Beliefs About Body Image

Spinning requires good form. In order to get the most out of the workout, and to avoid injury, holding positions (correctly) on the bike really matter. When COVID hit, I moved away from my gym membership and bought a Peloton. I love my bike, it gives me as good a workout as I got at my local gym. Although, my gym offered a terrific community and I do miss the people. But that is a post for another time… I tend to select classes with explicit instructions for form, and I realized that I needed a mirror to help me make sure I was keeping my back flat, and my elbows bent. The mirror helped, and my form is much better these days. But now, I also get a full view of my profile sitting on the bike. There is a definite disconnect between how I am feeling on the inside, “Go me! I am keeping up, even though it’s really difficult!” and how I look on the outside, “Is that what I really look like?” Then I knew that today’s post had to be dedicated to beliefs about body image.

Ugh… Body image can be a challenge for most people at some point. The other day at work, some friends were talking about how hard weight loss is, the sentiment of the conversation went like this,

You know that you’re doing so good, and it doesn’t show for such a long time. It takes so much work before it starts to show. You feel so good inside but then you look the same. It’s so discouraging.

a lunchtime chat

I was thinking about what my friends said, as my internal critic was hammering my appearance. I put my hands on my abdomen and I actually started feeling sorry for my poor body. This is the body that carried three beautiful human beings into the world. This is the body that made it possible for me to get my degree. This is the body that gave my mother a shoulder to lean on when she was sick. It has served me so well, and I have neglected it so badly and allowed myself to gain back weight. Although I’m not starting completely over, I didn’t gain it all back, it’s difficult just the same.

This is hard, but hating on my body image isn’t helpful. Hating my body is an unforgivable, petty thing to do to myself. I am truly grateful for my strong, capable body. I am trying to be worthy of it by giving it the care and attention it needs so I can continue to live my life. No matter where you are on the journey, I encourage you to love your body and to allow yourself to flood it with gratitude for all that it is to sustain your life. Be patient, stay the course, and just be good to yourself every step of the way.

What’s Next?

Yesterday, I was admiring spring flowers during my walk with Sadie. Today, I woke up to a light coating of snow. Surprise! This has me thinking about surprises. A surprise disrupts a pattern, you expect one thing and something else happens – SURPRISE! For so long I’ve treated the scale like a literal platform for a surprise to unfold before me. Step onto it and… surprise! You’re down, “Yay!” Your up, “Agh!” In my mind, I would think, “I did this or that, and now I have an expectation for how things are supposed to go.” But hey, sometimes the pattern is broken and there is a surprise.

Whether it’s a good surprise or a bad surprise is not the point. A surprise is a momentary blip. No different than the snow that was there in the morning and gone by the afternoon. It’s what happens after the surprise that really matters. It matters because that’s the part where I get to decide what will or will not happen – next. This is a process, and if I stick with it, over time, I will achieve my weight loss goals. Believe it, and it will be so.

It Worked!

Yesterday I set an implementation intention to work out before work. I wrote it down taking care to note the behavior, the time, and the location. For some reason, when we write down our goals with that degree of specificity we usually meet them.

It felt great to get a workout in before work and that I kept my promise to myself. I battled the candy again today and I was victorious! When I got home from work it was unseasonably warm and took my dog for a walk around the neighborhood. In short, it was a very active day.

Spring is almost here!

Doing the Work

I got a text from a friend who is also on a weight loss journey. This is how it went:

“Up 1.2.”

“Only down 14 now. Was at 20. Ugh.”

“Ok. What’s your goal this week?”

“Lose weight.”


“What are you going to do to make that happen, small goals.”


“Think about it commit to one thing.”

“A little self-care.”

I get how my friend feels because today was a struggle for me too. Again, with the candy bowl within reach all day, to say nothing of the bag of candy that was right behind my desk. For some reason, I was also hungry all day. I could keep complaining, but who wants to hear any of that?

Sometimes, when the journey gets hard, you need to recognize when you need some help. Whether that relief comes by texting a friend, or permission to give yourself a self-imposed “time out” for self-care – it’s ok. There is no one right way to do this because weight loss is hard. Tomorrow is another day.

Weight Loss & Waiting

We finally got our first significant snowfall, it came just in time to say goodbye to February 2023. Although it arrived late into the season, I think it’s safe to say, that we Long Islanders are just happy it made it before the spring. It’s kind of a relief to see that familiar white blanket because it confirms our expectations – it’s winter, and in the winter it snows.

