An apology seems in order

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life143 Comments

“…I am sorry that I tried to make you into something that wasn’t mine.”

It starts with this article. (If you read it, this post will make a bit more sense.)

I’ve read articles like this before. Articles that are designed to help women see themselves differently. Articles designed to enable women to see their bodies as the amazing vehicles for all earthly experiences (which, of course, they are.) And I usually let them touch me for a good five minutes, commit wholeheartedly to changing my body image attitude and then forget all about them and go back to my status quo.

What is my status quo? It’s that salvation will always lie 30 pounds less from today. That a thinner me is automatically a better me. That I will be more attractive. That I will feel better. That I will have it all together. That I won’t have to be ashamed.

Every day it’s all about what I shouldn’t put into this space—this body that ties me into being remarkably human. Shouldn’t-a eaten that. Shouldn’t-a eaten this. Aaaaand repeat.

No matter how I’ve tried to truly embrace the whole body love movement it seems like I’m much more for showin’ than for blowin’. (And yes, I am quoting Laverne DeFazio.)

Move More, Eat Less—whoops, I mean Eat WELL! I’m full of catch phrases and positive spins. I love alliteration when it comes to all things diet and exercise. I mean, if it’s catchy, it’s gotta at least be worth 10 pounds in the right direction. Right?

But something happened when I read this article. This idea of being sorry for trying to make my body into something that isn’t mine. The pervasive idea that all of us, with some elbow grease and hard work can achieve this crazy ideal of body perfection. If I just smoked enough cigarettes. If I just nailed those 22 points a day. If I just got off that sugar. That gluten. Those carbs. That animal protein. That Cross Fit workout. That Pilates class. That [insert the next life-changing health and fitness idea here].

If I just do everything right, I can have that body. Size 12. Size 10. Size 8. WHO KNOWS? Maybe even a size 6!

I am guilty of buying into this every single time because of that one time in 2002 when I smoked incessantly instead of eating and got down to a “magical” weight [read: ridiculous weight] for all of 15 minutes.

I know I can do this! I did it before!

But the fact is, until I get right with this ridiculous cycle, it will never be enough. Ever.

 

I am 48 years old and look at the legacy I’m carefully, neurotically laying out. The thought that I’ll hit 50, then 60, then 70 (if I’m even that lucky) and with each successive decade there I’ll be, still muddling through and trying to accept the body that I have with grace and failing miserably.

And writing about it. Over and over and over again.

Of course, that’s what writers do. We write. We write to figure shit out. And we keep doing it until we think we know something. Or at least until that something changes, and then we have to figure it out again.

I know I present to the world as a middle aged scrapbooker mom, but I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m a writer first, even if I’m the only one who knows it.

 

I read the aforementioned article aloud to Dan. I only got as far as “Dearest,” before the tears came hot and fast.

Dearest. Oh my God. I never think of myself in that tender way.

I’m not saying this is some kind of Come to Diet Jesus turning point for me, but it is time to issue this body of mine an apology.

I’m sorry for all the hating. The disappointment. The endless cycles of dieting and exercise. The extremes. The pity parties. The things I didn’t do because there was nothing that fit. The throwing my hands up in the air and not caring. The disconnection from doing what is actually needed.

But mostly, I’m sorry for not being tender.

My therapist says I don’t see myself accurately (and no, she’s not talking about being chubby, because believe me, she’d be the first to point that out). But that I don’t see my strengths and weaknesses accurately.

I see my attitude in this category as a weakness. The attitude that is always focused on those 30 pounds. And sure, I can frame it in more positive language (“stronger!” “more fit!” or the best one, “healthier!”) but for me those are just words for the same idea: thinner.

I need to work on this. I need to change this. It ain’t happening overnight. Just like any developmental shift, it’s going to take time.

But hopefully not too much time. I’ve wasted an awful lot of it to date.

Apologies are meaningless without action to back them up.

I’ve got some serious making up to do.

 

Over the weekend, we were up at our family cabin and I didn’t hesitate to throw on my new swimsuit, go for a boat ride and swim in the lake. And I’m taking that as a very small sign that changing this attitude is, in fact, possible.

Floating525

 

 

 

Cathy ZielskeAn apology seems in order

143 Comments on “An apology seems in order”

  1. #1
    karen

    So I peeked at bloglines this morning at 6:30 at my desk at work…read your post…followed the link. Bad idea! I sat at my desk and bawled. That article sadly was me to a T. I’m better than I was a year ago on this journey to like myself better – but still not there. Keep writing – keep posting your struggle. So many blogs are all rosy – it is nauseating to read the idyllic posts of so many who make theirs lives seem so perfect. There are more people out there like you – like me – who struggle with weight, with self-esteem issues and blogs like yours make us realize our struggles are normal. Thank you.

  2. #2
    kelly

    i can so totally relate to this. trying very hard myself to make peace with my post-menopause body. several years ago i love 20 pounds on weight watchers. and while it was great being a size six for half a minute, it was mentally and emotionally exhausting…the constant focus on every.single.morsel of food i put into my mouth. i just can’t live like that anymore.

    i love the way you put this though – a vehicle for my human experience. a new way of seeing things. thank you for sharing and thank you for always being so honest.

  3. #3
    cathy

    Karen, sometimes I’m nervous (okay, a lot of times) to hit post on posts like this. I don’t want to come off as whiny (though sometimes, I actually DO want to come off as whiny.) And I always have a slight tinge of “someone is going to slam me for this post.” And that’s part of blogging. It comes with the territory. I just wanted to write how that article made me feel and think. Thank you for reading. : )

  4. #4
    Louise

    Fantastic post, thank you. Most of all I am so pleased that you see yourself as a writer. (I think I remember a layout you did about things you’d tell your younger self – lots of squares – and one was that you were going to become a writer, just not in the way you thought. I hope I’m not making that up?) That feels so important. But also, yeah, I’m one of those ‘healthier’ actually equals ‘thinner’ women. Attitude is always a work in progress, for me, just like so many things. Fab photo of you in the lake too!! I love how your dark tankini bottoms merge into the colour of the water – neat effect. And I can totally imagine this as a 12 x 12 layout with white writing across the top of the page. So glad you hit post on this one.

  5. #5
    Jacquie Desilets

    Whiny=Human. I suspect you will not lose too many readers due to the content of your material. There is a lot of proof out there that you have a large readership who truly wants to hear what you have to say 🙂

    I have been on the weight loss wagon since I quit smoking over 12 years ago. Oh yeah, and that menopause thing. I have worked on that last 10 – 15 pounds for longer than I can remember. But I DO want to get there…I DO want to be a size 10. The only difference between me and you is that I don’t really beat myself up over it. My kids were gone all day yesterday and I pretty much ‘grazed’ all day long. Chicken wings, potato chips not to mention a glass of wine to top off the evening. I just try not to over think it. Today is a new day, and as much as I enjoyed yesterday, I don’t think I will do that again today. Or maybe I will…

    Thanks for sharing and again keeping it real.

  6. #6
    Caroline

    Once again, I think it and you write it! I too have that magical 30 pounds to lose. I’m an emotional eater and I know it. And I never feel better eating that thing I somehow “deserve” because I’m sad, or even happy. I lost my husband two years ago after a 5 year roller coaster ride we called cancer. My weight fluctuated according to his prognosis…up and down. When he died, the coaster went up. It’s taken me over a year – and therapy – to lose that weight. But I still have that 30. My main motivation now is my 20-year-old daughter who needs a healthy mom. She’s already lost enough. But I still eat some bad stuff. I really enjoyed that S’More blizzard last night.

