How I Hokey Pokey

Feet in teal sandals pic

In my other life, I swam competitively or ran 6 miles most days.

Then, due to lupus and ankylosing spondylitis, I couldn’t breathe or walk for periods of time. Dressing myself seemed like running a marathon. So did using the restroom. I told God, at age 28, “Please take me if this is a preview of my future.”

One month I spent on the couch. I rolled off the floor and crawled down the hall to use the restroom. Every last thread of energy I used to complete the tasks involved in using the bathroom.

My future dreams included a triathlon. Not using every ounce of stamina to relieve myself.

Physicians and naturopaths tried many different approaches to treat the inflammation that ravaged my body, mind and soul.

I changed my diet as well.

After years of battling the beasts, sometimes I saw glimmers of hope. But often the darkness enveloped my life story.

Yes, I learned volumes from this journey. I’m a prayer warrior, and I learned to stop and breathe in the beauty of jasmine fragrance. I also divorced my drivenness. This go, go, go mentality of many Americans creates chaos of the soul. The drive shoots cortisol throughout our bodies, and stress pumps through our veins. And of course, that was me.

But nowadays – thanks to an injectable medication called Humira – I have part of my life back. I can sleep through the nights without waking all night long in pain. I can walk. I can dress myself. And I can breathe without having a frozen iced venti cup of water on my chest. (This works better than an ice pack, for some reason.)

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Nowadays, every other Tuesday I inject myself. That’s my hokey pokey. As in, I poke myself with a needle that offers me two more weeks of a semi-normal life. (Sometimes I’m still exhausted, feeling as though I’ve been drugged. But that’s another story, and this happens on the sunny days. A part of lupus.)

And yes, I am quite aware of the side effects of this TNF blocker medication. I’m willing to take the risks. Because deep down, I’m an athlete. I love the wind caressing my hair on my pink kayak. (Below: pic with Werner kayak paddle.)

That. Is. Life. I feel the gratitude engulf my soul as I paddle among the seals and salmon.

And this is a piece of my heart that you may learn from:

Don’t share about your friend who died of lupus. Please don’t dance that song in front of anyone fighting any disease.

 

Oh, and also don’t share an approach you know will fix it. Because chances are – I’ve tried it. If you absolutely must share, please ask graciously first. To offer false hope is like piercing me with a broken piece of my life story.

Parking in a handicapped space when you don’t need to? I’m going to TP your house.

Why am I sharing this story?

So ribbons of gratitude weave their way through your own body image story.  Can you breathe today? Jump in gratitude. Can you walk? Rejoice.

Dance like a diva or dude to the music of gratitude.~

 

 

 ____________

Do you have a hokey pokey body image story? Please share.

(*happy feet picture at the top shows my toes separated due to injections of cortisone from years ago. But who cares, right? 😉

The full story is in my book, Tooshie: Defeating the Body Image Bandit

There’s Only 1 Woman in America with No Body Image Issues!

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Here’s her secret: (Short Video under 2 Minutes)

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10203648089674299&id=1578349327

Let me know your thoughts.

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Body Image and Comparing: Learn to Stop the Art of Comparing Your Body!

You are a masterpiece

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog about the “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” that happens when we get pulled into the undercurrent of comparing our bodies to other peoples’.  This leads to drudgery and despair because you drown in the pool of stinkin’ thinkin’.  It consumes you until you start the sick cycle of dieting that leads to bingeing, which leads to purging (for some) and over-exercising (for some).  See my posts about the sick cycle for more information.

What would it look like to beat the Body Image Bandit at this comparing game?  After all, coveting – and yes, that is exactly what it is – is a very unhealthy animal.  So let’s work together to stop coveting and comparing.  After all, what good comes out of it?   Here are some techniques to catch yourself at the comparing/coveting game and stopping it right then and there:

1.  Picture a large stop sign.  Picture yourself screaming at the top of your lungs, “STOP!”

 (Warning:  If you do this for real instead of inside your head, people will laugh and point.  So it is best to just picture it inside your head.)  This has really helped a lot of people.  Keep repeating this over and over until it becomes as natural as eating chocolate chip cookie dough when you are baking cookies. 🙂

2.  Stop yourself and ask God to help you. You can’t do it alone. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)  Repeat that verse to yourself, and you’ll shift to an attitude of gratitude.

3. Change channels! Turn from the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ channel to the “Bless others with your gifts,” channel.  Embrace your true gifts, talents, and story. Lean into your true calling, and pursue your passion! How can you embrace your calling and serve instead of obsess about your appearance?

  
Because after all, thinking about the size of your fanny – in relation to the size of other peoples’ fannies – is definitely not a noble thought.  It is a thought of coveting, which leads down to the dark road of depression.  So do yourself a favor, and stop that stinkin’ thinkin’ right in its tracks.

