Thoughts Akimbo

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A crash course for the self-conscious

I recently heard Jack Canfield, co-author of the first of those “Chicken Soup” books, say that anything you can believe for 30 days you can turn into reality.

This is the idea behind positive affirmations and visualizations. You say it, and eventually it’s so.

So now I guess I’ll have to scrap my idea for that new diet book.

Two things spawned my book concept. First, I heard an old friend (who will remain nameless) say she’d go swimming if she could wear support pantyhose under her swimsuit.

Without that body-encasing layer, no dice, she said. Her legs would be far too flabby. What would the lifeguard think?

She needs to spend some time in Florida, where almost nobody is self-conscious. You can dine in a restaurant with dripping wet hair or run into the 7-Eleven wearing a jacket over your pajamas. And, no matter how you look at the beach, the pelicans pretend not to notice.

In Florida, you’re on vacation and, oops, you forgot to pack your pretenses.

I know my friend loved to swim as a little girl. What happened? Do we outgrow our right to enjoy life when we outgrow our teen-sized blue jeans?

Whatever happened to “dance like there’s no one watching, sing like there’s no one listening?” (I’m not sure who wrote that, but it’s the favorite quote of nine out of 10 AOL users.)

Because the reality is there IS no one watching or listening. Seriously. Nobody cares about your flaws. We think they’re noticing, but they’re not.

Then I came across Wendy McClure’s “The Amazing Mackarel Pudding Plan,” a collection of Weight Watcher recipe cards from the 1970s, with McClure’s hilarious tongue-in-cheek commentary.

She lists one of the ingredients in a diet beverage as “self-loathing.”

And that’s when it hit me. Maybe inner disgust can be a motivator to achieve your dreams.

Maybe you can (and this would be my book title): Hate Yourself Thin!

The book would suggest posting little notes on the refrigerator to remind you of your failures, like: “I’m a chocoholic blob” and “My ex’s new girlfriend wears a size 2.”

Exercises could include chanting, as you spoon fat-free generic store-brand cottage cheese into your mouth: “I don’t deserve even this.”

But if Canfield’s right, self-loathing would be BAD for our diets. And I guess he’s right.

If being angry at our bodies was good for them, we’d all be slender and strong, wouldn’t we?

So don’t Hate Yourself Thin. Love yourself thin, or chunky, or overtired or with bad hair. Love your thighs in their current state.

Dance like there’s no one watching. Swim like you’re wearing pantyhose.

Love yourself faithfully, no matter what.


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