Friday, February 29, 2008

Job Satisfaction

I was in the classroom quite a bit last week co-teaching a unit on Body Image and Disordered Eating with the Health teacher.  I'm absolutely fascinated with the topic (is that weird?) and have been for quite awhile.  I did my thesis in grad school on body image and body dysmorphia (abnormal dissatisfaction with a real or imagined physical defect) back in 1991 after struggling with these issues for about nine years at that time.  Now, seventeen years later, I still read everything I can about these topics.  I think I'm always looking for validation that my obsession with food and exercise is not abnormal.  That I'm not "disordered".  I am also intrigued by shows/books/articles that deal with nutrition, exercise and dieting.  My weight has fluctuated immensely over the last 26 years.  I've gone from as high as a size 16 down to a size 4 and everything in between.  I settled around a comfortable size 8/10 for many years, but still wistfully wished for a smaller body.

When I showed up for the first day of work this fall, and was introduced to the staff at my new school, I was amazed at how healthy and thin most of the teachers were.  This hadn't been my experience in previous schools.  It immediately made me a bit self-conscious and set me into a bit of a tailspin.  When we were teaching the kids about this concept, we referred to it as "measuring up to a yardstick" and asked the kids what they used as their yardstick.  The yardstick in Wisconsin was a lot easier to compare myself to.  Since I had been working out in the mornings for the last two and a half years, I was pretty uncomfortable having to give that up.  I leave at 6:25 AM each weekday and I have a rule - I will not rise to an alarm clock that is set before 5:00 AM (unless I'm catching a plane to somewhere wonderful).  I have never enjoyed, nor been consistent, when working out after work.  I knew, though, that afternoon exercise would be my only option if I wanted to continue eating.  About mid-August, I started Weight Watchers AGAIN.  I thin this was my third or fourth serious attempt.  After the first time, I have yet to go back to the meetings.  I have the "tools" to calculate my points and I know the drill.  Write everything down, eat a lot of fiber, save your flex points for weekends so you can drink once in a while, and get used to eating lots of vegetables.

It worked.  By Christmas I had lost 22 pounds.  I've kept it off for two months (a definite feat for me) and plan to keep it off for much longer.  I feel much better about myself at this weight, so I think it's in my best interest mentally, as well as, physically.

So back to my teaching.  We tried to include the boys in the discussion so that they wouldn't tune out.  We talked about the increase in men seeking plastic surgery, the number of males with eating disorder and other uniqueness of this topic with regard to men.  Then we delved into body image and disordered eating.  After that we specific eating disorders and I scared the hell out of them (I hope) with harsh information about the physical repercussions from eating disorders.  They listened closely.  Some seemed concerned, some just couldn't comprehend how someone could feel the way eating-disordered people feel and some thought the topic was dumb and tuned me out.  This is typical to most lessons I teach.  You get a thick skin in this business and just do your best to enlighten the kids who are willing to learn.

I wonder when I'll grab some of that enlightenment on this subject?  


Karent T-H said...

Oooooh, this indicates either,
a) there is no job satisfaction to speak of, or,
b) your blog posting apparatus is kapput.

Neither is a good thing. Good luck!

Julia said...

the boys definitely need to hear it as much as the girls. My son was diagnosed as anorexic at age 14 He went from 124# (at 5'4") to 84#. Luckily we had a doctor who recognized a perfectionist personality and referred us to a wonderful therapist. and my son worked very, very hard to get well. he is now 5'8" and 110# - definitely healthier ~
Julia -

Anonymous said...

I think I suffer from body dysmorphia, but I've been hesitant to go to the doctor because here in England it takes forever to get referred to a specialist or to be taken seriously...Is specialized therapy the best way forward?