Becca Wilhite Blog

December 4, 2017

Seriously? We’re still talking about this? (Hint: Yes.)

Filed under: body image,gratitude,rambles — becca @ 6:44 am

One of the plights of middle agedness among lo, these many plights, is this thing about the aging body. I am well and strong and very healthy, but according to every published measure and my health insurance, I weigh some pounds too many. I feel like I’ve talked about this way too much over the past decade, but it’s a THING, and things are on my mind.

Now that I’m in the middle of my 40s, I find myself trying to balance the desires of my emotional health (let’s just call it what it is: butterfat in the form of actual butter, or ice cream, or pretty much anything made with cream) with the desires of physical health. And what I’m seeing in my life, in my searching, in the published world around me, is that health = thinness. Seventy million people are currently fighting against this exact equation, but you know what? It’s still an equal sign over there.

So I think about it, and I exercise in ways that don’t inconvenience me too much, and I make food plans, and I seek ways to increase my strength, because really? I want to be strong. Not like deadlift my own weight or anything, just the kind of strong that means I can play and overcome and thrive. And I really want to be firm — at least not soggy. So. Yoga. At least 10,000 steps a day. Online cardio twice a week (that means do the workout, recover enough to walk down the stairs without wincing, do it again). Drink all the water. And then? When the family has ice cream for dessert? Have some. Be part of the celebration of deliciousness.

And glory in the fact that I’ve made it this far, healthy and strong.

December 7, 2016

What do you think you look like?

Filed under: body image,school — becca @ 12:26 pm

In Creative Writing yesterday I asked the kids to do their writer’s notebooks (the part where they write by hand in a paper notebook) about this – what do you think you look like? It’s one of those things that’s super weird to kids, the fact that they’ve never actually seen themselves. They’ve seen photos. They’ve seen reflections. But they don’t actually know what they look like.

Blows their cute little minds.

So I wrote too. Here is my thought:

I know how tall I am (I think) – 5 feet and 6 and a half inches. But I seem a little taller, because I wear teacher shoes. My face looks younger than I am, especially when I’m freshly made up or my face is totally clean. When my makeup is tired, I look more like my age.

I carry 10 (okay, right now, 13) extra pounds. Some days I don’t care. Those are the days that nothing rolls over the waistband of my jeans. Other days I get a teensy bit obsessive about the food I am and am not eating.

I don’t know anything about fashion. Nobody is going to accuse me of being an excellent dresser. I have found a style I like, and I have a few articles of clothing that I love.

I have wrinkles around my eyes and mouth from when I’m smiling and wrinkles between my eyes and above my nose from when I’m scowling. Guess which ones are deeper.

My eyes are pretty, even if they don’t work at all. My teeth are pretty straight, and I’m glad I never needed braces. Here’s a thing I wasn’t prepared for – when a person gets old, her lips kind of lose their color. So lipstick = need.

After we wrote, and I asked them to say what they wanted to say (silence), and I read them this, I talked to them about a moment in their future. I told them this: There will come a day, not too far into the future, when a kid – maybe a niece or nephew, maybe an actual offspring of your very own – will ask you if you had a yearbook. Because you’re brave and fearless, you’ll pull it out. And you’ll find a photo of yourself. And you’ll gasp with wonder. You’ll be absolutely gobsmacked at how beautiful you were. You’ll be stunned. And you’ll be right.

July 7, 2014

Any Body. Every Body.

Filed under: body image — becca @ 7:46 am

It’s no secret to anyone who knows us personally that the Wilhites are gifted in Body Issues. I was given a great gift while I was serving at girls’ camp last month, and I want to remember it forever and stuff, so here it comes. Also, if anyone else finds it awesome, so much the better, right? Much of this information comes from a website devoted to women’s health and wellness. What I’m reporting was compiled by a neighbor and given with love.

