Practicing Radical Positive Self Love
Taking Responsibility & Accepting Myself as a Larger Woman
So today was accountability day.
A day for getting baseline measurements, so I can record progress.
I must say I am nervous at putting all this ‘out there’ for others to see and judge.
However, I am convinced I have found the right way for me to regain my health, and if I can do it, over the next 12–24 months then I am sure that others may be inspired to follow.
As I described in my first post, below, I am starting with a completely different mindset of love and acceptance for my body right NOW and for where I am right NOW.
Losing weight and changing figures on a scale or by tape measure is not the most important thing for me to do on this journey but it is essential to get some baseline figures so I can record my progress.
However, I am only going to weight and measure myself once a month. Like I have said before, I am exceedingly slow at losing weight due to years of yo-yo dieting and so weighing myself any more than this can get disheartening.
My Current Weight and Measurements
I currently weight 90.6 kilos.
My other body measurements I have recorded as shown in Table 1.
So, this is me and the weight and measurements I currently am at now.
It has taken me the last ten years and in particular the last three years to get to the weight I currently am at this point.
Letting go of control and surrendering
One of the free guided meditations I regularly am listening to is on YouTube by Jason Stephenson.
It is paradoxically about surrendering and ‘letting go of control.’
Part of my difficulty in the past with diets, losing weight and exercise has been the rigid control I have exercised over my will forcing myself to comply to whatever lifestyle changes I was attempting to implement permanently.
Guilt, shame, pressure as well as resentment all stemmed from this.
I could maintain rigid conformity to a plan for months at a time (don’t call me anything but determined) but would always end up returning to rewarding myself with food, binging and slacking off, with self hate accumulating and intensifying as the weight came back on, and failure became a reality.
The internalized pressure of trying NOT to give in to urges to eat (even if I was not hungry) resulted in vast expenditures of mental and emotional energy, leading to exhaustion and detracting from the quality of my life.
I just got damn sick of fighting food and thinking about food all the time.
I just want to eat, enjoy eating, be healthy and be done with the whole battle, self-hate, and self-consumingness (is that even a word?) of the entire exercise.
I am not saying that setting goals are not necessary, and I am not saying that a certain amount of discomfort is not to be expected to be experienced when you are making lifestyle changes, and breaking unhealthy habits.
I am talking about the type of rigid control which feels punishing, punitive and becomes about ‘forcing’ and is not coming from a place of love.
You know it within yourself when you experience YOU doing it to YOU.
You can adopt a healthier lifestyle and healthier habits without continually feeling like you are punishing and being punitive to yourself.
That is what I firmly believe, and that is what this experiment and journey are all about for me.
The other guided affirmation I am regularly listening to is ‘I am Beautiful,’ on self-love and self-belief.
When I first started listening I would find myself brought to tears as I was not used to saying such kind and loving things to myself and taking such beautiful expressions into my heart on a regular basis.
In my experience, listening to someone speak these words to me, and taking these words into my heart as my own, are like a cool glass of water on a super hot day when you are parched.
Experiencing this level of self-nurturing has been new for me but paramount in learning to accept and love ALL of me (including my weight).
I firmly believe I cannot choose to let go of my weight until I thank it, accept it fully and understand the important and protective role (even although misguided) it has had in my life up to this point.
Mediation on breathing
I also sit and meditate on my breath a couple of times a day, for 15 minutes each time, learning to still my mind.
Sometimes, it feels like the whole time is spent with me being aware and observing how my brain is continually throwing up thoughts, and observer me continually bringing myself back to concentrating on ‘breathing.’
I am starting to get moments of stillness and peacefulness.
Regularly practicing stilling my mind is setting up a process whereby I am looking after myself, and caring for myself in a way I have not allowed myself to do before.
Being able to become ‘still’ and observe what is happening in my body physically and emotionally when I have ‘urges’ to eat is important as it gives me some space to ‘think’ before I ‘act.’
Having a glass of water and then sitting and giving myself 5 minutes to ‘breathe’ can be enough to allow the urge to go, or allow whatever emotion is brimming to come up and be processed and move through my body.
So, in this way, listening to prerecorded and freely available guided meditations on surrendering control and positive body and self-worth affirmations, along with meditating on my breath is one part of the process of radical self-love I am putting into practice in my life as part of my journey towards health.
Onwards, and upwards.
Deborah Christensen is a writer, artist, published author and a disability support worker. She currently lives in Queensland, Australia and also has citizenship in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She lives with her husband, and a rescue dog called ‘Lily’ and has six adult children (and one amazing grandchild) who live away from home. She’s on Twitter @Deborah37035395 and Pinterest and is the author of the best selling award winning memoir Inside/Outside: One Woman’s Recovery From Abuse and a Religious Cult.