Be kind to yourself, and focus on your God-given talents, abilities to bless others.  Get your focus off your fanny – and those of other people!

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Stop Playing Diet-Binge Ping Pong!

How many times have you gone “on” a diet and then “off”? You know, that all-or-nothing thinking.

It’s also called black and white thinking.

Deep in your heart, you know that –

DIETS DON’T WORK AS LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS.

You’ll most likely lose the weight.

But you will eventually

gain it all back – plus more!

So- what can you do?

Sorry  – I’m not suggesting you quit your job, lie on your sofa and gorge yourself with chocolate chip cookie dough!

  
Instead:

1. Admit that your issues with food and body image are really about

the pain you’ve experienced in your life story.

2. Begin to work on your heart that has been crying out by self-medicating with food or the control of it.

Then you will begin to work on the

real issues behind your self-medication.

After all, your crying heart is what pulled you into Diet-Binge Ping Pong.

Because food and body image issues are really

issues of the heart.

 

 

Body Image and Fat Talk

“I’m tired of the way women talk so much about food, diet and fitness issues,” Cindy said.  She sipped her chai tea Starbucks latte as she played with the wrapper from the straw.

“I know, ” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if women could go a whole week without talking about 

                diets,

                                    workout plans,

calories,

fat grams, and

sizes.”

She glanced out the window at the pink snow from the cherry tree. 

“Why don’t women just get on with their lives instead of obsessing about their bodies? I really don’t get it.” 

We had just hiked one of the St. Edward’s Park trails down to Lake Washington.  The Seattle sun smiled on us and people laughed and told stories as dogs, kids, and trail runners met and then passed us. 

“I think the windfall of media poisons our thinking, causing us to compare ourselves to photoshopped and airbrushed images.  And since we see over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we’re drowning in a tsunami of lies.”  I ignored the beep my phone made to signal I’d received a text message.  “It leads to a lot of comparing and coveting; wishing we had bodies that are not actually real.”

“That’s true,”  Cindy said.  She reached into her backpack to find her phone.  “This whole business of coveting can drive us to despair.  When we compare and covet something someone else has – like an image in a magazine that has been photoshopped- we buy into the lies of the Body Image Bandit. I heard a clip of Cindy Crawford saying, ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’ She was talking about how the pictures of her in magazines don’t resemble her because of all the photoshopping.” 

“Wow.  That’s unbelievable,”  I said.  I noticed two kayaks paddling down on the waterfront.  “Hey, want to go kayaking on Saturday?” 

“Sure.  Sounds fun.  Let’s see if we can go on the Hood Canal to check out the seals you’ve been telling me about.”  She got up and put her cup in the recycle bin.  “I’m going to write a challenge to my Facebook friends to go a week in their real lives without talking about diets, sizes, workouts, and foods.  I bet they’ll have better weeks because they won’t get into negative thinking patterns.”

“That sounds interesting,” I said.  “Can’t wait to hear how it goes.  See you Saturday.” 

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Body Image and Humor: Woman vs. Kitty

Meow.. by Motor-Head

Great news!  I just learned that chocolate has superb anti-aging properties.  I read a short article about this while waiting for my kitty’s appointment.  If I keep drinking mochas at the same rate, I should reclaim my 29th birthday by Labor Day! I guess I will keep feeding the chocolate monster within.  Maybe I should get back into the habit of making chocolate chip cookie dough.  I used to mix it up every few weeks, but hardly any of it made it into the oven because it would take a detour and end up in my tummy.  Then it would immediately slide down due to gravity, but for some reason the gravity would stop kicking in when the cookie dough got to my rear end.  Weird, huh?

While I had this delectable news about chocolate on my mind, the vet assistant called us in.  Prissy, my kitty, had to get her booster shots.  It’s still hard to believe I have a cat because I thought of myself as a dog-only type of person.  But my husband kept wanting a kitty, so what could I say?  She is very loving most of the time, very low-maintenance, and makes an excellent heating pad.

So when Prissy and I got called for her appointment, they weighed her in. The last time we did this, the vet scolded me because she had plumped up to eighteen pounds.  He said he was concerned about her health at that weight, so asked me to cut back on her food.  Let me tell you, Prissy got nasty and angry.  Even worse than me when I used to believe in diets and was irritable because I felt so deprived.  She spent a lot of time hanging out by the pantry door where the cat food is kept, making noises like she was in labor of birthing sixteen kittens.  So I cut her back very gradually, a little each week.  Today we got the good news that she has lost a little over two pounds.  The vet  now wants her to lose about two more pounds, then she will be at her so-called “ideal weight.”

