Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Shadow of Truth

Mark described to me the other day a cartoon he saw on facebook. It was of a man and a woman standing in front of a mirror. The man was large and out of shape, the woman thin and well built, but the image they saw of themselves in the mirror was the exact opposite. The man saw himself as built and studly, the woman frumpy and fat. Typical?

This phenomenon can be described as "body dysmorphia" and I do think it's more common among women, and in my experience it's more common among thin women! (by thin I mean most women that do not appear, to the average person, as being overweight) Get a bunch of women together and they start to hack themselves apart playing the "one-upmanship" game.

"Oh I wish I could lose this 5 lbs!"

"5 pounds, heck I wish that's all I had to lose!"

"It's not the 5 lbs for me, I could live with the extra 5 lbs, it's this chunk of fat on the side of my thighs!"

"Where? I didn't see a chunk of fat, at least you don't have a muffin top"

"You know what I hate about my body? I hate my freckles."

"I wish I had freckles instead of big nose."

"You don't have a big nose, I have a big nose! I always wanted to have plastic surgery!"

"OMG, I'd love to have plastic surgery and get my fat just sucked out!"

"I can't even look at myself in the mirror anymore...."

Sound familiar? You may not have heard it among you and your friends, but maybe you hear it in your own head. I know I'm guilty of some of these feelings, or feelings like these. But I do not share them with anyone because I don't think there's any point to it. There's no point to it because there's no truth to it. When I look in the mirror and start to pick myself apart I always follow a negative thought with a positive thought...always! This is part of how I re train how I think, how I re train my negetive thoughts into positive thoughts.

In fact when I do find myself around woman that start those kind of conversations I'm quick to point out the positive and I never agree with anyone that starts speaking negatively about themselves. I may even use myself as an example of how I can change how I feel by, #1 indentifying that I've just made a negative statement, and #2 focusing on a positive aspect of that statement. Here's me talking to myself;

"I need to lose 5 lbs."

"Are you kidding? You look great!" OR

"look at the strong legs!" OR

"Look at all of your muscle, do you want to lose some of that? Nope!" OR

"5lbs isn't going go away this instant, so use this 5lbs to be stronger in you training, or in your practice. You've got it, now use it!" OR, again...

"Wow, you know you do look great!"

I'm not saying that I'm perfect, and sometimes I can't bear to go on about how I look, so I follow up a negative statement about my appearance with other things in my life that I'm grateful for that have nothing to do with how I look. For instance: (me talking to myself again)

"I need to lose 5 lbs!"

"Are you crazy? You're complaining about 5lbs when you have so much in your life to be grateful for?"

"Let's start with how lucky you are that you don't have to work for a living. You don't have to want for anything. You love your training and your practice...and you are good at both! You've come such a long way and it was so much fun looking back on it because you are a different person now, a person you really like! You've got great things happening in your got a freakin' book that will be in Barnes and Noble for God's sake! 5lbs? really? 5lbs is nothing and besides you already know how to change that."

My focus is on finding relief. I sometimes refer to it as "pulling my head out of my backside"! The more I practice the faster I accomplish getting back to what I know is the truth inside of me, the truth inside of all of us. Some days it's easier and faster to make happen than other times, but you should always end with a positive thought.....always end with a positive thought.

The photo above was taken on a day that I was not feeling good about my body. Mark and I were training together at Girya and the mirrors were to the right side of me. That morining I couldn't seem to pull my head out of my backside fast enough so I turned my body to face the back wall. It was then I saw my shadow. The shadow of a strong and shapely woman snatching a kettlebell. Shapely in a way that looked pretty good to me! I started to really like my shadow! I could see the nice shape of my waist, my thick bicep muscles and my thick legs. My shadow rocked! My shadow was me, so what was the big fuss about?

And that's when I started to relax and feel better about myself. Some days if relief comes in the form of a shadow, recognize it and run with it! Get away from the mirror, get away from people that agree with negativity, and look for those better feeling thoughts. Let a shadow of truth lead you towards what you feel in your heart. You are OK, you are better than OK, in fact you rock!


Susan Hula B. said...

I love this Tracy! It is so true. Pointing out our imperfections is a hard habit to break; I am working on that one! I love all of your blog posts! You have me wanting to downsize my clutter as well; I will be following your "journey".

Susan Hula B. said...

...or I should say, I will be following your exploration!!!

Juci RKC said...

I love it too :)

guy said...

Very good post! Very insightful as always, new free cool wallpaper for my desktop too, thanks! lol.

Light The Fires said...

Only the shadow knows!


Great blog Tracy. I have never met a woman who didn't say she needed to lose ten pounds. Sigh.

No matter how much I assured her that she was so very mouth watering and in no need of any loss, that the loss would probably come from 2 areas that I found wonderful, etc.

So... Great Blog!


Tracy Reifkind said...


I don't think very many people see a lot of behaviors as just habits. Instead they look for the cause!

I'm kinda diggin' the word "exploration", it's more descriptive as I'm discovering so many new possibilities.

Tracy Reifkind said...

thanks Judit!

Tracy Reifkind said...

thanks guy!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I wrote a blog post about being "a bore" and how it relates to eating out with someone way to consumed with calorie counting, or making the healthiest decision when eating out....talking about that "extra 10lbs" should be added to the list!

What kills me is the women that complain to friends that are overweight by much's like, "you're kidding, right? Cry me a river!"

Diana said...

When I look in the mirror, I only look at my eyes. They are the real story tellers. Sure, I see some imperfections on the body part, but no one's perfect-I remember about a year ago I was out walking with the hubs and the sun was behind us therefore making our shadows shown right in front of us as we walked....I looked at my shadow and thought to myself; "wow, I really lost a lot of weight". I liked what I seen and I always take notice of my shadow when I'm out running or walking.

Light The Fires said...

While dining in a nice restaurant in SF long ago, I heard a person at an adjoining table order 3 entrees for themselves. 1 person, 3 entrees. A large person.

And then I heard that person demand that the server be absolutely sure that the beverage provided was a DIET Coke, not a regular Coke. Afterwards the person was muttering to another person about ALL THOSE CALORIES IN regular Coke versus diet Coke.

Off topic but related in a distant sort of those cousins that no one talks about. :D btw, that person polished off those 3 entrees.

Maribel said...

I do the same thing! Though, it's not a "one up" it's almost like a twisted way of being polite and giving a compliment. I like your approach better. Next time, instead of pointing out a flaw in myself, I'll point out a positive in the person who started the negative comment.

Once, when I was at my largest, a co-worker, who was probably 115-120, was complaining about how fat she was...she said that the day she couldn't fit in her size 4 jeans was the day she "hit rock bottom". I never said anything, but to this day, that comment mortifies me.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I hate those bitches...(kidding bitches, lol...seriously kidding!)

I used to have a client that had so much money she could never spend it in her entire life....always complaining about how poor she was! Boy, now I realize just how poor she was....poor in confidence and self worth.

Have I told you how great you look lately? But you already know that!