Posts Tagged ‘self esteem’

funny scales2

Does this look familiar to any of you?

This used to be me, a slave to the scale. I’d get on it in the morning. (Then I’d take a dump and get on it again…..still the same! What the hell? ha ha…..oh come on I know I’m not the only one who’s done this.) Then again after a workout. Then again before bed, because you know that’s when you’re at your heaviest and you’ll feel better the next morning when you’re a pound or two lighter! It was a vicious cycle. As a woman you also begin to learn ways to fool yourself into thinking that you’re lighter, just like Vera here. Weigh naked! Weigh hungry! Weigh after Sweating Profusely! And my personal favorite… Weigh HungOver!!!! All that alcohol dehydration really works wonders for the number on the scale. You may be feeling like someone beat you over the head with a 2×4, but Hallelujear, you’re SKINNY!

The trouble with all this weighing in is that you begin to form a love/hate relationship with not only the scale but also your body. You begin to question everything you ever knew about the science of metabolism, calories in and calories out, and just plain common sense. Tell me if this has happened to you: You work out like a crazed lunatic, or you meticulously cut back your calorie intake, or both. You’re feeling good! Pretty sure you notice a change! You’re excited to get on the scale…this should be good! Just the type of motivation you need! Then you step on, and……nothing. Maybe 1 pound. You step off and try again, thinking there must be some mistake. Nope, same results. Maybe even a pound heavier this time! You pinch your belly fat in disgust, shake your head in disbelief, and hate your body for betraying you. And then 9 times out of 10, you throw your hands up in frustration and abandon your efforts because clearly it was a colossal waste of time!

If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser, you may have noticed the alarming trend of the dreaded “Week 3 Plateau”. The contestants totally bust their asses and pull out amazing weight loss numbers for the first 2 weeks, we’re talking like 10-20 lbs per person per week! And then week 3 hits, and despite working out as hard as ever and watching their diets, almost all of them experience little to no weight loss. You wonder, how can this be possible? You feel crushed for these people, standing there on this huge industrial scale baring it all in front of millions of home viewers, after working harder than they ever have in their entire lives, and seeing no results. Feeling defeated. Feeling betrayed by their bodies, just like you, and me, and every other person stepping on a scale at one time or another.

The problem is that our bodies are not built to measure our self-worth, physical effort, or personal sacrifice as a number on the scale. Our bodies go about their daily business of performing millions of essential tasks that keep us alive and functioning. Our bodies work in ways we don’t always understand; storing fat when it senses a famine, raising metabolism at whim, or my personal favorite, converting fat into muscle and showing absolutely no change on the scale. Nature’s Greatest Illusionist, the human body. Showing us one thing on the outside when something totally different may be going on inside, for better or for worse.

My scale broke just before Christmas. Well, maybe it’s broken or maybe it just needs a new battery, but whatever the reason, it doesn’t work. (I once hung clothes outside to dry for over a year because I was too lazy to call a repairman for my broken dryer. It turned out to be a $10 fuse that took 2 seconds to replace.) The day I stepped on that scale and no number popped up was one of the most liberating days of my life. Since that day, I no longer obsess about the number on the scale, because I have no choice! I have to resort to the tried and true method of observing how my clothes are fitting, which happens to be much more satisfying and accurate for measuring progress anyway. I decide how much I am going to eat based on how hungry I am! What a crazy idea! I pay attention to what my body seems to want to eat, and I eat it! I no longer wait for the scale to tell me what kind of mood I am going to be in today. When I wake up and I wonder if I’m making any progress, I go do a workout and I can feel that I am. I don’t let the scale tell me if I’m good enough… and I sure as hell don’t let it tell me if I can have any more peanut butter!

I do believe that weighing yourself periodically is still a good idea in order to gauge your long-term progress. It can be a great way to celebrate reaching big milestones and goals you have set for yourself. But if you find yourself reacting like this each time you step on the scale:

funny-picture-dog-on-a-weight-scale-555x785

The scale is not your friend!

I know people (I was one of them) who measure their success by comparing daily fluctuations on the scale. But you must ask yourself, if you’re a pound heavier today than yesterday but 3 pounds lighter than the day before that, are you a success or a failure? Stop the Madness! Is it really worth the daily anxiety?

No Weigh, Man!!!