I used this information to do a family devotional last week. I kind of thought I’d save it up for a time when only the girls were around, but I had this suspicion that both my 10-year-old son and my husband could benefit from the good things. I started by giving everyone a piece of paper. “Please write down 10 words you use or have used to describe your body.” Some of us did this quickly and without trouble. Some of us are very used to talking words about our bodies. Then I asked everyone to divide their list into Positive and Negative words. I didn’t ask anyone to say any of the words, just give me a percentage. Interestingly, the younger two (who are a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old  girl) came out heavily positive, while the rest of us had written far more negative words. (Did you see this? You should.)

Then I asked everyone to write down 10 things his/her body can do. I asked everyone to share 3 of those. I heard “Ride a bike,” “I can do all the stairs in the Tanner Building,” “Play basketball,” “Carry a baby,” “Laugh,” “Drive a car,” “Walk up a mountain,” “Tap dance,” and “Sing on stage.” Much more positive. Much more empowered.

Then I shared the “10-Day Beauty Challenge” that was created from resources in the website I mentioned above. Some of the days’ challenges might seem a little silly or superficial to you, but it’s a good chance that they’re not the same ones that feel that way to me. Someone will benefit from each piece, so I’m including it all the way I received it. It goes something like this:

Day 1, Making Peace With the Mirror

The Challenge: Using sticky notes or other small pieces of paper, write positive and encouraging words and messages to yourself. Tape these inspiring word and phrases all around the outside border of your mirror and leave them up through the entire 10-day challenge. Too often, we use the mirror as a way to analyze and criticize ourselves and our bodies. Instead of using the mirror as a weapon against yourself, start to see it a a means of highlighting your positive characteristics and attributes.

Today’s Mantra: Which of the words or phrases from your mirror do you most want to believe? That is your mantra today.

Day 2, Making Peace with your Hair

The Challenge: Go “au naturel” for today. Let your hair dry naturally. That’s it. No blow-drying, no flatiron or curling irons. No products. No hiding or pretending. Or, is there a hairstyle you are excited to try but worry won’t look good on you? Today, put aside your worries and try that new hairstyle, accessory, ribbon or bow. Own the new look.

We curl it, straighten it, color it, and do just about everything else in between to our hair, all in the name of looking good. It’s not that we are vain; we happen to care about how we present ourselves and that’s okay. However, today we call for a truce. Make peace with your hair, whatever hair you have.

Do you engage in negative self-talk about your hair? Negative hair talk can include “I always have a bad hair day,” “My hair it too thin,” or “My hair is too curly.” It’s time to stop being your own worst enemy and avoid speaking such unfavorable words about your hair. Negative self-talk can increase your stress level and adversely affect your body … and even your hair.

Whenever you find yourself falling into a pattern of unhelpful hair bashing, consciously substitute it with revised, more realistic and affirmative self-talk. Positive hair affirmations will help you care for your hair better, relax your scalp, improve the health of your hair, and prevent hair loss.

Today’s Mantra: I lovingly groom my hair and choose thought that support its growth and strength. I love and appreciate my beautiful hair.

Day 3, Making Peace with your Face

The Challenge: Go for a day without wearing makeup.

Reflect on why you wear makeup. What does makeup do for you? It is part of getting ready or taking care of yourself? Is it a mask you hide behind? Do you feel enslaved by it? Would you like to change how you feel about it? Depending on your answers, choose to either go without makeup today or continue to reflect on makeup’s place in your life.

Today’s Mantra: “There is nothing more beautiful than a woman under the influence of the Holy Ghost.” – Sheri Dew

Day 4, Making Peace with your Weight

The Challenge: Do not step on the scale and weigh yourself today. This is a challenge for all of us who are addicted to weighing ourselves.

Every woman has a weight that’s ideal for her as opposed to an ideal weight. This is the weight at which she feels the most comfortable, has the most energy, can stay well and feel good about how she looks. She can achieve that weight when she begins to trust her body. Forget size and abandon the scale.

Today’s Mantra: My worth is not defined by the number on the scale.

Day 5, Making Peace with Exercise

The Challenge: Exercise for fun. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy – a form you wouldn’t normally choose because it calls attention to your body.

Exercise is necessary for health, but we have turned it into a duty, obligation, and punishment – something we do to make up for the food we eat. Women are bombarded with media messages that tell us we can’t run, swim, do yoga, or any number of things unless we have the “perfect” body. We must stop waiting to achieve perfection and live our lives to the fullest – taking risks, trying new things, and utilizing the unlimited potential of our bodies.

