Balancing Val

*Finding Balance* Anne

Posted on: October 21, 2010

Hi all!

My name is Anne, but you can call me Happy Fun Pants. Since we’re sharing here, I’ll tell you that as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to get into Smaller Fun Pants…and that’s the name of my blog.

Val asked us to share something that we struggle with and how we are trying to overcome that struggle.

For those that read my blog, you know that I used to weigh 280 pounds and that I now weigh about 60 pounds less. You may know that I’m 5’10”, that I still have some weight to lose, and that I’m a sucker for Reece’s Pieces. You probably know that I’ve been practicing mindful/intuitive eating for about 5 months now and that it’s been the most rewarding and healthy thing that I’ve done.

But what I’m really struggling with is: BEING PERFECT.

See, I always thought that my life would be better if I would just lose the weight. Having been overweight for decades, I idolized thin people. You know the kind I’m talking about…the lithe women with long flowing hair in beer commercials laughing, getting a piggy-back ride from their svelte boyfriends. Or those in the new picture frames from the store – where they’re smiling down at their husband and kids. The shining, happy, smiling women in those images represented this un-attainable goal of what I wanted to be – perfect.

When I looked in the mirror twenty years ago, I was very aware that I fell short of the expectations of others – and myself. I saw a young woman with stringy hair, metal braces (trying to push back a wicked overbite), a face full of freckles, an extra 20 pounds on her frame, and someone who just wanted to be loved for who she was.

The thing is, I’m starting to realize that just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I have had worth all along. I’ve realized that even though I’ve been treated badly in the past, I don’t need to continue to heap the abuse on my body by over-filling it. I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with eating what you are hungry for. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying food and showing appreciation for all the things that happened to get the food to my plate. There isn’t even anything wrong with over-eating. I don’t have any thing to feel guilty for and I don’t owe penance for anything that I’ve done in my life.

Some days those realizations are 100% true. And some days I struggle. Some meals I overeat mindlessly – without even being aware of it. I pick up on social cues and eat even though I’m not hungry.

And on those days? Well, those days I’m aware that I’m not ever going to be that girl in the commercial. The difference between the two of us seems so staggering.

So how do I overcome it? I start being gentle with myself. I ask what I’m really feeling. I become aware of my breathing and any anxiousness that I’m experiencing. When I feel that I’m not being perfect at being mindful (about my eating or something else), I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. The lady in the picture or the commercial doesn’t exist – at least not like how she’s portrayed. And I’m willing to bet that even SHE thinks that she’s not perfect sometimes.

I accept myself and my actions. I accept the repercussions of those actions.

I breathe in calmness and acceptance and breathe out the disappointment and negative feelings.

A few cleansing breaths later and I’ve usually got my perspective back.

I’m still overweight. I’m still not perfect. But the difference between me now and 20 years ago is that progress, not perfection, is my goal. As I learn to love myself – even the deeply flawed parts of me – the weight is starting to shed. As I care more about my health, and less about the number on the scale, I can run faster and longer than I ever believed. And as I count my worth in ways other than my dress size, I find that I’m more comfortable in my skin than I ever thought I’d be.

No, my life isn’t picture perfect, it’s real. That’s better anyway.

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2 Responses to "*Finding Balance* Anne"

Love the photo! Love the post:) I struggle with being perfect too. In many walks of life. Maybe that is why I have such an all or nothing dieting mentality that screws me up. If I eat perfectly, I continue, if I slip and am imperfect, I just jump off a cliff with my eating since I’ve blown it anyways. Just one of many things I am working on.

“A face without freckles is like the sky without the stars,” you know!

I have 2 wishes for you (1) that you could adore yourself every day as much as I adore you and (2) that you could move in with Mandy and I in retirement and we’d be like the Golden Girls. But remember, I get to be Blanche.

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  • Ayla: My easiest dinner recipe? PB + banana sandwich. Takes 2 minutes which makes me a very happy girl.
  • kristisn: Yum! That looks like a great dinner.
  • Kate D: After two scarring experiences stuck in big city rush hour traffic (facing the wrong direction) while on vacation with my parents I totally understand

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