Making Mantras

repeat-businessI know I said I wouldn’t be back til the new year, but I have been feeling kind of blah and felt compelled to write tonight. So … here goes! Forgive the rambling; I’m all over the place right now.

This is what I want my mantra to be for 2009: “I am going to let it be.”

I say it all the time: how I need to do it, how half my anxiety would dissipate if I’d just act it and live it … but here’s the rub: anyone who knows me knows I don’t actually do it.

And — something Dr. G. has confirmed through our sessions — it’s like, as an anxious person, I’m hard-wired not to be able to just “let it be” … and I think that is what is standing in the way of getting back to a comfortable weight.

Fighting against my own nature, my own hard-wiring, instead of using it to my advantage. Wanting to be someone I’m not capable of being, instead of accepting the person I am, the hard-wiring I have.

I don’t mean to imply I’m not capable of getting back to a comfortable weight. But rather, I’m fighting myself and my hard-wiring, berating myself for not being able to “let it be,” when maybe I should be using my anxious nature to my advantage (i.e., tooting my own horn for being a good friend and partner, a disciplined and consicientious woman).

You remember that song, “More Than Words?” Well, right now I’ve been talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to acceptance; I’m not showing my body the love it deserves because deep down I don’t believe I deserve to “let it be” — not here; not at this weight. I’m not ready and maybe I never will be ready to “let it be.” In fact, trying so hard to loosen up my thoughts, to “let it be” — I’ve gained weight. Since September, all I’ve done is gained. Literally.

It’s a fact. And it’s not the usual couple pounds people moan about after the holidays; it’s been a steady gain all fall/winter, just like last fall/winter and the one before it.

I can see it in photos, in how my clothes fit (tighter than they should, though not so bad that I can’t wear them) and of course on the scale. (As if I needed that darn machine to confirm what I already know!)

And though I wish I could just accept it and not be bothered by it, I’m not happy about it; I don’t want to be ok with it. And I won’t settle for it because this is not my body’s happy weight, nor is it my happy weight.

I’m especially not happy about it because I haven’t gone over my WW points in months and months and am not even eating all my activity points — none the past few weeks (though I’ve earned a lot less with v-ak).

Which is all the more frustrating because it means even with those methods of cutting back, I’m still eating too much to lose. I am not losing and, in fact the numbers keep going up, up, up and I’m in dangerous territory (for me).

Not exactly how I envisioned starting the new year. For a glass-half-full type gal, this isn’t how I want to start the new year.

I already told you all I don’t want to make resolutions for the new year. So I’m not backing down from that.

Conventional wisdom says if I could make peace with my body, the weight would come off again. If I could just “let it be.”

But oh, how hard that truly is to do. And, do I even want to, when it comes to my body?

I think when it comes to life in general, I do want to get better at “letting it be.” In fact, my husband often tells me he’s concerned that I’m always thinking ten steps ahead and often missing the moment — whether it be a surprise trip, a night out, a meal at home, a walk. I’m always going, thinking of the next thing (the bath I want to take after, when I’ll work out, the letter I didn’t write but need to before bed, the lunch I have to prepare … and so it goes).

And I hate it when he says it because I know he says it out of love and concern, and that deep down, it’s true; he’s right. I do miss a lot because I’m caught up in my own little world that has opaque glass and doesn’t really get the full-on sunlight.

Much of my anxiety stems from my inability to just let it be.

The irony is, a lot of my anxiety about my body right now, in particular, is that I feel so out of control (seeing the numbers go up, my clothes tighten), even though I’ve actually been very IN control (journaling, exercising, eating decently, indulging moderately, chewing-and-spitting a lot less these days).

So I’m stuck in this perpetual battle between wanting to “let it be” and being unable to fully do it because I am not personally satisfied (weight-wise) and my nature is to always want to improve.

And when I’m not being successful at keeping my weight off, it makes me feel like a flop. (Which is equally frustating because I do recognize all the other successes in my life for which I’m eternally grateful; weight is just my Achille’s hell).

All of which brings me to this part of my entry. So I read an interesting article over the break in Good Housekeeping that I can’t seem to find online. It was about having a mantra and about how effective they can be, especially when they are used repeatedly and are truly positive — something we can believe in.

“I am going to let it be.” I like that one a lot, but don’t think it is what I need to be saying right now. Eventually, perhaps. But I need something that I can say now.

I think using “My body is a temple” might work better.

Why? Well, it’s positive, of course. It views my body as separate from myself … instead of defining me, which is good for someone like me who seems to think my body/size is all of me/defines me. (Rationally I realize I’m the sum of my parts — physical, mental, psychological, emotional).

It infers fueling it well, not waking and eating at 2 a.m., not chewing-and-spitting.

It infers eating with dignity, in public and in private.

It infers not over-exercising. It infers getting back into weights and not just relying on cardio.

