Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Breast Therapy

I have struggled with body acceptance since my weight loss.  I wrote about how I felt about my body in Looking Naked in the Face. I have gained empowerment with my body and have learned to embrace it with love and kindness. That being said, let's face it. No one is perfect.  My breasts still effect my self esteem.  Luckily, I'm not showing my breasts to anyone expect my husband and a good bra hides what I don't have.  Did I ever foresee myself in a room with several other women topless? Nope, yet that day came this past Friday.

Photo courtesy of  LV Burlesque Studio

A friend of mine invited me to take a tassel twirling class at a burlesque studio. I had to think about it. Tassel twirling meant being topless, no push up bra, no hiding. This terrified me, but ultimately I said yes. Breast therapy. I'm going to set the girls free and embrace what I have while learning a few tricks. If ever there was a time to face my fear, this was it. Plus, knowing I had a trusted friend with me could keep me strong.

My fear was being surrounded by women with perfect breasts and then there would be me with my not so perfect breasts standing out.  I could not have been more wrong. I was relieved to see women of all sizes, ages, and breast sizes.  I wrote in "Looking Naked in the Face":

     A room filled with women, all stripped down, we would see how similar our bodies actually are to each other. We all have stretch marks, we all have different shaped breasts, we all have things we can pinch and poke. These are our bodies. Real bodies. Strip down the model or actress on the magazine and we will see that their bodies are actually just like our bodies. They get special lighting, air brush body make-up, and Photoshopping to make them look perfect. However, naked body to naked body we are all cut from the same mold. The mold of imperfect bodies that tell our individual stories.  
Photo courtesy of  LV Burlesque Studio

This is unbelievably true!! My classmates for the evening were real women with real bodies. I would have never guessed how liberating and empowering it was to be topless among a group of women.  I felt relief realizing every pair of boobs in the room where different; big, small, round, and oval. My boobs did not stand out; instead they blended in! 

Tassels in place, we learned how to twirl them several different ways. Twirling requires jumping, shoulder shimmies, and lots of upper body movement. The girls where flying everywhere and it was so much fun! I was surprised that I was enjoying myself. I was not self conscious about my breasts or my body at all; in fact, I was proud of myself! My breasts handled the tassels like pros, as did all the boobs in the class. I felt sexy. It's hard not to feel sexy in black yoga pants, high heels, and gold tassels. 

Photo courtesy of  LV Burlesque Studio

I walked out of the class loving my breasts! I walked away with confirmation that all women's bodies are different shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful.  I will twirl my tassels with pride knowing that my breasts are more like the "real" women I see everyday - they are mine and they are awesome! 

Thank you Cha-Cha and Las Vegas Burlesque Studio for a fun, body accepting environment that put me at ease and allowed me to open up and embrace my body! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Remnants of a Binge

     I had a sobering moment in my car today. While I was poking around in my glove box I came across an old candy wrapper.  I sat holding it, having flashes of the me up until 3months ago. The sugar binger. The sugar hider. The sugar sneaker.  I would eat my candy in my car, usually within minutes of leaving the store.  I ate it quickly and I ate it all. A fleeting moment of bliss and then the guilt would beat down on me like a hammer.

     When I refer to sugar as my drug, I am not being cute. I mean it to my core. Sugar ruled my thoughts, sabotaged my healthy eating, and made me hate myself. I was addicted. I was a bitch when I wanted something sweet and couldn't find any. I would eat other things to try to curb the cravings; that never worked. When I would get what I wanted I would binge on it, including ODing on chocolate cake until I was sick. I am not the only one. I am not the only person who has found the only way to stop themselves from eating sugar is to pour salt, soap, or Windex on it.

     I had to come to terms with my addiction when it was seriously interfering with my health. If I did not quite sugar, it would be the thing that was going to make me very sick.  Women with PCOS are wired to crave sugar due to having insulin resistance. Drastic highs and lows in blood sugar can cause mood swings, cravings, weight gain, fatigue, and depression. The huge risk in feeding the craving for sugar is the high risk of diabetes, stoke, and heart disease.  I was walking a path of destruction. It did not matter that I was happy with the number of the scale and my pants still fit; on the inside I was destroying myself.  Reality check time.

     So, just like a drug addict or alcoholic, I asked for help with my addiction.  I found what I needed by way of support and understanding. I woke up one day and never touched sugar again.  The first week was horrible. I was a bitch. I was short with everyone and nothing would make me happy. I stayed strong, motivated by my own health and well being. All the research had sunk in and I wanted to be free from this poison. I detoxed from my drug of choice and I survived and no one died.

     I came out on the other side free from cravings and binge eating. I had made peace with my body. I promised to no longer abuse my body and to only care for it with loving thoughts and healthy foods. I found great dessert recipes that not only satisfy but are so much better than the junk I was eating prior to my change.  I have found myself happier and more stable in mood swings. I am happy with myself. I am proud of the adult I am working hard to become. I am not a victim of my addiction. I forgive my body for what it does with sugar due to my PCOS and now I make accommodations for my body and nourish myself.
Here are a few changes I made to break my bond with sugar:
-I do not eat anything with high fructose corn syrup
-No more white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, and sucralose.
 -I read labels on EVERYTHING
      - if I cannot read what is in it, I do not eat it. No more franken foods!
-No more white flour and very little wheat flour
- More fruit and vegetables
- I found Chocolate Covered Katie (google'll love her) for healthy desserts
-I use coconut sugar
-I drink lots of tea, all sorts of flavors. It's my new spurge at the store instead of candy.
-I had to make myself be ok with saying no to everyone. Family or friends. It is not personal. Sugar items to me are like putting drugs in front of a recovering drug user. I had to be ok with being open about why I am making the choices I make.
-I made connections online. PCOS websites filled with stories just like mine. I am not alone. That helps.
     The most important change I made was realizing this is about my health and well being.  Sugar will not be the thing that beats me! I eat for my health and not a number on a scale any more. Weight is not the whole picture of health.  I know I have to stay away from sugar. I have eaten it once since I stopped and I had a headache so bad I almost cried. That was all I needed to know! No cupcake is worth that kind of pain!

To read all about my sugar addiction click here
It is a very real addiction!