WEEKLY WELLNESS/ rest, removing judgment from the equation, and on to exercise

my wee of a bathroom

Weekly Wellness is a community driven project to help each of us adopt a more mindful lifestyle. It is a twelve week experiment wherein we (Laura, myself, and whoever else wants to join) commit to one small change for each of those weeks in an effort to see how even a small shift can reap big rewards. (For the introduction read this and this.) 

I know, I know, I'm a little late to the party this week. There was a bit too much partying this weekend, if you know what I mean, and so I'm behind.


So rest. Rest, rest, rest. I am a person who finds that if my home is impeccably clean I sleep better. It's as simple as that. I wake refreshed and with a feeling of peace.

Whenever I leave home for a trip or for an extended period of time I become nuts about everything being clean and in its place. Why? There is no better feeling than returning home after a little sojourn to a clean house. There just isn't. There are other things that are up there with it, but nothing trumps it.

So, for this last week with the goal of rest, I got to thinking about this clean house, clean room, clean space directive.

And so I got on the subway, headed to Target, and bought myself a new shower curtain. I've lived here for a few months now and I've held off on getting one because...well, I'm not sure why. I wanted it to be PERFECT, I guess. And also because the bathroom is the place in the house I least care about. It's such a small and odd space and if the door isn't closed just so then it seems you can't navigate the thing. But I went to Target and got a shower curtain and then a massive white spa towel. And I tell ya, if those two things didn't just transform the space. My bathroom went from the place where I left all my dirty clothes hanging on the towel rack to a space where I could keep dried lavender atop the toilet and in the mornings light a candle by the sink. Transforming that space meant that my everyday shower now felt luxurious. And that alone is incredibly restful.

In the last few years I've come to learn (and really relish) in taking a lot of joy in every day necessities--cleaning the sink, cooking myself a meal, climbing into the tub. It makes for a much happier, more fulfilling life--and one where those things that we have to do just to keep going move from the realm of chores to small, restorative actions. Restorative being the operative word.

I think the key to any of these weekly goals or any suggestions you read on a blog or in a magazine is figuring out how to make them work for you. Redefining the norm, thinking outside the box (cliche, but true). For me focusing on rest became decorating my bathroom.

What about you all? What did REST mean to you and how did you make a go of it?

and now on to Fat Talk...

I'm gonna level with you. This week was harder. Maybe it was that it was my birthday and I was around more people and more food and where there's that much food and that much celebration people make comments. Or maybe it was the cover of People Magazine declaring Jenny Garth 30 pounds thinner which meant she had just gotten her life back! Full disclosure, I didn't read the article. Maybe it was about how she reclaimed her life after divorce, but that wasn't what the huge block letters on the cover suggested. I found it offensive. The implication that she didn't have a life at 30 pounds heavier, the implication that I-SHOULD-THEN-NOT-CLAIM-WHAT-I-HAVE-AS-A-LIFE-IF-I-AM-30-POUNDS-HEAVIER-THAN-WHAT-I COULD-BE-IF-I-LIVED-ON-A-DIET. Meg, you're overreacting you might say. You're reading too much into it. But I'm smart enough to know that I'm reading just as much into it as they want me to--just as much into it as all the weight-loss driven ads that pepper the pages hope I will.

So yeah, fat talk was harder this week. Harder to avoid. Harder to disengage from. And that made me harder on my body.

But there was also a lot happening this week (or the last two weeks, really) with celebrities admitting eating disorders or coming out and saying that they love their fuller bodies.

First their was the flurry surrounding Lady Gaga as she released a picture of her in bra and panties (supposedly 25 pounds heavier) and admitting to anorexia and bulimia. A part of me was totally impressed by this and yet another part of me was also a little perplexed. So I went to my guru, Tom, and asked him about it. And he said something that has stuck with me since. A static image (a photograph) can never accurately reveal or show or convey what a body looks like. He then asked me, What did you think when you saw the photograph of her? Well, my first thought was, if that's her 25 pounds heavier, what did she look like before? She's still tiny. To which he replied, That's the point. By releasing a photo she invited judgment of her body--and judgment of our bodies is the problem. Counterintuitive as it seems, it would have been more powerful had she made that admission with no photograph attached. 

