Health and body image update: part one.

Brunette in workout clothes, stretching on the street

Hello, dear readers! I’m publishing this post a little later than expected because life is not exactly a long walk on the beach and with all the things happening in my life, it was hard to find a time to write a post. Yet, here I am. Just twenty-four hours ago I was sure that I want to whine about how stressful my life is right now but then remembered Dolls Have Hearts is really not the right place for that. I will whine in my personal notes later, however today I came here to talk about something more positive that is going on.

I do not know, if I mentioned earlier in any of the posts but since December I started working out again and since January I’m back on track again. Many months ago I kind of fell off the track of working out, constantly told myself that I am too busy and/or tired to do that until I stopped working out at all. The worst thing is that I even told myself I am better off without it. I had lost most of the muscle gains I got during two years of training but still maintained about the same weight. For a while I did not really care until certain thoughts started crossing my mind. Am I still healthy? Do I eat healthy? Should I eat less sweets? Do I eat too much in general? Maybe I should start working out again? Two months later (in December) I finally decided to get myself together and get healthy again. It was not easy to get back on track but I did it.

This time I created more compact and balanced workout plan. I had few exercises under categories: butt exercises, arm exercises, ab exercises, other exercises and yoga. First three included one exercise for each specific area, for example, glutes but the last one was just few yoga poses to do at the end of workout to strengthen my body in general and calm down. Let me tell you, Warrior 2 – that’s a real killer. You might think it is not a big deal to get in that pose but holding it is a real challenge.

One thing that I just recently learned to do is enjoying not only the results but also the process. Ever since I started going to PE lessons at school, I hated them more or less the whole time. And I hate them the most right now – in middle school. Just to make this clear – I hate lessons not exercising in general. PE lessons in my school mostly include team sports and just a tiny bit of strength training. Whenever we have strength training and some useful exercises, our teacher rarely explains, how to do them the right way and they all happen in such a rush because no one’s really interested in doing them or, even more, enjoying the process. What’s the result? Well, injuries and / or terribly sore muscles in all the wrong places for next 5 – 6 days. But enough about that.

The last thing I wanted to do for the part one of this health update is share my current workout plan. Yes, it is self-made but I am careful enough not to push myself too hard and injure myself. I have categorized them and written in random order. When I actually work out, I just mix them up.

Ab exercises:

  • 30 crunches
  • 30 bicycle crunches
  • 30 leg lifts (while lying on back)
  • 30 raised leg, bent knee crunches
  • Boat pose (holding as long as I can, 3 times)
  • Side plank (both sides for at least 1 minute)

Butt exercises:

  • 15 fire hydrants (for each leg)
  • 30 straight leg raises (while laying on stomach)
  • 30 bent leg raises (while laying on stomach)
  • 30 both bent leg raises (while laying on stomachs)
  • 30 donkey kicks
  • 30 hip raises

Arm exercises:

  • 45 bent over row (with 1 kg dumbbells)
  • 45 shoulder presses (same weights)
  • 45 (unidentified exercise, couldn’t find the name)
  • 45 (one more unidentified exercise)

Yoga poses:

  • Tree pose 1 (holding as long as I can, mostly 2 mins on each leg)
  • Warrior 2 (holding as long as I can; about 20 secs each leg for now)

Other:

  • 30 jumping jacks

Also, I haven not forgotten about warm ups and cool downs but I decided not to mention them here. Anyways, that’s about it for my current workout routine. I try to do it 3 – 4 times a week. The best thing about it? Even though I feel a little sweaty after it, there’s barely any soreness the next day, most of the time there’s none at all. That is it for part one of my health update.

Do you do any of these exercises I have mentioned? And how often do you work out? Let me know in the comments. 🙂 Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

The less visible sister of fat shaming – skinny shaming.

Skinny brunette in workout clothes, walking down the street

Hello, dear readers! By now I think you have all heard of fat shaming. Curvy people, especially women have raised awareness about it a lot during last few years. It is no secret that media has been pushing the image of “perfect woman” onto us for quite a long time. We are still drowning in magazine articles about getting beach body and different diets that will help us lose x amount of pounds every month. However, there is one side of body shaming that has not been covered as much and it is skinny shaming. Yes, that is really a thing! Why am I writing about this? Well, because I have been fat shamed as well as skinny shamed.

During my childhood years I was somewhere in the middle – not really chubby but also not skinny. However, I despised PE lessons and ate what ever I wanted, so I was no way considerable as the fit one. Being a kid and hating sports was not cool at all, so I quickly became the main object of mockery in my school. Most of my bullies were boys, who were skinny and loved sports. They could eat all the junk food in the world and still stay the same way. However, if I would eat too much pizza or cookies, my body would show it after some time. I was a girl and being tall and thin was not in my genes. I was jealous at girls, who were like that. The self consciousness made me feel terrible about my thighs, who seemed way too thick at the time (I mean, how thick can be thighs of a ten-year old, who is not overweight?) and small stomach roll that I had while sitting down. For nine years straight I was laughed at because of my body and fat shamed almost every day. It did not mater, if I tried eating less or dressing differently – I was still the ugly, weird and fat kid. This nightmare ended after middle school.

