I Don't Accept Myself the Way I Am

You know, a lot of people remain confused about why I dated a guy for so long who was so brutally and unbelievably honest about my body (and other various, nonphysical, flaws) that he would often reduce me to tears with this honesty. I'll never claim that this was necessarily a healthy relationship. In fact, I'll come right out and say that it wasn't much more than it was.

However, the fact that I would suddenly subject myself to such ridicule was indicative that something within me had recently changed because, up until that point, I had spent my adult life trying to avoid people who would say anything negative about my appearance.

After years of getting picked on in school, I found solace in a very small group of loving and accepting people in my life. The rest of the world, I hid from for years. My family, of course, loved me unconditionally and they became, and still are, my very best friends. My husband at the time thought I was the most beautiful thing on earth.

So what's the problem?

While it's EXTREMELY important to have these people around who love you unconditionally, I've recently come to realize that unconditional acceptance from others can sometimes lead to unconditional acceptance of ones own self. Don't get me wrong, you should love yourself unconditionally, but you should not necessarily accept yourself unconditionally. Especially when doing so means ignoring the fact that you are obese and sick and just simply not living your fullest life.

When I met my, now, ex-boyfriend I learned what being accepted conditionally was all about. And I related to this quite well because I was in the middle of a life transformation that included not accepting myself unconditionally anymore. I had already started taking a hard, long look at my life, my mind and my body and saying, "NO!!! This is NOT good enough! *I* am NOT good enough!" Both of us had something in common, we both loved me, but we both didn't accept a lot of stuff about me.

In the age of self-love and BBWs, it's probably not politically correct for me to claim this. However, if we truly DO love ourselves unconditionally, WHY would we settle for whatever we happen to fall into in this life? "Food tastes yummy. I got fat. That's okay, I accept myself unconditionally." BULLSHIT! It wasn't just my physical appearance though, many aspects of myself were lacking and I was sick of pretending I was okay and enough.

So, when my ex would say something like "I am kind of physically attracted to you but I just can't get past how big you are," I would first break down and cry, of course. Then I would lash out at him and consider ending it. But, contrary to how it might appear, I was not a victim and he was not an abuser, he was just honest (after I would spend a half hour trying to drag it out of him).

After the tears dried and the anger subsided, something new would take it's place. Resolution. Not because I wanted to be more attractive for him (trust me, I'm the type of person who would almost get fatter just to say "screw you") but because I felt the same exact way about myself. In those early days, he never once said anything about my body that I hadn't already thought for a long time. Something about hearing it out loud and having it confirmed that I wasn't really thin and just seeing an obese girl in the mirror like I had hoped, would completely change my mindset. I began to thrive from these episodes. The tears were largely over finally acknowledging these things about myself and much less about the fact that they were coming from a guy that I knew was, by nature, dissatisfied with basically everything and everyone in life. Also, I was facing a big fear. The fear of rejection. The one I had hidden from for all those years. And here I was coming back for more, again and again. From this, I also thrived.

When I finally ended this relationship of two years that was, while so SO good and constructive at times, also dysfunctional and not constructive at other times, I wondered if I'd miss the "motivation" that he provided.
However, I quickly realized I didn't need a painfully honest boyfriend to push me (and it reached a point where I no longer agreed with his continued criticisms). I only needed the one thing that I had been doing since the moment I left my husband, my job and almost every other comfort in my life. I just needed to make myself uncomfortable!

The more this concept developed in my mind, the more I realize just how little he actually did to help and how much of it came from the things I decided to do. It just so happened that a lot of them took place while I was with him.

Every time I pushed myself up a mountain that I didn't think I could make it up, every time I walked into a social situation I had avoided for years because of my physical insecurities, every time I kept running even though it felt like I was breathing through a straw, every time I befriended someone that I felt intimidated by, every single time I made myself uncomfortable, physically or mentally...I grew.

That's it. 

So, do I accept myself as I am now? Hell no! Never! I love myself! I'm friggin awesome! But I will never ever accept myself because I will never ever stop growing.
Now, it's your turn. Go out there and make yourself REALLY uncomfortable!

Audio Book Suggestions

After documentaries, the possibly easiest way to educate and/or change yourself is with audiobooks. Especially if you drive a lot! I am going to add more detail (and I'm sure more books) to this list as time allows but here's some great audiobook suggestions. I use audible.com for most of my audios and, when you first sign up, you even get some free credits I believe.

