36 thoughts on “A Body Image Confession

  • June 23, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Jess your Blog Editor here…

    Just wanted to tell you that you are NOT alone!!

    What helps me pull back from a low point? Noticing other women at the gym who wear tight, fun exercise clothing, but who also don’t have a naturally thin frame. They’re confident and strong and I really love that.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, Jess! That’s definitely something I forgot to mention: continue to wear cute clothes that make you feel good. When I went to my Pilates class this morning, I did the same thing. I have an orange sports bra tank thing. And wearing it made me feel better. When I feel bad about my body, I naturally gravitate toward schlumpy clothes, and in reality, that only makes me feel worse. So it’s important to still dress up. Seeing confident women in all shapes and sizes is inspiring, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing!!

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Bravo, Margarita! Sending you a hug!

    ‘Tis the season for having “slips” in caring for ourselves. I applaud your honesty and bravery in telling the world about your recent experiences. I, too, have not been doing the best in caring for myself, and knew that when I found myself lying to my former dietitian about it, something needed to change.

    In my summer school class on spirituality in counseling on Tuesday, we had a final ritual to mark the end of our time together. We stood outside, by a lake, in a circle with a candle and a vase in the middle. On slips of paper, we had written something we needed to “let go of,” as our theme for the ritual was “emptying out and filling up.” One by one, we stepped forward, told the group what we were letting go of, put our slip of paper near the candle flame to ignite it, then put it in the vase to burn. My slip of paper said I was letting go of ED. While I *thought* I had let go, he had crept back in rather quietly. It was time for him to burn!!!

    I also just finished reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. It reminded me that I can’t be a good counselor to other women who struggle if I’m not honest with myself. She would be a great person to interview.

    Life is just too short to waste on hating ourselves.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Thanks so much, Kate! That’s so sweet!

      I love your final ritual for the spirituality class. The act of physically letting go your ED must’ve been so meaningful and freeing. I love that idea.

      I’m reading that book, too, but I took a break from it for other work. Clearly, I need to get back to it! I’ll be posting my review in the next few weeks, too. I’d love to get an interview with Geneen Roth. Definitely something I need to look into. I feel like she’s such a celebrity, though. 🙂 Then, again people like Evelyn Tribole and other truly amazing experts have been very generous in doing interviews.

      Whenever I start bashing my body, I have to repeat that to myself: Life is too short to waste on hating myself. I love that! It’s great advice.

      Thanks again for sharing such a powerful experience!

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

    How timely!

    I have also been struggling with my body image something terrible in recent weeks. I so appreciate your honesty and admire your ability to step back and realize it’s time to check in with yourself.

    I’ve been trying to remind myself that I’ve been dealing with these thoughts and behaviors for 20 years, and that it says more about the tenacity of the disorder than it does about my intelligence, strength, or character that I’ve been struggling more lately. I also try to remind myself that I have been better in the past, and it’s likely that I will get past this difficult time as well by doing the things I need to do in order to take care of myself. I know myself and know what I need when it comes to my physical and emotional well-being.

    Thanks again! Take care of yourself.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Nel, thank you! I really appreciate you talking about your own experiences and giving that advice, too! You’re so right about realizing that these moments will pass, and practicing good self-care. It’s amazing how good self-care can help. I think, for me, just sleeping will work wonders – though I need to figure out how to do that exactly. 🙂

      It’s so important, too, to separate ourselves from our thoughts or to question them (like you said, it has nothing to do with your intelligence, strength or character…by the way, perfectly put!). I remember the quote that goes something like “you are not your thoughts,” which is hard to believe because our own minds are thinking them. But I have to remember that just because a body-bashing thought pops up doesn’t mean that I have to believe it. I can talk myself through the negative thought.

      I wish you all the best, and again, thanks so much for reading and sharing!!