It infers acknowledging emotional eating — and hopefully stopping it in its tracks. It infers enjoying special occassions and making good decisions about much sleep I need.

So … “my body is my temple.” Instead of having an unrealistic expectation or mantra … I’m giving myself something positive; something I can truly believe in. I’ve been better at many of those things I noted above and it gives me hope and faith for my ongoing recovery in the new year and beyond.

As my husband likes to say, “The only thing left to lose is hope.” And we certainly don’t want to lose that.

How about you? Do you have a positive mantra you’d like to share? Do you think they can help you reach a goal? (whatever that goal may be?)

16 thoughts on “Making Mantras

  1. I’m glad that you posted. I ventured here again because I was feeling terrible after chocolate cake then a family dinner at 11pm.

    I understand how you want “I am going to let it be” as your mantra. It would be great but it IS challenging, especially when you feel out of control. People say that at 18, I shouldn’t worry about what I eat, but I can’t let THAT be. I am finally going to see a counsellor for my disordered eating (which is why your blog so relatable and encouraging) I too feel my jeans get tighter and I don’t care if people say I’m crazy, i still feel unideal.

    I love your idea of a mantra to help reach goals. I think that “I trust myself” is a good one. I believe that being able to have control is being able to have confidence in ourselves to make the right decisions. Its about believing in ourselves, that despite the challenges, we can do it! Its about learning to love ourselves more.

  2. Wonderful post my friend. I truly understand about the anxious side of you that you are talking about. I have a pretty hardcore anxious side. It sometimes makes things worse but other times it gets me going, giving me this sense that I need to get the job done. I also like to think of my body as a temple. It is a good way to look at it. Taking care of it inside and out making sure it is beautiful but inviting and real.

    I also get what you are saying about gaining in the fall/winter. I lost a total of 133 lbs. I am maintaining very well but I am not at that 133 still. I have gained weight to where I have 122 off of my bones now. 185 lbs instead of 174. It makes me worried and mad a bit, but hey, I just keep on keeping on. It is still what I weighed in high school and that is kinda nice. I actually fit into my 8th grade graduation shirt now.

  3. I think my mantra for 2009 is going to be…”change your (bad) attitude, change your life (in a positve way, of course!)”

    I’ve let a bad attitude suck the life out of certain situations. A good attitude and a good mood work wonders. I have first hand experience, I just have to do it and it will be work at first because I always assume the worst so that I’m mentally prepared but more oftentimes than not, everything turns out so much better than I ever would have thought!

    Glad you enjoyed the DC area–it’s where I live!

  4. Great post and really hits home (as usual). In fact, in my therapy session yesterday she said maybe I should just stop tracking so strictly (I weigh all food on scale and log in Fitday) and just eat and try to follow my body’s hunger cues. I have been tracking and counting strictly for the last three months (after a 5 month period of gain from binge eating) and have only lost 2 lbs. It is very scary to me that I am eating less than I ever have when dieting and still not losing. I have tried eating more, calorie cycling, carb cycling etc. It is very scary because in the past I have always lost when cutting back, even moderately. I won’t chalk it up to turning 40 as I have been told by a few folks.

    So maybe the “let it be” mantra really is the key.

  5. Leann, so glad to hear 1) you made a mantra that is so uplifting and 2) that you’re seeking counseling — I hope it helps!! Dr. G. told me Tues. night she agrees with me that “Let it be” would be fighting my hardware and when I shared “My body is my temple” she really dug it!

    Jason, that’s what Dr. G wants me to see — that my anxious side has some positive merits — it’s not all bad, not an impediment. Reframing it that way helps for sure. Just keep on keeping on; weight DOES fluctuate and most people I know have experienced a 5-7 lb or so “leveling off” from their lowest (even though WW says it’s 2) probably b/c their lowest isn’t necessarily maintainable without a lot of effort. Congrats on your success!

    Melissa, glad you found one that fits you as well! Yea, DC was home to me for 9 yrs and I totally miss it! It was def. good to be back!

    Hi Lara!! I hope that one works for you!!!

  6. Hey!
    I have a blog to balance body mind and soul- I have recovered from an eating disorder as well- bulimia with bouts of anorexia too.

    I was just hoping I could add you to my blog roll ?

    Happy New Year!

  7. I was at a profesisonal ballet school as a child and took it all very seriously into my teens, developed an ED and eventually had to stop when I was 21 after my Advanced RAD exam. It was a major wrench to do so because it owned me and defined me and had been all i lived for my formative years. I knew I needed to to get well.Released from that, healthy again and considerably stronger I have recently begun doing a few adult classes at a ballet school – tentatively as it’s so linked in my mind with crappy eating practices. But so far so good. It’s utterly lovely to be back at the barre and feel all that ballet used to mean to me without the pressure of a professional school. I LOVE it – so your post really resonates with me today. Enjoy getting back to it, there are some great dvds out there!

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