After some profound walking/talking sessions with a friend I’ve been trying to put an end to the compulsive mental dialog that I’m constantly having in regards to my body or my appearance. My compulsive tendencies have negatively impacted my body imagine which – combined with my emotional dependency on food – have created the perfect storm of WASTED TIME.
I am (almost) 43 years old and I have spent way too many of those years worrying about my weight or calories or whether or not I should or should not have a particular treat. I’ve spent too much time pricing wrinkle creams when I did not even know I should worry about my wrinkles until the internet told me that I should. I’ve wasted too many minutes calculating how much weight I’ve put on and too much time thinking about what I weighed at other points in my life. I’ve just sacrificed thoughts into the ether about my muffin top and my cellulose and my stretch marks and ALL OF THAT TIME IS GONE.
Things I could have been thinking about? How blessed I am to have people in my life who INSPIRE me. Women who put in 60 hours a week teaching during the school year only to have to worry about job security in an unstable environment. People balancing work/family/mental illness in a way that prioritizes mental health as an example for their friends and family. Friends who are raising kids without the help of a partner and friends who are caring for ailing parents while also raising their own family. Friends who volunteer to run races and do all that it involves even when they are grieving. Friends who win prizes in their professional fields while still finding time to check in with people like me when I’m feeling down.
Thoughts are necessary and often they roll in and out of our brains without a conscious decision as to what they are going to be focused on. But not anymore. I caught myself looking at calories on something the other day and instead I asked myself, “Am I hungry? Will this taste good and fuel my body?” And then I forced myself to think about my cute purse and how much I love it. This kept me from spiraling into thoughts about weight and size and pounds and instead I considered food as fuel and pleasure and then MOVED ON WITH MY LIFE.
My instincts are terrible. My compulsive tendencies do not pair well with my emotional dependency on food and it has allowed me to waste YEARS of my life evaluating myself in terms of size and weight and stopping stepping on the scale every day was the first step. I’m not logging my food anymore either. I’m doing GREAT with my running and walking and I’m trying to cut back on diet coke and go back to trying to be plant-based and those are great VAGUE health concepts to focus on that doesn’t require math or obsessing over numbers and I can just spend the rest of my brain power thinking about other things like the book I want to write or the podcast I want to listen to.
Especially because all of it…I MEAN ALL OF IT…is a direct result of our society and our media creating these false ideas of beauty. Smooth skin. 6-pack abs. Photoshopped skin. We have been warped into worshipping a false idol without truly facing the truth that we are all different and aging is an honor and beauty has nothing to do with skin or cellulite or weight. The mark we leave on our families and our friends will have nothing to do without how much we weigh or what age we looked, it will have all to do with how we connected with our hearts and souls with the world around us and THAT is what has made me feel so full of joy lately. My connections with other humans.
The world is shitty right now and I can call my Senators (thank you Senator Jones for making me proud) about the border enforcement methods and I can post suicide hotline numbers and I can donate to planned parenthood. But I can also reprogram my brain to stop thinking about my body and start seeking out the light in the world and how to add to it. If I live to be the average age I’m barely halfway through so I still have time to shift the balance so I spend more time thinking about how to make the world BETTER and how I can add positivity to the world, than whether or not I deserve that order of french fries.