  7. #7
    Cheri

    I feel like right now you and I are on the same page Cathy. I’m so tired of fighting my body, of trying to make it fit a mold it clearly doesn’t want to be in, of counting every calorie and feeling guilty whenever I eat something on the “forbidden” list – bread, pasta, sugar, and so on. I am at my highest weight EVER right now. Part of me cares and wants to fix it. Part of me is tired of the constant battle and just wants to say to hell with it all and eat whatever I want. I ate two desserts on Saturday. Had strawberry shortcake. Wasn’t satisfied. So then I had ice cream. And my daughter called me out on it. Ugh.

    I’ve tried eating only “real” (as in not processed) food but then I just end up craving the sweet or the salty until I’m obsessed. Maybe it is a battle that never ends.

    I’m also concerned about the messages I’ve sent my own daughters. About the discontent. About all the shoulds and should nots. I think it is time to STOP THE MADNESS. Maybe next year instead of Move More, Eat Well, you can teach a course on learning to love yourself as you are, right here, right now, in all your glorious imperfection. We teach what we need to learn, right? Heck, I could probably even help you write it!

  8. #8
    Cheri

    Oh, and P.S. … I hadn’t worn a bathing suit anywhere in public in over ten years. Last week I donned my new suit and went in the pool at the hotel – TWICE! Hoping that sends a better message to my girls than all my hiding and whining about being fat.

  9. #9
    carlajinar

    Cathy-Thnaks so much for sharing this. I am on this eating less and being more conscious of my health train right now. So far so good….good days and bad….good to know there are other humans going through the same thing. Love your posts and the fact that you don’t sugar coat real life.

  10. #10
    Deb @ PaperTurtle

    Oh, Cathy! I baked brownies this weekend and since I’ve been up this morning (about an hour now) I have been beating myself up for all the damn brownies I ate this weekend. What a dumb idea to make a whole pan of brownies while my husband was out of town and not here to help me eat them. What a dumb idea to eat all that chocolate and have all those calories and how I’m not going to have ANY sugar all week long… You know the drill. Thank you for this post, even though it made me cry first thing on a Monday morning. I’m 53 and could have written this exact post – same exact feelings about everything you said. Thanks for putting into words the things I needed to read this morning. Thanks for being brave about hitting that “publish” button. You speak for so many of us and I know I’m not the only grateful one. Wishing you an awesome, tender, week ahead! xo

  11. #11
    marianne b

    I try to start each day with, “I am grateful for this body. It’s gets up and goes ever single day.”

    I am dragging around an extra 100 pounds (ouch) and quite a bit of self loathing but I do love myself too.

    I am not a “perfect” anything. And yet, I am.

  12. #12
    Mary Jo

    This post did not come across whiny to me at all!
    Really as more of an epiphany.
    And I find since I have turned 40, I have had quite a few of those 🙂
    But the truth is, life is a learning experience no matter what the age. And I am constantly changing and learning and growing.
    But I really do think most women are too hard on themselves. Me included. I tend to see what is wrong with me rather than what is right.
    And that is something I have been ultimately trying to change!

  13. #13
    Sara

    Thank you for sharing & being so open & vulnerable with us. I too am still working on loving myself as I am. I’m better than I was years ago, but still not entirely there.

    I read in a book once that we needed to stand naked, in front of a mirror, and starting form head to toe apologize to every bit of ourselves that we have bad thoughts about.

    I’m sorry stomach for calling you fat & ugly. I’m sorry for hating your stretch marks & never accepting you. I would never say those things to someone else.

    Then you need to thank that part for the magnificent thing it really is. Thank you for carrying my two beautiful babies inside of you for 9 months, stretching to make room for them to grow. Thank you for nourishing me. I love you.

    I cried the whole time I did this because I realized how hateful & cruel I had been to myself. I would never say or think these things about someone else. It was also very healing. And it’s something I’ve had to do more than once.

    Here’s to loving ourselves as we are.

    “Who taught you
    that the
    value of a woman
    is the ratio
    of her waist
    to her hips
    and the circumference
    of her buttocks
    and the volume
    of her lips?
    Your math
    is
    dangerously wrong
    her value
    is
    nothing less
    than
    infinite.”
    — ‘Greater than’ by Della Hicks-Wilson

  14. #14
    Melinda Kirk

    Oh. My. Goodness. I am not alone in this struggle. You are not alone. We are all entirely human and flawed and more capable of loving others more passionately than ourselves. Above all I crave the peace of which you write so clearly, a truce between this body and me is well overdue. Our next generation is watching and learning, lets hope its a good lesson. Love we with you Cathy and all these lovely ladies x

  15. #16
    Sarah

    This post rocks. I completely respect the whole “love your body” movement, but I get a bit confused with whether it’s also a “eat an entire bag of salt & vinegar chips” movement (which I would totally love). However, over the past six months I’ve been working out five times a week (crossfitting) and eating healthy about 80% of the time. I look a lot better, but I still wish my thighs were smaller. SMALLER with a capital S. I think accepting my thighs is what it means to love your body. My body, even my fit body, doesn’t have pencil-thin thighs. And I need to get okay with that.

  16. #17
    Kerry

    As the battle rages on in all of us… The 30 plus weighing me down…your post made me think of timshel, the ever present choice between good and evil. You made me think that maybe the important part is we are not alone in this. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q_5t2sTaYlw a little Mumford and sons for Monday morning.

  17. #18
    Leslie M.

    Yes – you are a writer and you speak for all of us who are not writers! I too am on the constant roller coaster of weight. I joined WW a couple of months ago and lost 8 pounds almost instantly. But then I went on a one week trip and had to eat out instead of at home and I think I have put most of it back on.
    I was so proud of losing the weight and no I’m being mean to myself for putting it back on – but life is about more than pounds right. I want to be able to travel and enjoy good food when I travel.

    Life is tough! We need to be kind to ourselves. We need to do the best we can and accept that – is that right?

    Had my yogurt and blueberries this morning and I feel good! I want to feel good everyday no matter what I eat.

    Sorry for my rambling – but glad I’m not alone in this battle!

  18. #19
    cathy

    Yeah, Im not exactly sure if Im the girl to teach that course, you know? Or maybe Im the perfect person to teach it. Its tricky, because if I look at what is actually needed, I do need to eat real food in sensible amounts. Thats what my 48 year old body needs to survive, right? I need to walk every day. But I also need to drop the self loathing and neurotic behaviors as far as my body is concerned. Neurotic, as my therapist has come to help me understand, is based in stuff that is not real. My attitude around my body has been all based on a fantasy, not on reality. Definitely worth working through. As I continue to try and so. : )

  19. #20
    Lisa A

    Thanks for sharing both the article and your thoughts Cathy.
    Turning 50 in a few weeks and many thoughts in both hit the bullzeye. Hating the changes on my shape, frustrated that I cant run as easily as I did 2 years ago with all the new aches and twinges. I refuse to throw in the towel and wanting to stay healthy but need to be aware of NOT buying into all the crap out there at the same time.

  20. #22
    Beth Holmes

    Wow, Kathy, just Wow. I read the article you read — and shared it with an Amen! I’ve been on the journey to accept my boys for as long as I can remember. I grew breasts and large ones before all my friends and I received a lot of attention because of them from age 12 onward. That made my hide them so I still have a problem standing up straight. Then I’ve also had to fight the chub thanks for my very sturdy Germanic large boned frame, but you know what — this very sturdy Germanic frame has served me VERY well. Time to really focus on health and feeling good and LIVING! I’m been moving in this direction for the last 5 years or so — thanks in large part to you and your journey. Last Summer I saw a photo of myself in my bathing suit at the beach and first I though “Oh my God I am so fat and unattractive” and then almost right away my mind said “But On my Gosh what a great time you were having playing in the water with your daughter and niece, and wouldn’t it be a shame if you’d missed that experience because you were ashamed to show your body”. I’m so glad I wasn’t ashamed. You go girl!

