Tag Archives: fat acceptance

2012: Let’s Do This

I dislike making New Year’s resolutions. They have taken on a decidedly negative connotation for me, what with my lifelong history of dieting. I’ve done the “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” and the “I will go to the gym at least 4 days a week” resolutions that kept that hateful cycle spinning, as well as the faux-positive “I’m going to exercise more,” or the extremely (and purposely ) vague “Be healthier,” both of which for me was just code for “I am fat and I hate my body the way it is so I must work to change it.” So I don’t make resolutions anymore. I set intentions. Some may argue it’s merely semantics but it feels kinder to me and avoids an idea that I’ve come to equate with body hate.

So without further adieu, in no particular order, here are my intentions for 2012…

* Get back to belly dance
If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you know that belly dance is an integral part of who I am. Or at least it was. Over the last year, I got a little lost and let insecurity and my issues surrounding food and dieting derail my dancing. But I am determined to find my way back this year and plan on searching for a new dance home, even if that means rediscovering where I began. It’s going to take some time and it won’t be entirely comfortable at first but I want to do it.

*Implement the stress and anxiety management techniques I’ve learned and build on them
I have the knowledge. I’ve got books and handouts and online resources for stress reduction and anxiety management, I just need to actually put that knowledge to work. I also want to learn to meditate and practice that on a regular basis.

*Treat my body better
This is kind of an all encompassing but super important intention. It’s more than just continuing on my Fat Acceptance journey. I need to do things to care for my body better than I do now. I need to get more sleep. Enough of this 5 or 6 hours one night and then 8-10 another. I’ve got to fix this. I need to start stretching on a daily basis because lately, my low back, hips and knees have been super unhappy. I need to floss more (lord help me if my father, the dentist, knew I wasn’t already flossing regularly). And maybe I can stop biting my nails. Maybe.

*Be more social
I admit it, I’m a homebody. But I’m a homebody with some awesome, inspiring, creative, fun friends whom I don’t see nearly enough of. This year I want to change that.

*Let it out and ask for help
I have an unhealthy behavior pattern that goes something like this: I bite my tongue when things are bothering me, letting the anger/irritation/frustration build and build and build until I blow, generally at an inappropriate and/or illogical moment. I also have a problem asking for help when I need it because I taught myself long ago that I needed to be Wonder Woman and do it all myself. I think both of those things sound like excellent fodder for future therapy sessions with my wonderful LCSW.

*Stop wasting so much time on the internet
I know this might sound strange coming from a blogger but I really do need to cut down on my internet usage. Every day I feel compelled to check my various social media sites and blog list, generally multiple times a day. I have this deep seated fear that I’m going to miss something. So I scroll and scroll and scroll and check back again and again throughout the day, even when I have things I should be doing. And when I don’t have things I should be doing, I grab my laptop, open Chrome and mindlessly click when I could be reading or practicing belly dance drills or stretching or meditating. I need to disengage somewhat.

*Curtail the tardiness
In my defense, I will argue that this is genetic. I swear. Any planned family event has a stated start time which is never the same as the actual start time. We are a tardy people. But really, it comes down to time management. I need to get my butt in gear sooner in the mornings and get the important stuff done first. (See also previous intention.) When I know I’ve got an event where I’m going to be getting super-femmed up, I need to allot more time for makeup and general prissing and primping. I need to start overestimating rather than underestimating my prep time.

and last but not least…

*Be open to the changes that are coming
While every year brings change of some sort, I already know that mine will be of the major variety this year. I will be leaving my profession of 12 years and returning to academia for a new start. This will bring with it all sorts of new situations and challenges. I freely admit that I’m scared. This will not be easy. But as my partner likes to say, nothing worth it is ever easy.

For the first time in a long, long time, I feel calm and centered and confident about the coming months. Ever the wanderer, I finally chose a direction and I don’t feel so stuck anymore. I’m also surrounded by amazingly supportive, inspiring people. I’m going to learn to lean on them along the way.

Kiss It Goodbye

There have been many years in my life I was more than happy to see end with not much more than a ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.’ I felt that way about 2011 frequently, in fact. But I’ve come to realize that every hardship was necessary for my personal growth even if it felt excruciating at the time. While moving on is certainly healthy and necessary, I think it’s also important to honor the year passed, the battles we fought (both those won and lost), acknowledge the pain we experienced and spend some time ruminating on lessons learned.