About a year before graduating from middle school I started working out. Of course, results did not show that quickly but I was getting there. After middle school I decided to continue my studies in a different city and different school. Things seemed to get better – my schoolmates did not care about my looks at all and the fat shaming was over. However, soon after that when my workout results finally started showing, I experienced something as uncomfortable which was skinny shaming. As I continued to workout, my stomach rolls disappeared, hip bones, ribs and collar bones started showing a little bit more. I was eating healthier than before and still had normal BMI, however, my parents started getting worried with no apparent reason. I started getting a lot of comments from them that I workout too much and suggested me to workout less and eat more. I could not understand their reaction. I finally started feeling better about my body after all the fat shaming and now this? My parents have never been on the thin side, so this fact made me nervous from early childhood. Will I look like this when I grow up? I didn’t want to. I wanted to be like one of those fit, happy girls you can see on Pinterest and Instagram. Why was is such a bad idea? My parents should have been happy that I wasn’t one of those girls, who look at thinspo every day and starve themselves.

During last  4 years I’ve been working out and eating healthier but their remarks didn’t stop. Especially from my dad. I wanted to feel better about my body and love it but comments like: “You should eat more. Your breasts have become smaller. Your hip bones are showing too much. Your ribs are showing too much. Are you trying to starve yourself? The way you look isn’t healthy. Stop starving yourself. Stop working out so much.” made me insecure and unhappy. You might think that having a slimmer body would make me more confident. It didn’t. I still listened to what people are saying about it. I felt insecure about my hip bones and the fact that I sometimes got bruises on them after workouts, I felt stressed out because I couldn’t find pants that fit me just right. Most of them were too tight in the area of my thighs and too loose around my waist. I felt insecure about my breasts that were never too big but now got even smaller. I was jealous to girls, who could wear nice lingerie, push up bras and actually have something to put inside them. I was almost flat, I still am.

I shouldn’t hate my body, I should love it and you should do the same with yours. It’s okay to have thick thighs, it’s okay to have tiny breasts, it’s okay have boyish body with no curves or very curvy one without small waist. I’m here to tell you what no one has told me – love your body the way it is now. It doesn’t matter, if people tell you that you’re too skinny, too muscular or too chubby. There is no such thing as perfect bikini body and you shouldn’t stress about getting it. There is not one universal body shape everyone should and would be able to fit. No matter what body type you have, it has its own beauty. Stop listening to media and society in general, who’s telling you that you need an ass like Kim Kardashian or body like Keira Knightley, or that you can’t wear crop tops because your stomach isn’t perfectly flat. Wear what makes you feel good, don’t torture yourself in order to look like someone else. You already have a full package of what you need. Sure, you can do some ab workouts or squats, eat more veggies and treat it like a temple but… never take it for granted. You are beautiful in your own skin – embrace it here and now.

That’s all for this week’s blog post. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as enjoyed writing it. See you next week with another great article. 🙂

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Being fit does not always mean loving your body.

Fit, blonde girl in yoga pants and sports bra.

Hello, dear readers! Social media, magazines, commercials and movies are full of images of hot bodies. More concretely – fit bodies. We are overwhelmed with titles of blog posts and magazine articles like “How to get in shape for summer”, “How to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks” etc. Even more – authors of these resources are trying to tell us that, if we lose 10 pounds, get a flatter stomach or thinner thighs, we will like ourselves more. Hell, we might even love ourselves. However, that’s not true. Let me tell you my story about how I tried to change my life by becoming fit.

I was never the sporty type of kid in school. In fact, I was the one, who was hiding behind all others and hoping that somehow the teacher would not notice me and I could skip high jumping or rope climbing. Maybe I would have tried but the teacher just didn’t care enough to motivate me. Maybe… but the others would have still laughed at me, right? I grew up hearing phrases like: “Ew, she’s fat.” , “Oh my God, look at her ugly face!” and other similar ones every school day. I am pretty sure that I could count the days that passed with no such comments on fingers of a one hand. Not many, honestly. I kind of knew that my bullies weren’t right – I was not fat, just a little bit chubby like a lot of kids in their childhood and early teenage years. However, at that point I didn’t pay much attention that it was normal. All I kept hearing were those mean phrases, repeated every day. And not by one or few people – at least ten if not more of them. These thoughts got stuck in my head and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable in my own body. “Damn,” I though to myself. “my thighs are actually huge and I hate that my stomach isn’t as flat as it should be.” I started to hate what I wear and how I look because so many people reminded me, how much they hate it. Around the age of thirteen I started spending about a half an hour, sometimes even more on my makeup, trying to make it look as good as possible. I thought that maybe it could help me cover up my insecurities and make my, so-called, ugly face more beautiful. I did my best to look better, naively hoping that it will make them stop. How foolish – nothing changed. I hated myself and constantly asked myself: “Why me? Why am I the ugly one? Why can’t I look like my friends? They don’t get even the third part of the mean comments that I get.” This first part of the story continued until the age of fifteen.

