable (if it goes up), I still have to know. That’s my thing.

    My mother secretly threw away my scale during my last move (a month ago) and I was soooo angry. Within a day after she left back to my hometown I bought a new one. She knew I would.

    Oh well, that’s the way I feel about the scale issue. Sorry for the long-winded post.

    Christy

  6. Jane says:

    Hia MamaV, great to see you! Hope you had fun with your kids :o)

    I was a little bit suprised when I read this post, I’ve sort of come to think of you as being some kind of superwoman – totally confident, perfect body image… it’s sad I know, but it made me happy to know that you are “normal” – that even you have to deal with things like this…

    I don’t know whether I have ever been able to walk away from the scale and be okay with the number, or look in the mirror and tell myself that I look “good”. It’s encouraging to know that just maybe, one day, I will reach the point where I can see the positive side of my body, or my person in general.

    I do think you are recovered to the fullest extent. I honestly don’t believe that any one can say “I don’t care about my weight, I don’t care what I look like, I am just great the way I am.” The way you are is more self-confident than any other woman I have ever met!

  7. Jane says:

    I hadn’t finished but pressed submit accidently (grrr!)

    Laura – so proud of you! Well done on taking that first, huge, step! You can do it, we are all behind you!

    Christy – I’m glad to see that someone else had their scales taken away! And it makes me feel a little better knowing that someone else also went and bought new ones; as pathetic as it is, it makes me feel like I’m not as weak as I thought. I don’t understand why we let that number haunt us so much. Why it has the ability to dictate what we will eat, what we will do, how our day will be. It hurts knowing that that ten mins in the morning will decide on the next 24 hours.

    Anyway, I better go, my dad has just got up so I have to go and make him some brunch.

    Take care everyone, am thinking of you all x x x Jane x x x

  8. Christy says:

    I would like to clarify on my earlier comment. I do think a person can completely recover, so the word suffer is not the right one. Maybe, once a person has struggled and recovered from an ED, he or she will always be more sensitive to certain issues such as food, numbers, and so on. I think I always will anyway.

    Jane, I am happy to hear that my story made you feel better. It goes to show that none of us are alone in this. And I’m right there with you on not understanding why I allow a number on the scale to dictate so much of how I feel and what I do. I guess if I did understand, it would be easier for me to control. Hope you’re well!

    Christy

  9. mamavision says:

    Thanks for the comments all. I thought it was important to share my moments of insecurity so you all know I am not SuperMom!!

    As I read all the comment and revisited my post, the main point that stood out is self acceptance really means that we will always have our moments of body hate…..the key is that we snap out of it and move about our day. It is when we wallow in it where we get in trouble.

    You need to each think about what activities allow you to move past your focus on your body. What distracts you and your thoughts- a hobby, passion, or task is key. If this doesn’t work, I believe doing something for someone else can help you get a grip on reality. The truth is no one is evaluating our bodies like we think they are, and more importantly- if they are, who cares?

    The time spent in life trying to please others is time spent being untrue to ourselves. Think about this for a while,
    Love!!
    mamaV

  10. Joey says:

    Well done for what you said to yourself today! And you DO look good, especially after having children. If i looked like you do even at my age i’d be pleased!

    With many anorexics they actually have to keep weighing from time to time, because the ‘set-point’ mechanism in the body becomes destroyed permanently, and their metabolism isn’t too great either. That means that they gain weight much easier than normal people and a large proportion of anorexics become clinically obese in later life. I had an email from a woman who had severe anorexia in her teens and 20s and became obese by the time she was 30. From the people she’d met in hospital more had died of obesity-related health problems than from low-weight anorexia related problems.

    So i guess with the choice between weighing and not weighing it’s an individual thing depending upon whether someone values their mental health or physical health more, and depending on how someone would react to their weight changes.

    I actually haven’t stepped on a scale for about a month or two because i know i’m gaining weight and know it will make me feel terrible. But i know i’ve got to sometime, cos i’ve got to start controlling the weightgain.
    Even though my weight isn’t very high at all right now, i’m already not fitting US size 10 trousers – that’s actually more of a trigger for me to feel bad about myself than weight ever would be.

  11. Sarah says:

    Thanks for posting this. I can’t wait to get to the “damn you’re good lookin'” stage!