Action: I will not avoid participating in activities that I enjoy like swimming, dancing, or yoga, simply because I am self-conscious about the way my body looks. I will recognize that I have the right to enjoy any activity regardless of my body shape or size.

Today’s Mantra: I will participate in activities that bring me joy.

Day 6, Making Peace with Food

The Challenge: Take the time to listen to your body and appreciate the food you eat.

Food is not the enemy. Sometimes we eat delicious food and ruin the experience by feeling guilty that it wasn’t “healthy enough.” The Lord has instructed, “Yea, all things which come of the earth… are made for the benefit and use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and enliven the soul” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:18-19). Do we take the time to look at food with gratitude for giving strength and health to the body and also for enlivening the soul?

Choose to eat nutritious food with gratitude because it makes your body feel good. Also eat foods that you truly enjoy because they “please the eye and gladded the heart.”

Action: I will consciously eat. I will eat without the distractions of TV, homework, or reading. I will eat slowly so I can focus on the full range of flavors, textures, and sensations of the foods I eat. I will respect my body enough to satisfy hunger without overeating.

Today’s Mantra: I will appreciate all foods I choose to eat and be more grateful for the joys of eating.

Day 7, Making Peace with your Clothes

The Challenge: Dare to wear what you want today.

Is there something that you’ve been too self-conscious to wear? Is there a necklace or a pair of earrings that you love, but it isn’t “in style?” It’s time to put those worries aside and rock what you feel great it. Put on that outfit. Wear those earrings. Tty that hairstyle and wear it with confidence. If you don’t want to wear a specific outfit, accessory, or hairstyle, dare to wear a confident attitude. Smile at people as you walk by. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Speak up in class when you normally wouldn’t. Or try an activity that you’ve been nervous to try. Just get out there, girl, and carry yourself with confidence.

Reflection: Consider how you dress. Are you comfortable in your clothes, or do they deny your body’s needs? How tight is the waist of your pants, skirt, or dress? How restrictive is the belt you’re wearing? Can you take a full breath even when sitting down? Do your stylish shoes pinch your toes? Does wearing your high heels hurt your back, knees, or hips? Do your stylish winter clothes keep you warm? Does the length of your skirts of your blouse restrict body movement? Does presenting the “right” appearance wrong your body?

Today’s Mantra: I will wear clothes that signal I love myself.

Day 8, Making Peace with your Genes

The Challenge: Instead of looking at your body as something to be fixed, look at it through the eyes of your ancestors.

Generations of women have come before you and you have inherited your genes. Instead of looking at your nose as something to be fixed, learn about its history. Does your nose come from you mother or father’s side? What about your eyes? Your hair? Your body type? Is there a particular ancestor that you closely resemble?

Today’s Mantra: I carry the genes of generations of beautiful women in my body.

Day 9, Making Peace with your Body

The Challenge: List 10 things you like about what your body does.

Your body does hundreds of things for you each day without complaint. Perhaps in the recent past your body has healed a wound, given you the sound of music you love, kept going despite being tired or sick, or even given birth to a child. Focusing on the function of your body and all the things it allows you to do will help nourish gratitude – and in turn a kinder, more realistic view of your body as a whole rather than focusing simply on how it looks.

Action: Learn to love and honor your body. Today, instead of hating your body, make peace with it. Choose to consciously love and honor the sacred garment which houses your spirit for your life’s journey. Choose to believe that your body is the perfect vehicle to help you learn the lessons you need to learn and to do the things you need to do.

Today’s Mantra: I will celebrate all that my body can do for me each day.

Day 10, Making Peace with God

The Challenge: I will feel God’s love today. I will ask Him to help me see myself as He sees me.

Many of us believe that our worth is connected to what we do, how we look, how much we weigh, our achievements, and so on. So we spend our time attempting to adorn ourselves with external measures of worth: a thin body, fashionable clothes, makeup, hair, straight A’s, honors, and achievements. We believe “I am what I do.”