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I can completely, COMPLETELY relate! And I can’t tell you how much I admire you for using this experience to generate some thoughtful ways to cope with body image setbacks. You rule, lady.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2010 at 11:09 am

      Sally, you seriously made my day! It means a lot, too, to know that you’ve had similar experiences. You, rule, too! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I don’t have anything substantive to add to your great ideas and the ones already given in comments before me, but wanted to say thank you for sharing that it’s hard for you sometimes, too. I think those of us who work to help people overcome challenges in this area often feel like we have to be perfect, or at least put a perfect face on things. But it can help to share our humanness, that we aren’t perfect and that we can have the same struggles. It’s how we deal with them that can be so inspiring to others. Hang in there. This isn’t an easy issue for women today.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Marsha, that’s such a wonderful point, and one that I often forget because of my perfectionistic tendencies: Having a healthy body image and self-image doesn’t mean never having a negative thought ever again. It’s how we manage these thoughts and tough times that counts. It’s just like life: We may have many rough patches in front of us, but it’s how we react to terrible events that’s important. Not having a smooth, problem-free life, because that doesn’t exist. Thanks so much for your great insight and encouragement!!

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post!!! I think we can ALL relate and give you kudos for sharing where you are right now and not where you wish you would be. I know I had a mini situation with a scale recently and had to be vigilant and not only write about my breakup AGAIN with the scale, but share that in my blog because for me as a voice, it is critical to share your successes and struggles. I learned a lesson, and was able to move forward. I do check-ins ALL THE TIME because I feel sometimes if stressed, tired, I disconnect with my body and I want to be vigilant over this connection. Slips will happen and are normal, and sharing this makes people feel less alone. Hugs! Loved loved. Can absolutely relate!

    Reply
    • June 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you everyone soooo much for your kind and thoughtful comments! It really means so much. I should put reading comments from readers as the last point in the post that gets me out of a body image funk! 🙂

      @ Kendra, I love how you put that – that it’s important to share our successes and struggles. And that’s so true, because like life, of course body image has its ups and downs. The fact is that we all struggle from time to time and criticize ourselves, but the key is to recognize that we’re struggling and then find good solutions. THANK YOU!

      @ Kristine, you’re welcome! Everyone definitely has negative thoughts and feelings. It makes me think about the importance of being honest with yourself (and your readers..hehe) and becoming more resilient. So when you do struggle, you know what to do and can bounce back and move forward.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Margarita, I think it was very courageous for you to admit that you have been struggling with this. I think everyone (even the most confident women)have those thoughts/feelings from time to time. Thanks for the tips for getting back on track!

    Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    margarita, i read your blog every day. i find SUCH inspiration from it – i’m in the process of totally re-inventing how i see myself, my relationship with food, my exercise patterns, everything. i’ve gotten so much out of your blogs, out of the books you recommend, out of the other blogs you link to.

    and i tell you all this to remind you that i don’t have one good god damn clue what you look like, and i don’t care. and your honesty, your bravery in the truth-telling you are doing, your ‘i’m kind of embarrassed by this but i’m going to tell you anyway’ – this is what makes you a special person.

    i’m currently struggling with a reduction of my gym-going, which i had been really excellent at maintaining. BUT – i’ve got a lot of shit going on in my life right now, some real chaos and things to work through, and so i’m practicing being gentle with myself, and doing the best i can. and that’s all any of us can do.

    keep up the great work!!

    Reply
    • June 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      Julie, you’re sooo sweet! Seriously, your comment made my month! 🙂 Thank you soooo much for taking the time to comment. I’m ecstatic to hear that my blog has helped you so much. Not surprisingly, I get insecure and unsure about how helpful the posts are (the expert ones, absolutely; the ones I write myself, I never know…hehe). You’ve honestly inspired me, that amid the chaos of life, you’re being gentle with yourself, and we all know that that can be very tough. Again, I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences and such kind words.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I really appreciate this post, too. I’m in a similar spot lately, and I hadn’t even really been conscious of it till I read your blog. I’m pregnant and watching my belly (quickly) expand as I near my third trimester… and though I am so thankful for this new life, it is still hard to go to the doctor and watch the scale so quickly go up. I have a bad cold this week and have had to skip the gym the past couple days, and it made me realize that skipping the gym is a bit harder for me than it should be right now.

    So I really appreciate your desire to recognize where you are even when its not when you want to be, and just wanted to say that you have helped me do the same today. 🙂

    Reply
    • June 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you, JJ! Congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s important that you were able to recognize your thoughts about the gym. I can certainly relate to those feelings. In the future, I’d like to do some posts on pregnancy and body image. If you want to see any specific topics covered, definitely let me know!

      Reply
  • June 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I am so glad you shared this. I can’t imagine it was easy being so honest and raw in such a public space, but it is truly inspiring. Thank you!