When it comes to waiting, everyone can relate to feeling frustrated. Especially when what you’re wating for is something you really want… like ahieving your weight loss goal. Here is the thing you’ve got to consider, there is only so much energy you have on any given day, how do you want to use your energy? You might be thinking, “I can’t help it, I am frustrated because weight loss takes so… l o n g!” All I can say to that is, “I hear ya!” Let’s take a moment just to appreciate that weight loss is hard.

You can do hard things. There are lots of ways you can help yourself along the way. So just in case you need a word of encouragement or some tips to keep you going here is what I have to share:

  • Anticipate the best-case scenario, you will reach your weight loss goal.
  • Appreciate the journey by giving yourself well-deserved props you’re doing this!
  • Set small goals as you go and don’t diminish your joy for accomplishing them.
  • The benefit of practicing patience is perseverance and perseverance increases feelings of gratitude.
  • Shift your focus from “the work” to self-care it conserves energy to keep going.

Now I want you to think to yourself, “I got this.”

Falling in love with weight loss

Right now on Twitter, there is a conversation going on between educators about whether or not it’s important for children to love to read. Specifically, for those children where reading proficiency is hard won. Usually, I don’t involve myself with squabbles like these – I have my own point of view and it influences how I teach reading and it is working. But it felt like a teacher/researcher I admire a great deal was being misrepresented and I “chimed in”. I would totally understand if you were thinking, “I don’t care about teaching reading, I am interested in finding ways to motivate weight loss. Why is she prattling on about this?” Bear with me, I’ll get to the point.

More often than not (sadly) educators will refer to children with reading delays or difficulties as “struggling readers” or worse, just plain “strugglers”. For some, the approach to remedy reading delays involves drilling letters and sounds, and strict adherence to the kinds of texts children are allowed to have. It’s typical, in these models, for children to have no choices as to what they read, and teachers are instructed to “follow the script”. If I use this model to frame my weight loss journey here is how it would go: they would call me, a “struggler” and “Weight Watchers” would be the scripted program for me to follow. They would say, I cannot plan my meals, or shop for myself – clearly (since I’m a struggler) I’m not ready to do it on my own. They would tell me it doesn’t matter that I hate this process, it’s kind of like just taking my medicine, and that I should trust them and not myself. Intrinsic happiness and joy are inconsequential to my successful weight loss.

If this was the kind of energy that surrounded me in my weight loss journey I would weigh 600 pounds. I don’t think I could stand it and I know I would fail and be miserable. This Twitter conversation has helped me to make a powerful connection. I should do for myself what I do for my students. Here it goes:

  • I will acknowledge what is hard for me on this weight loss journey and I will find opportunities for love and joy to be present in those moments – because I am working hard to improve.
  • I will give myself lots of opportunities to find the best way to make Weight Watchers work for me. I will do this through ongoing reflection and engagement.
  • I will keep at this every day because I see myself as someone who knows how to lose weight.
  • I will continue to build myself up using a positive perspective because I am worthy of achieving my goals within the context of self-love and joy and not disatisfication and struggle.

There are many ways to be successful there is not “one” correct way of learning how to do anything. So how do you want your journey to go? Do you want limitations and restrictions or do you want empowerment and choice? I have chosen the latter and I think I am all the better for it.

A Little Imagination…

Where do you want to be one week from now? How about a month? What do envision for yourself by the time June rolls around? Creative Visualization is one way to center yourself around your weight loss goals. Imagining a positive outcome helps all of us stay on track. I like to think of it as writing a narrative for to inhabit. Why not write a positive script for your weight loss journey? Here is how to do it:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Take a deep breath and picture yourself one day, one week, or one month from now. What about your situation is different? What is the same? How will you be different? How will you feel?
  3. Picture yourself interacting with this new reality. You are not your circumstances, but your feelings about them change how you function within them.

If you imagine a better outcome for yourself, you may find that you end up living that reality. I think we are more powerful than we know. We have it within us to change our lives for the better.

Change Agents…

Today my husband picked up a belt he had repaired at our local shoe and leather repair shop. A simple act that resonates deeply with me, I love this. I love it because taking care of what you have is as important to me as making a goal for what you might want next. I love it because the owner of the shop possessed the skill to fix the belt. He had the knowledge and the tools to make the needed repair. It’s never too late to fix it.

Yesterday, I got to see my WW friends from the Greenlawn Moose Lodge. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I credit much of my weight loss success to my Saturday morning friends. Together we created a supportive community and we all felt better for being part of it. Saturday mornings have not been the same since COVID-19 became part of all our daily existence. A year later, and now we are finally planning to get together at an in-person meeting next Saturday at 8:15 am. I will let you know how it goes.