The advantage that Prissy has over you and me is she has no psychological hang-ups about her weight.  She doesn’t compare herself with other kitties, thinking, “Is that cat’s butt bigger or smaller than mine?” Or, “When I turn so you can see my profile, do I look like a pregnant mongoose?”  She has no concerns about her appearance because she is preoccupied with more important things like pouncing on our dog or looking for bugs on the ceiling. I have seen no evidence that she obsesses about her waist or the appearance of any other body parts. She doesn’t care about her size or shape, but is more concerned about keeping herself clean. Oh, to be a kitty!

What kind of freedom would you have if you were more like Prissy?  I don’t mean having claws and a mousie toy, but  what if you could be totally without knowledge or concern about your appearance? Maybe that gives you shudders, and you picture yourself as a sloth rolling out of bed with bad breath, putting on a little pit juice (deodorant), and going about your day.  Your hair is uncombed and your clothes are wrinkled, but you don’t really care. You’re on a mission to hunt down breakfast – and the bigger, the better.If you are like the majority of teen girls and women, you frequently compare your body with other people.  Many – not all, but many – of those you compare yourself with – have eating disorders that you can’t see.

Other times women and girls compare themselves with the pictures they see in magazines and usually get depressed because they feel they don’t measure up.  We have already discussed the statistics on this, which reveals that females feel bad about themselves the more they look at magazines.  So why torture yourself with magazine-induced depression?

 by Chelsea3883I am Beautiful, by Chelsea Panos

And so I say it again – let’s have a beauty/fashion/celebrity magazine recycling party. Imagine this: You get together all of your friends and their friends as well. Each person brings all of her beauty magazines, all of her fashion magazines, and all of her celebrity magazines. Each person adds her magazines to the pile. A microphone is provided where anyone can talk about what the magazines have done to their hearts. You may want to have a cake to celebrate the day that you decided to give the Body Image Power a kick in the rear-end.


Maybe you could even find a speaker to discuss all the ways you can kick the Body Image Bandit out of your life.I rarely look at such magazines.  I really don’t need that kind of negative influence in my thinking.  I am reminded of the passage in Philippians 4:8, although it was not written with body image issues in mind, Paul attests:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things.”

It is not healthy to stuff our feelings, as I often tell my clients.  In fact I tell them that stuffing is for turkeys and teddy bears, and they are neither one! Neither are you. So it is important to get your feelings out in a safe venue, perhaps with a trusted friend who is not shaming or even on paper because paper doesn’t judge.  (If you are concerned about someone finding it, no worries because you can type it and then delete it.  Believe it or not, the act of the purging your feelings is what is important.)  King David called out to God again and again, and often expressed his feelings.  Had he been born today, he would have received just about every diagnosis in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders.

Even though it is healthy to express your feelings to safe people. That is why I like to express my feelings with friends or on paper and to God, and then focus on the positive : …”whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.”

Focusing on other peoples’ bodies and shaming ourselves for our own looks is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable.  In fact, it is false (when we look at magazines which are photoshopped and airbrushed), shaming, wrong, and despicable.  It brings us down and is another form of “stinkin’ thinkin’” as Al-Anon and the 12-step programs say.

You will notice that Scripture does not say, “Look at the woman (or teenager) in front of you in line at the store. Notice if her thighs, waist, bust, ankles, and/or fanny is bigger or smaller than yours. Then mope around for the next four months because you feel fat and ugly compared to her.”  Thank goodness it doesn’t say that!  We are not supposed to compare ourselves to the world’s standards, because we are actually citizens of heaven.  That is why Scripture emphasizes, “Man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7b). 

How I wish we could saturate the hearts and minds of girls and women with this profound truth.  You probably noticed the verse says nothing about evaluating ourselves on the basis of our body fat percentage, or on the shapeliness of our figures.  What a sigh of relief.  Since we’ve seen over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we may not be able to completely erase their effects from our minds and be like a kitty.  But with practice of stopping negative thinking and focusing on more pleasant thoughts, we can reclaim the plunder of the Body Image Bandit. Like this story? There are many more funny stories in my book. Tooshie:Defeating the Body Image Bandit 

Exercise of Cat 03 by J i J y

Body Image: Fighting the Lies of the Body Image Bandit

What do you do when the Body Image Bandit bites? For example, let’s say you’re waiting in line at Starbucks. You notice the woman waiting in line ahead of you. She is probably a Zumba queen, and could easily model jeans on a billboard. You pinch your “muffin top” and sigh. But wait. You can take steps to protect yourself from the Body Image Bandit, who is the father of lies.

Step 1: Recognize the lies.

You have a much higher calling than asking, “Do these jeans make my tooshie look fat?”

