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Old 05-19-2009, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default Self Improvement or Self Destruction

My friend sent this to me today and I wanted to share and get your thoughts:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/blogs/...-become-a.aspx

I have been worried lately that in my efforts to lose weight, I have hit the self destruct button. I have become obsessive about measuring everything and I have been over-exercising, stepping on the scale more than is healthy and allowing the result to influence my mood. I have now taken a step back and realised how unhappy this is making me and am starting to make changes so I can live a happy and well-balanced life, be comfortable with the person I am now and lose weight healthily and safely. I need to stop letting my weight define who I am (in my own head).

I guess my question is how do we prevent our attempts at self-improvement from becoming self destructive?

(*edited to replace copyright text with link to original)
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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Hi MissVitality! That's a good article from your friend. I do agree that women and girls pay WAY more attention to what the media and advertisers tell us about our bodies. From my view, as an older woman, it's almost as though we've gone back in time!

Did you know that last Halloween, the most popular costume for girls was "princess"? What is that about? What happened to witch, goblin, ghost, superhero, and so on? It's like even on a holiday like that, girls have to be pretty stereotypes.

That said... there is a different way to view weight loss, and I'm glad you've decided to take a step back. For me, it is NOT about making myself a size 4 and wearing a bikini. My motivation is simply to be as healthy and fit as I can, and carrying those 50 extra pounds didn't work.

Any form of self-improvement can be a trap for unhappiness if one is prone to being judgmental. It's what we've experienced most of our lives as girls and women, so it's hard to get out of that. The focus on the body stops women from looking at things like excelling in other areas--learning, participating in the community, job performance... In other words, it's a distraction that can keep women from moving forward.

So it's important when losing weight not to let it become yet another reason to be unhappy, yet another reason to feel we are failures. Loving oneself means doing the best for ourselves, helping not judging.

Jay
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:26 AM   #3
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In my opinion, many obese have tendencies towards addictions. I have seen this in several of those around me over the years. The food addiction may leave but another addiction or habit replaces it. It is definitely true for me. I am still trying to find a healthy balance of all the wonderful things life has to offer instead of zeroing in one thing. I would advise you to see this for what it is but don't allow it to be an excuse to throw in the towel on becoming a healthier and better you. You have done beautifully thus far.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:08 AM   #4
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Did you know that last Halloween, the most popular costume for girls was "princess"? What is that about? What happened to witch, goblin, ghost, superhero, and so on? It's like even on a holiday like that, girls have to be pretty stereotypes.
What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? My middle daughter LOVES dressing like a princess, you act like that is a bad thing. SHE IS A GIRL she likes to be GIRLY. She isn't in to the other stuff, now the year before she was Bat girl, and her costume was pink, but pretty much every year she is a different Disney Princess, that is what she likes, she also puts on her dress up clothes and heels and crown and go swinging on the monkey bars, invents pine cone launchers with her brother, digs in dirt and climbs tress. You really think these girls aren't choosing what they want, we should refuse them there choice because its a girl thing?? Now my oldest daughter, never cared for the princess thing, she has been rock stars and TV characters and a cheerleader once, My son likes race car driver, super heroes and pirates. He is a BOY that's what he is into. You can embrace your femininity and not be obsessed with 'pretty'. My daughters are beautiful and my son is the most handsome little boy I have ever seen and i tell them daily. Oh and by the way, BOTH of my daughters are Princesses, because THEY are daughters of THE KING!
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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LOL--my daughters were an astronaut and SuperGirl.

Jayell--I understand where you are coming from! One walk through the 4th and 5th grade pod @ our elementary and you can see the girls already wearing make-up and butt shorts with messages on the rear. Add to that blingy purses with cell phones inside. OMG--and the girls are 11! I shudder to imagine what they will be doing at 14!
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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Mandy, kids don't arrive at their preferences and choices after careful consideration--rather they mimic what society is presenting them with. This is called role modeling. Yes, many girls do like being princesses, and many boys do like being race car drivers. But it seems to me that recently the genders have become more polarized than they used to be, and yes, that does bother me.

Also, I am not talking about refusing any girl her choice--or any boy, for that matter. I think you're reading in more than I intended. So take a deep breath there and cool down...

What it comes down to is, will society allow a fat girl to be a princess? Think about it... But to lose weight in order to become a princess--that may not be the best motivation, although if it works, that's a good thing.

Jay
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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LOL--my daughters were an astronaut and SuperGirl.