    I definitely have struggled with the disconnect between knowing that I am at a healthy place/weight physically, and yet still feeling
    uncomfortable and wanting to be thinner. In fact, some days I am in that place right now! Out of the tips you mentioned, the most important ones for me are checking in with myself (b/c criticizing my body is often masking something deeper for me) and remembering that I – and my body – are worth so much more than a flat stomach or whatever.

    Great post!

    Reply
    • June 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks, Katie! For me, body criticism can also mask deeper issues. When I’m stressed-out, it can get worse, because I’m just frustrated with everything, and I guess it’s easier to bash your body sometimes than to dig deeper. Many times, it’s also easier to say that you feel fat. For some reason, that non-emotion is more accessible to me. I love your last point – just telling myself that I’m more than physical attributes is so key! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, too!

      Reply
  • June 24, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Hi, Today is very stressful as it’s been a long week and I feel like there are many things left to do. From experience I know that my body image issues / comparing myself to others / disordered eating are going to become huge issues if I don’t take a deep breath, get centered, and focus on priorities (staying sane). This post is so great – it reminds me that relapses happen if I don’t stay in the moment. Right now I stopped to read this post and comment. Meanwhile, I also recognized how fast my heart is beating and how overwhelmed I feel. Thank you for giving me a moment to pause and reflect. The sharing and honesty is must appreciated – Angie

    Reply
    • June 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      You’re welcome, Angie!! I tend to get stressed-out quickly, particularly my body. My heart starts beating faster, and my mind starts to race. And I have a tough time staying in the moment. Thank you for reminding me about that! I’m actually trying to breathe deeply as I write this. 🙂 It does help a lot. How our body feels affects our body image tremendously. I’m so happy you liked the post!

      Reply
  • June 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    It’s all about staying present and breathing. If you are able to do that then all of your resources are available to you.
    There is no doubt that when your body feels good and your mind is calm that you are in a much better space than if your body is numb and your mind is hectic.
    go for the peace…

    Reply
  • June 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Margarita,

    Thanks for sharing that. It makes me feel less alone to see even a body image blogger having these feelings. My weight is now normal–but I’m having midlife issues so even though I lost weight to a healthy level and normalized my blood glucose and blood pressure, it dismays me that I can weigh what I did 20 years ago but my body composition is totally shifted. I turned into an apple instead of a pear… so I actually envy your hips–go figure. So my issue is more about shape than size–but I still feel bad sometimes.

    Even though I intellectually know it’s normal to age and for the body to change, I actually have more of a problem with body image now than I did when I was heavy. So I wanted to say how much I value your blog, and now, your honesty here.

    Reply
    • June 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

      @LovesCatsinCA, thank you so much! You definitely aren’t alone! And I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all a process. I mean we can’t eliminate negative thoughts. I noticed that I started criticizing myself for criticizing myself, so it can definitely become a cycle. It’s funny how intellectually we can recognize what’s going on and know exactly what to do (as in my case, I’m giving the advice), but sometimes it’s just hard. And like you said, as you go through different stages of your life, and your body changes, you might not be comfortable with that. We become especially uncomfortable when we feel like we have no control over what’s going on physically (I know that’s tough). I think it takes time. Try to take it one step, one day at a time, and hopefully my tips were somewhat helpful.

      @ zenantidiet, So important to be in a good space. Your mood, tension/stress levels definitely all affect body image! I totally agree.

      Reply
  • June 25, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Great post Margarita!
    its amazing, even those of us who work to promote positive body image don’t always feel positive about our own bodies…it’s normal to have high tide/low tide feelings, but its extra disappointing when you thought you were over all that negative thinking & behavior.
    thankfully, there are people like you who remind us that we are “more than our hips”, and who offer some techniques that help get us over the slump!

    Reply
    • June 25, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth!! It’s definitely disappointing, but I have to say that writing this blog has still given me a huge appreciation for my body and tons of knowledge (thanks to so many great experts). For instance, I refuse to diet, count calories and all that stuff. It’s just interesting how fast I throw my body under the bus when it doesn’t look the way I want it to, or when I’m in a bad mood or when I’m not taking good care of myself. But you’re so right: there are high and low tide feelings. The key is not to criticize ourselves for criticizing ourselves, which like I said before, is something I do. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    You are so inspirational and brave to write this post. I so admire you for making yourself vulnerable and being so open and honest.