  21. #24
    dawny dee

    loved loved loved this – so on point and real. now to figure out a way to move forward gently and tenderly, realizing that the body i have now is perfectly fine but that i can gently and kindly improve. improve my health and well being. nothing wrong with continuous improvement but i am not starying at a sub par place.

    you might enjoy this quote i found:

    You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.

  22. #26
    mary e.

    your posts give me courage, Cathy.
    your written reflections give me pause.
    your honesty is enviable. i mean that.
    your journey is mine, too.

  23. #27
    Debbie Mc

    love your words. I’ve always thought of you as a writer and am always amazed how you speak the truth and throw yourself out there for all to see. So many of us connect with what you say and it’s an everyday battle to eat healthier and move more. I’m deciding today to do something everyday no matter how small, in the form of exercise. I won’t promise myself to lose 8 pounds a week, but just promise myself to lose something every week. Every single week. I read that Jilliene Michaels said you only need to eat wisely 80% of the time. That sounds fair and doable. It’s a beautiful sunny Monday to start being smart 80% of the time! Thanks for the post today.

  24. #30
    cathy

    Sarah, I think that is a line that gets confusing. I dont think it should mean I can eat that entire bag and think thats good for my body. Because its not. And yet, it can also mean that if you want to eat some potato chips, by God, eat some potato chips. But it is part of not doing the whole self loathing route. Eat them, own them, be responsible for them. Maybe?

  25. #31
    Lezlee

    I’m on with all of this – and thanks for your post as always! Maybe if, as Cheri says – we stop and think about what we’re “telling” our kids – especially our daughters – about image and weight and dieting and all of that – maybe that will be what sticks for our own motivation. As a physical therapist, I know I’m supposed to preach exercise, obesity is bad, and all of that. As I approach menopause at 48 in Sept w/ 2 kids to our credit (hello, tummy) – ya know – the body just CHANGES. And some of that needs to be OK. We’re NOT cave men running for our food anymore as our form of exercise. We’re just not. We’re a lot more sedentary thanks to technology.

    I like Move More, Eat Well – that’s really all there is to it. Moving MORE – should be good ‘nuf. It does not need to translate into any 5k or anything. If it does for you as a goal-setter, cool – but it doesn’t have to. Eating WELL – is what we need to do for our health and our family’s health. The numbers on the scale account for only so much. The shape of the body changes w/ time – hello, Mother Nature and Gravity.

    We need to help our girls (and ourselves!) accept THEMSELVES – what they can do, achieve, strive for – and get off of the body image thing (binge diets, anorexia, bullemia, meds & drugs a’plenty to change things including attitude – NOT HEALTHY).

    It’s OK to live a little and have that strawberry shortcake on occasion. Maybe even that side of ice cream – sometimes it’s just one of those days. Life is for living and ENJOYING – in moderation. Accept the occasional over-indulgence and move FORWARD – tomorrow’s another day.

    The goal should not be the numbers on the scale. The goal should be how YOU feel about YOU. And YOU – all of you, not just CZ – are AWESOME – even if you don’t know it yet. 😉 The rest of us know you are.

  26. #33
    Kelley Sweitzer

    As always Cathy, your honesty is inspiring. Your realness and not afraid to shout it out is so refreshing, in all aspects of your life. I admire your courage to put your struggles out there, your courage to be real. Thank you for your words, and the words of the article you referenced. Being thinner or more toned won’t bring happiness or perfection. Like the horizon, perfection is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it. Thank you. It doesn’t seem like those two words are enough but again, thank you.

  27. #34
    Sue P

    Cathy, I just read this quote from Marc Hack and it rings true within your post today ( by the way I love your Post!!)
    “Let someone love you just the way you are-as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you might feel and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken out of fear that someone is incapable of loving what is less than perfect,is to believe that sunshine is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room”. “We all need to love who we are! Thank you for your insight and your humor!!

  28. #36
    Dar

    Cathy, you are helping so many of us who are in the same boat with you. Hey – let’s make this a happy boat, shall we? One where we are encouraging each other and our own selves to keep going, be kind, forgive, and enjoy life. You have a way of touching our hearts with your honesty, and … you are a really fine writer.

    Well done.

  29. #37
    Cheri

    Knowing what you need (and clearly we both need those things) is the first step to making it happen, right?

    And IMHO (for what it’s worth) you are the PERFECT person to teach that course. Because you have a huge following and can reach so many people, because it is information you are working with in your own life right now, because you aren’t opposed (even if it gives you pause sometimes) to KEEP IT REAL.

    We are all a work in progress – and a lot of us are learning the same lessons you are – over and over if need be. You are an INSPIRATION CZ!!!

  30. #39
    Debbie

    I loved your post, as always. Somehow you always manage to poke around inside my head when I’m not looking, and the, BAM! I read your blog and think, “how the hell?” I’m up 30 from my lowest WW weight, and I’m struggling to keep it from going higher. But I’m tired, sister. Tired of the counting and the obsessing, and the worrying about whether I’m doing enough. So instead I punish myself by not putting the good stuff in my body, and not getting on the treadmill, and sulking I know better. But sometimes I need my friend Cathy to smack me on the head (virtually) and remind me that I’m not alone. Side note: we just came back from Disney, and I out on a bathing suit and went in the pool with my kids for the first time ever. EVER! My husband had never seen me in a bathing suit. In 18 years. But I did it. 30 pounds heavier. And guess what? The kids were so excited, and my husband said I looked cute. We had fun, we created a memory that my stupid obsessing could have prevented. I’m not gonna lie, it was hard. And I still want the weight off. But I’m trying to not be so hard on myself, and actually enjoy myself along the way.

    Another side note, I need to know where you get all your cute summer tops. Seriously,

    Thanks again, you’re welcome to smack me in the head whenever you like.

  31. #40
    Cheri

    LOVE this Lezlee! And I am moving forward. And somewhere, deep down, I know I’m AWESOME, but thanks for the reminder my fellow awesome human being!

  32. #41
    Joy

    Quote: “Dearest. Oh my God. I never think of myself in that tender way.”

    Yep. Me too. And like yours, my therapist is working hard for me to see just how valuable I truly am. Not only to my family and friends, but to myself. It is *so* hard though to change 48 years of telling yourself that you are not quite good enough, no matter what you do.

    For me, I haven’t focused so much on weight and food (unless you count ignoring the weight and loving food a bit too much), but I beat myself over not getting up early, not keeping a clean house, not having the laundry ever done, not feeding my family a decent meal every evening, not, not, not, not.

    Thanks for posting this today. It’s the reminder I know I needed to read and am sure I’m not the only one.

  33. #42
    Debbie S.

    Loved reading this from you, Cathy! Thanks for leaving me feeling good about trying to love my body and use my body for what I want to do. I’ve decided that at 47, I can still do whatever I want to do, I just don’t get to be twiggy while doing it. I am certainly able to love and admire and aspire to OTHER bodies that aren’t perfect, so I’m adding mine to the list. Again, thank you! Hope you have a great day!

