Monday, August 1, 2011

Body Mind + Fresh Starts

I love it when the first of the month falls on a Monday. It's like a little gift from the Universe—or a kick in the pants, if you prefer. It's a new beginning! Change for the better!

July threw me completely off my health-and-wellness game. I began the month with exhaustion from post-D&C anemia and ended it with exhaustion from, well, failing to care for myself. Except for my period's welcome return, nothing good happened in July, health-wise:
  1. I went on vacation and ate a bunch of things I don't normally eat. As in, Hello refined sugars and saturated fats! Let's make out! Also, I drank a lot of alcohol. Not just a little alcohol. A LOT of alcohol.
  2. Two days after arriving home, I was in the ER with shortness of breath and chest pain.
  3. The weather finally got summery, and Westley and I went to the beach.
One of these things is not like the others? Yes, well, thanks to the desserts and the stress mentioned above, I have lost some muscle and gained some fat, and my weight is up a bit. This was vexing, but not a life-shattering crisis.

Until that day at the beach.

The skinny, fit mothers were out in droves that day. Right in the middle of building a sandcastle with borrowed toys, my somewhat-rational thinking was kidnapped by what Anne Lamott calls Butt Mind.
I've spent days and entire weeks comparing my butt to everyone else's butt. Sometimes my butt was better-than, although it is definitely the butt of a mother who keeps forgetting to work out. Mostly it was worse-than. — Traveling Mercies
So there I was, sizing up all of these other mothers with Belly/Tits/Upper-Arms Mind, and that day, my body was MUCH-worse-than. Especially compared to this one mother who could have been my better-looking twin. She was about my height, and we had the same hairstyle—except that she actually knew how to style her hair. Also, she had two children to my one, and (here's the kicker) both were younger than Westley. Super-fit mothers with children older than mine are a little easier to ignore. But a blonde with two tiny kids and a slammin' bod? Enough to throw me into a serious depression.

Like any eating-disordered person would, I used this stranger's beauty as the perfect excuse to binge-eat a bunch of refined carbohydrates, many of which were made of corn, and I felt absolutely like I wanted to die, which makes me think I may need to break up with corn. Then, all bloated and jiggly and MUCH-worse-than, I decided to purge with laxatives for the first time in years.

For better or worse, it didn't work. All my laxative cocktail did was make me crampy and irritate the hell out of my hemorrhoids (which are a side-effect of—guess what!—laxative abuse).

The thought did occur to me, as I was witch-hazeling my ass, that I could up the dose. But that thought was the ticket for a trip that I do not wish to take again.

Today, my health and I started over.

I ate things with proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. I drank tea and tried to sit up straight while driving and did a little bit of yoga. I tried to think kind thoughts about my belly and my tits and my upper arms. (I'm bringing saggy back!) I thought about the ways I've participated in creating my own ill health.

Too often, when one of the habits that keeps me healthy falls away—exercising, eating healthfully, eating mindfully, taking vitamins, drinking enough water—the others fall away also. Putting them all back into alignment can feel overwhelming. Where do I start cleaning up this mess?

I don't know why it should matter that the first day of my fresh start with myself be the first day of the week, or the first of the month. But it does matter. It feels easier, somehow—like starting at the Universe-sanctioned beginning. I suppose this is what New Year's resolutions are all about.

My biggest obstacle seems to be that I want the change to come from outside of myself, even if it's just the date on the calendar suggesting, "Start now." I'm not yet at the place where I can begin anew whenever I decide I need to.



Melissa said...

You know what's crazy? The whole vacation, we all sat there wondering how Noelle could have such a better body than we did, even after she had a kid and all. I wish there was some way to make you see how beautiful you are.

Oh and that mom with the two kids under the age of three with the perfect body? She was the nanny. Or she had a surrogate, or they were adopted. And if she said she didn't she was lying.

Allison the Meep said...

It sucks how cruel we can be to ourselves. I wish you (and the rest of us who do this, me included) could see yourself as everyone else sees you. You are one of the most beautiful moms ever! And I'm not just blowing hot air up your ass....because that would be really insensitive to your 'rhoids.


Oh this made me sad. What woman DOESN'T spend a significant amount of time comparing herself to other "better" looking women??? It makes me SO angry that somehow most of us have been suckered into this starvation of female psyche. Can you imagine if an average woman could quantify the amount of time she has actually spent consumed and tormented by her own scrutiny? That is time she could have spent feeling good about herself, learning something, noticing beauty around her, relaxing, picking her nose - ANYTHING other than silently hating herself. I get very sad to think of the time I have spent doing this. The time I still catch myself throwing away.

I'm glad August gave you a present. Take everything you can from it! I think you are quite lovely! Soak up the energy that emanates from Westley's eyes when he looks at you. He knows you better than anyone. That is where you will see what you really look like.

Amber @ Not Mommy said...

I do the same thing. I compare compare compare, and sulk. I'm horrible to myself, and in turn I feel highly judgmental. While I'm sizing myself up, I'm examining other people and pointing out their flaws. I hate everything about it.

Candace said...

I don't love my body and do have 2 kids under 3 but I just think of it as a work in progress! Besides I never had the body of those women before I had kids and I shouldn't think I ever will. I guess you just have to be happy with what you have and do your best to do what is right for your body and mind. I'm pretty sure that doesn't include pooping meds!

Also, we need to think about that mama you were looking at. She mostly likely obsessed about her body before having kids and so she was obsessed with getting it back after. It may be a problem for her and she may stress about it all the time. She probably has help with her kids so she can go to the gym every day and maybe she has a personal trainer and chef. All women, regardless of how they look to you have issues with their bodies after having kids.