God uses a very different standard. First of all, He has told us that our worth is already divinely established and that it doesn’t fluctuate by what we accomplish, how we dress, or how much we weigh. God doesn’t judge you by your outside appearance. He looks at your heart. Ask Him today to help you see yourself as He sees you.

Today’s Mantra: I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me.

April 25, 2013

I Tried on a Dress.

Filed under: body image,emotion,Mom — becca @ 10:11 am

Not that trying on a dress is something all that unusual [1], but this thing happened to me when I did it this week.

see it at cabionline.com

 

Here’s the dress, above, photo courtesy of CAbi clothing. If you can’t see it, I’ll describe it to you in my high-fashion vocabulary [2]: it was green, and silky-ish (some kind of poly-something, I assume); a collared/button-down shirt-dress with a waist tie AND IT LOOKED LIKE A DRESS MY MOM WOULD HAVE LOVED. Except for the green. My mom avoided the green/yellow things in life, because her liver had issues and green and yellow things made her look jaundiced. So she said. I never actually noticed. But I was sixteen when she died, so “I never actually noticed” could be my theme song.

Anyway, the dress looked awful on me. That sassy, confident, leggy, honey-maned model? Not me. At all. It was, in every particular, wrong. But I sort of loved it anyway, because it looked so Mom-ish (in the “my mom” definition, not the “mom jeans” definition). And I stood there, in front of a very large mirror, staring at me in this wrong dress that felt so very right in its ability to conjure. Memories. Feelings. Smells and sounds of that laugh that my kids wouldn’t recognize. The small sweet memories that I hold on my palm like a butterfly that may, any second, fly away — but the ME that is now, this ME is willing to enjoy the seconds the memory flutters there. Maybe that’s the definition of the way I’ve grown up: That I can enjoy the fleeting while it occurs, instead of dreading the moment that it will be gone.

image via greenjeane.blogspot.com, or so google tells me

[1] Kind of it is.

[2] Please stop that laughing.

January 2, 2013

Today’s things…

Filed under: body image,familyness,school,writing process — becca @ 8:52 pm

We went back to school today. Does that seem a little… sudden to anyone else? Yeah. Me, too.

The Boy had a basketball game — 3rd grade league, coached by Husband. No keeping score. Except that our row (me, and his 3 older sisters) saw both of his awesome shots go in. And we cheered, and so did he. He’s adorable.

Writing about things. It’s good to do. Writing about real things that happened before I was alive? Good, too, but slightly harder.

Poll: What do you consider historical fiction? Like, I’m thinking, I want you to tell me how old the history has to be. If I’m writing about something that happened a couple of years before I was born, is that historical? (Is anyone else thinking about THE PRINCESS BRIDE’s line, “Only compared to some”?)

I like school visits. I get to do one in a couple of weeks. And I grow giddy at the prospect. (What’s the verb form of giddy? Do I Gid? I must know.)

Don’t you love my hair in this picture? I have never been able to duplicate it. Such is life. Also, I don’t mind that I have wrinkles. Getting older is way better than the alternative.

So… what’s going on with you today?

August 1, 2012

Feeling Olympic?

Filed under: anxiety,body image,events,musings — becca @ 3:27 pm

If you’ve hung around here at all, you’ll not be surprised that we don’t watch much television. But this week, um. Much television. And I have learned a few things about myself by watching the London Olympic games.

(Got this from Google. Probably I should be paying the IOC for use of it or something. Let’s just call me an unofficial sponsor.)

I am SO not competitive. There is no joy in me that stems from counting points. (Unless it’s Scrabble or something that reflects my braininess.) I do not love the idea of one winner and the rest of the world is losers. Can’t we all be winners? (I know. I’m just saying.)

I feel sick to my stomach when something horrible (a fall, a slip, a misstep, an unreached expectation) happens to any one of the competitors. That first day, when I saw that 155 mile bike ride and they showed the pile-up after a crash? I gasped out loud. I wanted to run to England (theoretically) and help pick up those guys and their bikes. And watching the US men’s gymnastics? Oh, don’t even. Out loud groaning. Lots of it. And I wanted to hug them. All.