  34. #47
    Staci

    I don’t concentrate on the numbers any longer, only on how I feel. At 44, I started running for the first time ever and am completely surprised that I am in love with how I feel at the end of the run. It has been hard to get to the point where I am today, but it’s been worth every single minute. I don’t diet. I eat real food, real fat, no pop, and avoid extra sugar when I can, but that doesn’t mean I will say no to a few scoops of ice-cream on a Sunday evening! I loved the video and like you, find that I am reflecting on how I’ve treated this vessel and most importantly, how I’ve talked and put down myself. This girl isn’t interested in any self-hatred and instead she’s embracing who SHE is and loving her!! Thanks so much for your post!!

  35. #48
    Nicole Geiger

    This post was awesome! Thanks Cathy for your open honesty! I have to say, doing Move More, Eat Well has encouraged me to make a shift in my thinking (or, more accurately, a slight movement in my thinking). I’ve always been all in and “being good” or really not and beating myself up. I’ve really tried to change my attitude while doing this and although it is still a work in progress, I’m trying to work on positive moderation. I’m not working to look better for an event, or fit into some clothing item, I just want to be more healthy and feel better overall. Maybe it’s because I’ve done this while also doing Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection – I’ve been trying to make it real and not so strict. And find some joy. And like me again. Just wanted you to know that doing the class was the impetus for all of this!! I appreciate it every day!

  36. #49
    Glenda

    You make me smile and shed a tear all at the same time, Cathy. I’m one of your fans/followers at the tender age of 61 and have been there and done that since menopause. Before that I never had much of a weight problem so it was quite a shock that once peri menopause started at 43 that my body decided it wanted more fat,, hence -30 pounds heavier in almost 20 years. I joined a gym and went to classes 3 times a night, walked every day, ate better and only lost 1 pound, talk about disappointment. Thankfully my doctor, a woman, informed me that I was healthier than most 25 year olds she sees and told me to keep on doing what I was doing. I stopped going to the gym, too expensive when you live on a pension, have been walking as much as possible. Still over those 30 pounds but learning to accept me, wrinkles, big thighs and all. I can keep up with my 3 grand daughters (9,4,5 yrs old) and even went on the trampoline ( that’s another story). Yours words are inspiring and I too need to make an apology to my body, thanks.

  37. #50
    Deborah P

    Amen, sister! This is something I need to say to myself as well and really mean it. I do need to lose some weight in order to be healthier (am currently on BP meds because of weight gain and on a statin because of poor eating choices – fast food) but even before these issues, I was not happy with my body. When I read, the verse in Psalms “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” – I always stop with “fearfully made” (using the world’s meaning of “fearfully”) and ignore the “wonderfully” part. I want to be able to say both with conviction. Thanks for starting this conversation.

  38. #51
    leslie

    so here’s my deal…I look back at pictures of me from my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s…(turning 50 next month!)and the resonating theme is: “I thought I was fat THEN!.” “I hated my arm in that picture.” “I wanted to loose 5/10/15 pounds back then.” I didn’t appreciate that body then…much less now, 15 pounds and 3 kids later…Ok ‘dearest’…find a way to look at the photos of you NOW and love them, as you are surrounded by loved ones and living in an amazing, healthy work of art! how do we find that balance of enjoying life (food and family), and being happy with that body?

  39. #52
    Lynn

    I used to feel the same way until a torn miniscus and surgery ensued. And I couldn’t bend my knees, I walked like a 90 year old woman and had no stamina. I joined Crossfit about 8 months ago and it changed my body image attitude in a heartbeat. I can run, semi-jump and workout with kids 20-40 years younger than me. (My foot is currently repairing from being broken -8 weeks off is killing me but I’ll be back). I haven’t lost weight but I’m gaining muscle and definition. You see I was 59 years old when I joined – and I can run a mile, I can jump rope, pump iron and WOD with the best and now I’m really 60 years young. Anyone can do it and its an awesome community. Check out my blog- Murphy’s law-lynn and hit the crossfit tab 🙂

  40. #53
    Michelle Coleman

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Cathy, you are an amazing & inspiring woman! I am grateful to have stopped by today to catch this message.. It was one I truly deserved to hear. Thank you for your courage in sharing it with us 🙂

  41. #54
    Carol

    Cathy, to put it simply, for me you just put into words what I feel. As a writer, as a woman, as a wanna-be-(insert skinny word here), you hit the nail squarely in the head. Be proud of, be tender with, be forgiving of and be grateful for the body we were born with. Thank for saying it all so eloquently, and know that you have me & TONS of others right there with you. Hugs!!!

  42. #56
    cathy

    Deb, that is so great. SO SO great. You want to hear something? When I put my suit on, I felt cute too. I had this amazing cleavage (never had that as a skinny girl) and I took a selfie and sent it to my bff and she said, HOT!

    Happy to smack. I need it too. Daily.

  43. #58
    Grace

    Don’t hide. Ever. Please. And thank you.

    Because your experiences and, yes, you talking about them and letting us see your vulnerability helps me especially and all of us who struggle with this “thinking” issue. Cause it’s not really a weight issue…it’s the way we think and feel about ourselves that you talk about and that article so aptly describes that keeps us stuck. We need to love ourselves in this moment. In every moment. Just as we are.

    I am STILL working on that part. 50+ extra pounds, perimenopause and a want and a need and a drive all these years to lose that weight but still indulging in those foods does not make the “thinking” go away. But learning to love myself as I am (right now!) accepting the body I’ve been given to move thru this world should be…..WILL be enough.

    This week, and hopefully from now on (cause my aim is to make it a habitual practice until I believe it) I will purposefully look in the mirror at my total nakedness and glorify this body of mine. After all….it’s got me this far…and there’s so much more life to go.

    And in one week I will be on vacation with my family AND some friends of ours. After reading what you did at the lake I, too, WILL don my swimsuit and I WILL take off my cover up (I usually sit on the side dangling my feet) and I WILL jump in the water. That “thinking” will not join me on vacation! Breathe.

  44. #59
    cathy

    I need to have a conversation with Aidan and find out what she feels she has learned from me. She is so confident. So sure in her skin. I think she gets that from having a Dad like Dan. But it would be a conversation where I could learn just how the way Ive been, as much as I think Ive kept it under wraps, has affected her.

  45. #61
    Marilyn

    I made a vow a few years ago to never give another PENNY to efforts to conform my weight to someone else’s ideal. Believe me, I’ve done it all, including surgery, to be thin…and guess what, I’m not thin! Right now my focus is on being conscious of how specific foods make me feel, both while being consumed and afterward. Ice cream? Love the smooth, velvety texture; hate the racing heart, stomach cramps and sugar crash that come later (I have reactive hypoglycemia because of my weight loss surgery). Trying to see food as first and foremost FUEL for my body. I am a work in progress as it relates to this whole body image issue; hoping to always be moving forward, even if I never get THERE 100%.

    I love your willingness to be real in your writing; it is a breath of fresh air and desperately needed. Thank you!

  46. #64
    cathy

    I miss running. I know that feeling. At the end, when youre all, I just did that! Im hoping to restart in the next few weeks! Just need a new pair of shoes…

  47. #65
    Diane

    Thank you for sharing this article and your take on it. I think it’s message resonates to so many of us women. Thank you for reminding me of the wonderful gift I was given at birth, a beautiful vessel to carry me through life. Time to start loving the gift I was given and honor it’s beauty. Peace.

  48. #66
    Kelli

    After doing WW for years, and then falling off the wagon, and finding your Eat Well, Move More, I thought I was on the right track. I love your candidness. But sadly that didn’t make me lose weight. But I’ve had some stomach issues that were the kick in the a$$ I needed. I’m not eating to lose weight. I’m eating so that I don’t crap my pants later. Oddly, I have more energy, more clearer thoughts, less stomach issues. I’m not thin, I’m not an 8 or even a 10. But I feel healthier than I have in years. And I think I need to focus on that little fact!

