Imagine if everyday you were asked to step in front of a judge’s panel, scrutinized for any minute increase in girth, change in firmness, made to pose this way and that. Everyday mashed and and felt, pinched and pulled with the end result usually a sigh of impatience or disapproval sprinkled sparingly with days you meet these incredibly high standards. On those days as soon as you’re judge adequate you’re ignored until you then must meet sabotage attempts to test your mettle. The initial insult is not enough, step in front of the mirror all day any chance you get to be rejudged, poked and prodded. Pretty miserable and stressfull just reading about it, right?
This is what I do to myself on a daily basis without even conciously realizing it and it stops today.
It’s called body checking and most of us do it in some form or another, whether it’s a sly pinch of skin to see how much can be grabbed, furtive looks in reflective surfaces, examinations of our thighs when we cross our legs or heaven forbid sit in a chair. I’ve often wistfully thought of the time when I was innocently happy with myself, where I didn’t know what I weighed and didn’t care to meet anyone else’s ideal and when I rarely went shopping I didn’t even have a clue what size I was and would just try things on until something fit and the number had absolutely no meaning at all.
Wow that just hit me, I did no body checking in any form and that is why I was happy with myself. It’s eluded me for years now what changed and how I could get back there.
I don’t pretend to think I can fix the damage I’ve done in the name of self improvement with the snap of my fingers. I also am very happy with the lifestyle changes I have made and the person I am now minus the body issues and the anxiety.
And there’s another thing about body checking: I only need it when I try and get away with as little healthy actions as possible. For example weighing myself: I do it religiously when I am focused on losing pounds but a common theme in my mind is, okay I only gained a pound from eating that pizza so that ‘s water weight and I “got away with that”. Or I ate very little and worked out like a fiend and I’m dropping about a lb a day (not healthy) so I’ll keep going with that.
If I simply live like the person I want to be the weighing is not necessary, I don’t need it to keep me on track (on plan, in line, etc) because if I am living well in the first place that is the goal. If I workout 4-6 days a week and eat fruits and vegetables at every meal there is no way I’ll head in the wrong direction.
The scrutiny is unnecessary when my actions are in line with my goal and only need to come in to play when I am trying to cheat the system or to punish myself. That’s not how a normal person lives, that’s not how I lived before I decided to try we1ght w@tchers.
Assignment for today: no mirror gazing unless it’s needed to fix my hair or dress myself (normal things) and absolutely no weighing or flab fondling (eww, haha!).
Fruits and veggies on the menu and a trip the gym are in order because I am a person that enjoys food that is good for me and likes to move my body and become stronger. I am.
Wish me luck.
The link I included is to a journal article in Behavior Research and Therapy on what body checking is and what effect low versus high body checking has on a group of women in one study. They found that the positive outcome in the low body checking group did not last very long-I personally think they went back to body checking again perhaps as I know this is not the first time I have tried to stop it. Try, try again.