Making the Grade: #oneword Update for August – On Becoming Whole

Making the Grade Button

When I set upon my word for the year, I knew that becoming WHOLE was not going to be easy. In fact, I knew it would take me almost the entire year to get there, and that is okay. Every conscious decision I make is one step closer to where I want to be. So, just how am I doing on this journey and with the conscious decisions I make?

#oneword 2016 - WHOLE

It has been a few months since I sat down and reflected on my progress on this journey of mine. Part of this was deliberate. I know I have stalled, and I am not happy about it. Then again, I am so terribly conflicted with the next step, and therein lies my problem.

The thing is that I am struggling to reconcile the importance of not feeling shame at my body size and the need to get healthy. I am having problems reconciling the two. Am I overweight? Yes, I am. I know this is putting a strain on my heart and my other organs. I can feel the weight affecting my joints. I have high cholesterol as it is; while I am taking medication to control it, I know I should not be relying on medication alone to keep me safe.

Do I like how I look? Most days, yes I do. I feel like I dress appropriately and stylishly. I feel powerful and pretty. I do not think of myself as overweight when I look in the mirror or think about my appearance. I am proud of the way I look. And then I look at pictures of myself. Once I do that, I feel horrible. All I can see is the round face and fat arms, the beginning of a belly where none existed four years ago. When I look at pictures of me from the past, I see those parts of me that no longer look like that – the lack of a clavicle or cheekbones. That is all I see when I look at pictures. No longer do I feel powerful; I am ashamed. And it devastates me.

How can I feel beautiful and powerful but look at pictures and think the opposite? How can I sit and judge myself on my appearance when I appreciate the same generous curves in my friends? How can I profess to embrace all body types when I cannot even do so in myself? How do I reconcile what I see in pictures with how I feel normally?

To make matters worse, my family is not the best at helping me in this regard. I have my son ask me if I am ashamed at having to by clothes in size XL. I have my mother-in-law asking if everything is okay with me mentally because I have gained so much weight since moving to Wisconsin. I have my husband who keeps telling me to go exercise and getting upset when I do not or ignoring me when I do put in the effort. My family, even though I know they mean well, do not help my mental image. I feel their shame and not their concern. I feel it in their words and their actions. I see it in their eyes.

Holly is my solace. She never fails to tell me I am not fat, that I am pretty, that she likes my clothes. Her words and her hugs are a much-needed balm to a soul that is so confused. But even she is not enough to silence the voice that starts whispering that maybe my family has a right to be ashamed, that the pictures are not lying, that I am lying to myself, that being fat is being ugly, and so forth.

I know I need to talk to someone about this, and I have every intention of doing so at my next physical, which is in November. If the one thing this journey has shown me is that I cannot succeed alone. I can tell myself I am in a good place mentally to be able to institute change, but I know I am not. My tendency to self-sabotage any smart choice I want to make shows me that. We all have baggage, and mine is preventing me from being able to move past the conflict to a place where I can accept the changes I need to make and love my body for the way it looks now as well as in the past.

How did you do last month?

16 Responses to Making the Grade: #oneword Update for August – On Becoming Whole
  1. Sarah's Book Shelves
    September 14, 2016 | 6:37 AM

    I’m sorry you’re going through this – that’s tough. Especially with your family.

    It’s been helpful for me to separate how happy I am with my appearance or the number on the scale with how healthy and in shape I feel. The number on the scale tends to make me crazy without really motivating me to work any harder. But, feeling good and getting stronger/faster does motivate me. So, I train for races (with goal distances and paces instead of pounds lost) and the pounds tend to follow without dwelling on them as much.

    I hope you can find the thing that motivates you…I think it’s different for everyone.

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 11:29 AM

      Thanks, Sarah. I’ll get there eventually. As you said, I just need to find that thing to motivate me. I obviously have not found it yet.

  2. Rhonda
    September 14, 2016 | 8:46 AM

    I really appreciate how honest&open you are.Negative comments from others never help.Just stay focused your smart strong &you will figure it out.How sweet that your daughter loves you for you value that,

  3. Kay
    September 14, 2016 | 4:40 PM

    This is a tough issue, Michelle. I suspect that many of us are plagued by some of the same thoughts. I’m happy that you feel comfortable to sharing this with us. You trust us. I’m also happy to hear that you’re going to talk to your medical people about this at your physical. Honestly, with all of your work and your kids and your busy, busy, busy life, I’m not surprised that some ‘self care’ falls by the wayside. You’re tired. Of course it does. And men, well, they have a different way of looking at things – always have through their lives. Your husband probably thinks he’s being encouraging by telling you to exercise. Mine does. And he is to certain extent, but then eventually it sounds like criticism.