  49. #67
    Sandy

    As you can see, we all struggle. Try this. Forgive yourself and do more positive than negative. Not one of us is perfect. All we can do is be aware and find positive experiences that move us towards a goal we desire. This type of action can help to build new memories/emotions that move us more in the right direction. I’ve found, never say never.

  50. #68
    Debbie Piercey

    Cathy, this is beautifully written. So many of us can relate totally. And it makes me sad….but it gives me hope as well. I had recently lost 30 lbs. (Have over 100 to lose….how did that happen???). I had tried for so many years and then one day it clicked. I was making healthier choices and it almost seemed easy. And then the switch got turned off again. I’ve gained almost 10 back. It will always be a struggle. But I have to remember how good I felt eating the good foods I was eating. That’s what counts right. Being able to fit into a seat, to be able to tie your shoes, being able to keep up with your family. Not looking like Katy Perry or even Christie Brinkley, (nearer my age!). Thanks for the reminder, and that we are not alone! Keep writing. Your writing, no matter what the subject matter has always inspired me. tfs

  51. #69
    Kathleen

    Holy Sh*t! Your post today could not have come at a better time. Lying in bed last night, I was crying to my husband about this exact issue.

    It’s never been good enough, it’s always negative, I think about it all the time, I am ashamed, and on and on ad nauseam.

    I don’t know if there really is a perfect size or weight that would feel right. I will be turning 49 in a few days and for some reason, that number feels old. I know I don’t want to think feel ashamed or not good enough related to my body for another 50 years.

    I know I am awesome.

    Wish I had the magic potion to win the body image mind game.

  52. #70
    Beth J

    Real Life, Cathy Z. You’ve always laid it out there & I’ve always appreciated your take. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  53. #71
    Jeni

    You are beautiful Cathy. I haven’t read the other article but this is what came to my mind when reading your article and some of the comments. The reason I eat and escape (which includes avoiding exercise) is not because of how I feel about my body. It’s because I how I feel inside. It’s a vicious cycle though. I feel crappy (or just feel something uncomfortable) so I eat and escape, and then I feel worse (fat, tired, sick)… so I eat more. This is very simplified but it’s basically the STORY OF MY LIFE. The only thing that has helped me in a deep meaningful way is getting involved in a community of people who have a similar problem, listen to their stories and telling mine. Over and over again. I am not doing that now and am suffering for it. Thanks for telling your story. Keep telling it. I need to hear it. You need to tell it. Then, in between telling and listening, we live life and feel.

  54. #72
    cathy

    Yes, i hear you. Ive been feeling older physically lately as well. Eating junk doesnt help in that regard either. But again, Im going to work to change my attitude first and foremost. : )

  55. #73
    Barbara

    First and foremost Cathy you are and have been since the very beginning a writer. I remember thinking that when you first came on the scrapbook scene – I am thinking two peas here.
    I am a health coach and I want to see if I can help you. This will be my gift. contact me either via email or my web site. We will have to do this by skype

  56. #74
    Michellejeanne

    Thank you for the article, and thank you again for being open and honest. Ypu quoted someone up there (Beth I think? If ai look I will get distracted again) about putting the suit on, getting in the water having fun and NOT not doing it because of shame,

    Yup. Have fun ,live your life. That is a start. Don’t put your life on hold, ever. Doesn’t mean you have to be happy and compfetable in your skin today, next week, next month. But the more fun you have, the more you LIVE life (not that I see any lack of living in your blog Cathy) the less you will worry.

    Do me a favor, and look around when you are out. At the store, the movies, on a date, the park. Are there people your size? LargerA. Are you judging them? Or did you notice their cool glasses, that great dress or shirt or bag first? I is very unlikely they are judging you either.

  57. #75
    Michellejeanne

    I ran out of room. Or my ipad locked up. Happens all the ime to me en I try to leave a voice mail too. Must be me!

    Anyway. The big thing is that we are bigger overall, all of us. Taller, wider, fatter. It is more accepted. So don’t stress about those who are more judgmental. Of course, don’t do what I did either, and think “eh, I have small children, recovering from a horrible arthritis flare, i don’t judge so whatever, I fit right in! I am going to love (typo but i will leave it) my life and eat what I want and get to it later.

    You are SO on the right track. D what feels good. (I hit a weight where I want 10-20 more pounds but I no longer feel ICKY and unhealthy). Do at you need to do. For me, strength training, splurge on a monthly trainer to kep me honest between, so I can be strong and my kids won’t have to help me on &off the toilet ten years fom now.

  58. #79
    Caroleend

    Hello Cathy

    I am one of those people who will never comment unless they really think they have something to say… So Hi !

    I read your blog because you make me smile. I read lots of blogs. One of of them is written in French, but is now (at least partially) translated to English. This blogger also makes smile (and laugh).

    Over the last years, she has met Dr. Zermati whose motto is “when you are hungry, you don’t blame yourself for eating. Thus you don’t put on weight.” Maybe the connection is not clear but my thought is that once you start loving, you can start listening, i.e. being connected to your body.

    The French blogger I talked about has written several posts about her journey/struggle with her body. I don’t want to say that she describes another fabulous diet, I want to say that she describes an intellectually interesting way of eating… and that she is funny (I hope it translates well)… and that it has to do with connecting to your body.

    http://www.penseesbycaro.fr/en

    (Start reading from the last posts of the Zermati category, aka the beginning)

  59. #80
    Anne Marie

    I am sure there are many things that you are not. But you are most certainly… Let me say that again: most certainly; a writer. For everyone. In everyone’s eyes.

    It is so deliberating reading about others (you, and everyone else that have commented) who lives and experiences life struggles whether small or big. Makes me at least to feel less alone about them, and more normal.

    For the record, I don’t want to be size 6. I would like to be a size 16, a fit 16. In the meantime, I wear bikini on the beach every summer. Because I like myself better with a tan and because I need to show my daughter that curves are OK. If I hide myself, what am I telling her? …She will most likely inherit my curves – eventually.

    Be proud of your curves Cathy! You are a beautiful woman. On the inside and on the outside. Just ask Dan, he will confirm it!

  60. #84
    Kim Demmon

    As a chubby menopausal fitness instructor, I get it! So proud of you! It’s a daily reminder, but I continually try to focus on doing what’s healthy and squashing neg self talk. I have dealt with the judgement of others who don’t know me in the fitness industry where I have worked for 30 yrs. My fav is when they look me up and down and ask if I’m the instructor. I’m not longer offended…..I just look them up and down and say “yes, welcome to class”. 🙂 (then I kick their ass)

  61. #88
    cathy

    Well thanks for coming out of the no comment land into comment land! I will check out the links. I feel like theres probably something very powerful and true to the idea that when you start to love, you are able to connect to what is needed.

  62. #90
    suetreiber

    The more you write, the more I think you are inside my head.
    Everything is spot on. So much that you are freaking me out a little.

  63. #91
    Lorna S.

    Dearest Cathy,

    I wrote that same style of letter to myself when I was in my late forties and over 300 lbs. I have since lost and gained that much several times in gradual stages over the years. Now, in my mid sixties, I have lost 4 inches in height – added 5 times that in inches around the hips and abdomen, and still weight over 300 lbs. I’ve had 6 major life saving surgeries in 15 years and I AM ALIVE and my BODY IS JUST RIGHT for who I am in this minute.

