Tag Archives: magical thinking

Recursive Recrimination–Beating Yourself Up (For Beating Yourself Up)

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Several decades ago, I made the decision to not let negative feelings about my body rule my life any more.  I decided to stop putting my life on hold until I reached a certain size or shape.  I decided that all the things I was waiting to do until after I had the “right” body, well I was going to do those things right away.  I have never regretted that decision.  It was a massively important turning point in my life.

However, when I decided to become The Fat Chick and make this decision extremely public, I hesitated.  Because I wasn’t perfect.  I wasn’t perfectly healthy.  I wasn’t in perfectly physically fit.  I wasn’t the ideal poster child for fat people.  And sometimes I had bad days where I didn’t feel perfectly happy about my body.  How, I asked, can I inspire others to love their bodies and love exercise again when I don’t always exercise and I sometimes frown at what I see in the mirror.

Working with a very wise coach and my super smart husband I came up with the answer.  I have it on a post-it note on the window in my office.  It reads, “The Fat Chick is not a ‘persona’, she is a person.  And people aren’t perfect.”  Getting past this little post it allowed me to finish my book and be on national television and face down another pile of hate mail and ugly comments on my YouTube videos.  It has allowed me to get on with things–even when I’m feeling far less than perfect.  And it’s allowed me to stop beating myself up for beating myself up.

Look, we all have days where we feel powerful and strong and invincible.  And then we have days where we don’t.  This is normal.  This is life.  But when we make the decision to stop hating our bodies and hating ourselves for the way our bodies look, there is a tendency to want to exchange one sort of perfectionism (the search for the perfect body) for another (the complete cessation of negative body thoughts).  I get it.  First I mourned for all the perfect things I imagined would happen in my life once I had the perfect body.

And then I had the honeymoon period where I believed I would never feel bad about my body again and I would remain perfectly healthy and nobody could ever hurt me again.  And then I had the bad days where I didn’t feel perfectly happy or healthy in my body AT ALL.  And then I started beating myself up for beating myself up about not having the perfect body in a perfect recursive storm of self-recrimination.

Sometimes I just have to STOP.  Take a few deep breaths and tell myself that I am hereby absolved of the need to be perfect in anything.  This includes being perfect at self-acceptance.  This includes being perfect about body love.  This includes being perfect about not needing to be perfect.

I take another breath and try to be grateful for the whole, non-perfect, f’ed up mess of it.  Try to be grateful that I can breathe.  Try to be grateful that I have a life to muddle through and mess up.  And try to remind myself that I don’t need to be perfectly grateful either.

I don’t always get it right.  But that’s okay.  Because I am a person, and people aren’t perfect.

I hope this little blog post helps serve as a reminder for some of you who are currently in the process of beating yourself up for, well, beating yourself up.  You have the permission of the universe to be profoundly imperfect.  Because the universe made us that way.  You are a person, and people aren’t perfect.  And that’s totally okay.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to talk to your group about being imperfect?  Click HERE to learn about my speaking.

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Magic Beans

It all started this week with dimples.  This week I came across these photos demonstrating an early invention for creating dimples on the cheeks.  I had a fleeting moment where I thought, “well we’ve come a long way since then.”  After a little searching around, I realized that women used to even undergo surgery to create dimples on the face.  Later the same day, I came across somebody in a popular exercise forum asking if there were specific exercises she could do to make dimples appear on her butt.  After calculating the millions I could make for a chair-based device for creating back dimples (or butt dimples) I realized that we haven’t come that far at all.   And after just a little research I realized that many plastic surgeons offer dimple-making procedures.  They can offer dimples for your face and as an add on to a “Brazilian Butt Lift” procedure, they can highlight those tiny little spots over your posterior.

Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t get plastic surgery.  It’s your body and your life, and I am not the boss of you.  And I am not claiming to be completely natural.  I wear some makeup, I get highlights put in my hair.  But this business about dimples got me thinking about what possesses us to go through this sort of pain to have dimples in the right spots.  And just as I was thinking this, I came across this video in my feed talking about “super foods”.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I think good nutrition is very important, and I believe that the nutrients we put into our bodies make a big difference in how we function and how we feel.  But this discussion about super foods is important because it reminds me how often we take something natural and good in this world and then endow that thing with magical powers.

Dimples are good.  On some people they look cute.  Therefore, if I get dimples on my face or on my posterior as part of my butt lift, I will be adorable and irresistible.  Wealthy, attractive, celebrity men will whisk me off on their yachts.  I will become famous.  Everyone will envy me because, you know, dimples!