Picture a pair of binoculars. This represents your constant scanning the environment to search for lies of the Bandit.

Take a few seconds to recognize you’ve been bitten by the Body Image Bandit. He is the father of lies, and he wants to make you feel like garbage (shame). Then you’ll  feel discouraged and won’t live out your true calling. You’ll be too busy beating yourself up. Here are some examples of the lies the Body Image Bandit feeds people:

  • I’m not good enough (i.e. not “skinny” enough, tall enough, too tall, my face is ugly, my (insert arms, legs, waist, etc.) isn’t good enough.
  • I’m not loveable as I am.
  • I can’t have a rewarding life until I lose ____ pounds.
  • I won’t have a full life until I’m a size _____.

Step 2: Reject the Lies.

Picture a sign that says, “No Parking Any Time.” As soon as you notice your brain going to the Comparing Channel, picture yourself pulling out of that parking spot. Just like you do when you pull your car into a space saying “No Parking Any Time,” put your brain into another gear.

Step 3: Replace the Lies

Picture a remote control. To replace the lies, visualize changing the channel. You were on the Stinking Thinking Channel! One starring plot of the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Channel is Comparing your body to other peoples’.

Below are some other channel choices. Practice stopping your thoughts and changing the channels so you can do it faster than a woman with PMS can say, “Gimme ice cream!” Otherwise the lies will seep into your soul and rob your joy.

1. Service: How can you use your God-given talents, gifts and story to help others?

2. Make a list of everything you are thankful for. If you think can’t find anything you’re thankful for, think again. The majority of people on earth live on less than $2 a day! You probably have clean water, food, and more than one pair of clothes. Did you see anything beautiful today? Did you drink coffee today? Put it on your list. Learn to focus on the good.

2. Truth:. Copy specific verses down so you can memorize them. I like to use the blank business cards available at office supply stores. Here’s a verse to get you started:  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. (Notice it doesn’t say to think about clothing sizes, numbers on a scale, or what you’re gonna do when you “get skinny.”  🙂

3. Pray. Ask the Lord how to use your gifts, talents, and personality for His glory. (Have you read The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren? The book explains how to use your gifts, talents, personality and story to live out God’s calling for your life. Because you were not created for so much more than  to obsess about your appearance.

Like many activities, this takes practice! The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. If you continue to work at it, you’ll have a renewed mind.

 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

lotus with leaf

Link

My friend, Mindy, decided to post blog pictures of herself without make-up or photoshopping. It’s powerful…but you may also think, “If I looked like Mindy, I would do it too.” I know what you mean. I often look like a gekko when I wake up in the morning. Especially when I haven’t had a cup of coffee.

Enjoy this post from Momma Mindy’s Moments.  MaKiNg FuN of MoM

Body Image and Fat Talk

“I’m tired of the way women talk so much about food, diet and fitness issues,” Cindy said.  She sipped her chai tea Starbucks latte as she played with the wrapper from the straw.

“I know, ” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if women could go a whole week without talking about 

                diets,

                                    workout plans,

calories,

fat grams, and

sizes.”

She glanced out the window at the pink snow from the cherry tree. 

“Why don’t women just get on with their lives instead of obsessing about their bodies? I really don’t get it.” 

We had just hiked one of the St. Edward’s Park trails down to Lake Washington.  The Seattle sun smiled on us and people laughed and told stories as dogs, kids, and trail runners met and then passed us. 

“I think the windfall of media poisons our thinking, causing us to compare ourselves to photoshopped and airbrushed images.  And since we see over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we’re drowning in a tsunami of lies.”  I ignored the beep my phone made to signal I’d received a text message.  “It leads to a lot of comparing and coveting; wishing we had bodies that are not actually real.”

“That’s true,”  Cindy said.  She reached into her backpack to find her phone.  “This whole business of coveting can drive us to despair.  When we compare and covet something someone else has – like an image in a magazine that has been photoshopped- we buy into the lies of the Body Image Bandit. I heard a clip of Cindy Crawford saying, ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’ She was talking about how the pictures of her in magazines don’t resemble her because of all the photoshopping.” 

“Wow.  That’s unbelievable,”  I said.  I noticed two kayaks paddling down on the waterfront.  “Hey, want to go kayaking on Saturday?” 

“Sure.  Sounds fun.  Let’s see if we can go on the Hood Canal to check out the seals you’ve been telling me about.”  She got up and put her cup in the recycle bin.  “I’m going to write a challenge to my Facebook friends to go a week in their real lives without talking about diets, sizes, workouts, and foods.  I bet they’ll have better weeks because they won’t get into negative thinking patterns.”

“That sounds interesting,” I said.  “Can’t wait to hear how it goes.  See you Saturday.” 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17