So I am sort of working on recovery from the whole self-loathing, body-hating, I-am-not-enough thing that I have had going on (and which a lot of women have going on), and this is happening even though I did not wake up this morning and find that I had magically lost 50 pounds overnight. I hear people who are overweight say that they love their bodies, and it seems like such a nice concept, but a part of me also feels like maybe they are just saying that because, of course, every woman wants to be thin, right? I have been on a diet since I was in high school (except for the times when I was in the throes of compulsive eating, but even in those times, I was still engaged in a dieting mentality in between binges), and my ultimate goal for that entire amount of time (and I am 37, so we are talking more than 20 years) was to be “thin.” I didn’t know what thin was going to be for me, but I figured I would know it when I got there.
So a lot of this is stuff I talk about in therapy. And my therapist, quite accurately, discussed with me the fact that, if I don’t deal with the reasons I feel the whole self-loathing, body-hating, I-am-not-enough thing, I will never be satisfied with my body. And I know with most of myself that this is true, but there is still that little voice that tells me that I will be happy only when I am skinny. Skinny is this magic bullet, it seems, that will make the sun shine brighter and will take away my compulsive shopping tendencies and will magically whisk my debt away and will make me stand taller and and smile more often and will make every day a good hair day. Skinny is where it’s at.
Anyway, I still battle pretty regularly with food and with my tendency to turn to food in a compulsive manner when things get to be too much (too happy, too sad, too stressful, too busy, too angry, etc.). However, I have gotten into a really good fitness routine, and I am noticing that it is helping just a little bit with the self-loathing and the body-hating and the I-am-not-enough. For the past couple of months, I have been regularly exercising. And that includes both cardio and strength training. I have a history of HATING strength-training. I could not make myself do it. However, I exercise most mornings with a friend from work, and she has made me more accountable with my strength-training routine, and it turns out that I have come to love it. I have increased the amount of weight I can lift on every machine that I use for strength-training, and I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I see the progress I have made.
I also have found a yoga studio that I love. It’s a warm and welcoming environment, and it’s a safe place to try to push my body to do things I never thought it could do. And I have asked my body to do things like engage in forearm stands and hold planks and balance on one leg, and my body has done it. It’s hard to hate a body that does that when you ask it to. I can’t say that I never feel those old negative feelings, but I also feel a real satisfaction when I accomplish something I didn’t think I could do.
Today, after months of not jogging and of giving up on the idea of being a runner and deciding I was okay with that, I decided to run on the treadmill instead of walking. I didn’t know how it would go because even though I do a lot of cardio, it doesn’t have the same intensity that running does. I figured I would run for one song and stop. But I felt okay, so I kept going. And I managed to run a mile at a pace that I was pretty proud of. So today I asked my body to do something for me, and it did it. And I have to say it felt kind of amazing.
I can’t wait to see what else my body has in store for me…