Tag Archives: perfecting

go ahead, break some rules!

IMG_0904

Rules and structure are great things. They can help keep anyone balanced and organized and sometimes, they just keep us sane! However, it is when those rules and structure turn into rigidity that things get sticky. Rigidity spirals into all-or-nothing thinking that can keep you locked into an inflexible state or way of being.

“I must…” “I can’t…” “Always…” “Never…”

When things threaten this black/white thinking, it is a slippery slope that moves quickly into anxiety or panic. Suddenly you realize that the structure you’ve employed to keep you feeling balanced, organized and in control has become out of control and problematic.

Consider the thoughts and belief systems that go with these rules. Likely, they are great examples of extreme unrealistic thinking (e.g.: if i eat/do this today then my entire body/day will be ruined).

Begin to notice where this exists in your thinking and in your life. What are the roots of these thoughts and ideas? Why did you create them in the first place? What would it be like to change your thinking? What would the risk be? What are you afraid will happen? What would the reward be? What will you gain by becoming more flexible? Start challenging these faulty cognitions with the objective reality and notice the disparity. Then, take a leap of faith, pick one thing to challenge and buck your system!

You made these rules. It is time to start breaking them!

Advertisements

not pretty enough

Lancôme was recently taken to task with complaints about their use of photo-altering techniques in advertisements featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington. It seems that even these two beauties are not pretty enough to escape an airbrusher’s heavy hand.

The complaints spoke directly to the advertising of unrealistic images of beauty and its societal backlash and were subsequently banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. Hats off to Jo Swinson for making the call to the Advertising watchdog and for getting the ball rolling.

Take away: While Swinson may have had her political background and Parliament on her side, we all have the power to make these calls and demands. I remember a dog food commercial that aired in maybe 2003-ish. It suggested that dogs were overweight and needed to be put on a diet. While there are times when this may be true and different types of mealplans or dog food may be in order, that was not the intent of this commercial. The ad was taken off the air after the manufacturer was inundated with angry consumers reacting to the message.

So… if it bothers you, say something! We do have the power to affect change!

To read full story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2019162/Julia-Roberts-Christy-Turlington-L-Oreal-adverts-banned-airbrushing.html


mommyrexia

In September 2004, New York Magazine published a piece on the “perfect pregnancy.” They cited a Johns Hopkins study revealing that 21% of the women in the study engaged in “weight-restrictive behavior” during their pregnancy and fasted before doctors visits in order to weigh less at the time of their exam.

Just a note about those women suffering from eating disorders: conversely, these women tend to control their eating disordered symptoms during pregnancy, as their focus becomes more on the baby and away from themselves. In fact, oftentimes, women who suffer from eating disorders are more able to resist their eating disordered behaviors for the sake of the baby.

Recently there seems to be more and more discussion about “mommyrexia” being a new trend in pregnancy. I’ve heard about it from lots of people, on the internet, in magazines and on the news. It seems what Johns Hopkins revealed in their study has dramatically increased. While I have not heard statistics to back it up, what I have seen are magazine covers and articles splashed with photos of very thin celebrities who maintain most of their shape throughout their pregnancy (other than the baby bump) and then, seemingly overnight, make dramatic changes washing away any evidence that they even went through a pregnancy. I’ve heard about pregnancy exercise boot camps, and I’ve heard great fear from many women about gaining pregnancy weight and a lot of pre-planning on how to lose it quickly after giving birth.

There’s something very wrong when we begin to view the beauty and magnificence of pregnancy as something to be controlled and manipulated. In addition to the physical detriment this imposes on both the mother and the baby, this type of societal expectation and personal pressure cuts self-esteem at the knees. It riddles an otherwise beautiful experience with anxieties and fears about not doing pregnancy “right.” Why are we celebrating women who barely look pregnant? What do you think about all of this?


“Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

The New York Times blogger, Tara Parker-Pope, blogged on Monday about “When Fatty Feasts Are Driven by Automatic Pilot.” She writes of a study that suggests new opportunities to control obesity with drugs that target the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The last line of Tara’s blog post reads, “but just because your brain is being hijacked, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to protect yourself,” seems, at least to me, to suggest that part of being responsible is existing in an atmosphere of body hatred and engaging in unhealthy behaviors, in this case, taking diet pills. And while not everyone develops eating disorders, this value system plays a critical hand in pushing the envelope for those who are vulnerable.

As time and science advance, we continue to learn more, define more and ultimately in some ways manipulate more, particularly in the vein of food, weight and shape. Societally we are drawn to the next quick fix. But what about the underlying motivations for our behaviors?  When do we take the time to understand why we are doing the things we are doing and the emotional undercurrents that lie beneath? When will we begin to use valuable information about how our body runs well, optimally and healthily to honor it rather than use it to manipulate and strangulate our bodies and our selves? Perhaps at this juncture in time, this is more of a personal question within a culture of thinness.

I am not in any way suggesting that science halt any and all research related to body weight, shape and size. My point here is not to support or deny that, perhaps, in some cases the use of medication may be an important facet within a multi-faceted approach to dealing with obesity. My intention is to highlight how we, societally and privately, use this information. While we continue to push for society to strive towards health rather than thinness at any cost, you, we, all of us, have the opportunity to make empowered choices that match our own internal value system, which hopefully includes living a well-balanced life without excess or restriction.


perfecting vs. accepting

The New York Times published this article on getting bikini-ready in their May 25, 2011 Style section http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/fashion/the-bikini-as-a-badge-of-fitness.html.

Which do you believe in and why… financially investing in the ever-changing notion of “perfecting” your body or emotionally investing in loving your ever-changing body?