Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stop Wearing Sweatpants!

Recently, there was some sort of casting call for a new show to be produced by Oprah and I applied to be in it. I am sure there are much more deserving people than me (it was about having dreams fulfilled) but still, I thought it was worth a try.

One of the requirements included me sending a picture and sadly, I couldn't find anything that was worth sending except for my self-makeover picture which I took many months ago.

Am I that ugly? I recently bought some clothing because Lands' End was having a sale and I needed a little happiness-via-credit card. However, when I finally got the jacket and pants in the mail, I hated them. It took me a few days to admit to myself that I hated them but I did. But here is real the question: Did I hate it because it didn't compliment my body or did I just hate myself because I figured that I wouldn't look good in anything. I think the latter is the truth since I've been overweight for a long time now.

Now that I have been doing yoga, I have become more aware of my body. The body-awareness increasing potential of yoga is probably one of the reasons why it is recommended for children with special needs since they bump and bounce all over the place.

Through yoga, at least for me, I have come to realize that my main problem is not merely weight or tight muscles or even poor body awareness. Rather, it's an overall lack of concern for my body. I am not eating well. I am not caring about my appearance. I am ignoring my growing stomach. I am not flossing and don't even talk to me about exfoliating- ha! My hair is always tied back and I dress like I am never going to go anywhere. If I ever do put on "going out" clothes, my children look at me like I'm someone else's mother. They actually pick up the skirt and stare at it as if I was wearing a kimono or something. Obviously this must stop.

But how could I change years-old habits of ignoring myself? I guess I'll do what any anxious person does. I'll write a list of the the ways that I'll increase body awareness to promote better mood and better health (and a little weight loss doesn't hurt too):

1. Put on make-up.
I stopped doing it in the summer because of all the sweating and now it is months into winter and I still haven't gotten back into it. The act of putting on make-up really raises body awareness for me. I can see my face change as I age so I don't get surprised later when I notice a dark spot or a wrinkle. Also, obviously, making myself look decent is good for the spirit, especially when I pass by a mirror in my house.

2. Stop wearing elastic pants!
I wear elastic pants every chance I get but a weight loss surgeon once told me that elastic pants are one of the reasons people don't realize that they are becoming fat. So now I've been wearing jeans as early as 8 am until the evening and I also wear a girdle but now I think it's called "Shapewear." It's not super tight but I notice a difference once I take it off and that helps me with awareness too. The girdle also helps me be aware that my digestive system is not working well because sometimes, I don't notice that I'm getting bloated. With the girdle, I know right away and eat a bunch of prunes and drinks lots of water to help my system. I also found some shapewear that creates a slimming effect like the miracle bra without the underwire, I really want to try it.

3. Wear ankle weights or weighted belts.
I tried light ankle weights for a good portion of the day and it was really okay. I felt like I might be burning calories but I was more conscious of how much walking I was doing around the house. I asked my son's OT if wearing weighted belts and other things would be okay for an adult trying to increase body awareness. After all, I do not want to add back spasm to my list of problems. He said, that with anything, you have to do a little bit at a time and increase as you go on. This is what he does for his pediatric patients when introducing weighted vests.

4. Do not read or watch T.V. when I eat.
Even though I have been home for over two years now, I am still not used to feeding myself at home since I used to buy my lunch and breakfast near my office. My problems are that I don't chew enough and I don't eat balanced meals. I don't enjoy my food or I end up enjoying too much of it. Sometimes, I am watching a good show while I'm eating and I realize that I'm done with my food but the show is still going on and to give myself the excuse to watch a little more, I will help myself to seconds. It's so stupid but I'm so guilty of this. I think now I must try to separate treat from sustenance. I'll treat myself to t.v. when I want (which will probably be never) and just eat to nourish myself. Hopefully, I will enjoy my food more this way and eat healthier.

5. Wear my hair down.
I absolutely HATE hair on my face. It has become a real sensory issue for me. When I go to the salon, I tell them that I do not want to style it in the morning and that I don't want any hair in my face. Obviously, this sensory issue (and laziness issue) has become a beauty issue now because everyday I end up having hair that looks like I am off to the gym. It would probably be okay if my hair was longer or curlier or if I had bangs but none of this is true for me. I know I can be and feel more attractive with my hair down and if I leave it down for at least an hour each day, then maybe just maybe.... I could possibly have an actual hairstyle by the end of this year! I always loved Meg Ryan's hair. This could be a goal.

6. Put on body lotion EVERYDAY and wear perfume.
I really hate doing this but I know that I need to if I am ever going to face up to the sheer size of my body. My BMI (body mass index) is 28.21 which means that I am only 1.79 points from being obese. For me, that means I'm only 10 lbs. from hanging out in the obese category. It's not hard to gain 10 lbs. I also think the perfume will help because it's another way to adorn yourself thus promoting happy body awareness (hopefully). I stopped wearing perfume a long time ago because I just didn't care anymore. Now I care but I went to Sephora today and took a look at the prices. Ohmigosh! Perfume is so expensive!

I think I could probably add more things to this list but I'll stop here or I'll surely set myself up for failure. If you have any tips for me to increase my body awareness, please feel free to send them this way.

Photo: This photo of me was taken by my friend two years ago. It was around the same time I was really starting to lose it. Spencer was very behind in his feeding skills but had just been rejected from Early Intervention to receive services. This look (no make-up, hair pulled back, stained t-shirt) has not changed much since then except that I just have more wrinkles and age spots.


Anonymous said...

I love the picture at the top of this post! That is how I aspire to look on my (occasional) "good" days!

Anonymous said...

....just to clarify (since I am new to commenting...) - to me, the above pic shows a real person, who is comfortable in her skin, and is beautiful!

Dandy said...

I think it all comes down to you being comfortable in your own skin. I'm not one to push any certain lifestyle BUT you need to do whatever it takes to realize you ARE beautiful. Life is too short not to be comfortable in your own skin. I realized this a couple years ago and followed many of the goals you listed.

But I will admit the only way to keep myself from pulling my hair back into a pony tail is to keep it short :)

You'll do great! And you are very pretty. Smile!

Anonymous said...

Great post. For me, this occurred as well. There was only so much time to spend on the kids needs, therapies, issues etc. After nearly 10 years and also taking yoga, I am starting to change things. Part of the lack of a wardrobe for me has been budget related - it's just not there. But slowly, I'm making changes here and there. Great list to start things on another trajectory! You look just fine and I am keeping my fingers crossed for you on Oprah!

Penny said...

Jen, You are hilarious! I was laughing reading this but I also saw so much of myself in this. I haven't bought the girdle (although I am trying to talk myself into the high price of Spanx) and I don't own any elastic waist pants because I am overweight and elastic empahsizes that. :) I applaud your effort to better yourself. I wish I had the motivation to do so. Bought a Wii fit just to exercise and haven't used it once. And I too spend all my time on my special needs child and my neuro-typical child and zero on myself. Keep it up. Maybe you'll motivate me to take care of myself too. And you have a standing ovation from me for your brutal honesty. as always, you rock!