Gogi berries are good.  They are mysterious.  They have antioxidents.  If I eat them, I will be endowed with the mystical natural powers of the Amazon.   (NOT the one that delivers books to your house with drones.)  I will never get sick.  I will never get tired.  I will live forever.  I will be invincible.

Yup, you see?  Magic beans.  Why is it in this day and age, when we can put a machine on Mars to take pictures and prove there are no martians running around, we still fall prey to this notion that there are magic solutions, magic pills, magic surgeries, magic foods or magic anything that is  going to make everything in our lives perfect.  If only I could get 6-pack abs (sigh…) everything would be perfect:

Or not.  I am afraid there are no such things as magic beans.  There’s just beans.  Beans that are high in nutrition and can taste good and can fill you up and keep you going.  But beans, by and large don’t have magical properties.  Except maybe for these:

Okay maybe beans are just a little bit magic after all!

Love,
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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After Happily Ever After…

Watching this video really got me thinking.  It’s hilarious and awesome because it ties into something we all so desperately want to believe.  We want to believe in happily ever after.  We want to believe that once we achieve that one thing, after we reach perfection, then everything will always be okay from that point on forever, amen.  Right?  It starts with the whole princesses thing, and then for many of us, it becomes the whole weight thing.

I spent many years indulging in “happily thin ever after” thinking.  I believed that once I was thin, insanely rich and handsome men would swoop by in super yachts and pick me up and take me off to James Bond-style vacations (without the sorta violent parts) in exotic places.  I dreamed that academy award-winning directors, stunned by my new svelte beauty, would discover me in a local Starbucks and offer me a three picture deal. But mostly I dreamed that I wouldn’t feel self-conscious any more, I would always feel fabulous about how I looked and that I would then have the courage to do anything I needed to achieve my dreams.

And then for a while, I got thin.  And you know what?  Absolutely none of the stuff that I believed in my happily ever after fantasy came true.  None of it.  No yachts. Not even a canoe.  No vacations to exotic places–violent or otherwise.  No three-picture deal.  (Although I did get a latte…)  And I still felt self-conscious, and unhappy about my looks and fearful and all of that stuff.  I still wasn’t equipped to do everything I needed to achieve my dreams.  I still felt miserable a lot of the time.  And I thought, “What a rip off!” I was pretty annoyed that the whole getting thin thing was not as advertised.  I mean I was averaging 700-800 calories per day.  My hair was falling out.  My digestive system was no longer working properly.  I was no longer menstruating.  I was exercising 2+ hours per day.  And you know what, I was THIN.  But the awesomeness I expected, just didn’t happen.  I did have more places to shop for clothes but not more money to use for that purpose.  I did have less trouble dealing with doctors, relatives and complete strangers who no longer felt it necessary to have “concerned conversations” with me about my weight.  And for a while, I got a ton of positive attention from friends and family.  And then it became like no big deal.  I didn’t get positive attention any more.  I got tired of feeling sick and tired all the time.  And I just wanted to EAT!  After over 12 months of this crazy regimen, my metabolism tanked to the point that I was gaining weight at 1,000 calories per day.  So not surprisingly, I gained it all back and then some.

Society promises us that when we are thin, our lives will be perfect and exciting beyond our wildest imagination.  Many of us who experience becoming thin (temporarily or otherwise) find ourselves totally unprepared for finding out the truth about being thin.  The truth being that most of our problems are still with us, and our wildest imaginations go a long, long way beyond the lives that we experience as thin people.  I was so moved when I read this account of a woman who had lost a lot of weight after weight loss surgery.  Not surprisingly, she experienced an intense letdown when she realized the wonderful, perfect life she was promised in the doctor’s office never really materialized.  And she was also completely unprepared for the loss of her sense of identity and her sense of self that can come with such a dramatic change in the shape of your body.

I am sure there are those out there who are eager to tell me that it is our fault we don’t experience the perfection that comes with weight loss.  We weren’t thin long enough.  We didn’t get thin the right way.  We didn’t use the right products or achieve the correct level of enlightenment.  But you know what?  I don’t think there is any magic bullet that makes life perfect.  I don’t believe that there is a moment after which you live happily ever after.  I like to believe I’ve reached a moment after which I have a reasonably good chance of being happy a lot of the time.  I like to believe that I’ve reached a stage where I feel reasonably content in my body and am equipped to make the best of what life has to throw at me.  But happily ever after is a fantasy I’ve happily learned to outgrow.

Love,

The Fat Chick