Reframing My Ultimate Body Image

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A new year. A new start. A new list of goals. For some, a new list of resolutions. For me, most of last year’s goals have carried over to this year:

  • Find a full-time job
  • Buy a house
  • Publish Covers
  • Lose weight?

To Lose Or Not To Lose

That question mark is not a typo. Do I or don’t I want to lose weight? I don’t know. I’ve put on ten pounds per year over the last four years. From what I can tell, I eat the same amount of food as I did five years ago so what the heck is going on? Great question.

I’ve tried cutting back on food. Very little difference. I thought it might be a health condition and got a blood test. Nothing showed up except that my reproductive hormone levels are changing. At my age, not so unusual and it could account for some of the weight gain. I work out at least three times a week. No problem building muscle, but can’t shed a pound. So what’s left?

My best guess is medication. I’ve been taking scripts for the last three years. Since the prescription is not for life, I’m hoping that soon, very very soon, I will no longer need it and that the weight will disappear. But what if it doesn’t?

What If What Now

What if it’s not the meds that caused my weight gain? What if this weight gain is permanent? Worse, what if I keep gaining weight? I’ve been struggling with self-acceptance for a while. After years of being the same weight year after year, I’ve suddenly ballooned. And it seems like this balloon is out of my control. Do you know The Serenity Prayer? It starts like this: “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” After searching everything else, I’ve been looking at exercising my serenity.

Netflix: My Road To Self-acceptance

I was lost until the holidays during which I decided to devote a little time to my Netflix list. I watched a couple of documentaries that opened my eyes. First there was The True Cost, a doc by Andrew Morgan about the impact of fast fashion on society and the environment. I concluded three things:

  1. Buy only what I need
  2. Buy from sustainable brands
  3. My body image is not in the hands of an industry, it is in my hands alone.

The last one struck me because I hadn’t expected that lesson to come from a documentary about the fashion industry.

My stars must have aligned because the next documentary I watched was called Embrace. A few years ago, Taryn Brumfitt decided to stop worrying about her weight and enjoy her life. She also started The Body Image Movement. In the film, she travels the world and meets up with like-minded women.

Like her supporters, I love that Brumfitt isn’t perfect, yet she loves herself and it truly shows. The more I watched the movie, the more I wanted to be her! Or should I say, the more I wanted to be accepting of my body in the same way that she accepted hers. I’m going to sit with Acceptance for a while and see how we can work this out. Because really, the amount of time I’ve wasted worrying about those new pounds, where they’ve landed and how they look, would have been better spent enjoying my life.

What challenges have you faced lately? How did you overcome them or accept them? Or are you still working on it? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment!

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Hoarding In Secrets

Secrets - eBookIn Secrets, Ron Pearl, Diana Rainville’s love interest, is a hoarder. In the story, the death of his mother and Diana’s support lead him to clean his basement. That seems miraculous, doesn’t it? Even Hollywood. But it’s not so farfetched. Alcoholics who fall in love often note that they drink less when they start a relationship.  The abuse victim feels strong and powerful. Depressed people are happy. Research shows that falling in love does cause a high due to a change in brain chemistry. Some research suggests the rush is Mother Nature’s way of making sure we bond so that eventually we reproduce. But that feeling of euphoria doesn’t last forever.

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Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So what happens to Ron’s hoarding after Ron and Diana have been a couple for a few months? The only thing that can happen. It returns in full force. As much as love can heal all wounds, only self-love can heal them directly. The loving people can help the healing by being supportive, accepting, respectful, open-minded, encouraging, by listening and by empathizing. So how can hoarding become part of Ron’s past?

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the story, Ron seemed so in control and confident, but he was far from it. His parents fought all the time. He couldn’t stop his father from leaving when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He couldn’t stop his mother’s cancer or her death. He can’t get an education due to the medical bills and his career is chosen for him. He hangs on to garbage like a security blanket. It’s his way of dealing with his emotions. He gets a high from finding things he could use although he doesn’t use them. He collects them in his bedroom and his basement.

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Image courtesy of thephotoholic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When his mother talks about counselling, he doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s been to counselling and he does clear the basement so he is cognizant of the problem. But denial is a big problem for many hoarders. It is a life threatening disease. The only reason the hoarding hasn’t taken over in the story is because of his mother’s presence. But his room has no space and neither has the basement. If allowed, he will eventually fill the entire house. Eventually becoming unhealthy and unsafe for himself and his neighbors.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether hoarding comes from collecting trash or buying too much, it’s a ritual which creates excitement. It’s also unusual for hoarders to share with others. And it’s not surprising that Ron didn’t need to think twice about dumpster diving alone when Diana wanted to leave. He just let her go without blinking. It is not an addiction although it can be associated with addiction and other mental health issues, nor is it an obsessive compulsive disorder although it can coexist.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The only cure is to stop and deal with the emotions that are causing the hoarding. To learn more about hoarding, check out these resources:

www.hoarding.ca

https://www.helpforhoarders.co.uk/resources/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20356056

What do you do when you are avoiding emotions? What do you do to accept those emotions? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.