    Well, I don’t have any perfect answers. I do say that we’re in your corner as you make your way to being ‘whole’ – whatever that looks like. You’ll get there – to your happy, whole place. And if it’s a little rocky along the way, well, you can always share with us here or email privately. Take care, my friend. If you can, do something nice for you every day. Hugs.

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 11:30 AM

      Thanks, Kay. It felt good to get this out there, as I have been internalizing it for too long. I will get there, as you said. It is just going to take me a little longer than I had hoped.

  4. Word Lily
    September 14, 2016 | 7:24 PM

    It’s tough, isn’t it? I can be accepting of others at any given size, but for me, I’m not comfortable in my own skin at my current (or larger) size, and that’s why it doesn’t exactly feel like a disconnect to me. I’m working on it, I’m making progress.

    It’s multi-faceted. How we got here, how we feel about it, and how we fix it. (Of course it is, we’re women!)

    Just commiserating, I guess.

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 11:31 AM

      It is so tough and frustrating.

  5. Kailana
    September 15, 2016 | 7:13 AM

    Sorry to hear you are struggling with this! I definitely don’t look at pictures of you and think you are overweight, but I know that we view ourselves differently than others. Just know you are not alone and there are many people that love you for who you are.

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 11:31 AM

      Thanks, Kelly! You made my day!

  6. Lisa
    September 15, 2016 | 6:31 PM

    I felt the same way when I was wearing XL and beating myself up so badly that I did what I do when I’m depressed – I ate. I would love to be wearing an XL again and now know that I will be happy to get back to that one day. My hubby used to do the same thing to me and a couple of years ago (before I blew my knee out and lost my ambition) I sat him down and told him I didn’t want to argue about it but that he wasn’t helping me. I told him I understood that he was trying to be supportive but it wasn’t the way I needed his support. I explained to him what I thought would help me. It made a such a difference. I wish I would have done it twenty years ago.

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 11:35 AM

      I am not eating more in general, but I will have a good week followed by a bad week of eating. If I am good, my bad weeks are not as bad as my good weeks, and I can at least maintain my weight – which is what I have been doing for the past few months. I have tried talking to him about this, but he has not gotten the message. I know it is time to have another discussion about this. I need it for me.

  7. Stephanie
    September 16, 2016 | 1:47 PM

    I am sorry you aren’t getting the positive family support you need. 🙁 Not that it helps, but I am much more overweight than you are. (I’ll be happy to get back down to an XL :-)) And I keep sabotaging myself too. I don’t know why. I had successfully gotten myself off virtually all processed sugar and had started a walking routine, but I relapsed.

    I love the fact that you have a one-word goal for the year. Kind of like a mantra. What a wonderful way to visualize the kind of growth you want to achieve. 🙂

    I thought about having a goal or slogan for the next decade of my life, since I just hit a big milestone. I haven’t come up with anything. “All Out of F**ks” crossed my mind, but that definitely does not convey the positive energy I ought to be creating. 🙂

    • Michelle
      September 16, 2016 | 9:24 PM

      Thanks, Stephanie. I think we women are our own worst enemies. I wish I knew why, but I do know that however down I get, I have friends who will pick me up again.

      The one-word goal is something new this year. I can’t say that I have been terribly successful with it, but at least I do have a goal and something on which to focus when I put my mind to it.

      Sometimes, you need to say “All Out of F**ks” just to be able to muster positive energy!

      Hang in there. If you did it once, you can do it again. I know you can!

  8. Shaina
    September 17, 2016 | 12:04 PM

    Oh, Michelle, I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this and that your family (save for Holly) isn’t being supportive at all.

    It almost seems like, if the photos weren’t a factor, you would be more at peace. I don’t know how to reconcile that, it’s so tough. Obviously you want pictures of yourself and your friends and family.

    This is so tough. I hope talking to your doctor helps you gain some clarity!

    • Michelle
      September 19, 2016 | 9:16 AM

      If it weren’t for the pictures, I would be okay although I doubt it would stop any of the comments or looks from my family. I am hoping the doctor helps as well. I definitely need it!

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