body positive

(some)BODY

When I think of my body, the best I can do is not think aesthetically but functionally. If I keep myself concerned with the things my body can do, I never have to worry if it is pretty or beautiful or good. The problem with this is that there are some things my body cannot do. There have been many things people have said about bodies like mine. There are so many more things I have said about my own body.

Running is one of those things that I don’t expect my body to do. All, I can focus on is excess flesh just moving and how grotesque a sight that is for onlookers. Gravity becoming the immortal enemy of my physicality. If I am still enough, then I can maneuver around slowly enough for things to stay in place. It is all one big optical illusion of Spanx and slimwear and clothing in a size too big. It is weird to see the thoughts, I have displayed on a screen, but this is the reality where I reside.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, I had a case of insomnia. It wasn’t even that my mind was running. I literally just could not sleep. At 3:30am, I decided to go to the gym. Most times, I just walk on a treadmill, but in delirium, I decided to run. I ran for 5 minutes straight. I remained on the treadmill for 35 minutes and upon completion, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. I hoped this would tire me out, but it only invigorated me. I did squats got in my car and departed, for a 4am drive through the city. By the time I arrived at work, I was tired enough to hide behind my desk for a 20-minute nap…..but I didn’t.

Today, I took a half day. I went to the gym and consciously decided, I was going to run. I began running for 7 minutes. At the end of 32 minutes, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. 16-minute miles are nothing to brag about. In comparison to even the average runner (maybe walker), I am slow. BUT my body ran. It ran and it felt wonderful and it hurt. It is unfamiliar and fascinating.

I don’t really have goals or expectations for my body. I have worked towards a lifestyle that serves my body best. I have made some progress. I am hoping I can remain consistent. Today was just a day, where I just finished running, breathless and sweaty and smiled.

“Damn, I got some body.”

Lenten Prayer #8: Body Shaming

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 17. I never dealt with it. I have spoken about it with friends before, but for a long time, I just wished it away. I lived my life. I don’t overeat, but ate normally. As if my body would somehow just magically begin processing food normally. It doesn’t. I have been frustrated with my weight gain in mid-adulthood. I weighed myself on Friday at work. Three numbers on the screen. I quickly stepped down and recalibrated the scale. No one should see those numbers.

Shame infected me like food poisoning. I wanted to throw up. I was disgusted and nauseated. So much work has been done in the body positive movement, but I can’t feel positive about my body. I don’t. My shirt felt clingier than ever. Sticking to every pound of unprocessed meals from times before. I sat behind my desk most of the day. I began thinking of all the stupid things, I ate that week. I ate my lunch and wanted to vomit it back up. I loathed myself.

These feelings are not gone. However, I recognize this. Having PCOS is not my fault. I cannot control that. Not treating it for 10 years is my fault. I could have controlled that. I start Whole30 tomorrow for the 3rd or 4th time. Tomorrow though will be different. Tomorrow’s Whole30 begins with a complete transition into a Whole30 lifestyle. It is what my body needs. I don’t know if I care about the weight as much as I do about the shame associated with it. I don’t want to feel that shame anymore.

On my bedroom mirror, I wrote these words, “You have PCOS. Through diet, exercise, and the grace of God, you can be healed. Choose today to make wise food choices.”

Father, 

The work of Christ removes shame, right? I have so much. You know where it all lies. Currently, it sits within this broken body of mine. I have used humor and wry self-deprecation, willpower and diet plans, but nothing works. Shame comes when sin has occurred. Lord, I could justify why I didn’t do anything. Why I pretended not have a problem. You know those justifications before, I breathe them. Rather, I confess my negligence and ask forgiveness. Shame removal is a work of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit work. 

God, thank you for Your abundant Grace. You don’t see my weight or my shame as trivial, but they are of importance to You. Whole30 is just a diet, but I ask you would work on my from the inside-out. There is a brokenness in my heart about my body. Heal that brokenness. Help me become open to your healing. 

I humbly ask this, in the Name of the Risen Christ Jesus, through the Power of the Truthful Advocate, 

Amen

Minor Losses; Major Gains

Round 2 of Whole 30 for the year. My weigh-in date March 8. After another month of dieting and exercising, 2 pounds. I lost 2 pounds in 30 days. OVER IT! I near walked out of the YMCA. Then, I remembered, I still have 30 minutes worth of cardio and 30 of calisthenics to complete. This week, I have taken it light. Meaning, I haven’t returned to the gym since Monday. I am still Whole 30 appropriate and weirdly, I have eaten less (unintentionally) this week, than ever. Often times when I don’t get the results I want, in the time I want, I become sullen. I am not going to do that though. I am going to celebrate all the good this week offered.

