I’ve had these weird roller coaster of conversations going in my head since June as I try to dismantle and rebuild my attitude towards my body and my health, and as I try to figure out what I want on this journey.
The easy parts are the parts that I recognize are just necessary stresses of reprogramming. When I catch myself critiquing THIS body because it’s bigger than THAT OTHER body that I used to have. It’s that terrible mindset that, because I am not the smallest I’ve ever bin, I need to lose weight. Or even more recent – because I’m not the race-day body from 2+ years ago, I need to lose weight. I’ll feel myself thinking about that, about how this body is 20lbs heavier than that race-day body, and I’ll be discussing it with myself as though that means this body is wrong and then I’ll have to cut myself short and say: NO. No. No. That’s not the way this works anymore.
(And don’t even get me started on longing for the body 50lbs ago on my wedding day.)
I’ll recognize those moments as necessary “reprogramming” moments where I need to spend some time reminding myself that there is no “right” or “wrong” body based on size or weight.
That part’s easy. The: No, that’s the wrong way to look at things part is the easy part.
The rest of it is hard.
Because, do I think there’s anything wrong with wanting to have a smaller body? What if I liked that race-day body better than this one? Isn’t that okay to want that body back again?
That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE ANSWER IS.
I mean, when I dig into it, I guess I want to know why I like that body better. And I’m 99.999999% sure it’s the fault societal programing with photoshopped magazine covers and instagram filters and Hollywood executives casting abnormal body types so often we consider them normal. And so, if I can safely assume that I think that body is prettier because of this shitty programming that’s been done in my brain then I do NOT think it’s okay to want that skinnier body.
It’s better to LOVE THIS BODY.
But…BUT…that societal program is a fact of life and if that skinnier body will make it easier to look in the mirror and be happy, isn’t it okay to strive for that?
AGAIN. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE ANSWER IS.
And sometimes I’m not sure what the real conversation I’m having with myself is actually about. I’ll say things to myself like, Kim…that race day body was easier to run in and all of your clothes fit that body. So then it seems like a practical decision to lose weight! I’m not brainwashed by society and Hollywood! But then, if I sit with it for just a few minutes I know the truth: Running in this body is fine. Dressing this body is fine. I have plenty of clothes I like to wear in this body. I’m fooling myself.
These are the cycles of conversations I have about my weight. But that’s only one of the “Relationship With My Body” conversations that I have quite often that become unproductive and cyclical. What about stress eating? Let’s tackle that demon. Mindful eating tells you it’s okay to stress eat donuts sometimes just be deliberate and not ashamed! But if I look at my relationship with shitty food like an addict’s relationship with drugs, then I need to STAY WAY THE F*CK AWAY. Because one donut leads to 5 very quickly.
(I’m not exaggerating. I never eat just one donut.)
So there’s that unproductive roller coaster conversation.
This last week – as I’ve binged in ways I haven’t binged in months – I’m trying to start with the things I do know and work from there. So…that’s what I’m going to do now. List things I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m just going to make simple statements and not let myself get on the roller coasters of conversations that tend to follow those statements.
AND TRUST ME, EVERYONE ONE OF THESE STATEMENTS TRIGGERS CYCLICAL AND UNPRODUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS.
I’m starting with the basics here, people. Things I know for sure. Things that are true.
- I want to be healthy so that I can live an active life until the day I die.
- I only like what I see in the mirror about half of the time.
- And when I don’t like what I see in the mirror, it’s day-ruining.
- I want to spend less time thinking about my body/weight.
- I want to spend less time thinking about food.
- I do not want to ever take another “before” pictures again.
- I am ashamed of myself when I binge.
- I want to just weigh something and eat/exercise so it never fluctuates in any direction. (I’ve never held one weight for even a year.)
- But I want that weight to be something that “maintaining” requires minimal effort or restrictions.
- I don’t want to ever turn down a treat offered to me in love just because I’m worried about the effect of that on the scale.
- I want to feel good about my body.
- I want to feel good about THIS body.
WOAH. That last statement kind snuck out of me. But I realized…this body is great. When I started trying to manage my binging and get back into exercising, this is the body that came out of that. Is it the smallest? No. But this body allows me to sometimes eat Mochis after dinner and sometimes drink beer. Because, let’s be honest, the smaller your body the less calories you “need” so I would either have to exercise more or eat less to maintain it. And I think over the last 6 months I’ve realized I don’t want to exercise more or eat less and so if this is the body I get when I am “normal” then this is the body I want to learn to love.
And this is the body I get if I would quit the recent cycle of binging I’ve been on.
So. New goals!
- Work on the “coping with anxiety by binging” thing.
- Look in the mirror every day and tell myself positive things about THIS body.
- When I start longing for a body of yesteryear, work on mantras to SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. Don’t even get on the roller coaster of pointless conversations.
- Maintain this body so I can slowly build a wardrobe to flatter it (that’s part of the problem, I don’t have a ton clothes for this body) which will make looking in the mirror a more pleasurable experience every day.
- Work on resetting my brain when I start obsessing over food or weight.
Alrighty then. Now to look at that list of goals and figure out practical steps to help me meet them. LET’S DO IT.