  12. Emily says:

    Hi all,

    Wow its strange to think that you have body image issues after all this time, but its nice to know that we are not alone.

    I currently live by what the scales say, wish one day i could chuck the scales but i don’t see that happening for a while yet.

    I weigh myself 4 times a day and would love to reduce this too 2 or 3 times and then in the future chuck the whole weighing thing in for good, anyone got any ideas how i can do this, its ruling my life. i can’t deal with this anymore alone, please help.

    Emily XxX

  13. Hillary says:

    just out of curiosity, MamaV, how tall are you?

  14. Una says:

    I agree with you Christy about being sensitiv about weight issues even when being somebody who has recovered from anorexica. When I do feel unhappy about myself, because I feel roundish, then that has nothing to do with my weight. It is a warning sign, that I am neglecting myself as a person. That I should be kind to myself, that I’m tired and a bit worn out.
    I would never ever buy myself a skale and I haven’t been watching fashion shows for years, since I started to recover.
    About the food : I love good food now and here in France food is culture. You go to the market, you cook with friends, you drink tasty wine. Men even do contests on who can cook best. (I never saw a suisse man exanging a receipe with a friend .) I guess that was a real therapy for me.

    And then Joey, I do understand that you don’t feel confortable with gaining weight. But believe me, you are not going to turn out obese. You are learning to get better. You have to be kind to your body. You have to reeducate your intuition. You have to eat healthy foods, in a healthy quantity, in order to get your system working again, Your aim is to get a good body hygiene. As soon as you are in a good rhythm, you will neither gain weight nor loose it again. You will have the energy to do what ever you feel like. And believe me, you’ll feel much less depressed.

    Luv to all of you.
    Una

  15. I’m sorry you had to feel that way again, Mama V. That’s my life in a nutshell and is sucks so I know what it was like for you to feel that again. Though, I know you know all to well for yourself what that feels like. It pretty much just sucks!

  16. Girl I hear ya! On Tuesday I wrote about gaining 25 pounds in the last 2 years, and how this is the heaviest I have ever weighed in my whole life. I’m not okay with it mainly becasue the extra weight is affecting my physical mobility. Yeah, the bigger clothes have been a bit disheartening but it doesn’t freak me out nor catapult me into the self loathing spiral like it would have 10 years ago.

    I want to write about the weight gain, but was conflicted about sending mixed messages on my blog so I asked my readers their thoughts. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what everyone said. Something to remember is that we all have insecuritites, and it’s okay to talk about them because we’re human. I think as bloggers, sharing those insecure moments helps build relationships with your readers and to be authentic which at the end of the day people really appreciate.

  17. Joey says:

    Una – i’m actually gaining because my eating is so bad. My eating disorder is actually bulimia and i’m gaining from the bingeing, but i have stopped purgeing, exercising and starving i was using to eliminate the weightgain. I need to stop because it’s making the depression worse, making me more faint from blood sugar drops, and it means i’m not fitting in any nutritious food.
    If i could just stop bingeing then maybe i could eat properly – real food in reasonable amounts. But it’s like i’m always empty and i crave junkfood constantly, and food is my only comfort.

  18. Una says:

    Hi Joey,
    good you have stoped purgeing, excercising and starving. That is already a great step. What the binge eating is concerned : have you worked out yet why you have these cravings? What you are trying to replace by food ? Have you started therapy ?
    It is really escential to point the problem in order to get better.
    When I realized I couldn’t cope anylonger, I went to see a good friend of my mothers, who is a homeopath. You may or may not believe in that kind of medecine. Some people say it’s pure placebo. But it worked for me to start the healing process. This person, my mother’s friend, didn’t juge me, she was there to listen and give me lots of time. It is important to be in contact with people who aren’t directly involved in your situation. With her help I could take a step back and look around, could stop feeling guilty about myself.
    I started to understand the cluster of events and feelings, which triggered my ED and which in return gave me more power to carry on, to fight this illness and exept myself.
    The way you are talking, you seem to have lost connection with you and your body. You have to find that link again.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Luv Una

    PS : tried to see some of your art work. Wasn’t succesful. Could you send me a link ?