    I love my body, I love my beyond-voluptuous looks, and I am so glad that my weight and shape don’t weigh me down mentally or spiritually. Our self image is based on how we perceive ourselves, based on what we think we need for ourselves. My size 4 sister was terrified to tell me that she had liposuction in her “saddle bags” many years ago, because she was afraid I would feel guilty for my fat – HA, I think my fat gave her a complex about size and shape. I am sorry that we all keep judging and competing with each other.

    My only concern is about my heath which causes limited mobility. But I still get up and do and go and create and love and LIVE MY LIFE as fully as I can. I can only do what I believe works for me, and if it doesn’t work, then I must change what I am doing, change my expectations, or change my ability to accept my new limitations.

    Cathy, you have stated many times over the years, that it always boils down to choice – and that includes how we see ourselves and treat ourselves. Each and everyone of us is a dear, kind and tender individual with struggles and joys and challenges and accomplishments. We are enough. We are valued and we are of value – together and individually.

    I encourage you to keep working through your process, and believe that you will one day write a love letter to yourself, from the middle of your heart and without the help of your head!

    Blessings to you,
    Lorna

  64. #92
    Debby

    You know whenever I see an overweight or chubby or even obese women I NEVER think pooh, that’s disgusting. I think hey, hello fellow human being. I have never judged anyone for what they weigh. I think you are incredibly awesome and I applaud your bathing suit foray. I spent the late part of my 30’s and early 40’s starving myself down to 109 pounds from 194 at 5′ 8″. I lost everything. The price to look that way is way too high. So here I am 55 years old and big once again. The old habits are very tempting but again, the price is too high. It’s taken over 14 years to recover my spirit. And now I’m beginning the hate cycle again. I have to stop. I’m 55 years old for God’s sake. I want to like myself now. More than anything I want young girls to like themselves. I want to set an example of self acceptance. I think it must be part of our jobs as women to save those kids from a lifetime of not good enough and I want to look like her. Sorry for the ramble , this subject gets me riled.

  65. #93
    Amy J.

    Okay, you’re a just a bit older than I (I’m about to be 42), so we’re in the same “generation”. I think I can relate to you in many ways in terms of the vision you have of yourself and the worry you have about your body. I HATE photos of myself. I see a short, pudgy middle aged woman. However, that is not to say I’m a woman who actually cares about that, lol. I am completely accepting of the me that is now (which is someone who eats well, but exercises ZERO). But it took a life of experience to get there. I was a size 2-4 for most of my life…through my 20s. I was SO very tiny and thin. I never had to worry a lick about what I would eat. I had a baby…gained 50 pounds on my 5 foot 2 frame and things were never quite the same! It took me by a complete surprise. I was stunned that my body had transformed so drastically from what it had ever been. I mourned my old “frame”. And then a woman older than me, with grown kids, told me to “get over myself”. She chastised me for being upset about the body that had just given me the most amazing gift…a true miracle. She told me I should be ashamed of hating the vessel that had done that…being critical of the tell-tale signs left of the work it had done. I felt about two inches small. The fact that she felt angered and sad FOR my body instead of me when I dissed it was all it took to make me realize how stupid it was.

    Here is the gauge to use Cathy…1) Your husband 2) Your children 3) Your life 4) Your health. NOthing more.

    If your husband finds you attractive, nothing and no one else matters.

    If your children think you’re beautiful and you can be active with them, then nothing else matters.

    If your health is good, NOTHING else matters.

    If you’re body has lived 48 years…given you all the experiences, sustained all the illnesses and injuries, had all the SEX, given birth TWICE, danced and handled all the stress life threw at it. That is ALL that matters.

    I don’t buy fashion mags. I don’t look at entertainment shows. I don’t really pay any attention to anyone younger than 35 when out in public. I just decided it doesn’t matter.

    And here’s the kicker that will send you over the edge of acceptance and understanding:

    Go Google images of some of the most beautiful actresses and models of bygone years. Then Google images of them as older women.

    NONE of them ended life looking beautiful. Life is a progression of undoing physically, so why spend time trying to attain something that is unreachable to ANYONE.

    Even George Clooney will end his life in an unattractive physical form, though I’d dare say most of us women would still say he’s damn sexy! Get it now?

    Another good example for me…Clint Eastwood…one of THE best looking men on the planet. He’s, what…80 now? I still list him in my top 10 even still!

    All you must do to get passed this self loathing is to gauge your view differently and keep perspective. You can’t go back…only forward…with the rest of us. We’re right there with you…remember…even Giselle and Madonna and Beyonce! ; )

  66. #95
    Carrie Bentley

    Your honesty always speaks to me.
    Thank you for continuing to be genuine in this little space on the internet.
    You are an amazing writer.
    Thank you

  67. #97
    Breon Randon

    I feel this is everyday possible. I think of the things I have done to my body in the name of :thinness: (which Im not really sure I ever achieved anyway??? and I am mortified. if someone I knew did those things to a friend, or a baby, or a pet, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot them on site. And yet, here I am.

    It’s not over. But at least acknowledging it is a start.

  68. #98
    Gina T

    Thanks for the post Cathy! I wish this were a forum like at BPC so we could all post on each others posts and keep the thoughts going. Is that in the works with your new site? Just sayin’.

    I visit Stephanie Nielson’s blog everyday (http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com). She inspires me. I woke up every day for over a year and the first thoughts out of my head were, thank you God for movement, or thank you God that I can get up and go to work…

    Now I watch my son struggle for air as his disease progresses and I am thankful my body allows me to take care of him. Living in daily gratitude sure changes perspective.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  69. #100
    Rhonda

    Cathy – you have probably seen this one before but it fits right in with your post today.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/teresa-s-porter/so-youre-feeling-too-fat-to-be-photographed_b_4351360.html

    I’m right there with you — age 49 and over 20 pounds heavier than I was just 2 years ago. With my oldest son getting married in 2 months and seeing grandkids on the horizon, I think I am finally accepting the fact that I am in a new phase of life and it’s time to let go of unattainable/unreasonable expectations.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  70. #102
    Debra

    Just wanted to say, “Totally.”
    I’ve struggled with weight and body issues. Recently though, this happened. I was getting my period and was plain annoyed. Married 19 years and wanted kids for 13 of them, but we can’t. Annoyed at period because what purpose had it served me? None, yet I still had to have it. A friend said that she sometimes had hers for three weeks a month (she’s sorting it out) and it was like a slap in the face to me. All of a sudden I realised my body was doing what it was SUPPOSED to do and why would I complain about that?? A whole new perspective was born and I’ve seen my body (all of it) in a whole different light since.
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. You’re a writer, alright.

  71. #103
    Sharon Dodd

    Cathy,
    I absolutely loved this post – so open and honest. I was a woman who overworked and also had an extra 30 pounds. After menopause and breast cancer, my husband of over 30 years decided he could not love a woman as old as he was and we divorced. I found it was better to be divorced and have friends who loved me than to have a husband who didn’t and I am much happier.
    At 57 I developed a type of leukemia and had a Stem Cell (Bone Marrow) Transplant 3 years ago. I developed severe Graft vs Host Disease and as a result of treatment for that, I am dealing with various complications. I lost 50 pounds after the transplant (not the way to lose it) and have put 20 back on.
    I hope this does not sound whiny. My main point is that I try to find things to be grateful for each day. Embrace your perceived imperfections. I am so much happier than I was 5 years ago. Even though I get Plasmapheresis Monday, Wednesday and Friday every 3 weeks as treatment for one of the complications of treatment for Graft vs Host, am dealing with residual pain from shingles of a month ago, and fell 3 weeks ago and fractured my distal radius and ulna, I am grateful to be alive and have my faith and wonderful friends who help me (now a 60 year old woman).
    My unsolicited advice (actually this is not for anyone else, but is what I try to do): is to accept yourself, love yourself and your family, and be grateful for each day.