I have split them up by general category:

Weight Loss/Nutrition/Exercise

The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight by Tom Venuto

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
This isn't so much an educational book as it is a collection of stories about different types of runners. More than anything, it reminded me of the strength of the human spirit, the body and how much potential we have. Very inspirational!

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
What foods we should and shouldn't eat and why.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
If you experience trouble with having enough motivation to exercise, this book could seriously change your life. He teaches you WHY exercise is so important and the science behind it's effects. I've listened to it several times and it really helped me internalize the importance of exercise. I have ZERO trouble with motivation now (aside from the occasional under the weather day) and I sincerely believe that this book has played a HUGE part in it!

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis

The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Solution by John Gray, Ph.D.
Don't let the name fool you. This is not a chick book. This offers sound information about how men and women's bodies respond to certain types of food and exercise. This book has been one of the most helpful I've ever "read"!

Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen


Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
If you find yourself always attracted to people who need help and you're always the one who thinks you can change them. This is a GREAT book!

Mars and Venus on a Date by John Gray, Ph.D.
Gives insight into the dating world for both sexes. VERY HELPFUL!

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
This book can benefit men as much as it can women. It helps is "break the code" and finally gain a little insight into what's going on in the opposite sex's brain!

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt. Maybe you're just not his cup of tea. And, if not, you deserve better.

It's Called a Break-Up Because It's Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. This book honestly helped me break a horrible break-up/get back together loop I was stuck in. When I would get lonely at night, this audiobook would be that friend that made me laugh and talked me out of calling him.
The Tao of Dating by Ali Binazir. Learn how to be the goddess you are and attract the right man.


Positive Discipline Birth to Five by Dr. Jane Nelsen
Super short and extremely Helpful!!

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy child from Zero to Five by John Medina

ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel
BY FAR the best parenting book I've read so far!! It's not just about not screaming, almost any parent could benefit from this book. It has been truly priceless in my own life, I just can't recommend it enough!
Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive by The Courses. This is an amazing (and LONG) series of lectures, all backed up by sound science, about various topics of child rearing.

Mental Health/Inspirational/General Self-Help 

Excuses BeGone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits by Wayne Dyer
Learn how to overcome the roadblocks in your head that tell you that you can't do something.

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D.
Why women think the way they do.

The Law of Success From the Master Mind to the Golden Rule (in Sixteen Lessons) by Napoleon Hill
This book is really good and reeeeallllly long. I can only take it in small doses because it's a little dry but definitely chock full of information and worth the listen!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
I just can't recommend this book enough! Every single person should listen to this. Everyone can greatly benefit from it!!!
The Toltec Way by Susan Gregg. The three Toltec Masteries (Awareness, Transformation and Intent) are explained as the key to transcending your limitations and experiencing yourself as the creator of your life.

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The Secret to Getting a 6 Pack with Obi Obadike


This is a really great article (although the grammar is horrible at times lol). It really helps to explain how to get abs and about the misconception of how people think they can get them.

Kicking the Habit--My Addiction to a Man

I recently got out of a 2-year relationship with a guy that I was absolutely crazy for....problem was, when I say "crazy", I mean that quite literally. I think most females (or maybe most people) can relate to this feeling at some time or another. The feeling of no longer being a rational human being the moment you come into contact with, or even think about, a certain someone. Well, that was definitely me..to the nth degree. Part of it was, no doubt, because he was an intelligent, unbelievably funny, exciting and passionate man who I just couldn't keep my hands off of and still, after two years, managed to give me butterflies. Unfortunately, enough bad stuff happened in our relationship that the butterflies turned more into bats. I don't blame our relationship for my crazy, unbalanced bouts, I blame my unbalanced bouts for, well, about half of the problems that we had in our relationship anyway.

We met online and, when I looked at his pictures, quite honestly he didn't really do anything for me. When I talked to him on the phone we instantly clicked but I still worried about the lack of physical connection. (Actually, on both our ends, but that's a story for another time.) But, with every late night phone conversation, I I fell harder for this guy. I had never had a connection like this with a man (I wasn't related to) before. 

The first time we met face to face I instantly learned that a picture is not always worth a thousand words. One miserable frozen morning in January '10 I pulled up in the parking lot where we were meeting and there he stood. I thought, "wow, he's a lot cuter than his pictures." Then he smiled and...it's all kind of fuzzy from there. From that moment on this dude made my head spin every time he kissed me, hugged me, and sometimes just looked at me.

