tumblingdays: Post-It Note that says "Walk Around the House Like a Fucking Champion" (defiance)
A friend and I walked a 5K yesterday. It was my second 5K and first "race" and her first 5K. Our goals were simple - finish in under an hour and don't come in last place. We accomplished both! We walked it, and I came in 50th in my age group. A "good" aerobic walking pace is 17-20 minute miles, and we were at a 17.8 minute mile. This pleases me.

I woke up today feeling much better in my own body. The route had one large hill and hiking up it worked out a kink in my shins probably caused by living in high heels. Yay for exercise?

After the race, our husbands joined us for dinner. My husband ran the 10K while we were running the five. His goal was the same as ours, and he did well. We finished in 55.19 minutes. He was at 59.06. We hadn't even gotten water yet when he crossed the finish line. It was excellent to sit with old friends, catch up, and feel like I had accomplished something.

After dinner, I went over to another friend's house. We sat out on her roof drinking wine and talking late into the night. This was possibly the perfect end to a Saturday night. Her roof is a cozy, secret place, protected by old trees that let the stars shine down like benevolent eyes.

I'm in the middle of a long stretch on the road, and I can already feel a little bit of travel fatigue kicking it. The time will go by quickly. We are only 10 weeks from Christmas now, and I will be home the week of Thanksgiving. It's not that far way.
tumblingdays: B&W Photo of a little girl hugging an elephant (loving yourself)
I continue reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. As I stated earlier, I have not been blogging every chapter because not every chapter has a lot to say. And honestly, the chapters that do have a lot to say [to me], have kept me chewing over them and not talking about them either. I am up to chapter 6. The first six chapters comprise the first part of the book. It's kind of introduction to the approaching our relationship with food from a new perspective. Since I started the Intuitive Eating process as part of treatment for my ED about 20 months ago, I don't really need a hard sell in this regard. Roth is also advocating Intuitive Eating, though she doesn't call it that.

There is a quote from chapter six that captures my feelings about dieting and about this whole process. It's lengthy, but I am going to quote it here and then talk a bit about it.

Diets are based on the unspoken fear that you are a madwoman, a food terrorist, a lunatic. Eventually you will destroy all that you love and so you need to be stopped. The promise of a diet is not only that you will have a different body, you will have a different life. If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will be become a peaceful, relaxed human being.

I doubt I am alone with struggling with loving discipline for myself and restriction, with treating myself gently and spoiling myself. In my treatment of myself, I see a pattern well established long before I was the person primarily responsible for taking care of me. Often my childhood was a pattern of neglected NEEDS and an over-abundance of WANTS. This is how you "spoil" someone, not by ensuring that they feel safe, loved, protected, and nurtured, but by replacing loving support with sporadic overabundance paired with benign neglect.

So, for years I've done pretty much exactly the same thing to myself. I'd diet or otherwise restrict my eating and then I'd follow that up with a period of overeating. Or, I'd go back to my bulimia - binge and purge.

Now, I am struggling with the kind of structured discipline that comes from loving yourself and wanting the best for yourself. I kept typing here that discipline has never been a part of my life, but it's not true. It's just that before the last couple of years, discipline was about restriction. Treating myself gently is not something I have much experience with. I live my life hard, whether that hardness comes from restriction or from casting off restrictions. I was living as an over-indulged princess or a bereft pauper. I will eat it all or I will eat nothing. I will exercise every day, balls to the wall, or I will sit on my ass. I will sleep a lot or I will not sleep. I would save compulsively, denying myself necessities or spend like a reality TV participant.

And now, I have taken a big step off what seems to me to be a very high cliff. I have to trust myself to be neither the pauper nor the princess. The rules are not black and white. I can take a day off from working out and it's not "falling off the wagon." I can eat a piece of chocolate and it isn't "cheating." I can buy something I like and enjoy it. I want this to be my normal, but often this is still a matter of closing my eyes and making a giant leap of faith. I have to believe that my body is not shirking if I feel like I need a break from my workout routine. I have to believe that a craving is a momentary want that I can choose whether or not to indulge and not a sign of weakness or deprivation. It's hard. It involves a lot of sitting still and listening to that faint, faint voice inside of me. I am not good at sitting still, and I often doubt that voice.

Even with all of that, though, I am happier than I have been in a really long time. I am slowly beginning to trust myself. I am finding that I can live under a yoke of gentle discipline and that I can be responsible for myself. It gratifying. Right now, there are frequent failures, but they are becoming more about a failure in the moment rather than feeling like I AM a failure. The difference is profound.
tumblingdays: (celebrate)
It's been a week of new things...

I already mentioned riding a mechanical bull over the weekend. Well, last night I did some modeling work for a chain clothing store. It is unpaid work, instead they give you a pretty nice discount, and since I shop there anyway, that works pretty well for me. I spent two and a half hours walking around the store, wearing outfits picked out by a stylist and chatting with customers. There was no catwalk and no photography, though we were asked to include walking through the display windows as part of our circuit. All of the women involved were very nice, and we had a wide range of very different looks. The store carries plus-sized clothes, so no woman was smaller than a 14, and we ranged up to (I would guess) a size 24. Some were taller women and I was surprised not to be the shortest, since I am just over 5 feet.

I was flattered to be asked to come in and do it in the first place, and REALLY flattered to be asked to come back and do it again. I like my body, and I do not think that I am unattractive, but I am well aware that I do not fit into society's narrow range of pretty. I am also pretty solidly headed toward middle age. None of these are characteristics that make me think someone would ask me to display my clothes on their body, and especially that they would ask me to come back and do it a second time after I did it once.

But- to my complete surprise- I sold clothes. One woman left with the outfit I had on in hand almost in its entirety. She bought two of the three pieces I was modeling at the time. As I chatted with other women, they told me that they loved the way I looked and asked about fit and also asked my opinion. The best part of the night was talking to a woman who doesn't like her body at all. Her proportions are difficult as she has a curvy bottom and narrow shoulders. I recommended a beautiful skirt, and she balked. I suggested that she just try it on. It looked so good on her, and she actually teared up looking at herself in the mirror. For fun after that she tried on other skirts and got progressively less critical of her body as the night progressed. She left with the first skirt she tried on and thanked me after she checked out for making shopping "fun" for the first time in a long time.

My own experience with the clothes I wore was similar. The stylist picked slim cut pants for almost all of my looks. Like the woman above, I am very curvy in my hips and butt, and I have quite a bit of lower belly fat (unlike the woman above who did not have a lot of belly fat). I was shocked when I put on the first pair of pants to discover that she had chosen form fitting leggings and a suit jacket that did not fall below my butt. I wore it though, and this is the outfit that another woman bought outright. I would not have picked any of the four outfits I modeled. Elements of them yes- only one of them was completely outside of my personal style. I like tailored looks, and this shop pretty much specializes in tailored looks, so that wasn't an issue. I loved the way I looked in them though, and I when I did my own shopping at the end of the night, I came home with two pairs of slim cut pants. One pair, which are brown suede and break all my "rules" for what I wear (slim cut, tapered, need extra care...) I bought almost solely because my husband came by the store to see how things were going and his eyes lit up when he saw my in these pants. How could I not buy them after that?

I thought that another outfit seemed a little young for me- slim cut jeans with a t-shirt and an open longer sweater. It wasn't though. I looked fresh and young, but not like I was trying to hard. I didn't buy the t-shirt, but the other two pieces went home with me.

Overall, it was a really positive experience, and I definitely plan to do it again. After two and half hours of walking around the shop in heels, but feet were KILLING ME. I'm sitting here this morning with them propped up before I get ready for my next adventure.

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