  19. Joey says:

    Hi Una,

    I’m not sure really. Some ideas i had are: because my body is trying to make me gain weight up to my original weight, because i’m addicted to sugar, cravings start when my blood sugar drops, because i’m still restricting a little, because the sugar raises me out the depression for a few hours, because it’s become a habit, because psychologically i link food with love or comfort. Or it could be a combination of them all, or none at all. I’m not sure.
    I’m supposed to be starting cognitive behavioural therapy sometime, but that’s mainly for depression and social anxiety disorder (which are bigger problems than my ED). I don’t know if my ED can be covered too, it depends how much i can fit into the 20 sessions my dad has paid for..

    Some of my artwork is here: http://king-josie.livejournal.com/242335.html, http://king-josie.livejournal.com/283080.html, http://king-josie.livejournal.com/268080.html. I would show you more, but livejournal is down at the moment :(

    xxx

  20. I have a question. I don’t go to pro-ana forums or look at pro-ana pictures, but one part of the challenge I could try is the scale part. Except there is no no no no no no no way I could ever last 30 days. But what if I tried my best to weigh once a week? Just typing that out scares the crap out of me. I’m used to weighing multiple times a day.. Idk if I could last, but maybe I could try.. =/

  21. mamavision says:

    Hi Jen! Great to hear from you. When you are pregnant, a mother’s instinct tends to kick in and how I felt was very protective. There was no way I would do anything to harm the baby, and it forced me to deal with weight gain for the first time.

    I hope you are well!!!
    -mamaV

  22. mamavision says:

    Hi Hillary: I am 5’9. Why do you ask? Just trying to get perspective of the weight in relation to height I assume.

    I am at a healthy weight for my height. I do Yoga daily, chase the kids around, and I am very active. This is just one final step of self acceptance I think.

    Do you know what another one is? I should write a post about this – walking around in your swim suit!! I do this all the time, nothing holds me back, I refuse to not participate. How about you?

  23. Hillary says:

    Yeah, just trying to get perspective. hah, I was surprised by your height, but I should’ve expected you to be tall, you were a model! Haha, I hate wearing my swimsuit around, but now that it’s getting really hot, I don’t see why I shouldn’t do it!

  24. Una says:

    Hi Joey,
    i am really impressed by your work. You have a wonderful sens of colour and the drawings are just awesome. Have you done any exhibitions yet. There is defenitly potential for printing too.

    Then to what you said :
    your body system is very intellignet. It adapts to different situations. If you have been starving it, it will be craving for energy in order to function correctly again.

    “because i’m addicted to sugar”. That is for sure, the food business knows that too and adds absolutly everywere that stuff. The more you eat suggar the more you crave it.

    I was latly at the doctors, because of my new job (routine visit, to prove that I can sit infront of a computer or a desk and draw for 8 hours) Passed it without any problems…apart from my blood pressure, which was very low. The doctor told me I should try not to eat suggary foods, because after a high, my blood suggar falls drasticaly and then follows a low, which makes me very tired.

    Then why do you link food to love and confort ? What do you think is missing ?
    I don’t know cognitive behavioural therapy. But if it is helping you to get over your depression and social anxiety disorder, it will automatically help you with your ED too, because all that seems to be linked.

    When I see your pictures, very few tell that you are unhappy. They draw me a picture of a very generous, interested person who is just bubbling with energy. How can this amazing person lock herself in ?
    Perhaps you aren’t getting that love you are craving for, because you aren’t giving anybody the chance to get to know you how you really are?

    Big Hug
    Una

  25. Joey says:

    Hi Una,

    Thanks for your lovely comments ..noones been so nice in a while :)
    I haven’t done any exhibitions, but i have had some in exhibitions at college. At the moment i’m just working at building up work and then might exhibit them online or something, i’m not sure.

    It’s interesting that your doctor said that. I have very low blood pressure too most of the time, and i eat hhuuggee amounts of sugar. I wonder if it’s linked..

    I always turn to food when things get bad in any way. I really love food, and junkfood has always been a treat, so when i’m feeling bad i’ll ‘treat’ myself, and that turns into too much junkfood when life in general is bad. I guess.

