I am going to warn you now that this post could be scattered and random, since I have quite a few thoughts in my head and they are not all completely related… Also, I am using my laptop to type this and for some reason, it thinks that I want to search for something on the web page every time I want to insert an apostrophe. So I will not be using many contractions, even thought it makes me sound kinda stuffy.
I started my blog back in January because I love to write. I double-majored in Journalism and Spanish in college so pretty much all I did in college was write. I learned that to really hone your writing skills and produce any work worth reading, you need to constantly practice. Writers need to force themselves to write, even if it is one of those days that putting words on paper seems like pulling teeth.
Well, with a full-time job to work, a house to clean and manage, church activities to attend, and House episodes to watch, I do not have much time to write. I am toying with the idea of working 4 10-hour days (my work changed the HR policy for hourly employees to allow them to do that). I could use that day off to write and volunteer at a pregnancy center. But with my old boss leaving and a lot of stuff going on right now at work, it does not seem like I am going to be approved for that work situation anytime soon.
All that to say, I started a blog so that I would have some outlet to write, with some chance that other people would see and read it besides me. I had also planned to post my memoir on my blog pages. That has not really happened yet…
When I first started my blog, no one but my husband knew about it (but he did not even read it–and still does not!!) I used to frequent the Nest message boards a lot (not anymore) and put a link to my blog in my board signature, as well as my email signature. So people found and read my blog that way. But I did not physically tell anyone that I had a blog.
I have recently discovered that I am not the only person who did not tell anyone about their blog. The reasons for not doing so are different for each person. For my blogger friend Leah, she did not tell anyone because she wanted to maintain face-to-face communication. For my real-life friend (and I just discovered, also blogger) Katie, she was afraid to tell anyone because of what they would think about what she REALLY thinks. For me, I just could not figure out a way to tell people I knew about my blog without feeling like I was saying “Check me out! I am sooooo awesome!”
I never had the intention that my blog would be the blow-by-blow of my life (some people have blogs like that, that is their prerogative). Instead, I wanted to muse on the random NESS of life and the different things I was learning about God. And I think (and hope!) that for the most part, my blog has not been a bunch of fluff and description about what I actually DO every day, but rather deep (or at least deepER) thoughts about life, love, and God.
So this morning, when I was thinking about where I have been lately with the whole eating/exercise thing, I thought about blogging about it. But then, I was scared about my friends back in Minnesota reading about it. Because for some reason, I have always felt the need to keep secret my struggle with body image, eating, exercise, etc. I do know that I have talked about it with a few girls (and I talk about it with Travis, who tries to understand as well as he can as a guy) but by and large, I keep it to myself.
There are quite a few people at my work, men and women both, who openly and frequently talk about their efforts to be healthier, lose weight, exercise, train for an event, etc. It seems strange to me that it is like that, since I am so the opposite. Maybe I feel that way because I have been told so many times before when I even mention something of trying to lose weight/tone/eat better “You do NOT need to lose weight!! You are already skinny!” Or maybe it is because I feel like I struggle to make it not an idol, rather than, like other people, struggle to make it even remotely a priority. Whatever the reason is, I never chime in on what I am currently doing to “maintain my physique” because I would just feel exposed.
As I had all those thoughts, I realized that my intention for blogging had slowly been morphing without my knowledge or consent. I read somewhere online, when researching a better blog name (which I finally came up with!), that you can’t write anything without thinking about a certain audience. (Side note: I just discovered that my apostrophe button has now decided it will work and give me an apostrophe! YAY!! ””””’ Look at all those!) I have been tempted to filter what I blog about according to my audience. That defeats the whole point of my blog!!
So, in the name of not filtering my blog, I will write about what I’m tempted to not write about: my struggle with eating/exercise/body image.
I will first of qualify this by saying that I know that I’m not fat. I would like to lose a few pounds but I’m sure the majority of women fall into that category with me.
My biggest struggle lately has been eating horribly. My parents were out here for a weekend and then Travis parents just left yesterday after being out here for a whole week. For some inexplicable reason, I eat like a horse around my family. Thanksgiving and Christmas last year were anomalies in my holiday eating habits (in that I didn’t eat like a pig). I know that a lot of people struggle with eating around the holidays–but me, I just struggle with eating around my family. (Doesn’t help either that the exercise is pretty much non-existent when I’m around them).
When I eat horribly, I get bloated and feel gross. So I wear baggy clothes, which makes it easy for me to continue to eat horribly. And when I already feel gross, I feel like “Well, why not eat another bowl of ice cream?”
I envy those people who are even-keeled, who eat the same way all the time, who respect their internal fullness mechanism and stop when they don’t need anymore. I tend to be more of an emotional and spastic eater. I will eat a huge dessert when I’m already stuffed to the gills because I want dessert. I will eat ice cream, chocolate, and sweets even when I’ve decided not to (anyone who has read my blog consistently knows that!) because I have this puny little willpower. I eat when I’m bored or especially when I’m tired. I love cereal so much that I’m tempted (but lately have refrained from) eating 2 big bowls for breakfast.
I don’t really struggle a whole ton with the exercise part. I really do enjoy exercising (except for when I’m in a funk…then doing anything but lie on the couch seems like an extraordinary amount of effort). I have been going to aerobics classes at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center. I love them. They are challenging (exertion-wise AND routine-wise) but fun, the time goes really fast, and I push myself more than I would if I were by myself. I just need to get my eating under control.
Back in Sept, I had written a post about imposing a no-sweet rule on myself for the rest of Sept. Well, if you couldn’t tell, that didn’t really happen. After a week-long gaffe, I got back on track…for a while. But the end of Sept and early Oct have been pretty pathetic. But last night, I decided that I was sick of feeling nasty. I know that it affects the way I feel about myself and it affects my marriage (when you don’t feel sexy, it’s hard to act like you do!!) And I know that God doesn’t want me to beat myself up all the time over the way I look–He doesn’t want me to disrespect or abuse my body either, through under-training and overeating, or even the reverse.
There have been periods of time when I felt very in control (in a good way!!) of myself–what and how much I ate, how much I exercised, etc. I felt great being in control–but it’s the time when I drive myself into the ground and get discouraged that seem to be the hardest to get out of. I don’t want diet and exercise to rule my life–I want it to be a natural part of it. I don’t want to throw caution to the wind but I don’t want to be a Nazi about it either. Only the Lord can help me find the happy medium–because I can’t do anything loving for a body that I hate. I need to believe that I am beautiful the way I am but that God has called me to something better–He has called me to ENJOY the body that I have been given. I know that I enjoy my body the most when I take the best care of it–by feeding it healthy foods and moving it through exercise.
I also have been researching ways to prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease–very real threats to women. I want to live long and be able to move around a lot when I’m older. So that is also motivation for being healthy now.
I guess my motivations for staying healthy are morphing as I get older and grow in my Christian walk. I keep hoping for the day when I wake up and I no longer struggle with wanting to be thinner. It hasn’t come yet. So I guess I will have to just keep on moving forward in faith, asking the Lord to free me from this idol and struggle, and give me life in His ways.
There! I blogged about it. I don’t feel better–it’s still a nasty struggle–but i don’t feel worse either. Because I know other women have this struggle. And if you have any advice or tips, I’d love to hear them!