Tuesday 24 May 2011

Body Image & Battling My Inner Critic

You would think that, after having spent years being morbidly obese and then finally, finally, being slim again, I would be thrilled with my new body and wouldn't have a complaint about any part of it. I mean, really, can't I be happy that I look and feel so much better now than I did when I weighed more than twice what I weigh now? Shouldn't losing 145 pounds make me feel really good about what I now see in the mirror?

But nothing is ever simple or easy, and even though I am an advocate of girls and women feeling good about themselves, believing in themsleves and in their own, natural beauty no matter what shape, size, age or color they may be, I still find myself being very critical of my own appearance.

I have been asked before about loose skin since losing so much weight, and I will answer honestly by saying, yes, there is some loose skin. It's not a lot of loose skin and it's not as bad as it was in the beginning. The more time I spend at or near my target weight, the more the loose skin firms up. But I still find myself looking at it and feeling unhappy with it. Loose skin in my belly area, boobs that have lost their fullness, and a bit of loose skin on my upper arms; it all makes me sometimes feel less than lovely.

Then there are the signs of age. I spent my 20s and most of my 30s being so overweight that any wrinkles that were beginning to appear were hidden in layers of fat. Now that the fat is gone, my crow's feet and laugh lines are showing. The skin on my neck is not as smooth as it once was. My forehead has creases that were not there before I gained all of that weight. My red hair is much thinner now than it used to be, and tiny strands of white are beginning to appear in it.

But I am trying and striving to silence that inner critic, the one that tells me I will never be pretty enough or thin enough or young enough. Because I used to hear her, that inner voice telling me I'm not good enough, all of those years ago when I was young and thin and had never been overweight, when my hair was thick and shiny without a strand of grey. She used to speak to me when I was a young girl and a teen, and strangely enough, despite my youth, despite the terrific figure I had back then, she still told me I wasn't pretty enough or good enough or thin enough. And this is how I know that my inner critic lies.

So I fight her. And there are beginning to be more and more days when I win against her, when I feel good about myself and even feel pretty. There are days when I don't fight her hard enough, but I am finding that, the older I get, the less I hear that voice. She's still there, whispering in my mind and hidden behind my own thoughts sometimes, but I am able to ignore her more often. I even find myself replacing her with a new voice, one that tells me I am more than good enough. And I am finding that I like this new inner voice much better.

Next time you hear the voice of your inner critic, remember that your inner critic lies, and try replacing her voice with a new one, one that encourages you and helps you to believe in your own worth.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Elliptical Crosstrainer Replacement AGAIN

Reebok is going to replace my broken elliptical finally. (This one only lasted about two months.) Robert and I worked out that this one was our 7th one that broke. I'm wondering how long the 8th one will last! Reebok would have saved money if they'd given us a gym-strength one from the beginning as, although we spent a lot of money on the machine, none of them seem to be made to last for people who actually use them.

The video above is what we had to show them in order to get a replacement. Robert had to take the side off in order to be able to show the damaged part. It is broken in the same place that the last one broke. I am worried that, if they replace it with the same model again, it will just break again in the same place. This is only the second time we have had this model as they stopped doing the previous model we used. I liked our previous one better, even though it too did not survive the test of daily use.

If this one breaks after a short while too, I will announce the make and model so you can all avoid buying one. If I ever get a quality machine that is built to last, I will happily write reviews about it every six months for the first two years just to show everyone that it is still going strong! But so far, after having seven machines fail on me and, of those seven machines, three different models that have failed, I am skeptical that any company bothers any more to make quality equipment.

I know that people tend to buy these things and after a few short workouts on them, they have a tendency to only use them as coat racks for the rest of the machine's time in their house. However that is no excuse for companies to allow them to be made so poorly and to let the quality to slip so far down in standards.

I am not overly rough on my elliptical crosstrainers. I spend an hour to an hour and a half a day on the machine, every day. Robert used to use it occasionally too, but he hasn't used either of the last two machines at all. I just run on them. I adjust the resistance as I run. But I don't do anything that should cause damage to the machine.

I am not a heavy person. I am well below the maximum weight allowed on these machines. And yet they keep breaking.

It is such a hassle to have to assemble the machines when they arrive, get to use them for a little while, then wait on delivery of the replacment machine (which has taken several weeks this time) and do without my usual exercise during that time. And then, of course, Robert or I will have to assemble the new one, again.

It is so much hassle that I am getting really, really annoyed with the whole process, but I keep hoping that the next one will last me for a decent amount of time.

Regardeless of my fears for how long this 8th elliptical crosstrainer will last, I am hopeful, and I am relieved that I will once again be able to work out on a crosstrainer again. It always helps me to maintain my weight, and since I have had a small gain during the weeks we were moving and the weeks I have been without my elliptical crosstrainer, I need to get back into my workouts.

Monday 9 May 2011

Where Have I Been?

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. We moved to a new house, and my husband canceled our Internet the week before we moved. What we didn't know at the time was that, because our house (and street) our newly built, they are not set up with the cables for us to be getting our broadband Internet, so we have now gone most of the month with no Internet connection. Robert just bought me a dongle for a small amount of wireless access, so I am taking advantage of it to try and let everyone know where I have been.

My elliptical crosstrainer broke AGAIN. This is our 6th or 7th one. The manufacturer wants us to send photos of it and then will let us know what they will do, if anything about it. They have replaced them all up until now, but I am getting really tired of always having to go without while it gets done and then the hassle of putting the machines together each time. I just want them to make the machines so that they actually work and last for someone who USES the machine regularly. *sigh*.

I feel fat. I have not been able to do my crosstrainer because it's broken and it was a big part of my daily exercise. The week we did our move, I did NOT eat well. We are still unpacking. We still have a lot of money to spend on this place as it still needs carpets in a lot of the rooms and many of us have no wardrobe closets or dresser drawers so we have those to buy. We definitely need more bookcases, and until we get them, our house will remain full of boxes. *sigh*

I know I put on a tiny bit of weight over the move (and some chocolate over Easter - oops!), and not being able to do my most helpful exercise is bothersome. I am trying to do even more walking than I was, but everything on me feels less firm at the moment.

Hopefully, I can work out something else to do until my machine is replaced.

In the meantime, I am spending about an hour and a half more on buses each day taking the kids to and from school, and my 16 year old brought home a new kitten. She's cute and playful, as all kittens are, but I occasionally have to run interference between her and our other cat.