One summer I thought to myself – enough is enough. I don’t want to be the ugly girl anymore. I’m sick of having huge thighs and a little chubby belly. I am going to workout to get the body I want and that will make me feel more confident! I started out small – with about 30 squats, 30 sit ups and 30 reps of some other kind of exercise daily. There was nothing more I wanted than just to get those results. This was kind of similar to the makeup part – I hoped it would make me feel more confident and keep the bullies away. Side note – if kids have no apparent reason to be mean to you, they will make something up in their heads. It doesn’t matter, if you have glasses or not, if you’re fat or not, if you’re teacher’s pet or not – they will come up with something. Like Dita Von Teese said: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone, who hates peaches.” However, I didn’t know that at the time. So kept trying and pushing harder with every month. I used work out every day and sometimes I skipped a day or two, or ate something unhealthy, I hated my guts for some time. How did I dare to do this to myself? I need to reach this goal, I can’t self sabotage myself right now! My workout plan changes with time but I still managed to exercise more than 2 years straight in a row. My body looked better than ever but I still didn’t feel confident enough. I used to look in the mirror and look for imperfections. “My abs are not showing, my arms are too thin and shapeless…” I used to think to myself. I was on this journey that should have been incredibly exciting but somehow I wasn’t excited. Even though I noticed that I had made some kind of progress, it was never enough and the feeling of frustration never really left me.

Some time in November of 2016 I gradually stopped working out at all. I was so sick of this endless frustration and never feeling confident about my body. Whenever I started exercising, there was a little voice in my head that said: “You hate doing this and you still haven’t gotten your dream body after two years. Why even bother?” So I quit and focused on eating less and healthier while I lost about 8 kg until May 2017. Month later I got off the meds and started recovering from everything that had happened. I’ve spent way too long time in this trance-like state, not really caring about anything, not really wanting anything and sleeping way too much. I couldn’t help but sometimes wonder – is this how my life is going to pass? Am I going to exist all the time that I have left in this world?

Getting off meds wasn’t hard but I really had no idea what to expect afterwards. Will I need to use them again? Hopefully not. So I got the courage and told myself: “Listen, you need to get your life together. It’s not going to be easy but you can do it. Stop putting yourself down. Some other person is probably doing it, so why join them and make yourself feel even shittier?” Later on I came up with the 3 task idea. As you probably know, depression basically turns you into a zombie. You don’t care about anything, you don’t want to do anything but sleep and it’s not easy to get out of this cycle. The 3 task idea is pretty simple. Just wake up in the morning and get 3 things done that day. Even if it’s just watering your plants, washing two dirty plates and making your bed. It’s small but it’s still a progress. Later, when I felt like I’m ready to do more, I added more tasks and – voila! – now, in September I’m pretty well-functioning average person. The fact that I came to this point has already raised my self-esteem. When it comes to body image – I realized that I am a human being. I don’t need to be perfect. In fact – I don’t think there are people in this world that have naturally perfect bodies and who maintain them without doing much. Some of as have huge thighs, some of us have small breasts, some of us don’t have perfectly flat stomach but hey, it’s okay! For example, yes, my thighs are still not on the thin side but at least my waist is slim. Life is just way too short to worry about my imperfections and constantly blame myself for not fitting some unrealistic standard. Also, this reminds me one quote I recently found on Pinterest and now it’s added to my cork board in my work room.

hero-today-im-channelling_sarah-silverman

So that’s my journey from hating my body to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. The moral of the story is – being fit does not always mean loving your body. It’s not about working out, it’s about putting yourself in the right mindset and accepting who you really are. Sure, you can lose those 10 pounds, if you want to but before you do that just stop and ask yourself: “Do I want to do that because I feel the pressure from others and want fit some strange standard? Do I want to do it because I don’t like my body?” If the answer is yes, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. You don’t have to be the next Jen Selter, you can live a great life in the body you already have. So what if those thighs jiggle a little? You’re not a Barbie doll that’s made of plastic. Let them haters talk but do not become one of them. Remember, there are only two chances – you can either be your worst enemy or your best friend. Chose wisely.

Love, Porcelain Doll.