I feel so, so sorry for the fourth place winners. I mean, seriously? YOU’RE THE FOURTH BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. THE WHOLE, ENTIRE WORLD. You are not a loser. You are amazing, and you have done something that seven billion of us can only dream about. You should feel proud, under there somewhere. I hope you do.

I seriously want to injure mean commentators. Especially, somehow, the woman who announces synchronized diving. I mean, really? Lady. Those guys just leapt off a huge, high platform and spun in ALMOST EXACTLY the same manner, then entered the water HEAD FIRST, and you’re going to find disparities in their ANGLES? I couldn’t do a flip off one of those high platforms if the lives of all my children depended on it. (I’d try, of course, but I wouldn’t bet on my own success is all I’m saying.)

I must be blind. Unless the athlete actually falls over or his arms come off, I can’t see the mistakes. I’m just amazed at what those bodies can do.

Perfection is a mystery to me. See above. I’ve never been perfect at anything, anything EVER in my life. I can’t even comprehend what that whole world must be like. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Nadia Comaneci. I did many reports on her, and I even remember learning that her floor routine was danced to “Yes, Sir, That’s my Baby.” (Why? Why, brain? Why are these the things you hold on to?) She was the first person to earn a perfect score (10, then), and in the 1976 Olympics, she got 7 tens. (I had to look that up. I was only three. I didn’t watch it, as far as I recall.) My little world is so subjective that the idea of perfection, measurable, markable perfection is unfathomable. (Do you hear SpaceDad from Megamind in your head every time you read that word? “Unfathomable.” *sigh* I Love that show.)

Body image. And advertising. They’re linked and strange and bizarre. There’s a bodybuilder/weightlifter from the US called Sarah Robles. HERE is her blog: Pretty Strong. She’s a great lifter — the strongest (man or woman) in the US. Lots of olympians get $$$ ad contracts, but it doesn’t look like Sarah is getting a bunch of offers. Or any at all.

(I got this image from Strollerderby.com, but it’s also on Sarah’s blog, only smaller. I wanted you to be able to see it.)

I’ve read several articles about Sister Sarah, and many of them mention that she’s living in poverty, some giving numbers ($400/week? Really??) — because unlike many of her fellow athletes, she’s not being wooed for any advertising endorsements. Does that sicken your heart? Is she not awesome enough to advertise something? Do we only buy products because they’re going to make us look like the hot models that sell them to us in magazines and on TV? Hey, Advertisers: Strong is Beautiful. I’d buy it if Sarah helped you sell it. (You know, within reason.) (She competes on the 5th. I’ll be watching if Bob Costas puts her on NBC.) [** UPDATE: An online company has entered an endorsement contract. But NARY an athletic outfitter… Come on, guys. Step up. **]

I remember training (“training”) at swim team practice in my tween years. I think the IM is the hardest (physical) thing I’ve ever consistently tried to do. Including childbirth. And I tried the IM (not in competition — my Butterfly was [and remains] an embarrassment) more times than I tried to deliver babies. But wow. That’s hard stuff those people are doing there in that pool. The hardness of it almost allows me to ignore the fact that THERE ARE LIKE DOZENS OF OTHER EVENTS HAPPENING THAT WE ARE NOT SEEING ON PRIMETIME NBC TELEVISION.

I want to go to London. This isn’t really something I learned this week. But I’m remembering it. Again and again.

How about you? Are you learning anything about yourself while you watch? (Are you even watching?)

July 13, 2012

Stuff Again

Filed under: body image,food,working out — becca @ 8:30 pm

A reason to love my husband: He knows what to do when a replacement modem shows up on the doorstep. Viola! Internets. Rah!

I was doing a HUGE shopping trip today at Costco to prepare for church girls’ camp next week. Like 3 baskets full, big, HUGE trip. A lovely older couple (white hair and happy wrinkles) stopped and asked what we were shopping for, and then wished us luck. After a minute, the gentleman came back and said, “Do you know what Luck is?” I asked him what. He quoted Vince Lombardi, which I can’t probably do, but it was something like this: “Luck is the residue of careful planning.” I showed that sweet man my list (tracking sheet), and he said, “Good luck,” with an understanding and confident nod. I sort of wanted to bring him home forever.