  72. #110
    Cori Dahmen

    Beautifully, thought provokingly and stated. I think, maybe, underneath and the thought processes and analogies and ideals is the concept of determining what we, individually, find important enough to spend our time, money and heart pursuing. It’s looking at who we are, at the core, as individuals. What really matters to us? Is it as important as the amount of time and effort it takes up in our lives? And if not, what can we (again, individually) do to change that? We can not fix a problem we haven’t identified as a problem! Bless you Cathy, and I’ll pray that you continue to learn and grow and find peace as you work through this.

  73. #112
    Joy

    Thanks for sharing Cathy! Women are so haunted by “if I just did this my life would be better”. Well, I guess all human beings are, but women are particularly consumed by the body part of it! Praying for acceptance and peace with what i have!

  74. #113
    Leslie Solomon

    Cathy, you are a writer and SO much more. Look how you have touched all of us. I have always admired your scrapbooking style. One day while doing a layout on air conditioning (prompted by your LO), I found myself trying to journal my thoughts and nothing I wrote even began to express what I wanted to say. Thank goodness for air conditioning!! BUT, your journaling was perfect and I actually considered taking your words and duplicating them on my page as if they were mine. I didn’t though…because I knew that every time I looked at that page I wouldn’t feel good about it

    Thank you so much for being you, for opening up to us, for sharing your talents, and for building this community on your blog. ]

    Now, TODAY, I am going to bu myself a bathing suit!

  75. #114
    katie squires

    I don’t even have the words to properly tell you how much I love this post! How much I adore you. How much I admire you. Cathy thank–you for sharing so much of your wonderful self and always inspiring 🙂 Here’s to being kinder and accepting of ourselves 🙂 I’m working on it too. 🙂

  76. #115
    Michelle

    you rock!

    The same happens in the world of dietitians. Except we can’t kick people’s asses. It is difficult to work with people to make better choices when they think you don’t.

  77. #116
    Char

    You’ve got the STYLE…rockin’ the glasses and hair, gorgeous smile, you’ve got the growth, emotionally, etc. You’ve got a fab rack. The simple fact is…age…and all the ups and downs that go with it. I’d rather have the few extra pounds and play in the lake than be skinny and be too worn out from lack of food..HA!! Great post. As always, thanks for the honesty. Thanks for making us all feel united in this quest. And I sincerely pray that we are learning through all this journey to teach our daughters that’s NOT HOW YOU LOOK, it’s who you are.

  78. #117
    Mariah

    We are so hard on ourselves. I’m not overweight or, but my body is marred by stretch marks from having three almost eight pound babies in my 105 pound frame. I hated myself and the way I looked and regretted not rubbing excessive amounts of cocoa butter on my skin. It’s taken some time, about 11 years to be exact that my body will never be the same and that’s okay. Sure, I could get a tummy tuck and boop job, but I’m not going to. I’m happy with me. I’ve come to accept myself. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t lament from time to time. It’s a journey right?

  79. #118
    Susan

    I recently went through a similar “attitude adjustment”. I read a post by a photographer who said, “Stop editing yourself out of your family’s memories.” And that hit me like a ton of bricks. I would always say, “no, no, no, don’t take a picture of me” because I was disgusted by my extra 20-30 lbs. Looking through family photos, there were almost none of me. Fucking ridiculous. I started to realize how much ENERGY and TIME I have devoted to thinking about my weight and appearance and it is just disgusting. This year, I said enough. This is good enough. And I have honestly been happier. Yes, I am still trying to be healthy and make healthier choices, because for now, the end goal isn’t necessarily a smaller dress size, it is now that I want to be here and see my kids get married and have their own kids. The only way to do that is to be active, have friends, PARTICIPATE IN LIFE, and make healthy choices MOST of the time….and enjoy food. Sugar isn’t evil. Fat isn’t the devil. Stop eliminating things from your life. Enjoy the good stuff. Everything in moderation. Hugs.

  80. #120
    Elaine A.

    Oh wow, I need to apologize too. Like, A LOT. 😉

    I can completely relate to your paragraph about being sorry for the hate. Why should I hate a body that can run and swim and twirl children and lift heavy things and still be sexy? Well, I shouldn’t. It’s hard some days though.

    Thank you for this eye-opening encouragement. So much.

  81. #121
    karen q

    Oh my, you really hit a nerve. I am almost 60 and I still haven’t gotten it right. I haven’t owned a bathing suit in 30 years. I never wear shorts because I have a skin condition that even the short pants won’t hide. I spend the summers sweltering in my long pants and short sleeved shirt. 6 years ago I started walking every day. It got to the point that I was a slave to the walking. I know, everything in moderation. I was down to a size 6 and still walked around in the long pants. Once you have the bad body image in your head, it really sticks. I have missed out on so much fun because I felt that I didn’t deserve to do things that “normal” (insert skinny) people did. I am going to retire next year and my biggest thought is how I won’t have to dress up and go out in public. T-shirts and yoga pants for me. I pray that you see the light and know that you are worthy no matter what your exterior looks like. It is easy to preach and hard to put into action. I am writing as the tears fall. Please enjoy your life, we all deserve it.

  82. #123
    diane

    Love your honesty Cathy 🙂

    For me (and I am 48 too) I have asked myself WHY do I want to be thinner/fitter/healthier?

    And I decided:

    * I want to be fit enough to ride my bike with my kids, play on the surf boards with my kids, help out at sports training with my kids etc etc…I want to be an active Mum who gets in and has fun with my kids! (And one day a fun Grandma!)
    * I want to cook and eat good food as much as possible with my kids because its my job as their mum to teach them how to cook and eat good food!!! And its my job to let them and me have a treat and bake a chocolate cake together too.

    And if I exercise to play with them and eat better to teach them well my waist line may just shrink a bit and I may get back into my old jeans and I will have more energy and patience with them.

    But if I never get back into those old jeans I will have fun with my kids and I will have taught them well and I will be their role model for a healthy way of life.

  83. #124
    Tracy R.

    Thanks so much for this post. I go back and forth between trying to accept my body and searching the web for smoothie cleanses and the current exercise craze that will give me the body I’d love to have. I had that body for a couple of years of barely eating and falling asleep to watching the food network on TV, salivating over how delicious whatever was on looked. I’m currently trying to figure out how to be happy with myself as is, while trying to improve upon my eating and exercise habits and get out of the all or nothing cycle I’ve been in for my entire adult life.
    I have a few blogs I check consistently and I find myself going to yours first each day now as I can relate to a lot of what you say. I truly appreciate your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. Thanks 🙂

  84. #125
    cynthia

    Your not alone! That’s for sure. What you are is an amazing artist that I love to follow. Your beautiful inside and out. We all are. But……….. don’t stop trying to stay healthy for your loved ones and for yourself. I’m 49 and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life sick or in pain. I want to be able to jump out of bed, sit Indian style on the ground, and ride a zip line, even when I’m 80! Without the right diet and some form of exercise I won’t be able to do that.
    What works for me is my version of the 801010 diet. My version is a little more flexible but doable for ever. Thanks for sharing Peace Cynthia

  85. #126
    Shelley

    Here in Portland, Oregon–the land of odd–there is a very popular event called The Naked Bike Ride. I thought, at age 46 and 160 pounds, “I am past the age/weight limit for that!” (Though I have no real desire to naked bike ride at all, let alone with 8,000 strangers.) When photos of the event came out, there were all kinds of participants–gray haired, young, fit and not. What was very plain to see is that all women have hips and thighs and bellies and some jiggly fat. Even skinny women. It’s normal. It’s how we are.

