Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Your Best Life

Okay, so I was watching Oprah yesterday. The show on Monday was the kick-off for her “Your Best Life” week that had been advertised for the last few weeks or so and also was meant to tie into the theme subject for the January issue of her “O” Magazine. So the show was mostly confession time for Oprah, about how she has fallen off of the weight-loss, fitness, eating right (whatever) wagon. She owned up to it and discussed how she got to where she is and what she is going to do about it. Her fitness & eating plan was interesting enough to me, but what was far more interesting and more cathartic, was the discussion of why she overeats and what this issue really says about her life. For someone who has fought a life-long battle with weight and with food, I can completely relate. Food really IS a drug of choice and people who chronically struggle with significant weight really ARE compensating for something in their lives that is out of whack. In its essence, it comes down to loving yourself, but what is that really? I’ve heard that phrase bandied about my whole life and I STILL to this day do not really know what that feels like, what it really is, or how one goes about actually accomplishing true self-love. I can say that I have self-respect. I think that I can appreciate some of my abilities and stronger points, as well as recognize my short-comings, but I think self-love is far deeper than these things, something that I don’t really have a true concept of, something that I suspect many other people perhaps struggle with as well.

Oprah talked yesterday about taking the time to take care of yourself and about finding the right balance in your life. I have known this and talked about this for years. I wholly agree that this is essential for having a fulfilled life. But, unlike Oprah, I generally have no trouble finding time for myself. Childfree by choice, I am not a workaholic and manage to fit in massages, pedicures, facials, hair appointments and plenty of reading and movie or TV time. I really have no problem pampering myself consistently. I usually work a respectable 40-45 hours a week, so that’s not the issue. Things like horseback riding, which is something that I love that I am doing for myself, is a good example of how I treat myself to things that inspire me and that feed my soul. No, I don’t think these are my issues. I think my issues come more from troubles with finding intimacy in life (and I’m not necessarily talking about romance here) and from varying degrees of self-loathing, both of which I feel are related.

Certainly growing up in an non-affectionate, undemonstrative family and being the introvert that I am, I tend to be very introspective and don’t know a lot about how to achieve intimacy on most levels. The fact that my sister has had such successful intimate relationships (in particular, with her husband and children, of course) amazes me. But the differences here, I think, is because she is more of an extroverted type. She always knew how to get what she needed from external sources, I never had that ability. Anyway, I don’t really know what the answer or the solution is. I can be aware of this general lack in my life, but I don’t really know how to “fix” it. I know that I am missing some necessary element to achieve balance and self-love, but I don’t really know how to change what is at this stage really a part of my character and personality. I guess I’m just defective then, I don’t know. I DO know, however, as I struggle with my issues of self-loathing, with the lack of real intimacy in my life, that my weight will continue to reflect that. I see it as a life-long struggle with no real or easy solution. I suppose some awareness is part of the formula for addressing these “broken” parts of my life. So maybe that’s all it will ever be, I will recognize what it is and continue to struggle with it on a daily basis. Kind of like an alcoholic (and I really don’t think there is much difference there).

One thing I DO know however, is that once I move beyond thinking about how I look or how much I actually weigh and think of my body more in terms of health and fitness and even from the point of view of athletic training, that I tend to do better, get less hung up on the self-loathing thing, feel better and ultimately tend to end up more successful and overall happier with my efforts and myself, as well as just happier in general.

So, I liked the show, it made me think about a lot of things. It’s going to keep me thinking about a lot of things. Like .. oh I don’t know, that maybe I need therapy or something.

Some statements that jumped out at me from the show:

• It’s about what you are REALLY hungry for.
• A doctor told Oprah that, with a thyroid condition, you have to learn to “embrace hunger”. (uh, no).
• Bob Geene (said): He has a theory that Oprah never really learned how to be happy, she just learned “survival tools”. (That rung a bell for me).
• Are you meeting all your needs? If you’re not, food becomes more attractive as a way of comforting yourself.
• Harmony with your life, loving yourself is a life-long journey.
• Your overweight self is not craving food, it’s craving love.

1 comment:

J said...

Excellent post, Debbie. Lots to think about. Thanks.