I was fresh out of my marriage (a little TOO fresh many would say) and here was this fun, adventurous guy so full of life and showing me all these new, exciting things that I had never experienced in all the years I spent parked in front of a t.v. But our relationship was bumpy, to say the least. The exact details don't really matter at this point but it was definitely one of those romances that, when it was good, it was so SO good. And when it was bad...well, you get the idea.

To say I was unbalanced during this time could imply that I had a cute quirk here and there that made me a little kooky and unpredictable (again, in a cute, quirky, romantic comedy kinda way). This was, sadly, not the case. I was a hot mess. I would cry over everything. I was insecure and paranoid and, although there were some times when I was completely justified to be those things, most of the time I was coming up with crazy notions in my head that just had no foundation in reality. I was full on crazy at times and sometimes I think he must be full on crazy to have put up with it but, underneath all the dysfunction, I really do believe we both did (and still do) love each other very much.

Problem was, I wasn't just in love with this guy, I was addicted to him. I mean that literally. Yeah, you can be addicted to a person. When someone makes you feel a certain way it is due to chemicals that are being released within you and when those chemicals make you feel good, you want more. And when you're depressed and unbalanced, you really REALLY want more and you'll put yourself through just about anything to get it.

I can't pinpoint one exact cause of my imbalance but, over time and with work, I started to become more stable and began see things more rationally. That's the thing about being imbalanced, it's not always cut and dry as in "don't do this anymore" or "do this one thing" or "take this one pill and everything will be okay." Quite often we have different things in our lives that are contributing to the lack of well being we are experiencing.

I'm still trying to sort through all the things that caused my mental instability to assure it doesn't happen again. Very recently I gained some insight into this by almost slipping back into my role as crazy girl. I was staying with a friend for the weekend and my ex came to visit for part of that time. By the end of the weekend I felt myself feeling irrational, unhealthy feelings toward him again even though I've spent time with him since the breakup, talk to him on a very regular basis and had felt like I was really starting to move on with my life. So what gives?

Then it hit me!!! When I first started seeing him, I was not sleeping well. And, when I say "I was not sleeping well," what I mean is that I was staying up until 4am a lot of nights and getting awakened for the day by my son an hour or two later. I basically wasn't sleeping at all. I had started dabbling in exercise a little before this but nothing nearly intense enough and not frequently enough. When I really started working out hard and consistently, this did 2 things for me. First, it greatly improved my mental stability. Second, it helped me fall asleep earlier at night. As a result of sleeping like a normal person should, I saw an even more drastic improvement in my mental stability.

So how does this relate to my weekend brush with crazy? Well, that Friday night we had stayed up late watching a movie. I didn't get to sleep until about 1:30-2am and my son woke me up at 5am. Saturday, basically the same thing. In case this wasn't enough to push me back into "I'll die without him" land, I also didn't work out the whole weekend.

By the time I went to bed (early!) Sunday night I had eaten foods that ordinarily would never pass my lips now because I know the science behind just how bad they are for me and I wanted to get back with a guy who I also knew just how bad he was for me.

When I woke up Monday morning at 4:30am, I was feeling a bit better, still sad but more manageable. I drug on my workout clothes and headed downstairs. Something in me knew I needed to push hard and really work up a sweat. An hour and fifteen minutes later I semi-crawled back up the stairs feeling like my old self again. Yes, I still missed him but he was back in his "compartment" in my mind where he belonged.

Sleep and exercise (along with nutrition) are tools that we have at our disposal that can greatly improve our lives. Not just how we look but how we feel physically AND mentally. When we aren't utilizing these tools, it's much easier to give in to our addictions (and we all have them) whether they be food, people, alcohol, whatever. Now, I'm not saying "exercise and get a good night's sleep and it'll fix all your problems" but what I am saying is that by controlling what you eat, how you exercise and how much you sleep, you will be much better equipped to make rational, healthy decisions when you are faced with problems.

I also want to add, when it comes to exercise and eating healthy, I think that it's more than just hormonal balance. There is so little we actually have control over in our lives but these are a couple things in which we do! I spent my weekend away from my house, my stuff, my priorities, my life!! When we don't have a firm grip on what we want and are actively doing everything we can to achieve our best life, we feel out of control and that makes us more vulnerable to allowing external things to control us instead.

Carbohydrates and fat Loss