    As a fellow body image advocate I too have days and times where my own feelings about my body are not as strong as I would want them to be. I used to worry about this alot and somehow think I was being a fraud, but now I realise it is simply the up and down, ebb and flow of our self esteem and confidence which is NEVER static. It shifts and changes throughout our entire life.

    I try to remember that and know that things will get back on track soon. That and remembering as you say here to honour my body for all the wonderful things it can DO, as opposed to what it looks like. That is a pretty powerful thing to hold on to.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2010 at 2:05 am

      Thanks Julie for sharing your experiences, and for the thoughtful and kind words!!! I totally felt like a fraud. That’s actually a really accurate descriptor. I was thinking that if I’m dispensing this advice, and I can’t even follow it myself, then clearly there’s something wrong. But it’s that perfectionism talking. Like you said, it absolutely ebbs and flows, just like our self-esteem. I think the important thing is to know what to do when you’re on a downturn and to have faith in yourself.

      Reply
  • June 25, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for a great post. This is something that happens to us all, and to know that we’re not alone (and have some handy tips to manage it) is wonderful. Thank you.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2010 at 2:06 am

      You’re so welcome, Bronwyn in Oz! I really appreciate your comment, and I’m so glad that you found the tips to be helpful!

      Reply
  • June 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I’ve been following your blog and I like it very much. I’m a blogger
    myself at More of me to love
    where
    I talk about fashion and I also have two other personal blogs. Curvely
    Me and Curlvely Fashion
    where I write in Portuguese.

    I’d like your permission to translate your A body image confession
    article to portuguese. It’s funny because I’m dealing with this kind of
    thing right now! Being a body love blogger makes it feel even weirder
    for me.

    I’m doing the Learn to Eat program with Michelle, the Fat Nutritionist
    in a normal eating approach. Even
    tough I haven’t been dieting for at least 3 years, it’s still difficult
    sometimes not to be tempted to do so, specially when almost every woman
    around me want to lose weight, by dieting or exercising.

    So your text was really nice to read because it adresses some of my
    difficulties and I believe from other women too.

    If you’re ok with the translation, please let me know at papumorgado@gmail.com

    All the best,

    Patricia

    Reply
    • June 28, 2010 at 2:11 am

      Thanks so much, Patricia! I love Michelle’s blog! She’s awesome! That’s so wonderful that you’re working with her. I know what you mean about it being tough to stay off diets especially when it feels like everyone is on one. I’m curious to know when dieting became an American pastime – along with working out solely to lose weight. But it sounds like you’re being proactive in taking good care of yourself. I’ll email you shortly! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    hi! i’ve just found your blog. this is a really useful post. we have this modern idea that we, or parts of ourselves, can be ‘fixed’, it’ll stay ‘fixed’, and on to the next thing.

    but we’re more of a process or a system than a ‘thing’. mental/emotional patterns especially are always in flux, and need ongoing tending to keep them on an intentional path. my bugaboo is that black dog, depression. it gets easier with experience, but it’s never ‘fixed’ or static.

    and it sounds like it hasn’t been that long since you lost your dad. i’m so sorry for your loss. it takes a long time to grieve (another part of life that’s avoided in our society). as other posters have suggested, go easy on yourself and realize you’re going through a huge transition that’ll take time and space to go through. it does settle down in time, especially if you can remain present.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2010 at 2:22 am

      Hi Steph! Thank you! It hasn’t been that long. It’ll be a year on Aug. 10th, which is odd because it feels like just yesterday when everything happened. Transitions are definitely tough to deal with, and you’re absolutely right that that’s when we need to be easier on ourselves, and to give things time. Life is definitely not static, so I’m not sure why I expected my body image to be.

      BTW, your blog is wonderful. You’re so creative!

      Reply
  • October 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. i woke up HATING my body..and I feel like a hypocrite on my blog. gah. I calmed down..and didn’t binge. am realising my choices all stack up. not restricting, not over-exercising…just making mindful choices and turning up my inner-voice..the positive one..a little louder 🙂

    Reply
    • October 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

      @ Mish, I’ve felt like a hypocrite many times on my blog. 🙂 So you’re never alone in that, that’s for sure. Having a positive body image is a process – a daily process. The key is that even though you felt like crap about your body, you didn’t listen to that negative voice. You made different choices that honor you and your body. That is NOT being a hypocrite in the least. In fact, it’s being an inspiration. 🙂

      Reply
 

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