What I should of done, what I stopped doing and what I am doing

I could kick myself.  Recently (I’m pretty sure it was April 10th) there was a Bodylove photo session on my campus where girls were encouraged to come down, say what they loved about their bodies and pose for pictures.  And I’ve known about it for weeks.

Here is what went through my head every time I saw the flyer.

“Oh!  How cool!  And that is exactly the type of thing I am trying to do for myself.  Too bad there isn’t anything I like about my body yet or else I would go.  Not to mention I generally hate pictures of myself.  Oh well.  Maybe they’ll do it again at a time I’m confident enough to participate.”

I should have gone anyway!  I could have said anything!  My ankles, my belly button, my hips for dancing “Little grass shack” the way my mother taught me.  My hands that allow me to write, paint, knit stuff for people I care about and wear the beautiful ring my love gave me.

I could have even faked it.  Just because I don’t care for the shape of them doesn’t mean I can’t love my arms for allowing me to hug my little brothers and sisters or my legs that allow me to walk Tyson from next door (who happens to be the cutest dog in the world) and play DDR.  It doesn’t matter!  I just should have been there.  I should have met the other girls, talked to them and faced one of my greatest fears alongside them.  I should have been there.

It is very possible I will regret this somewhat later on but… I think I have to swear here and know that I will never, ever let such an opportunity pass me by again.  No matter how I feel about myself I should go.  I should even tell friends to come with me so that they can make sure I don’t chicken out.  Future me probably won’t be too ecstatic but I’m sure future future me will be very happy and proud I went through with it.  Fingers crossed.

Moving on.  Last  time I asked whether or not counting calories was a diet or a lifestyle change and I am sure it all depends on how it is used.  For some people, it is a wonderful way to get a sense of true portion sizes and how much food they really need.  For others, it can become a very restrictive form of dieting.  And since, despite my best intentions, I seem to be gravitating more towards the latter category, it is something I need to stop doing.  You know.  Cuz’ of the whole “diets don’t work” thing.

But that is hard to do.  This past Christmas I received a pedometer called the Fitbit, a.k.a. the best step tracker I have ever come across.  I can  wear it on my bra so I have it on 24/7 and it can even tell when I go up stairs.  It’s basically technology magic packed into this little black device about the size of my thumb that monitors how active I am all of the time.  And of course there is a corresponding Fitbit website with colorful graphs and charts and a food tracker that changes its calorie expectations based on how many calories you burn.  All in all, it’s pretty nifty.

I really wanted to use the the calorie tracker so that (A) I could get the most out of my Fitbit and (2) so that I could eat a wider range of foods without guilt.  I figured as long as I was tracking the calories then sugar, white flour and even fast food would not have to be off limits.  I wasn’t always consistent (another red flag I was heading into dieting territory) but I did it as often as I could and, when I did eat healthier food, I was really proud to enter them in.  Every entry was accompanied with a profound sense of accomplishment as did every day my intake fell at or below my goal.  And that is why I need to stop.

The majority of the time on days I tracked I usually ended up under the goal… sometimes well under the goal.  Though I swear I only got 870 calories one day on accident.  I was really busy that day!  But it still shows I have taken calorie counting to the “very restrictive dieting” end of the spectrum and, if I am serious about not dieting, I shouldn’t do it anymore.  It’s difficult because I am still trying to eat the same range of foods, even those typically on “bad” or “avoid” lists, and it makes me anxious not having the protective blanket that is calorie counting.  I am through the looking glass with no diet to hide behind.  I know it should be very freeing but I can’t help feeling vulnerable.

But I still won’t give up on my Fitbit all together because it really does motivate me to walk more which has to be a good thing.  In fact, I promised myself I would never use the elevator at school this semester and I have stuck to it.  I can’t really report any miraculous weight-loss result but I can show what my increased activity has done to my roller bag.  The circle of rubber hanging piteously to the side is how large the wheel used to be before I destroyed it.  And quite frankly I have never been more proud to ruin something I own.

So I guess for now I’ll just keep walking and figure everything else out as I go.

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