During the Ditch The Diet panel discussion at Fitbloggin I shared a little bit about my self-love exercise in response to a question that Robby (aka @FatGirlvsWorld) asked: “how do you find your way back to yourself after emotional eating/a binge?”

I think it struck a chord with her because she’s been blogging about it and talking about it on Facebook and Twitter. I know she’s a big believer in self-love and she practices it on a regular basis (and it shows inside and out)!

I love that she gets it and is paying it forward.

Yesterday she posed this question on Facebook: “How much would you have to LET GO OF in order to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and 100% love yourself, and not think a single critical thought? If you say ‘I can do that now’ I’m calling bullshit.”

My first response: “I can do it…maybe not every single time, but I can, and have done it. When I am being mindful, it comes easily.”

And then I wrote: “I have to say one more thing: until recently (and I didn’t even realize that I had made this decision) there was one last part of my body that I wasn’t accepting…that I was still at war with…but I didn’t think of it as even being part of my body. I am going to write a blog post about it but wanted to let you know that this discussion helped me see it for what it is…thank you.”

 

Photo courtesy of skinpick.com

Well, the fact is, several months ago Robby wrote a blog post that sent me down an unexpected path and I didn’t even realize it until I saw her Facebook post yesterday. She wrote about dermatillomania (skin picking) in a post called “Emotional [_______]ing”.  It’s an excellent post and I related to it on several levels.

I’m a picker from way back. And very much like wishing there was a magic pill that would make me lose weight, I used to wish for a magic potion (or combination of potions) that would instantly eliminate all blemishes and unclog my pores, for good. I was constantly on the look out for that magic solution and wasted good money on products that couldn’t possibly do what I wanted them to do (sound familiar?).

Of course the fact that I have a little magnifying mirror (that sticks with suction cups to the regular mirror) and would examine every inch of my face, every day at least twice a day, poking, picking, squeezing, and popping, didn’t help. I’ve actively hated my skin for as long as I can remember.

In my 20s, I’d break out all over my back, shoulders and upper arms and I’d pick myself raw, sometimes ruining clothes. In my late 30s I got some bug bites on my shins that I scratched and picked and scratched and picked until they were giant scabs. Not coincidently, I was also at my heaviest.

I’ve noticed a big reduction in my desire to pick over the past six years and I credit that to the self-acceptance work I’ve been doing here. But it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I put away my magnifying mirror and stopped the constant examinations, poking, picking, squeezing, and popping. Not 100% (remember, I very much believe it’s not about never again, it’s about catching myself sooner).

To be honest, it wasn’t a conscious decision to put the mirror away. I did it one morning when I was cleaning the regular mirror and just decided not to put it up there again.

Putting that mirror away coincided (sort of) with the purchase of what I hoped was not just another gimmicky product: I bought a Clarisonic skin cleansing system. Since I’ve been using it, my skin feels and looks better. I’m confident that it’s cleaner and less blemish-y. Part of it very well may be the Clarisonic, but what I know for sure is that now that I’ve stopped declaring war on my face, it’s responding in a positive way.

And so getting back to Robby’s post: I have been able to look at my naked body in the mirror with nothing but love, but not my face…at least not consciously. It’s time to start practicing.