Hows the #7dayvegan Challenge going? It is going pretty good on this end. A few slip ups here and there, but overall it has made me more aware of my dairy intake.
On that note, I wanted to talk about body image, overall health, and perspective.
I have seen both sides of this journey, and some of you have been present to see me through every step in between.
Only recently was I able to finally figure out the root of my body image issues, and figure out what works for me to sift through them.
Here are some of the strategies I have been using:
- Journalling - I reflect on my day if I feel it has been significant in some way. I write how I am feeling, write questions to myself, and just put pen to paper and let the thoughts flow. It is much like what I do here.
- Practicing Kindness to myself - If I feel like I am heading down a path of negative thoughts I will fill a bath, make a cup of tea, and read my book. Or I will allow myself to eat a Peanut Butter Cup or 2, because they make me happy.
- Acknowledging Gratitude - There are so many things we can be grateful for, whether it be a warm cup of coffee, the feeling of our partners hand in ours, or a comfy bed to climb in to at night. I try to recognize the things I am grateful for. This makes the problem seem a lot more insignificant.
- Reflecting on my Goals - Another important aspect of the picture. I try to find out what I want, deep down in my soul, and then I rationalize if it is achievable or not, and ask myself why I want it. If I am unable to come up with a satisfactory reason, or if I deem the goal irrational, I re-frame it so that I can work to something attainable.
- Re-framing - I will write down ALL of my negative thoughts in one column on a piece of paper, and on the other side, I will re-frame them so they are either positive or neutral.
Everyone is different and everyone finds comfort in different coping skills. What kind of healthy coping skills do you use when you are having negative thoughts?
Now, on to perspective.
Today I had a Body Composition done, as I am starting a new weight training program (Marathon training is almost done, yo!). I wanted to know what my starting point would be, and I don't want my results based on the scale.
In January 2012, at 128lb, I won a free Body Comp from a Healthy Living Expo I attended. I saved my results. At this time I had a body fat % of 24, which is considered "normal". That means, I was carrying around 31lb of body fat. At this time I had no period or libido, was cold all the time, tired and needed to nap often, suffering from hypoglycemia, and extremely anxious about food and weight gain.
Today, My body fat was up 6%, to 30%. This means I am carrying around 47lb of body fat, a 16lb gain in 15 months. This also means I put on 13lb of muscle.
THIRTEEN POUNDS OF MUSCLE.
At this time, I have a regular period, a healthy libido, I can lift heavier than I ever have before, I can run farther than I ever have before, and I no longer count calories.
Sure I stress about my size on some days, but this is becoming farther and fewer between.
I can enjoy a meal with my fiance and not obsess on how to burn the extra calories.
I can take a day off from the gym and not double up the next day just because.
I no longer suffer from Sciatica or Hypoglycemia, or Orthostatic Hypotension.
Getting this composition done was a healthy dose of perspective. Instead of fretting over the increased number on the scale, I was able to appreciate the gains that I have made in muscle, and the strength I have acquired emotionally.
Is this Perfect? By all means no. Can it help me be realistic about what I want to achieve? Absolutely.
The trainer doing the body comp told me I will most likely not lose any size around my legs because they are quite muscular already, and instead will see more definition and tone in my lower body. He said that if I were to lose FAT and not MUSCLE, I will most likely see it go from my chest, shoulders, and arms.
This was also reassuring because it reaffirms my decision to just buy bigger pants rather than fret about not fitting in to my old ones.
I am learning, slowly, to embrace my shape and be grateful for this one of a kind body of mine.