Advertisements

insanity1

Why, hello Shaun T. We meet again. As much as I hold you in deep disdain and find your penchant for screaming “PUUUSH!!!” alarming, I must admit I’ve begun to look forward to our daily rendezvous. It seems you’ve had an interesting effect on me, one I never anticipated. At first, I feared you. (So much, I actually peed myself, haha.) Then, I hated you. And now, my heart is all aflutter with anticipation while I’m lacing up my crosstrainers. You’ve got the body of Adonis and the voice of Will Smith, and you make me do things, crazy things, I never thought I’d do! How do you work that voodoo magic that you do?

I’ve been following the Insanity program for over a week now. I mentioned previously that I had been working out via runs on the treadmill for about a month prior, in “training” for Insanity. Now that’s Insanity, right? But I honestly think I would not be pulling off this workout now if I hadn’t! Let me give you a little visual on what the floor looks like when I finish a 40 minute workout with Shaun T.:

IMG_2495

That’s SWEAT on the floor. Not Pee! I swear! 🙂 But seriously, this is an intense workout! I’ve never been one to shy away from physical activity but just watching the promo’s for this program made me want to grab a jar of peanut butter and lay on the couch watching Biggest Loser. But I didn’t. I pushed myself, and I’m so glad I did. Here’s why….

I’ve been like millions of other women out in the world who have a vision or a goal in their heads about what kind of life they want to live or what kind of body they want to have or whatever, and just wait for some miracle to happen to make it come true. And then I cry in my peanut butter when, “Surprise!” nothing changes. Why did nothing change? Because I changed nothing. I realized this. A lightning bolt struck me one day and I finally got it, that if I want different results, I have to try a different approach. I’ve gone on workout kicks before too, but after about 2 or 3 weeks, they fizzled out as I got more and more comfortable with believing that what I had achieved so far was “good enough”. This time around, something in me keeps telling me to Push Harder. Every day I try and give it a little bit more. Go a little faster. Go a little longer. Try a little Harder. The result is that I feel strong. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I feel like I am in control! Which, as any fellow Control Freak might agree, is a pretty fabulously powerful feeling.

Crazy things are happening. I wake up in the morning after being up 3 times with the baby, but I am not tired. I am not grouchy. I can’t wait to put my feet on the floor and breathe today’s air. I don’t snap at the kids. Butterflies trail behind me as I make breakfast, even BEFORE my morning coffee! Oh, you spilled your milk and cereal all over the table and floor? No problem! What’s that? You forgot to tell me you need 2 dozen cupcakes for the bake sale this morning? Let me just whip some up for ya there SweetCheeks. I did a week of Insanity, I can handle anything you little turds are gonna throw at me! I’m Bad Ass!! Holy Patience, Batman! Suddenly, I don’t feel like I’m going to lose it on the 99 year old driving 2mph down mainstreet in front of me. But even that is not the most miraculous thing happening.

I feel good about myself. I look in the mirror and I like what I see, because I am finally realizing that my body is a vehicle and a tool, not an identity. My body is capable of anything I ask it to do, if not today then maybe tomorrow, which is pretty amazing. I am starting to understand the cliché that “beauty begins on the inside”. Power, Strength, Endurance, are all qualities that must begin as inner virtues in order to manifest physically. And they do. My muscles, my cardio capacity, my posture are all improving slowly but steadily. I am beginning to walk differently, with purpose. And ya, maybe a little swagger! Can you blame me, my ass looks good in my jeans again!

There is so much value in feeling pride in your achievements. This doesn’t just apply to working out! I really want to extend the challenge to any of you out there who may be feeling defeated, or just feeling like you need a change, to try something different. Change your inner dialogue. Push yourself to break out of the box that you have put yourself in, labeled, and packed away on the shelf. Talk yourself out of your excuses!

One of the ways I decided to break out of the old routine was to start this blog. Not only was writing something I had always enjoyed and missed doing, but was also a great way to become more accountable for my goals. I mean, if I SAY I’m gonna do something and everyone out there reading this knows I said it, I’m much less likely to go back on it! Now that I’ve gone and said my ass looks good in my jeans again, you can bet yours that I’m gonna be workin’ out again tomorrow!

