Thursday, January 17, 2019

Projecting my body esteem fears affects my relationships

I had an experience, an eye-opening one. 

It had been a week into the new year on a Sunday afternoon. I gathered my family around to have a meeting and, of course, I had prepared snacks. It was a spread from nachos to mini-sized oranges and everything in between. 

I shout to my 16-year-old son, "Hey! You have to come try these nachos, I nailed it!". 

He comes into the room, shoulders a bit hunched and replies in a quiet voice, "Ummm... I'm on a strict eating plan and would rather choose to not try the nachos".

I stared at him and replied, "Come again?"

He said, "I'm trying Keto and want to give it my best effort so am choosing not to partake of the nachos."

A million things ran through my head, but the first to come out was, "When did you start this?"

He said, "January 1st."

I said, "And I'm just hearing about it?"

He said, "I thought you wouldn't let me do it or try to talk me out of it, so I just started it with my friend."

I think what I am most proud of is that I talk with my children, and I feel, they are open to talking to me. Many friends parents have text me to see what is going on with their own kids because they know that my kid talks to me. So I have held some pride in that. So this statement from one of my closest friends, who happens to be my son, floored me - that he did not trust me on this subject to share it with me.

Have you ever felt extremely happy in one moment and then desperate sadness in the next? Because that is what this felt like. Falling from a tall building and landing harshly on the ground defeated.

I have talked and talked with my children about body image, diets, and inner self-reflection, as well as, kindness, flexibility, and understanding that I want them to have with themselves as they navigate their journey in life. I have not hidden my journey with them.

Instantly I feared for his reasoning since the only scope I have to go off of is mine, I was scared he was spiraling into a hole of negativity and shame and I hadn't even noticed or caught on. There were so many things I wanted to discuss at the same time it was difficult to gather all of my thoughts. I was afraid for him, but only because, I knew how diets and my reasoning for being on them affected me and I didn't want him to start down that path, as if his body esteem depends solely on me. I also was saddened that he felt the need to keep this from me to spare my feelings.

I knew my next response was important so I asked, "Why did you want to try/start Keto?" and then I held my breath waiting.

He said something to the following, "I want to be at peak performance when I go into my Senior year of football. I noticed at the end of the season that I was getting tired quicker, feeling sick at times, and my strength wasn't where it could be. I thought if I could learn to fuel my body to up its performance I could benefit from that going into my Senior year. I'm not eating at certain times, I'm not restricting myself but choosing on my own to eat what the plan allows-knowing at any time I am free to deviate.  I read all about the foods and the reasoning behind it and I wanted to see how it affects my body for the next 30 days and how my running and lifting are affected, because of what I am eating. I am keeping track of my weight so I know what that is when I feel I am at peak performance. This has nothing to do with changing my body shape, I am really fine with how I look and so are the ladies if you know what I mean (he then winks at me and laughs), I just want to see what my body is capable of. Mom, I've listened to you I know I have to always check in with my body and I want to do this." Obviously, he had thought about this and knew what he wanted to say. 

So he was doing this not out of shame for his body but in a way to work with it. 

I could breathe again. 

So my next response was something like this, "First, no matter how hard you feel it is to talk to me about certain things, you still talk with me-I may surprise you. That is what I most disappointed about, not that you are going on a 'diet' but that you felt like you couldn't tell me. Second, I want to support you, let me know what foods I need to keep stocked in the house and I'll put it on my grocery list. I love you bud, this is your journey, not mine and I wish you the best of luck with it! I would like updates on your performance stats!"

He's kept his end of the bargain so far and I have kept mine.

I'm thankful for moments like this, where I am able to check in with myself - where my kids teach me important lessons. If my son felt like he had to keep that hidden from me then that reflects more on me than him. I need to work on sharing my message without people feeling like they will get a harsh judgment from me if their journey is different than mine. 

My journey and my experiences are mine alone. People may understand them and need to hear what I'm saying, but also, their body, their experiences, their fears are not mine and I will not judge your experiences and your journey based off my fears... or I will at least do my best to try not doing that... my insecurities and fears have a way of affecting everything - luckily my growth does as well.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Being measured...Show up, be active, take action


I found this and thought to myself... this couldn't be more appropriate to how I'm feeling about this new year.

I want to do and be the things that I admire.

I want to show up for people. I want to take action. I want to be active.

And that is my theme this year.

I want to give more time to the things that matter... and to me, that means relationships (including the one I have with myself and body).

I want to "be measured by things I can control, by who I am and who I am trying to become."

I can control so many things in my life, and I yet, more than I'd like to admit, I fixate on the things that I can't. It's funny how human beings do that.

Isn't it?

So to start, I want to continue to show up for me, healing on the inside and taking care of myself so that I can be available to others.

Self-care is continuing on my Instagram page @rachelleshappy and sharing #mybodyesteemjourney. Connecting with people that have gone through the same struggles, holding hands, and swimming through the muck together.

Self-care is traveling more with my husband and kids, exploring, re-inventing, understanding.

Self-care is staying at home and vegging out while catching up on movies or series or reading a really good book, all alone.

Self-care is being present, collecting small moments of joy and connecting them to feel encompassed fully by life.

Show up, be active, take action.

Other things to read