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?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

10 thoughts on “Body Love Week: Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living”

  1. I am totally in love with this post. What an important message.

    Do I have compassion for myself? Damn. I’ve been preaching the ‘love yourself’ and ‘accept yourself’ attitude..but honestly, I fail at it every day.

    Do I have compassion for myself. Not so much.

    I need to work on this….
    Ragemichelle recently posted..I’ll Never Be Your Beast Of Burden

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I’m glad it spoke to you too. I wanted to do a week of positive posts and thoughtfulness toward our bodies. All too often that negative voice overpowers the positive one. At least for me. It’s easy to list all the things we don’t like about ourselves and forget the awesome things.

  2. Great post!! I’m actively working on the “I deserve this” part. I don’t deserve unhealthy food (which leads to an unhealthy body and feeling bad about myself later) just because I’ve gone for a run/I have PMS/I’m depressed. There’s no higher being out there looking down on me saying “That’s ok sweetie, I’ll make sure those calories don’t count, you’ve had a rough day”.
    Ingunn recently posted..Favorite Hikes | 2011

    1. Oh I love this comment! So true! I do tend to eat the bad foods “I had a bad day” or “I have PMS” and then feel guilty about it. Then the negative self-talk sets in. I like the “I deserve this”. I don’t do that mindfulness nearly enough.

      By the way, I love your photo. You and your puppy….adorable!

  3. I love love love this post! I’m terrible at giving myself compassion and have gotten into a pattern of negative self talk that I’m working hard to end. If I catch myself thinking bad thoughts, I try and turn it around immediately, but it’s a daily struggle.

    I totally agree with the point you make about sweets – treating myself good is eating well and exercising, which have plenty of their own rewards.

    wonderful post 🙂
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..Fat Acceptance: A Love Story

  4. What a great post! I very much set up a rigid rule program and I’m getting better at allowing the unexpected to not ruin the whole thing. Learning to keep going even when I feel like throwing the whole thing out. It’s okay to mess up, you can’t be perfect and you shouldn’t strive for such perfection, it will only lead to misery and negative self talk – I am only beginning to make peace with this.

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