So, I lost 2 pounds in a month. This week was the first time people noticed that I had lost weight. Which is super-duper encouraging. I, also, made it through an entire abdominal workout without looking like a beached whale trying to fling itself back into the ocean. Because no joke, the first time I did an abdominal workout, I looked and sounded like I was dying. My grunting workout noise is awful. When, I put on my pants, I actually see a nice curve between my waist and hips. I feel more confident about wearing a two piece to the beach this year. I have cured my Dunlaps Disease (when my stomach, dun lapped over my pants). My hormones are beginning to regulate (due more so to diet). I make better food choices. I have eaten Chick-fil-A 3 times this year. Which is a massive deal, especially since it is my favorite. I ran. I felt confident enough to audition for a run way show (didn’t get the casting…oh well). I have worked harder than ever before to take care of my body, not just eating well and exercising, but caring about my hair and face, and getting enough sleep.

Finally, last night, I went to community night at Lindyfest and danced from about 9 PM to midnight. Which is huge for two reasons. (1) Because last year, I had just got into partner dancing, and didn’t feel confident enough to go to Lindyfest. (2) For anyone who knows, the Lindy Hop it is probably one of the most athletic partner dances. While, I took a bit of breaks, I did dance for the majority of the time. Something, which would have been impossible last year when I began partner dancing.

So yeah, I lost two pounds in a month, by I have, by far, gained so much more.

La Compra de Pantalones (Pants Shopping)

When you are a size 18, shopping for pants is one of the evil reminders that we live in a fallen and sinful world. It is as if pant makers do not know that my larger waist might include large hips, which might include an average bottom, that leads into bigger thighs, that descend into some toned calves. No, either pant makers assume everything is large and getting bigger or that you are an ice cream cone getting smaller at the bottom. For this reason, I have bought nothing but skirts and dresses. I have perhaps, 15 dresses and 20ish skirts that I wear in rotation. With them, as long as they fit my waist I am solid. I have maxis. I have midis. I have minis. I love them all, because apart from shaving, the little frustrations of pants are dissolved. Also, they offer a great breeze.

However, I need pants. I love pants. I love not having to shave. I may wear skirts frequently, but it only because I refused to buy pants. I remember going outlet shopping with my family as a teenager and be so unable to find clothing for myself. I remember breaking down into tears in dressing rooms, unable to fit into pants and looking into the stark lights of the mirror as it reflected my body. As, we returned home and my siblings celebrated their findings, I just went to my room to be alone. It contemplate my fatness.

Walking in to Old Navy on Friday, I did not expect to find anything. I was hoping for maybe a pair of boyfriend jeans at the most. They offer more room for me to move around and don’t create the rubber donut of fat around my waist. The last time, I tried on bottoms I was an 18/20. So, I grabbed a couple of size 18 pants (a couple 18 longs) and shuffled to the dressing room. I tried them on. I turned and looked at them. Something doesn’t look right about these pants…They fit, super easily, really easily, but they were not flattering. I walked out an asked the attendant her opinion. Excuse me miss, what are your thoughts on these pants? The attendant crinkled her face as she looks me up and down. I am prepared for the worst. I think you might need to go down a size. What? I grab a 16, try it on and she it right. Everything fit much better.

I ended up purchasing 5 bottoms, one of them being a skirt because well, I love skirts, but it was a positive experience. This is one of the minor reasons that desire to continue working out, because a fearful experience is now normal.

I don’t know how many pounds I have lost, and won’t know until March 8, but I am glad to have completed two months worth of exercise and eating better.

Yay for a positive post.

Blessed (bless-ed) Self-Awareness

In my Appraisal and Assessment course, my professor asked us on the second day to become more aware of how we measure ourselves. Mostly because we often the measure of ourselves is incorrect and unreliable. So, the only way to rightfully think about myself is from the perspective of the One who created me, not solely from my experiences and my own fallen perspective.

