Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perspective

I was recently interviewed by Crossfit Radio about losing 100lbs since I started Crossfit. The interview was done over the phone. I was super nervous for it. After I hung up I was convinced that I would sound scattered and even conceited. I felt like I did not communicate the ideas I wanted to most. I spent the rest of the night and the next day worrying about it.

Two days later, the interview played live over the internet. As it started I buried my head in the pillows expecting the worse. As the interview progressed, I realized that I did sounded clear and passionate. That I had communicated what I had intended too. I accepted the known fact that I am verbose, but over all enjoyed it! What a relief!

The whole experience got me thinking about perspective. A definition of perspective is a “mental view.” Our mental view of ourselves and our actions are often times very different from the view from outside of us. No matter how many times the outside world give us feedback contrary to our own perspective we hold fast to our perspectives….especially the ones that cast us in a negative light.


The other day I was in a plus sized store and had a conversation with a saleswoman who had recently had a gastric bypass surgery. She asked me, “Do you know how you look? People tell me all the time how small I am getting, but I can’t see it” The question stopped me in my tracks for a moment. I knew EXACTLY the feeling she was talking about. Not really KNOWING what you look like. Like your self-image is in conflict with your image in the mirror. Also feeling not “good enough” even though everywhere you go people are praising your weightloss. I lost my footing for a second, because her question made me realize…..that I actually for the first time in my life feel congruent. I feel like what I see in the mirror matches what I see in my head. People praise me, and I feel just as good about myself as they do about me, even if it may be for different reasons. So what changed?

My perspective.

For the majority of my life my view of myself and my world came strictly from a “mental view” My thoughts, my judgments, my ego, my beliefs. However my radical hateloss involved a shift to what I call a spiritual perspective. My view of myself now comes from a place beyond the mental. It comes from the place where I am connected to all people, to the divine. And from the perspective I can take in the praise and positive feedback from others.

Sometimes things happen, like the Crossfit Radio interview, that cause me to lose the spiritual perspective. I slip write back into the more visited mental perspective. Judging myself, judging what others will think of me. Believing the worst possible version of myself is the truth. Luckily, the moment I heard myself speak, I felt myself slip back into the higher perspective.

You probably have a perspective of your body. That it is not good enough, that it would have to change for you to be satisfied, that you need to lose more weight. You probably believe these things are true, even though others have told you, “you are beautiful the way you are” or “you don’t need to lose weight” or numerous other things. Your significant other, your children, your parents if the relationships are healthy could care less about how you look. So why do you? Ask yourself this question, “What if my beliefs about my body are completely false?” If they were not true….if you didn’t need to change a thing to be healthy, to be happy, to feel satisfied starting in this very moment…how would that change your life?



Quote:
“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”
-Norman Vincent Peale

P.S.
This weekend was the 215 Affiliate Challenge. Crossfit King of Prussia took on Crossfit Inspire. The first event involved head to head challenges. I was put in for the 500m row against a very strong woman from the other team. Competition is my friend, and I dropped right into the zone. I put every piece of myself into the challenge. I finished the row in record time 1:39:04. After I finished from my PERSEPCTIVE I was perfectly fine but for some reason my team mates were lowering me to the ground and telling me my lips were blue. After sitting on the floor for a minute I asked, “Did I win?” (I did!) It took me ten minutes or so before I realized that in the 5mins after the row I was in an altered state of consciousness due to oxygen deprivation. Another example of how those outside of our own head often get a better view of what’s true!

5 comments:

Mich said...

I'm not a CF person, but having just listened to the interview I thought you sounded just fine: clear and passionate about your CF training. I liked your points about "who I was wasn't dependent on what I weighed", using food as an escape, as well as discovering that you liked training with intensity.

AllieNic said...

This is such a great post--I know what it's like to not really know (or be sure of) what you look like. Since I started Crossfit/ weight training regularly, I've shifted away from worrying about what I think I look like, or what I actually look like in real life. I definitely think more about functionality now-- I know that I'm strong and that I can do I think I can. My body is what lets me do these things-- Being healthy can completely change your perspective.

Dorothy said...

Steph,
Thanks for this post. I can really relate and it's good for me to be reminded that my perspective really isn't the reality at all. For example, I lost 4 lbs over the primal challenge this month. I thought this was kinda lame so I got my body fat checked and realized that I had gained 2 lbs of muscle, so I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I ate an entire sleeve of oreo cookies and I felt guilty. Today (one day later) my weight is right back to were it was a month ago and I am hating on myself. Plus I didn't make 90% compliance to win a T-Shirt for the challenge.
Now I am feeling like a complete failure. I realize that these feelings are completely unfounded, but still, here they are.
I realize that I just need to ride this out and it will pass. There are many things to be grateful for. I just can't see them at this moment. To get out of my head, I think I will see if there is someone else that I can help out. That usually does the trick. I just need to get away from my own negative thoughts for a moment.
Love always,
D

juliajohansen said...

Thanks for posting this! Ashley from http://resiliencejiujitsu.blogspot.com/ directed me over to your blog.

I've had the push-me-pull-you fight with myself over my body probably my whole life. I have high self esteem, but I am still insecure about how heavy I am. Women on my mom's side have always struggled with size and weight and it has caused diabetes in my family.

For me, it's more about being healthier. I had such a sedentary life and liked eating crap food and it caught up with me. I'm down to around 190, but I'm standing at only 5'4".

Thankfully after discovering BJJ I realized that I LOVE BJJ (even started blogging about it!). Because of it I'm now moving my body 4-6 times per week rather than sitting and watching tv for 40 hours per week. My focus has shifted from weight loss to "become healthier," and the weight loss is ONE indicator of that, the size loss is ONE indicator of that, and the results on the mat are ONE indicator. The weight loss is now a byproduct and not the goal. It has changed things for me!

It feels like there is a huge dichotomy in our culture: weight loss vs size stasis. What I mean is: seems like women are either focused specifically on OMG WE NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT. or on WE NEED TO BE HAPPY EXACTLY AS WE ARE.

I've even heard the latter called "fat pride."

Sigh. I do think it's possible to have high self esteem, not hate yourself, and to still want to better yourself and become healthier. Unfortunately our society has demonized the whole situation and it's hard for women to NOT hate themselves...

I'm rambling.

Stephanie Vincent said...

Thanks for everyone for sharing and for the feedback. being honest with ourselves about our beleifs is so important. Dorothy I'm going to keep holding up a mirror for your awesomeness untill you can see it all the time too!! Julie- You got what I am all about!! Acceptance isn't about resignation its what we must do if we are to be successful and happy at taking good care of the bodies we love!