body image issues - please read
hey. i made a post not too long ago on here about stretch marks ,weight gain, etc., and i guess i am back to ask another question... to those of you who have struggled with body image issues, how did you overcome them? also, for those of you who were losing weight while struggling with these issues, how did you keep away from the "diet" mentality, and keep your "regimen" from becoming a full on eating disorder? i have struggled with self image and eating issues for a few years, and i want to heal them, fully. i am, right now, vegan, almost entirely, although i do sometimes slip up; however, this is part of being human and part of a growing process. i eventually want to become mostly raw, however i do eat a wide variety of raw foods and have deep respect for the healing of all sorts of raw foods, vegan or not. after a long talk with an advisor today about self image, depression, and my "quest" to lose weight she gave me a different perspective. sometimes, having strict boundaries, like wanting to be vegan, or raw vegan, or whatever, can turn into something much more out of control and sometimes i definitely believe that people use cleanses, fasts, etc. as a mask for disordered eating. well, i believe in the power of raw healing and i believe in veganism for different reasons, but i also believe that i should be able to lose the 45+ lbs. i've gained this year. but i want to do it in a way that empowers me, and i want to do it for myself. i don't want to fall back into the old patterns of comparing my body to everyone else's, i don't want to struggle with the diet game, i don't want to gain back all the weight within 5 years (98% of women, apparently, do) . i want to feel strong, i want to develop self control and self confidence. i want to love every part of me, even the stretch marks... what do you think?
marta, i wish we lived close by! u are such a great person and it would be fun to hang out and talk about this stuff.
i used to have orthorexia and used veganism as an excuse to restrict my eating even more. it's not a good thing at all and i've been seeing a therapist for a few years about it. my viewpoint has changed about veganism and now i see it how i've wanted to see it.
i'm stuck in the same boat as you though, my friend. i went raw because i felt that it would help fix some of my problems. so far, my health issues are gone (i had a lot of digestive problems) but now i just need to find my inner peace with it.
we should email each other!
Your post was really touching. Your advisor made some excellent points and your own observations are quite wise.
I teach yoga, and the first thing I thought of when I read your post was to wonder whether you would consider a meditation practice if you don't already have one; specifically a meditation practice that concentrates on engendering self-love or self-healing. I ask this because in my experience, people with eating disorders/issues with weight and body image have extremely poor self-images and lack a healthy regard for their intrinsic worth as living beings.
My yogic tradition is kundalini yoga, but there are many, many other schools of meditation out there. The point is, sitting quietly with both hands crossed over your heart and repeating a mantra like 'I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am blissful' might seem cornball and dopey and really hard to do, but that is what we all are--beautiful creatures worthy of love and respect, starting at the bedrock with self-love and self-respect. By the way, that mantra is one that is used in my yogic tradition; I used to think it was cornball and dopey too, but now I think it is a universal truth. With repetition, you can come to absorb these positive words (or any positive words you choose) and apply them to yourself and in time they will become part of you and then you will really believe them. You might have to fake it at first with any meditation practice, but fake it till you make it. You *will* make it.
If a person truly believes that he or she is the source of bounty in their life, then they might not be so apt to look for that feeling of bounty by eating to excess. If a person truly believes that he or she is beautiful, then they might be more apt to treat themselves well in numerous ways--good food choices, exercise, choosing supportive friends and partners. If a person truly believes that he or she is blissful, then they might not look for bliss in food. Delicious food is wonderful, of course, but it's not so wonderful to make food the major source of happiness/bliss/fun in life, or to give food an emotional importance that it never was meant to have.
Meditation is not a panacea, and the one I suggested might not be your thing at all, but meditation, along with work with an advisor or therapist you trust, can be extremely helpful in dislodging negative blockages in your thought processes.
Hope this helps, and it was brave of you to put yourself out there like you did in your post.
Blessings to you.
oh my gosh. thank you both so much for replying
joannabanana, my email address is email@example.com, i would love to email someone who is going through something very similar.. thank you for your words xx
rawlibrarian, i actually do practice vinyasa though i have never fully been able to get the hang of the meditation thing fully. every time i clear my head enough i start to notice a minute later and the thoughts crawl back in. i don't think mantras, meditation, or yoga are dopey. i think they are very healing:) thank you for your thoughts and it definitely does help. i am going to try to incorporate more of this into my life.