I saw his point. Or well, I thought I did. Sometimes Tom will say something and I'll start to get it and then I'll come in six months later and say, Tom, remember when you said this, this, and this?! I GET IT!  {I was a little afraid this was going to be like that}.

In response to Lady Gaga all sorts of people shared photographs of themselves with statements. The one that stuck with me (and began to clarify Tom's point) was of a young women who said something like If size 2 is beautiful then my size 22 must be glorious--implying that a size 22 is somehow better than a size 2. This comparison, this either/or, this one against the other is at the heart of the problem. I get where she's coming from and it's great if she can embrace her body but her body is not better or worse than someone else's because of the size. It simply is. The size 2 simply is. As is the size 6, size 8, size 18.

Strangely enough, it was Christina Aguilera that drove this point home for me. I came across an article in which she talked about her curves and having gained weight and the record label's problem with that.:

When she gained about 15 pounds during the tour, her label held an emergency meeting, she confessed.
"[They claimed] people I toured with would also miss out if I gained weight, because I would sell no records or tickets for my shows. I was young, so I lost the weight quickly and was toothpick thin during 'Back to Basics' promos and touring."
But now, Aguilera is fighting back. She says that when she met with her label before she started recording her upcoming album, "Lotus," she told them:
“'You are working with a fat girl. Know it now and get over it.' They need a reminder sometimes that I don't belong to them. It's my body," Aguilera told Billboard. "My body can't put anyone in jeopardy of not making money anymore -- my body is just not on the table that way anymore." (text source)

It was that line--my body is just not on the table in that way--that gave me what Oprah would call an ah-ha moment (and let me in on what Tom was really talking about).

Oh right! My body is not on the table in that way--not on the table to be scrutinized or judged or declared beautiful or ugly. It's just not a discussion I'm open to having with myself or with anyone else. My body gets me out of bed each morning, it gets me to the subway and up the stairs, and through the tremendous hour-long workout that is Physique 57, and so yeah, I'm going to celebrate that--the tremendous ability and miracle that my body is. So when fat talk pops up that's my new answer: my body is just not on the table in that way. No more. Now as I look in the mirror at my reflection and start to scrutinize I hear that new mantra, that new edict: nope, not on the table, and I walk away.

AND FOR THIS WEEK: STRECH!! commit to exercise and trying something new. (I've committed to a full month of unlimited Physique 57, which is not a new exercise for me, but it's been a good long while since I've gone {or done any exercise} consistently. 

**I also want to say something else here: In a lot of ways a blog--my blog, any blog--is a static image and so not an accurate depiction of the person writing it. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with this,  but it's made any and all criticism much easier to deal with. The critics aren't coming at me, they're coming at the blog. And that's okay. I can take criticism, what's more dangerous and of more concern is this: just because I don't post pictures during those moments when I've eating a full box of donuts doesn't mean those moments don't happen. I write about health in a way that's meant to encourage and show strides I've made, but I, as much as anyone, have my moments (often, I fear I have them more than most). Moments in which I don't want to exercise. Moments in which I hate my thighs or hate my stomach or can't believe I just ate a whole bag of those pink and white frosted animal crackers. Moments when I can't divorce the guilt I feel about what I've just eaten with the desire to then eat more, because well, screw it. I, as much as anyone, am still very much in the trenches of making peace with my body and the constant need to feed and nourish it. The past few months have been quite difficult for  me in terms of food and acceptance, which is in large part why I wanted to do something like weekly wellness and focus on small actions. It's my opinion that getting better feels much like a grain of sand traveling through an iceberg. And I'm still trekking.**

If you're new to the blog and want to understand why all this is so important to me, I'm going to direct you here