The Skinny – Amy Brunell

istock_000039290460_large-2e16d0ba-fill-735x490The Torture of Tight Jeans —

So the other day I put on my jeans. They were tight. Not fitting well. Tight. Fat. Ugh. Dam. Again? “Too bad,” I told myself “Deal with it!” Every time I walked my jeans waist would uncomfortably roll over trying to accommodate the fat from my stomach. I told myself it was a good reminder of my fat self and that I needed it as a sort of anchor to eat well.

No matter how I moved that afternoon, I just kept wearing the jeans, torturing myself as my punishment for a body I usually feel I have zero control over. “Do I deserve this? Had I eaten so badly?” I thought. “I didn’t binge, haven’t been drinking much alcohol, and haven’t gone to any holiday parties. But, you haven’t exercised enough and you aren’t writing down your food so therefore you deserve this outcome.”

I even made myself take a nap in my jeans. I wouldn’t allow myself to take them off. “You deserve this discomfort. Take that!” I thought.

I can be a real bitch when I want to be.

As I write this post, I am amazed at the sadness I feel. Why would I treat myself like this? Why would I be so hurtful to myself? Why would I ever think that someone as myself would need to be punished? Why is my weight a cause for such thoughts and behavior? I’m not a criminal for gosh sakes. I am a beautiful woman who struggles with her weight. Period.

I even got jealous that others around me were expressing their pain over some recent binges. I thought, “Well at least if you gain weight on that, it’s clear!” as if that’s some better way of having this pain. Oy god.

I did buy some pants last week though. I tried on at least 12 different pants, from different manufacturers to find something that fit. If I’m this size now, that doesn’t mean I’ll always be this size, but “torture” pants is not my idea of being kind to myself. I even tried on a new size bigger to see if that really was my size, but no, it was not. And a sense of huge relief washed over me. I was in my biggest size, but that was my correct size. I didn’t have to go higher yet. But if they had fit me, I might have bought them. Torture is not my normal operating mode.

In Buddhism, there is a compassion practice called Tonglen. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts about meditating by bringing in through the breath, suffering, and breathing out compassion. Some people see images like cold clouds coming in and warm light coming out, some people do a mantra like, “I breathe in pain, I breathe out love and compassion. I highly recommend Pema Chodron’s book of the same name to learn more about this practice. There are also multiple sources on YouTube to guide you in this practice.

I actually forget at times in my life to do the Tonglen practice. It is a transformative practice when I am suffering or struggling at other’s pain. I notice that my whole being softens. It doesn’t take all the pain away, but it lessens the sting. I feel my body shift, my mind expand and my hope increase.

When I analyze my suffering regarding my weight, I can’t find solution. When I allow compassion in, at least my heart doesn’t have to be so ratcheted up. I can find some peace. And then I move forward. Always forward. Maybe not by being thinner, but by being proactive and kinder to myself.

The Actors' Gang

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