In my view, meditation isn't so much the cessation of thought; it is being absolutely present right here, right now, without the constant mental soundtrack that we all have going. Of course your mind will wander or thoughts will come to you; just notice the thoughts and let them float away. With practice, the times between thoughts will get longer. That's what a meditation practice will help with--extending those times between one thought and another. When you aren't reliving the past or anticipating the future, you're in the present moment. Being completely in the present moment means you're fully alive and aware.
I know you must have experienced in your yoga practice times where you were completely and totally into what you were doing. That's meditating too.
Sometimes its just nice to hear that you are not alone out there, and that body image issues can be faught and conquered. Heres a little history from my life...as a little girl I was given medication to control my epilepsy, it caused me to gain a huge amount of weight and at eleven I was 140 lbs. I remember kids making fun of me and calling me fat and piggy. A few years later the doctors took me off of the medication and I lost all of the weight but still had the body image of being "fat" I struggled with that forever and at one point going over the edge losing over 30lbs of my bodyweighty to 98lbs. I was eating a vegan diet and used that to control my eating habits and was running 7 miles a day and was scared of any kind of nuts or oils becase I thought I would gain the weight back. This was devistating to my body of course...my gums started bleeding and hurting...I was always sick and had no energy what so ever. I hadn't had my period for more than a year...and I started having major breathing problems. Then my family including my husband helped me see that what I was doing was hurting my body. I accepeted that I had anorexia and started eating more fats, breads, and other things that were "forbidden" before. I had a hard time gaining the weight back because I was still very active and still a little timid about food. I had to stop running for a while but when I finally I got my period back...adding more nuts, avocodos into my diet I was able to start excercizing again without having to worry about a calorie deficit. I got back to my perfect weight and then the real healing process began. I had to heal my body image. I started doing yoga and playing music(a hobby of mine that was lost in the mitst of the obsesssion. I also started looking in the mirror every morning and night and said I LOVE YOU to myself meaningfully. I went to massage school and learned everything I could about the body and how amazing it really is. Only in the past year have I started to really Love myself and who I am. My husband made sure I knew that he was behind me the whole time and that also helped our marriage grow so much closer. I would say to find something that you love doing(music, art, writing, etc) Find people you love to help you and who do not make you feel judged to help you through your journey. Tell yourself "I love you" every morning when you wake up look yourself strait in the eyes and say it meaningfully! Yes it will sink in. Dont deprive yourself of any thing you truely want...You deserve it. Good Luck I hope this helped
Focusing on the scale can cause eating disorders. I recommend getting rid of your scale and focusing on health. Also focusing on gimmicky absolutes isn't good for your health. It's o.k. to be 80/20 or 50/50 or whatever raw/nonraw. The idea is to put the best fuel in your system you can. It's o.k. to indulge yourself once a week. I do.
Yoga is about awareness. We all can benefit from being more aware.
You need to adopt an eating program now that you can carry out for the rest of your life. It's not about the scale. The pounds come off as your body detoxifies.
Also, you need to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE. Help the lymphatic system get rid of all that stuff.
the scale is the devil to me!!! everything i used to do revolved around the scale. it's just a stupid number that messes with your mind. we don't have one in our house.
jodyrodent, i'm glad you have excepted yourself. i think it's a good idea to tell yourself "i love you." i'm gonna do that from now on.
I've struggled with body issues forever now. When i did my juice feast last summer, I came face to face with a lot of my food and body demons. I still can't see myself as thin, I still see that chubby girl in the mirror. I think the raw vegan way has helped me out a lot b/c i don't go on the food binges (although i have fallen off the wagon a few times), but I still have a lot of healing to do.
I also like saying 'i love you' everyday. Im going to start that too.
I can only speak personally, but I eat the way I do because I want to minimize suffering for other earthlings. It's not about me, my body, my health, my weight, or how I express love for myself. It's not about me all the time. I try to remove the ego from it all - but, having said that, it truly feels great to live authentically according to my values. I guess I love myself, and am proud of myself, for doing that...so in the cycle, it does in a way come back to loving myself eventually.