Resolve to Love #1: The Temporary Body

This was supposed to be posted during the first week of January – not the last! But thanks to my procrastination, here we are. I think part of the reason I delayed in posting this is simply because I wasn’t sure how to make this idea sound positive, when there’s a certain morbidity to it. But hopefully, I will get my point across in an uplifting manner.

So our first thought to ruminate on during this one-year challenge is this: Ultimately, our bodies are temporary, and therefore, how much time do we really want to waste on worrying about our appearance? Perhaps there are other, more productive ways to spend our time, our energy, our thoughts, our money, since we will, after all, end up in the ground someday. (There’s the morbid part, but please, read on!)

Copyright: Five Seed

Now I’m not suggesting that since we’re all going to die someday that we should just let our bodies go to ruin. Not at all. Our bodies are wonderful gifts that allow us to experience this world, and the healthier we are, the better we can experience it. So of course, we should spend some time moving every day, we should try to eat healthy foods as much as possible, etc.

HOWEVER – when you stand in front of the mirror and find despair creeping in because you have spent years trying to trim your thighs or because your butt just never seems to get smaller, or… Why waste that good time when our bodies won’t actually be around that long?

I will always remember a story Anne Lamott often tells in her essays and spiritual lectures:

“When I was 38, my best friend, Pammy, died, and we went shopping about two weeks before she died, and she was in a wig and a wheelchair. I was buying a dress for this boyfriend I was trying to impress, and I bought a tighter, shorter dress than I was used to. And I said to her, ‘Do you think this makes my hips look big?’ and she said to me, so calmly, ‘Anne, you don’t have that kind of time.’”

That’s what I’m trying to get across in this seemingly macabre post. We’re not going to be here forever, so ultimately, who cares what we look like? How much we weigh? Whether or not we have cellulite? We don’t have that kind of time. Life is short. Why waste it on fretting over our appearance?

Make more time for this, less time for fretting over your weight!

Your challenge for the last week of this month is to remind yourself of this fact daily. And please leave a comment here if you have had a Lamott moment like the one described above.

Next month (just a few days away!), I promise to post the next challenge on time!

Resolve to Love Challenge: The Survey Results

For those of you who answered the survey (thank you!) here are the results:

::Sixty-two percent of you have resolved to lose weight in 2012.

::How often have you made this resolution before? Twenty-five percent have made it once before, another 25% twice before, 8% have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight more than three times before, 25% five times before, and the final 17% of you, five or more times.

::Only 7% of you weigh yourself every day. (Yay!) Eighty-five percent of you do NOT experience anxiety when you can’t weigh yourself on a regular basis (another yay!), but a full 50% of you said the numbers on the scale affect your confidence level. (That’s why I never weigh myself – it’s too easy to fall into insecurity.)

::Forty-six percent of you feel you must be constantly vigilant in order to maintain your weight, and 33% of you avoid certain foods in order to maintain your weight. As for social settings, 41% of you expressed feeling anxiety at gatherings involving food. However, this anxiety was not always triggered by weight issues, but by nutritional preferences and/or special dietary needs.

::Predictably, no one claimed to be satisfied with their weight “always.” Thirty percent are happy with their weight most of the time, 15% are satisfied half the time, 23% once in a while, and 32% of you said you were “never” happy with your weight.

::The final question (How much of your time, money and energy are spent on weight issues?) prompted a slew of interesting responses from both sides of the spectrum. Here are a few samples:

Way too much. But doesn’t everyone? The day that chubby women appear in beauty magazines is the day that maybe – MAYBE – I’ll feel beautiful the way I am.

About a minute out of every three months when I finally get curious enough to get on the scale. I used to obsess over my weight, but now I barely care. I have way too many other things to concern myself with, and besides, I think I look great, so who cares what number the scale reports?

I pay for a gym membership to help me access a way to help keep me healthy and strong. I feel better and have more energy and am happier when I’m able to exercise a few times per week.

I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about it and trying to convince myself to FEEL what I THINK: that my weight shouldn’t matter if it’s not affecting my health.

For me, I often feel lulled into thinking I don’t have anymore weight issues. After all, when you finally find yourself free of planning your entire life around your eating disorders, you feel like you are completely healed. Yet, I was drawn to this subject because I was annoyed by the many “lose weight in 2012″ slogans I heard over the past month or so – nothing new when January rolls around. I also realized, yet again, that I do still have some issues and I truly want to release them.

My own answers to this survey would be reflected in those you readers gave: I, too, am only sometimes satisfied with my weight, my confidence is affected by my weight and appearance, and I’m scarily gifted at trying to trick myself into weight loss goals under the guise of getting healthier. (Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to lose weight or getting healthier – I simply mean to say that I’m very good at tricking myself into trying to lose weight by pretending that it’s about my health.)

Thank you all who answered this survey and stay tuned as I (very belatedly) post about our first Resolve to Love assignment in the challenge.

A Little Kingsolver Wisdom

Even though I had two weeks off from work for Winter Break, when I started up my bicycle commute again this past week (and in LOVELY weather, I might add!), I found myself pushing my legs to pedal faster and faster. By Wednesday, sick of being so sweaty and rushed when I arrived at work, I finally sat down with myself to figure out what was going on.

I was bored. Yep, simple as that. There are only a few ways to “switch up” my ride during the first two miles – after that, I have to ride the same way every single day. So there I was, getting bored by the ride that used to thrill and relax me and turning it into something less pleasant.

The solution turned out to be quite easy: audio books! I’ve never been one to wear my headphones during a ride. I just like to listen to the wind, the birds, the cars when I’m out riding. But I realized it might be fun to try some audio books. I downloaded Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (which is rapidly rising to the top of my Favorite Books List) from the library and have been enjoying it for the last couple of days. It is amazing how this experience has changed my ride – I now take MUCH longer to get to and from work because I’m savoring every moment of Kingsolver’s beautiful prose and the sight of the beautiful winter sky. No more sweaty arrivals at work! No more boredom! I only hope I can find another audio book as captivating as this one.

I’ll be back next week to talk about the Resolve to Love Challenge and to update you on other aspects of my bicycle commute. I’ve got some great interviews in the works, as well! But for now, I thought I’d leave you with some wonderful Kingsolver quotes:

“If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”

“Human manners are wildly inconsistent; plenty of people have said so. But this one takes the cake: the manner in which we’re allowed to steal from future generations, while commanding them not to do that to us, and rolling our eyes at anyone who is tediously PC enough to point that out. The conspicious consumption of limited resources has yet to be accepted widely as a spirtual error, or even bad manners.”

“Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars. We’re consuming about 400 gallons of oil per year per citizin — about 17% of our nations energy use — for agriculture.”

“Finally, cooking is good citizenship. It’s the only way to get serious about putting locally raised foods into your diet, which keeps farmlands healthy and grocery money in the neighborhood.”