Wednesday, April 22, 2009

reverse body image

I have reverse body image dysmorphia. That is, I think I look fine. I think I look good. I feel good, I feel like I look good. And then someone snaps a digital picture and hands me the camera and I see a double chin. Or I catch a glimpse in store front window and am dismayed at the bulk of my body compared to others around us. Or I pick up a shirt or pants in a store and think they look the right size, only to find them impossibly small in the dressing room.

Losing weight isn't supposed to be about looking good or body image or buying clothes, but about health, right? And I feel great, feel like I have energy and am light on my feet. But, I am also not pregnant. I am not a happy pregnant person: I feel huge, and my back aches and my legs ache and I am so tired and I have no energy. So just not being pregnant means I feel relatively awesome. I can walk up to my attic office without huffing and puffing, as happened nearly all of 2008. But that shouldn't be my measuring stick.

Because I'm not healthy. I'm not at a healthy weight. I keep losing and gaining the same 4 pounds over and over again. I think, gee, I need to work on this, and a week later am at 183. I think gee, this is a drag and I want MORE MORE MORE dessert/chocolate/cheese/to veg in front of the TV, and the next week am at 187. Wash, rinse, repeat. Since December. Not lower than 183, not higher than 187. At least I'm consistent?

I know what to do. I know how to do this. I just don't have the day to day motivation to make that lifestyle change. And I don't know how to get it. Or at least I think I know the how. Eat less, exercise more. It's a simple equation. Write down everything I eat, figure out how much excess I am eating, cut back, eat more filling healthier food and less empty calories. Walk 20 minutes every day, and throw in some stength exercises plus a yoga/stretching class once a week or so. And I know I could be down 20 pounds in 2 months. I know this. I believe this. And I do not do this. And I do not know why.

Do you know why? Any ideas?


k@lakly said...

Sometimes it's easier for me to lose when I don't focus on the weight. I never look at the scale anyway I always go by what clothes fit and how but when I feel the pudgy pal coming into my life I start walking because I love to walk and it makes me feel better about me. Then I get into a patern of walking and I usually will push myself to go a little farther or a litle faster etc.. and after a few weeks or so I know the pudge has gone away.
Maybe if you have a 'thing', walking or pilates or yoga, you could just focus on doing it to feel good and not focus on the weight. I think looking at the numbers can be overwhelming and depressing and make it that much harder to feel good when you are doing things to get in better shape.
And remember, you did JUST have a baby. It took 9 months to get there, it can take that long and more to get rid of it, especially if you're still nursing. I don't but into the whole you lose weight faster if you nurse. I think your body hoardes fat when you nurse and you are HUNGRY like nobody's business too which makes it that much harder to drop pounds.

Thanks for your good thoughts over at my place, they mean alot.

k@lakly said...

Sorry for all the typos, I need to slow down and proofread before I publish....

Lala said...

I'm suffering in a similar way and I lack focus. I think it's having two young children, one of whom is a babe in arms. I wish I could say cut yourself some slack but I can't do that for myself so you won't hear it from me.
Focus will return eventually, not sure how though.

Wabi said...

A shot in the dark here, but you have been BUSY. Grieving, parenting, gestating, dealing with marital issues, looking for work, getting work, and now juggling all that and a new baby too. Bus-y. You don't have the time left in your life to be motivated to exercise right now.

There is this school of thought now that people's fitness and eating habits should be a steady state, unaffected by whatever else is going on. And to that I point out that Oprah gained back the weight the same year the scandal broke at her girl's school in Africa. Even with a personal trainer a chef, and the motivation of being in the public eye constantly ... she gained all the weight back. (Hello, Oprah? Maybe if you stopped yammering on about thyroid/menopause, you might realize that life was just tough, and that can beget weight gain?)

Sorry for the little Oprah rant... but really she drives me crazy sometimes.

Anyway, my assvice is to just try to get out for a little walk each day and not worry about intensity/duration right now. Little steps can add up to a lot over time. And hopefully your life will be less chock full of stress in the coming year, and that motivation you need for bigger changes will naturally come.

Astarte said...

That, my dear, is one of life's big mysteries. We *know* what we need to do, so *why* don't we DO IT?!

If you find a good answer, let me know.

niobe said...

Oooooh...I know the answer to this one.

Exercise takes a lot of time and effort and energy. Preventing yourself from eating foods you like takes a lot of time and effort and energy. Most people don't have a lot of spare time and effort and energy.

Anonymous said...

Eating healthy and exercising sucks. Sure we *know* what we need to do to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it requires work - and after all the other BS we've got going on in our lives at the end of the day I want Bon Bons not a carrot stick - I want to sit on my nice comfy couch with my feet up, not on an exercise bike peddling away.

I say eff it. Re-read the first few sentences of what you wrote. "I think I look fine. I think I look good. I feel good, I feel like I look good." That's freakin awesome! Why should a picture or a glimpse in a store window change that perception? If YOU think you look good, then YOU DO! Don't let a mirror change how you feel about yourself. Throw out the scale. They are self destructive.

I think that a lifestyle change doesn't always have to be a major all-at-once movement. Start small. Eat your chocolate, but make sure you eat an apple too... gradually phase out the junk by incorporating more healthy snacks. Watch your TV shows, but once a week make sure you take a long walk... and then a few more long walks later down the road. Make minor adjustments over time and they'll add up to something much bigger.

suz said...

A lot of it is routine. You get so used to not exercising and eating a certain way it's pretty tough to break out of that. The good news is that once you DO make a change and exercise and eat well regularly NOT doing it is the harder thing.

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