Chicken salad sandwiches. On croissant. For a girl who thinks mayonnaise is icky, that there is some pretty great food.

DeNae posted a beautiful, funny, lovely story today. Maybe you should read it. 

It’s Friday the 13th, and I don’t care.

INSANITY. The workout. I’m 5 days in. And still walking up and down the stairs on my own power. Muscles are growing. Then I hope thighs and arms will start shrinking. Husband’s arms are exploding. That guy grows biceps really fast. I like arms. Mostly his.

Life without internets is not the same life I love to live every day. I’m not addicted. I just like the internet like I like oxygen and water.

I got to teach two different teen writer’s classes this week. My visit to the U of U teen writers’ camp was lovely and delightful, and Allie, Ellie, Alex and Hayden were VERY BRAVE and put their work up for us all to read. I love writer kids. And our Wasatch County Library teen writer day was a blast. Such darling, lovely kids. All girls this time, including 2 of my very favorites. Sometimes known as 1 and 2.

It is trying very hard to rain today. I hope it succeeds. Fires are bumming me out, if you want to know the truth. In fact, wouldn’t it be funny (the ironic kind of funny) if it rained all next week while I’m up on top of the mountain for camp? Hahahaha. That would be ironic-hilarious. It would.

Kid 2 is now firmly devoted to Kneaders’ Raspberry Bread Pudding. Send it her way, apparently.

My flower baskets hanging from the porch are lovely and thriving. It’s a tiny miracle in my life, and I like it.

Kid 3 is rereading the Harry Potter books. She started 2 days ago. She has finished 2 books. Also done some chores, showered, and visited the Rope Swing. That girl loves Harry like her mama loves Harry.

Okay. Here’s hoping next time I come around here, I’ll have something brilliant to say.

No guarantees.

April 2, 2012

Bring it, Monday.

Filed under: animals,body image,debts to the Universe — becca @ 8:34 am

Here we go. Fun, full, busy weekend is over. Nunsense is over (mostly — you never know when a function is going to require some faux-nuns as entertainment). The cold/laryngitis is nearly over, leaving me with a more sultry than squeaky sound. Yay for more sultry, right? Turned down sub work for today, because, you know, someone ought to go to the bank and the grocery store and possibly vacuum the floors and FOR SURE mop the kitchen. Also I really, really should go out to lunch with my friend C today. Because it’s been way, way too long since I saw her, or did anything like going out to lunch anywhere cooler than the high school teachers’ lounge.

Here’s what we learned lately: Hope, the thing with Feathers, comes. It does. And when it does, weeks and months and years, years, YEARS of concern and worry and anxiety get feathered into the background.

Also: The fish (Minion) can handle Life on the Outside (the counter) for as long as it takes me to discover that he flipped out of the measuring cup while I was scrubbing his bowl, plus the several long seconds it took me to decide it was worth the effort of cupping BOTH MY HANDS around him to transfer him back to water. He’s happier than ever, back in his (clean) bowl. Really, happier than ever. I think he has done more laps in the past 20 hours than I’ve seen in months. Since Sushi died, I bet. And here’s the lesson: Sometimes we need to spend some outside our element in order to rediscover life’s passion. Or something like that.

Also: God is merciful. He gives us more chances than we would ever give each other. For which I am grateful.

And this: Did I tell you I stole Ann Cannon’s great idea and gave up Fear for Lent? Well, I did. And it has been the most freeing, lovely few weeks. When I send away the fear, there is so much room for joy and cheerfulness and celebration. And trust. And forgiveness. And noticing things. And I hope I can keep this going for forever. Because Fear? I can live without you.

One more thing: At fifteen pounds down, the pants don’t fit anymore. So I need to go shopping for smaller sizes. Shall we just say that again? SMALLER SIZES. (oh, yeah)

(Thanks, Google, for all the images. And, y’all, maybe don’t get used to images. It’s just that today is special.)

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