Peace Out!
IMG_2493

252272016599025711_NMw9ailJ_c

Now if you’ve been reading my blog or you happen to know me, or both, you might guess that I am rarely caught without my makeup on. We all know people like this… I just happen to be one of them, and I’m admitting it out loud to myself in concerted effort to try to change that, at least a little bit. My sister-in-law always comments on how put together I look, and how she sometimes wishes she would put more effort into her appearance like that. (She also happens to be one of the most stunning women I know, makeup or no makeup, so of course I tell her she’s crazy). Well let me tell you, and her, and the rest of the world that its absolute ridiculousness and its totally exhausting.

I’m not sure when it started exactly,but I can remember at a very early age sneaking my mom’s mascara with me to the rink on Saturday nights (ha ha can you tell I’m a small town Canadian girl?) because I wasn’t allowed to wear it when I left the house. I became very aware at a very early age that an attractive physical image equals positive attention, and positive attention eventually morphed into becoming one of my main sources of self-esteem, and here I am now, 32, afraid to be seen without my spackle on.

Let me give you a clear picture of exactly the kind of insanity we’re dealing with here. I don’t go to the 7-11, the grocery store, or even the Post Office without make-up on. I try to avoid swimming for fear of washing all of that hard work off my face. (I mean its bad enough being in a suit already, at least I could try to maintain a little bit of illusion!) I don’t wash my makeup off before I go to bed (GASP!) but that’s mainly just because I’m too lazy. Unfortunately, because of this, my boyfriend never saw me without it until about 6 months after he moved in with me! Crazy, right! Well not as crazy as what he said to me when he saw me without it. I came out of the shower and as I walked through the kitchen he stopped to give me a kiss, then looked at me, and said, “You look weird without makeup.” Uh, WTF?!?! Don’t most people say their boyfriends tell them they look beautiful, Au Natural? Well not mine! In his defense, at least I know he understands me. One morning, I hadn’t showered and “gotten my face on” yet and he offered to go to the grocery store for me. Why? Because he knows I wouldn’t be caught dead going out in public looking like roadkill, that’s why. Now that’s real love! But possibly the worst example I have is being in labour with my first child, and taking the time to shower, blow-dry my hair, and put on a full face of makeup before I would allow myself to be driven to the hospital. Yep, I’m totally batshit crazy. I learned in a hurry that when you’re doubled over the birthing bed, howling in pain with your bare ass hanging out for the world to see, a little smudged mascara and a bad hair day are the least of your worries.

As sad and embarrassing as it is to admit, my kids have also gotten accustomed to my behaviour. They know it’s just a given that mommy showers, puts on her makeup, and blowdries her hair before we leave the house. Period. Unless the house is on fire. Then I’ll skip the blow dry. When my son was four, he came into my room when I was getting ready and asked, “Mommy, as soon as you’re done painting on your mask, can we go to Grandpa’s?”. I laughed, of course, but cried a little on the inside. Because that’s what it is, really. It’s a mask. It’s not the real me. And I’ve begun to ask myself, Why is the real me not good enough?

OK now that is deep on so many levels that I won’t go into here. But it brings me to the big question. Why do we, as women, put so much pressure on ourselves to “look good” all the time? Why are all the ads in all the magazines photoshopped to look completely flawless, when by nature we are beautifully flawed? Why is the cosmetic industry a multi-billion dollar industry? Why does almost every cast member of “Real Housewives” look like a walking ad for plastic surgery? Why are 6 year olds in Pageants getting spray tans? It’s overwhelming, it’s shocking, and it’s scary. But for millions of women, it’s reality! I would love to wake up in the morning, splash some cold water on my face, and go to the store without fearing that the clerk ringing up my items might think I have the Swine Flu, but something ingrained in me early on has prevented this from being possible. I want to change that, and I want to avoid passing that on to my daughter. I want to jump in the lake and not worry about ruining my makeup! In my quest to build my character and grow as an adult in this world, I am challenging myself to go beyond the parameters of the comfort zone I have created for myself. I know I’m not going to give up makeup cold turkey, but I am going to try not to be such a freak about it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Men wake up in the morning and their only concern is to get a cup of coffee and take a nice satisfying dump. Kids wake up in the morning and their only concern is how many marshmallows they’re going to get in their Lucky Charms. But not women. Women worry about their masks. Is it on? Is it good enough? Can anyone see through it? And the worst part is, many of us are wearing these masks for fear of what our fellow females might think! So I pose some food for thought to you here:

What kind of mask are you wearing? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you took it off?