I had very high hopes for 2011. My 33rd year, I thought, would be a lucky one for me, worlds better than the previous year. But then, that’s what everyone always thinks, right? I don’t know that lucky would be the right word to use for my 2011 but it was a very important year.

I had to dig deep and admit to myself that my heart just wasn’t in my current profession any longer, and then dig even deeper to discover what it was I truly wanted to do. Once I figured that out, I had to deal with the reality of my decision: I had to return to school, more than 11 years after receiving my Bachelors degree.

My divorce was finalized in July and I’m finally feeling a sense of closure with that entire chapter of my life.

I took a hiatus from belly dance to work on body image issues and I found the fat acceptance community. I broke free from a lifelong cycle of dieting and decided to just let my body be what it wants to be.

I began to create a personal self-care plan and made myself a priority in my own life. I’m finally learning to cut myself some slack.

I also dealt with some toxic friendships, a terribly mismanaged and negative workplace and a very serious case of burnout with a tinge of compassion fatigue. All but the first will unfortunately continue into the New Year but I am finally learning safe coping skills and strategies to keep me sane in such an unhealthy environment.

Concerns over money, health and work often ground my wheels to a halt and my frustration and worry caused me to lose sight of larger efforts, both personally and professionally. But sitting here now, writing this, I realize how much I accomplished and how much I have grown over this past year. For that, I will gently kiss 2011 goodbye and bid her a graceful exit. I’m ready to usher in 2012 with welcoming arms and my resilient Appalachian spirit. I’m ready for whatever you’ve got to throw at me, 2012.

Radical Self-love: Walking the Talk

It would be an understatement to say that my relationship with my body has been a rocky one, the reasons for which could (and maybe will) be fodder for numerous separate blog posts. Over the years I’ve vacillated between proudly embracing my physical being and waging a neverending war on it. The latter tends to be my default setting, and I’ve been stuck there (although on a slightly kinder scale than usual) for a while now.

I talk a lot about body positivity and self-acceptance but it’s something that I have yet to fully own for myself. I’ve spent so many years being on the verge of loving myself. ‘I like myself but I wish my skin would just clear up already’ or ‘I’m okay with my size but my clothes would fit better if I just lost 10 pounds or so.’ The waiting is exhausting. And I’m not going to do it anymore.

Today is the day I stop wishing for a better me and start loving the one who is here now. I’m fat. I’m 5’1″ and I’m a size 14. I’m not saying that I’m fat to put myself down. I’m not fishing for compliments or hoping you will disagree with me. I’m merely stating a fact. I’m fat, just like I’m an Aries and I’m right-handed. I’m still just as fierce as I was when I was a size 8 (only now I’m healthy and not downing diet pills and Slim Fast daily).

I am tired of the idea that one cannot be fat and beautiful. And I’m really sick of the assumption that fat is inherently unhealthy. It isn’t. According to my former fat-shaming nurse practitioner, I am obese based on my BMI and should lose at least 20 pounds. Nevermind that my heart sounds great, my cholesterol levels are fantastic and my blood pressure is picture-perfect, despite having a pretty dismal family history in all three areas. Nothing about my general health gives any indication that my weight is causing me any physical ailments. Yet my health care provider insisted on spending a good portion of my last visit focused on my weight (while completely ignoring other actual health concerns that I had that day).

I refuse to continue listening to that nonsense and letting it eat away at me. I’m vowing here and now to commit to the work of unlearning years of self-hate heaped upon me by the media, doctors, family, advertising.¬†As of today, I will stop pining for clothes that no longer fit and trying to squeeze myself into things two sizes too small. You know that scene in Pretty in Pink where Andie is convinced Blane isn’t going to show up for their date but she keeps hopefully reapplying makeup anyway and Iona tells her she’s “wishful makeupping”? Well I’m wishful wardrobing. And I need to cut it out. I deserve to be comfortable and look fabulous too, dammit! Now, not later. I will not waste any more time waiting for a better me because the truth is, I am a better me. I’ve worked really hard to get here and I’m not going to let this hold me back any longer from being the truest version of me I can be.

I’m letting go of the idea that I need to punish myself in order to feel “physically fit.” I’m getting rid of the workout DVDs that I hate so much but used to force myself to do. No more wasting money on gym memberships or home equipment I will never use either. I’m going to focus only on things that make me feel good, regardless of how many calories I may or may not be burning.

I’m going to start truly loving myself and treating my body with respect. A simple idea but I know it won’t be as easy as it might sound. I’ve spent over half my life treating my body as my enemy. Peace negotiations are going to take time.