    I guess maybe the missing thing is my mum. She died nearly a year ago now after a long and particularly nasty battle with cancer (and also an eating disorder in the middle). And in general i’ve not really had as many friends around as i may have ‘needed’ to cope with everything that’s happened in the last few years because depression and bulimia pushes them away, and social anxiety means not many people get close in the first place.
    It feels like i’m a creative interesting bubbly person that you and others talks about, but it’s all hidden underneith a big imprisoning armour of mental illness – fear, sadness, hatred, negativity.

    Bigger hug
    Joey

  26. Una says:

    Hi Joey,
    i am so sorry, what hapened to you and your familly. Off course you feel emptiness and sadness. And to a certain extent, you need to go though it in order to say good bye. But you have to carry on with your life. Selfdistruction doesn’t do that. Your father and your sister needs you.
    I am so glad that you are starting therapy. You’ll see, it will be so relieving, will take so much weight off your shoulders. You’ll start to get ridd of the amour bit by bit.
    I’m positivly sure that you will get over your social anxiety. You are a communicator through your art and through the web. Do the next step, go out there. (Have you ever thought of doing an art course in a france in sculpture for exemple. I went to the Beaux Art in Paris for a summer. It was wonderful to share my interest with outher people.)
    All these barriers we believe to see and feel are just in our heads. When I was looking for a job, some agencies, I didn’t even phone, because I thought that they were to say NO anyway. Today I have come to the conclusion that I have to give the other people the possibility to say no, which they usually don’t.
    Don’t let negativity get at you. It only makes you feel worse. As soon as you feel something comming up, look for “good” thoughts to replace them. You have got so much talent.
    What are going to do for studies by the way ? Very curious, I am.
    And another just as big hug as yours
    Luv Una

  27. Niika says:

    This was really interesting… thank you for sharing it. I have made the decision to try and altogether stop restricting, which is sometimes more difficult than it really should be, but I keep pluggin’ away. When all else fails, I remind myself that when I was 20 lbs lighter than I am now, I disliked my body just as much as, if not MORE than, I do now.

  28. Nat says:

    Your comment about how we never truly recover resonates with me. I did recover in 2000 and for five years was able to live a somewhat normal life and during that time thought to myself hey I am better, I beat this. 2005 rolled around and had a triggering situation that started my downward spiral back to who I once was. Didn’t want to go back to that place but unfortunately the mind has this uncanny ability to revert back to “negative thinking” as my friend always tells me.

    I think it is wonderful that you can walk around in a bathing suit with no second doubts. And even when the negative thoughts enter your mind you can look at your children and say to yourself hey there is more to life than weight.

  29. Joey says:

    Thanks so much Una :)

    I’m planning on doing Art Foundation which is a year-long intensive course where you get to try out lots of different types of art, build a portfolio and have support applying to art school or university. I’ve got a place which i was meant to start last September but i was too sick to start, so i put it off, but doubt i’ll be able to start next September either *sigh*.
    I’m not sure i want to pursue a career in art because it’s so unreliable…but then i don’t feel good enough at anything…those damn barriers again!!!

    xxx

  30. Christy says:

    Hi Joey,

    I am sorry too to hear about what you’ve been through. I’ve also seen your artwork and think it’s amazing! You have quite a talent, and though I know about barriers, I think the creative energy brewing in you can overcome them. I know sometimes (or most) it seems bleak, but I think you have a lot to say that is worthwhile and that many need to hear. Just wanted to express that.

  31. Una says:

    Hi Joey,
    i had rather alot of work to do these days. ( Being employed and having a free lance job still going on isn’t always so easy to coordinate).
    I know how you feel about making art your profession. My grand mother made magazin illustrations. My aunt, only recently sent me some of my gand mother’s drawings from the fifties.
    When I was 18, I thought of studying architecture, because I thought it linked art with functionality. But then I didn’t feeling like working in such dimensions. I love using my hands. So I ended up studing industriel design, which again is arty and rational at the same time.
    Testing things out is so important. You can live art in so many ways. ( Have you ever thought of textile design ? ) Sometimes I think that I should have studied someting else, like economics or medcine. I would earn much more money by now, but then I really enjoy my job. Of course, sometimes the projects are a bit tacky, but then you can always learn something (like, how to finish that tacky project as soon as possible ).
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Luv Una

  32. yumi says:

    Avillager, it sounds like your family was just trying to take out their emotional insecurities on you. They were weak, but you can be strong. Remember!

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