My response to women who tell me that they've only done this small thing, that they've only hit this one goal, that they've only eaten well for 95% of the time is always the same. When they come to me in confession mode, afraid to say that on Tuesday they didn't drink enough water and on Wednesday they only walked half a mile instead of pushing themselves to walk a mile, I say the same thing. When they believe they have failed because they turned off their vibration plate after only five minutes once or broke their self-imposed intermittent fast 45 minutes early, I say the same thing. Look how far you've come. And baby steps are still steps.
There are many, many women who have lipedema that truly believe they are broken and fragile, weak and lazy. These same women are meticulous about what they eat, and stick to their nutrition plans in a way that would rival world class athletes. While gritting their teeth through the pain, they do multiple therapies a day for their lipedema tissues while also taking care of families and holding down jobs. They smile while they're hurting at those around them who need encouragement and carry out tasks when normal humans would be in bed. These are women who get up every day and exercise knowing they will look in the mirror and probably see little change, but they are fighters, so they do it. The truth of it is, women with lipedema are some of the strongest, most self-disciplined women I have ever met. And yet they give themselves very little credit, and a lot of heartache, for all they're doing.
Self-care for lipedema involves many, many things and these look different for different women. Someone else's self-care doesn't need to be your self-care and you don't need to rate yourself according to another person's scale. Instead of berating yourself for failing to be a carbon copy of another woman or achieving an ideal in your head, why not try celebrating whatever step forward you took today? It doesn't really matter if the step you took is a baby step. It matters that you took the step.
What do those steps look like in real life? Maybe you've never really drank enough water and today you did. Maybe you've struggled with taking the supplements that you know help your lipedema body but they are finally part of your routine and you haven't forgotten all week. Maybe you just sat on the floor and played with your child or grandchild and got up again. Maybe you cooked a meal for someone you love. Maybe you stood on a beach in a swimsuit and cared more about the view in front of you than whether or not someone liked how you look. Those are all moments you can appreciate and celebrate and every acknowledgement of those steps is important.
Your health isn't just the state of your physical well-being. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are failing, that you aren't enough, that you must try harder, while ignoring all those tiny steps that add up to the amazing things you're actually doing, your mind is listening and your body is responding. Who else do you know that spends the time, energy, and effort taking care of themselves in the way that you do? The fact that your lipedema has decided not to cooperate with what you are doing to better your health doesn't negate the equally important fact that you are doing it!
Negative self-talk is not self-care and we need to change the narrative we constantly feed our minds. Of course self-care is all those things you do, but it is also a process of retraining so speak to yourself and about yourself in a different way. When you begin to do that, you start believing that you are worthy of self-care and when you know you are worthy of self-care you see the significance of every step you take to manage lipedema. You may look back and realize that all those steps you thought were baby steps were the ones that made the difference.
For more on this topic, you can watch the live I did for Lipedema Awareness in April Sluder's group, Lovely Lipedema ladies here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1809280765764148