Tuesdays are crazy. I wake up in morning. Arrive at work by 8:30am. Leave for school across town at 12:45pm. Leave to return to work by 4:00pm. Leave work at 9:15pm. Today, I didn’t pack enough food for lunch. I stopped at Kroger to get some curry chicken salad and cantaloupe. I get my items and then realize that I was hungry, NOW. I look at the  hot items and see BBQ chicken strips. I purchase two, and begin to walk to my car. That is when, I began feeling terrible.

I didn’t really need those two chicken strips. I already had cantaloupe and curry chicken salad in my hand. I should have just been patient. I don’t need this. I just finished Whole30. I am going to gain back the weight I just lost. I haven’t even worked out this week. I feel sick.

Deeply, underlying my food issues, is the mentality of and immigrant. I cannot waste food. I ate the chicken strips in the car. After consuming both chicken strips. My thoughts grew.

Why did you eat that? Did you even enjoy it? Feel that in your stomach that is all the processed garbage you just ate. The way you eat is disgusting. Did you even think about it before you started eating? Glutton. Don’t eat the chicken curry. Eat it tomorrow. You have already eaten too much. Don’t eat the cantaloupe until you have a break in the class.

Ya’ll my brain has some catastrophic tendencies. However, in this season, God has gripped at my heart and mind and is making it very clear, He will have nothing short of all my affections. And, if my affections for Christ are to grow, then my obsession with self must decline.

I felt the Lord, tell me to stop. As, I park my car and get water from the fridge, God begins to very reorganize my thoughts.

All you have eaten today are eggs and strawberries. You are hungry. You have not worked out, because you have been focused on work and school. It is only Tuesday. This was not a wise choice. Do not base your worth on two chicken strips. Are you satiated currently?

Yes.

Then don’t eat right now.

What have you accomplished this week?

I have given invitations out to my teens, collected dressed for Friday, put in IT tickets, put in a donations ticket, completed 40 pages worth of reading notes, created announcements, created a teen departure inventory, talked to parents, made bookbags for 4 new teens, served a family that only spoke Spanish get uniforms for their children, was available to talk to my teens when they found out they lost a loved one, restrung Christmas lights, attended several meetings, created Biblical Counseling lesson plans.

It is not that you have been doing nothing.

Think rightly. Think completely.

Often times, God manifests Himself in glorious ways. Today, He spoke and I listened. It was the best choice I made today.

Weighing In

I finished Whole30 yesterday. I capped it off with my favorite dessert: melon trifecta (watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe). Today, I simply attend work meetings and have the rest of the day to myself. When, I wake I will go to the gym, where I will be able to weigh myself….and I don’t know why, but that thought scares me.

Thanksgiving, after months of a poor girls diet, I stepped on the scale and weighed more than I ever had. Two hundred and sixty-five pounds. Instantly, I hated every pound of myself. I didn’t want to look at myself. I couldn’t find anything lovely about me. My face was hideous. My body horrendous. My esteem demolished. Every insult hurled at me about my looks resurfaced. Fat. Ugly. Cow. Behemoth. I clearly saw the faces of all the boys and girls who made me feel so small. I began believing that my weight was the reason no man was interested in me. No one wants to date a fat girl. I remember telling that to myself as a teenager. I told myself that yesterday.

I am scared to step on that scale, because I know that a massive part of me still places such deep value on that number. My beauty is in that number. My value is in that number. My hope is in that number. I don’t even know what that number is. There was no set amount of pound I desired to lose. All I know is that a number dictates so much of how I feel about myself and I hate it. I really do hate it. I hate that a decade past adolescence, I still have similar fears. I hate that I believe no one wants to date me because I’m fat and because I’m fat, I’m unattractive. I know this massive body positive movement going on, but even if I am positive about my body it does not mean I am perceived to be more attractive. Most of all, I despise that I work with teenage girls and still struggle with this. The young women, I serve, are so beautiful. It is easy to see their loveliness, but so hard to see my own…..

This is an area where I needs God’s grace. Because ultimately, I choose to surrender my worth. I choose to operate from a lie…even if feels true because of my empty relationship history.

God, silence all these voices. Silence me. Remind me my worth, that it was ordained before my birth and that is has nothing to do or say. When, I am slim or weigh 310 pound remind me that my worth is not assigned by man, but by God. You make me worthy.

Today, I step on a scale and pray all I see is a number.