Jayell--I understand where you are coming from! One walk through the 4th and 5th grade pod @ our elementary and you can see the girls already wearing make-up and butt shorts with messages on the rear. Add to that blingy purses with cell phones inside. OMG--and the girls are 11! I shudder to imagine what they will be doing at 14!
My daughters are 12 and 7, I would never allow my kids to where clothing with words on the butt, I HATE that. my 12 yr old doesn't own a phone but most of her friends do, and their daddy doesn't allow makeup except for our oldest is allowed to wear a little lip gloss and eyeshadow on Sundays, never to school and out 7 yr old has her on little lip gloss she wears when playing dress up. I was in 4th grade when my mom let me wear a little lip stick on Picture days at school...lol
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:30 AM   #8
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Mandy, kids don't arrive at their preferences and choices after careful consideration--rather they mimic what society is presenting them with.
Jay
What a load of hooey
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:08 AM   #9
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I think JayEll was bringing attention to princesses being the most popular, not bashing on any princesses anywhere.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:16 PM   #10
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Good Morning Miss Vitality! - I understand your worry. I don't weigh myself for fear of becoming overly concerned with a number. I think a person will find success in the area of weight loss when they find a balance between nutrition and exercise. I agree with Jay Ell in that you are wise to take a step back and find what out works for you.
I think taking a step back and getting a different perspective can be very valuable for any aspect of your life.
It's interesting what different conversations can tell us about people. --I mean about weight loss and body image, and about buying into an unreasonable ideal. I think we as a society push that ideal onto ourselves and our young ones and it is sorrowful in my opinion.
Mandy - what king are you talking about? Am I completely out of the loop here or did I miss that part of the conversation?
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:26 PM   #11
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Did you know that last Halloween, the most popular costume for girls was "princess"? What is that about? What happened to witch, goblin, ghost, superhero, and so on? It's like even on a holiday like that, girls have to be pretty stereotypes.
I'm nearly 40. I was a princess for Halloween every year FWIW. One year, I went kind of out there and was an ELF princess (same pink dress with gold braid my mom had made a few years before BUT I added elf ears). I don't think it's anything new for little girls to want to dress up like princesses.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:32 PM   #12
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Oh hahah. Bit slow on the old re-uptake here. Just realized what Mandy meant by the king. I think I need more coffee.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:02 PM   #13
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What it comes down to is, will society allow a fat girl to be a princess? Think about it... But to lose weight in order to become a princess--that may not be the best motivation, although if it works, that's a good thing.
there was Princess Fiona in Shrek?
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:53 PM   #14
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there was Princess Fiona in Shrek?
Yeah, but can you think of another? Also Shrek is also a social satire, in essence Fiona is the "anti-princess." Still, she ROCKS!

My husband and I saw Shrek right before our wedding, and I was scrambling like mad to try and find Fiona and Shrek figures to use as the cake topper for our wedding. But blankety, blank it, every where I went ONLY had figures of the "skinny, pretty Fiona."

Last year in a dollar store, I found 3" figures of Shrek and ogre Fiona and I bought two sets. One I keep in it's box, and two sit on my desk. Man, I wish they'd existed 6 years ago.

I always did want to be "beautiful" for Halloween (princess, gypsy...) and it drove my mother nuts (because she always said she wanted us to be something easy and cheap to create like "bums" or clowns). I was overweight by kindergarten, so my quest to be beautiful was a bit sad, especially since I did know, even then, that it was a bit "silly" for a fat girl to want to be a princess. I was always torn between choosing something "funny" or being a princess (because it did, significantly and even obviously to a 6 or 7 year old increase the odds that I would be teased. In hindsight, it's probably the real reason my mom always tried to talk me out of being a princess). I so clearly remember deciding that darned it, I WANTED to be a princess, and would endure the extra teasing.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:08 PM   #15
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I was always torn between choosing something "funny" or being a princess (because it did, significantly and even obviously to a 6 or 7 year old increase the odds that I would be teased. In hindsight, it's probably the real reason my mom always tried to talk me out of being a princess). I so clearly remember deciding that darned it, I WANTED to be a princess, and would endure the extra teasing.
Do you think it's the same way today? Because honestly, that would never have occurred to me, a child getting teased for choosing princess while overweight. Granted, I have boys, not girls. But it seems when I go into the elementary school that, not only are there a lot more overweight children than when I was a kid, but also just a lot more overweight adults in everyone's lives. There's a darling overweight girl in my son's 2nd grade class. The thought of her getting teased had never entered my mind... I hope it isn't happening!

Also, back to the original post, I was really surprised by the statistic that girls start dieting at 8 and that 4th graders are doing fad diets?? One of my sons is 8, the other is in 4th grade. Is this really what is happening with their girl peers??
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