Alternative Healing

Body Love Week: Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living

This week on 110 Pounds, we’ll be discussing the important topic of Body Loving. Here is the first post to kick off the positive body image week. Enjoy. -Lisa

Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living

Guest Post By

Mara Glatzel

I have this thing about routines.

When I was a compulsive eater, it often looked like this: there is absolute chaos around me, I am exhausted, have been eating food that doesn’t work for my body for far too long, and I can’t remember the last time I got up and moved. I remember reeling as though I would do almost anything to just pull myself together.

So then, I would dream up a little structure for myself. Spoiler alert: it was rigid and filled with steadfast rules. Spoiler alert no. 2: it always always ended back up in chaos. And I would be disappointed in myself. Again.

Then the cycle would repeat itself.

I was really good at dreaming up the routines. I was so good, in fact, that they were air tight, with little room for actual real life. I would suddenly find myself at a party or out of the house for 12 hours, and my routines would come crumbling down all around me.

It took a long time for me to realize that crumbling into chaos wasn’t mandatory, that I could slip, altering my steadfast routine, without chucking the whole thing out the window. It took a long time for me to realize that every second was a second to turn it all around.

Every bite was a second to turn it all around. A moment to make choices that were better aligned with those things that make me feel good.

It took me quite some time to realize that I deserved to feel good, that “treating myself sweetly” did not mean “treating myself to sweets.”

It was during that time that I realized I needed just a handful of rules, let’s call it a gentle structure containing things that I worked to maintain in my daily life, even when I was too busy for everything else.

My baseline.

The few things that I needed to do consistently to keep myself operating on an even playing field.  And even these rules were made to be broken – sometimes.

Even when we can acknowledge that there are certain things that we need, say 7 hours of sleep, 8-10 glasses of water, or some semblance of vegetables in every meal, we have to allow ourselves the opportunity to color outside the lines. If we can find a way to approach ourselves with relentless compassion instead of brutality or negative self-talk, it is possible that we can head off a tailspin back into our more chaotic behaviors. If we can find a way to make space for the life that we like living somewhere within the matrix of our necessary rule set, it may be possible to strike a comfortable balance between authentic living and teetering on the brink of personal disaster.

Not everyone will understand this feeling, but when you are someone who has recovered from a lifetime of any sort of disordered eating or problematic relationship with food, we have to re-learn how to trust ourselves. We have to take precautions in order to safeguard our new found feelings of self-worth and self-love.

I have found that it will become easy over time, natural even, but in the interim, it is important to be very kind to yourself. You will mess up, you will make mistakes, you will be disappointed in yourself, but it is crucial to take a moment to remember that you are doing the best that you can.


Bio: Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach and author of the body image + authentic living blog, Medicinal Marzipan. If you enjoyed this post, catch up with her (almost) daily body-loving antics and general rabble-rousing on facebook,  twitter, or shoot her an email.

QUESTION: Do you have compassion for yourself?

Care Takers and Care Packages

When I was sick as a kid, my go-to movie marathon was Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. I absolutely adored the movies and the books and the best part about the series: they were hours long so I had entertainment all day. I loved the stories and had a huge crush on Gilbert Blythe and wanted nothing more than to live on Prince Edward Island. What a gorgeous place it was!

Alas, I only have the movies on VHS somewhere in a box so I can’t watch them when I’m sick. But I watched something that I enjoyed just as much this week. I was on the couch sick, snotty, sneezing and nursing my aching, red nose for days. What a nasty cold! At least it wasn’t moving into my chest like most colds do. I passed the time with catching up on Netflix: Justified Season 2, the last season of Brothers & Sisters and I started Downton Abbey.

What an awesome show! I love the scenery, the acting is great, the story is compelling and the costumes are to-die-for. It takes place in 1912, England, and begins with the sinking of the Titanic. The heirs to Downton Abbey were on the Titanic and now the family living there is thrown into chaos without an heir. It’s told by equal parts of the upper-class family and their dozens of servants. What a fantastic show.

I had good TV to keep my company, and lots of kitty love too. Fat Kitty was at my side pretty much the entire time I was home sick. He likes to snuggle. 🙂 Of course, he’d run away for a bit when I had my sneezing fits that shook the whole couch. But he always came back.

The first night I was home sick, Michael made us spicy bean burritos for dinner. I just wanted something spicy to clear up my sinuses. He piled on tons of jalapenos and it did the trick. The second night, we totally got junk food for dinner. I had zero desire to leave the house, or to eat anything resembling “healthy.”

Michael got us chicken strips and jalapeno poppers from the grocery store. Unfortunately, the poppers were not spicy at all (boo) but I sprinkled some cayenne pepper on my chicken strips and that did the trick for a little bit. I tried to justify the dinner by adding some raw broccoli to my plate, but who am I kidding? It was just comfort food with very little nutritional value.

The highlight of my convalescence was getting a care package from Cynthia! Our birthdays are near each other and I won her birthday giveaway. The package arrived and I happily tore into it from my sick bed (the couch). Fat Kitty was super excited about the paper wrapping and the box. I was excited about the CHOCOLATE!

She kindly sent me chocolate, macaroons, spicy jelly, hot cocoa, tea, a marinade, and her favorite book. I immediately had one of the teas and the mini chocolate (dark chocolate with lavender and blueberry) as an afternoon snack.

Thank you so much, Cynthia! 🙂 I can’t wait to try everything! Of course, it will have to wait for when I feel better and can actually taste things again…

QUESTION: What is your favorite at-home-sick-on-the-couch movie?