Big Fat Body Shame

 

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time now. It’s been sitting in the back of my mind saying, “Me, Me, Write about ME! But I have been pushing it aside because it’s just too close to home. It’s a really sensitive topic for me but I’m going to go there anyway. There is never going to be a good time where this doesn’t feel scary so I’ll just say it quick like pulling off a bandaid – I think I’m too heavy.

Body shame & guilt started early in my life. I can remember being about 8 years old sitting in the car with my mom watching her point and laugh at people who were overweight. My father was also concerned about my size – commenting if he felt I was eating too much and even asking me as an adult, “How much do you weigh now?”

It has been a lifelong struggle. I joined Weight Watchers when I was 19. After reaching my goal and becoming a lifetime member I quit WW to do it on my own. I Binged and Purged my way down another 10 pounds. I have yoyoed through a lot of life. I tried pills, teas, wraps, potions and diet after diet in my 47 years of life and still don’t feel thin enough.

6 years ago I found myself bigger than I’ve ever been. I was depressed, my marriage was coming to an end and I didn’t know who I was supposed to be anymore. My doctor recommended three things: medication, a counselor and get some exercise. I did all three and chose Yoga as my exercise. I fell in love at first Savasana and haven’t looked back since!

Through Yoga my body started to become more toned and fit. I found out I was stronger than I thought I was. By practicing often and eating half of whatever I wanted I lost about 40 pounds. In the process I became a yoga isntructor and personal fitness trainer. But that stupid freaking voice that says I still need to lose 10 more pounds just won’t shut up!

The real eye opener came when I went away for a few days with a couple of my girlfriends. After the first day, one of my girlfriends said to me, “Dawn, do you even realize how much you body shame yourself?” and I thought to myself, “Well yeah, I know I do that inside my head – I just didn’t realize how much of it was coming out of my mouth!” I don’t know if I felt more comfortable with them that weekend and so I was just being my uncensored self – or horror of horrors – am I like that all the time? Do my students hear it? Because as a yoga/fitness instructor I want people to be healthy, to feel strong, to be in love with their body – am I sending mixed messages because I can’t seem to love my own body?

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This picture was taken that weekend. What I see is a slightly chubby me. 

The thing is, I have good days and bad days. There are some days when I look in the mirror and I like what I see and I really like who I am! I know I’m strong and healthy. I know I’m smart and have a good sense of humor. I like my sense of adventure. I’m brave and love a challenge so why does this one thing still keep bothering me and most importantly HOW DO I FIX IT? And don’t just say, lose the weight! Because it’s not really about the 10 pounds. It’s about that voice in my head. And it it weren’t the 10 pounds it would be something else.

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When I look at this picture I see a strong, fit yogi!

Maybe that something else is that you don’t like your nose, or your feet, or maybe you think you’re boobs are too small – whatever it is that the negative voice in your head keeps bringing to your attention. How do you deal with that? How do you love yourself? Because I hear a lot of gurus saying that we need to love ourselves and accept ourselves right where we are. To realize that we are enough – perfect in our imperfections…Hell I’ve said these words in class many times. You know why? Because we preach what we are working on ourselves.

I have to fix it myself. No one can help me do it. No one can say anything to make me feel better. It all has to come from within. So this is what I’m going to do. Every time I hear that bitchy negative voice telling me, “You’re too heavy. You shouldn’t be teaching yoga or doing any personal training because who would want to learn from a chubby girl?” I’m going to take that thought and hold it captive for a moment – to check in with myself to see if that message is actually true. And when I find that’s it’s not true I’m going to fill my mind with positivity toward myself. Tell myself things like “I have students that love me just as I am. I can only be me and bring what I bring to the table. I AM enough. I am strong. I am valued. I am loved just the way I am. I do not need to be anything but myself.” And I’m going to do that over and over and over until I believe it.

So that’s it. That’s the plan. I would love to hear from you if you struggle with some of these issues especially if you’ve found something that helped you! We all have our work cut out for us in this life. Let’s encourage each other and find ways to make our lives better, healthier and happier!

Not believing I’m going to actually hit the publish button…….yikes!

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