    Comparing ourselves with others is supposed to be detrimental, but in this instance, it felt very affirming. I’ve gained some weight recently and was feeling bad about myself…seeing those frank, not photoshopped images made me realize how normal I am. Cellulite seems to be a universal truth! It’s helped me be more accepting of where my body is at now.

    Yes, there really is a naked bike ride with thousands of participants! Hope this anecdote isn’t too off the wall to make sense…

  86. #128
    Sara Mangan

    As others have stated I think part of loving our bodies is taking good care of them. Loving ourselves enough to get some exercise.Loving ourselves enough to eat good stuff.
    Women, especially tend to take care of everyone else and then forget about taking care of themselves. It is such a vicious cycle of not feeling good enough and then treating ourselves like we aren’t good enough. Our bodies are an amazing miracle. We are all different shapes and sizes and that is awesome too. Should we be ok with eating a few too many cookies or having too many chips, I think we should. Yet, I think we shouldn’t see eating healthy or exercising as a punishment we should see it as a gift we are giving ourselves. I think too many of us don’t feel like we deserve that gift.
    Being ok in your own skin is hard to do but such a gift to yourself and your children, especially girls. I don’t love the way I look in a suit but wear one often and never let my girls know I am not 100% comfortable in it. I tell them I think I look awesome. 🙂
    Here’s to us ladies!!! We all are awesome!

  87. #129
    Chrissy Story

    So, I just love you! Been following you forever and your wellness journey has always aligned with mine. I get it 100%. Thank you for always being real, being honest and telling it just like it is. You have no idea how much your story resonates with oh-so-many. I read that article and cried…..for so many reasons….like you, I’m trying to have a healthy body image and love who I am regardless of the number on the scale. You’re on to something, friend! Keep on keepin’ on. I think this evolution of perspective is part of the journey and requires huge growth. I respect you so much for having the courage to seek out real truth and look it square in the eye. You continue to inspire and comfort more than you’ll ever know.

  88. #130
    Gypsy

    I could be wrong because I only know you from the internet but my perception of you is when you’re awesome, you’re awesome. Yeah you might not be all “I have an awesome body”. But come on, you are totally awesome at funny, and scrapbooking, and design and candid honesty. Not all the time, I know, that’s called perfect and none of us can manage that. But give yourself some credit you do totally rock awesomeness, often. I don’t think Aidan gets being so “sure in her skin” just from Dan- she has at least two excellent examples of awesomeness and you’re one of them.

  89. #133
    cathy

    Thanks, Gypsy. There are parts of me that are totally awesome. And there are parts of me not even remotely related to my physical body that still need work and conscious effort to change. Its a work in progress for sure. : )

  90. #136
    Clara

    I had visited your blog in a while. Then Bam it happens- in black and white my sentiments exactly. Thank you for being strong enough to share.

  91. #138
    Pilbara Pink

    Kinda late to the party but have to say thank you for the link to this article. And your take on it. I recently started seeing a therapist. I am 52 and so tired of my first thought in the morning and last at night being in some way connected to food/diet/weight. I have struggled with weight/body issues all my life. I have been very heavy, thin and everything in between but never content with my body. Stopping the scolding and shouting at myself, the guilt and the anxiety has been the first step to letting go of the need to eat for comfort, out of guilt or whatever other emotional need pops up. I have been meditating and using hypnotherapy with good results so far. Being able to stand back, take time and make a decision about what to eat has been a huge breakthrough for me. Not acting on impulse then dealing with fallout (guilt etc) afterward, which often lead to more eating … Don’t know if it is the `final’ answer for me, time will tell, and certainly don’t know if it will help anyone else. All I know is I am sleeping better (VERY excited about that), calmer and much less reactive in every part of my life. So happy to tag along on your journey Cathy and appreciate all the others who comment 🙂

  92. #139
    Pilbara Pink

    A women’s magazine here in Australia did a photo story some years ago of naked women. They ran their photos along with their weight. The point was to see what women honestly look like (unless you use open locker rooms when do you actually see a naked female in real life?) We see too many photoshopped and airbrushed photos, we don’t see real. Love the idea of the naked bike ride (although it does seem a little uncomfortable!) where people are real, not spandexed up or airbrushed. Maybe if we knew everyone has a little sag or stretchmark or jiggle or other `flaw’ (not that it actually is) we would be more realistic about our own expectations of our bodies?

  93. #140
    Pip

    Dear Cathy
    I first “met” you through Simple Scrapbooks. I loved your style – definitely clean and simple, stylish, focused on the story and the photos. I loved your appreciation for, use of, and loyalty to “white space”. 🙂 I bought your books. They inspire and guide me still. I followed your blogs, and appreciated your openness and humanity. As an editor, I like your writing style.
    In 2006 you were in Wellington, New Zealand, with Ali and Donna – three talented women, fun teachers, great classes.
    After your class I chatted briefly to Aidan and Coleman – well-grounded, articulate, mature, poised, good-looking, fun, charming kids. Like you. Dan, watching from the back of the back of room, supportive, proud of you all.
    Eight years later I still touch base with your blog and website when I can and I still see those qualities in you, your work and your family. Now you’ve quit smoking, you run, you eat well, you live well.

    I’ve never owned bathroom scales because I believe that, unless your weight is life-threatening, they tell you nothing you need to know. It’s like counting wrinkles! The number on your bathroom scales doesn’t measure your health, your success, your beauty, your value. 2 fabulous children, 1 loving husband, 0 cigarettes a day, 2 fantastic books, 24 years as a graphic designer – those are numbers that matter!

    I have learnt from you. About design, typography, photography, writing, life. And about you. All good stuff. And I thank you for all I have learnt, and for all you have shared.

  94. #141
    Judi

    Cathy, may I say how grateful I am that you are real, honest, and true. This post resonates with all of us–that is one of the reasons we have signed up for your class. I would like to share with you a pin from one of my boards (all about me). I don’t know how to get the pin into this message, so I will write it out:
    “dear body,
    I’m sorry I’ve treated you this way, feeding you the wrong foods and not taking care of you. I promise to do better and get you back to the best shape and fitness level you can be. We can do it!
    sincerely, me”
    I thought that was appropriate for what we are about to endeavour to do. Nowhere does it say lose weight or give a tangible result, just the “best shape” you can be.
    I would also like to share something my athletic therapist has been after me to do. She notices how hard I am on myself all the time and informs me I would not treat others the same way. So….she has advised me to treat myself the way I would treat my 4 year old grandson. If he was tired, would I yell at him to get moving, or would I let him rest? If he didn’t feel like doing something, would I berate him and tell him to move his ass, or would I be understanding and give him a hug? You get the gist.
    Next is another pin: “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward. Abraham Lincoln. ”
    My goal in this workshop is not to lose weight—that will be a bonus. I want to move more and eat well, that’s all. I was an athlete all my life. In my fifties, I became ill and after 2 years of tests and MRI`s and 4 neurologists (all idiots), I found out I had fibromyalgia. I had to quit my teaching job, and for a few years I could do nothing. At this point, I am on a roller coaster ride, but do not exercise because I am type A and want to do everything to the nth degree, then I am in flare-up for weeks. I need to adjust my attitude and start with baby steps, just like I tell everyone else. As long as I am moving, I am succeeding. I am so looking forward to the support of this group, both emotionally and physically. We all have baggage which we have to learn to let go, and we all have the same mission: Be the best we can be—not someone else`s version.

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