I have spent 3 decades now being dissatisfied with my body. Over 3 decades.
For more than 30 fucking years I have looked at myself in the mirror and felt critical or contemptuous of the me looking back. Either that, or I avoided looking at anything other than my face as much as possible.
There were some years in those decades that I looked amazing, but it was never good enough.
It’s not easy to shed our bad thoughts about ourselves. I’ve been working at it, though.
I thought that perhaps in addition to changing that my thinking that I’m a little stupid, not very creative, mostly a failure and not likable, I might as well go ahead and try to shed my poor body image.
I’ve been reading Carla Birnberg’s blog for quite a while now.
I adore Carla. She is genuine. She’s not afraid to show you who she is, even the imperfect parts. She is funny and engaging and madly inspirational. She is the reason for this blog post title. What you can, when you can.
It’s not a complicated thought. It’s very simple. I grasped immediately that adopting this attitude would probably help me get back into shape. But understanding something and acting on it…well…they aren’t even cousins, are they?
Understanding doesn’t get the job done until decisions are made to change. Personally, I believe those decisions have to hold hands with kindness. Deciding to change and then beating myself up or being hypercritical just doesn’t work for me….I’m sure of this. I have years of experience. I also have to let go of the past. I did manage to lose quite a bit of weight a few years ago. I gained it back. Feeling bad about that and beating myself up over it has not helped me lose an ounce of weight. Looking backwards makes me hurt. I don’t want to indulge in that behavior anymore.
What I’ve been finding, is that my new approach to feeling better about myself is working. At least it’s beginning to.
I am far from total self acceptance, but I’m taking steps. Itty bitty tiny little baby steps.
I want to feel strong more than I want to feel bad about myself.
I’ve been making time to work out in the evenings.
I’ve been planning meals and snacks so that running through a drive thru is no longer tempting. And that is very nearly true!
What you can, When you can.
I read something on Facebook about a 30 day squat challenge and I thought I might like to try it. I was pretty sure I couldn’t follow the schedule in this post. 175 squats in one day? HAHAHAHAFUCKINGHAHAHAHAA. I can’t do that many.
But…I can do 10 at a time. 10 measly squats. I can do that.
When I go to the bathroom at work, I do 10 squats before I leave the stall. I do the same at home. My legs are sore as I type this but they are that good sore. That sore you get when you feels your strongs coming back. Yesterday, throughout the course of the day, I did 100 squats. I drink a shit ton of water, so I’m frequently in the bathroom.
I am measuring my success by how it feels when I run up the stairs in my house. It’s going from ‘never running up the stairs at my house’ to ‘running up the stars and doing a Rocky dance at the top’.
Okay. I’m not at the Rocky stage yet, but I do feel stronger.
I am comfortable with this measurement. My method in the past has never worked, other than against me. My method was this:
by THIS date, I will weigh THIS amount. I will love myself then. Then, one month later, I will weigh THIS amount and I’ll be able to wear my prom dress from high school. Then after THAT, I’ll become a movie star and then cure cancer.
I love my internet friends. I’ve learned from them. I’ve been entertained and inspired. I attribute a large portion of personal growth to the connections I’ve made over the years. But the thing is? Until I am ready to make changes, then shit isn’t going to happen.
I’m ready and it starts with this: Mourning who I was is silly. That girl is a ghost. Worrying about who I will become is also silly because that girl is a figment.
Who I am, right this second, is what matters.
All I can do today is make decisions that will help me continue to feel better about myself and help me feel strong.
Now excuse me, I have to pee.