I don’t know if it’s the luck of the Irish or if I just needed a change, but I switched over from the Purple plan to the Green plan. I think it is helping me.. I like that WW offers some choice now, it feels like a more responsive program for weight loss. I have also had two great spin classes on my Peloton. I have started stretching after the class and I notice a huge difference in how I’m feeling. So if you are working out – don’t forget to stretch your body will thank you!

So how are you doing on your weight loss journey? If you have found yourself backsliding into old habits, and gaining weight, know you’re not alone. Do not be hard on yourself. You are amazing, there is no one else in the world like you and you deserve better. Losing weight is REALLY HARD to do and to maintain. I am not suggesting that ignoring it is any better. That won’t help either. So take stock, what can you do to honor your health and wellbeing? Find some people who will back you up – know that I am cheering you on as I do this work too. Take small consistent steps towards change and before you know it your healthy habits will come back strong. You have the tools and the knowledge to make change happen.

Snow Day 2.0…

I live in a northeastern suburb and we can get some brutal winters. Not as bad as New England but bad enough. The great trade off for black ice, shoveling snow, and bitter cold winds whipping off the ocean is the thrill of getting a “snow day”. There is no better feeling than getting the call that the roads are “impassable for students, faculty, and staff’. It is like getting a free day unencumbered by an over scheduled life

Then and Now

Snow days used to be full of dressing kids for outside play, movies and popcorn, steaming hot coca, and art projects. I put my energy into making those days happy special times, for my family. Now snow days give me the chance to put my energy towards self-care. It is a day where I can refocus on my priorities and treat myself well. Today is one of those days, so how will I use my time? All of the items on this list, would make my life better:

  • Writing to center myself
  • Taking a Peloton class
  • Spend time with my hubby
  • Appreciate some beauty
  • Do some light cleaning
  • Cooking a new recipe compliments of:
  • Reading for fun
  • Do some planning for work
  • Meditate and practice mindfulness

Writing this list has helped me to prioritize my health goals. Sure, maybe if I were more evolved I would not need a heavy snowfall to take time out for me. The truth is I’m not there yet, but I think just knowing this is a step in the right direction. If you’re like me, and need an excuse to take some time out for you, I suggest you try writing down a list of things that will help you to prioritize your health goals. For my type A friends, think of as a challenge or an assignment. Put it on your calendars and schedule it to make it happen.

Icy waters preceding the storm

In the meantime, I can look forward to six more weeks of winter and finding more opportunities to be be good to myself. I hope you are good to yourself too.

Lost and Found…

January 17, 2021 is a late for an end of the year reflection, but I guess I needed some time to process all that happened and is still happening. To say so much has changed for all of our lives in an understatement. I could write about loss in almost every aspect of my life. Covid-19 has been and continues to be shadow of death and despair the world over. I am wrestling with my feelings of loss for my country both politically and socially. Systematic racism has been revealed to me and it is something that I cannot “unsee” so I am doing the work for how to be an anti-racist.

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”

― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

All the of the deep rooted problems of my nation are being laid bare for all to see this year, I can take some comfort that our society is one where that can happen. We are imperfect, and the work that comes next is to continue to try to “form a more perfect union” a goal which will not be attained in my lifetime but is one worth fighting for for the rest of my life. I do take some solace in knowing that violence, for any cause is not to be tolerated. No one is above the law and people who either incite or promulgate violence will be punished within the parameters of the law.

The US Constitution

My health and wellness goals have taken a beating this year. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges of these times, combined with the theft of my systems of support (in person WW meetings, and Spin classes) to maintain my health and weight loss have proved devastating. Community is an invaluable part of my success and I am still grieving the loss of that community but I am not the type of person to give up on a worthy cause. In this case, my health is the worthy cause here. I am dedicating myself to get back to goal.

I weighed myself yesterday and can now quantify the impact of my struggle in terms of black and white. I am working WW for all that it is worth. I am on the Purple Plan because I think it is still the best fit for me right now. The other action I took (with the full support of my husband, Dave) is I bought a Peloton. I can tell you that it is a real bonafide spin bike and I leave my workouts with that familiar sense of relief and wellbeing. It is a great stress reliever for me and I am very grateful to have one.

If I am to be completely honest, and this blog is a place for compete honesty or else what is the point? Not everything I lost was bad, and not everything I found was good this year. Maybe the lesson I am supposed to learn is that it is not really about what was lost or found, it is what remains. My resolve to be the best I can is what remains. Let’s promise to believe in ourselves and try to make the world a little brighter along the way. I will and I hope you will too.