Tuesday, April 13, 2010

perfect timing, too.

the five pounds i lost a couple of weeks ago are back, with a vengeance.

i mean, i'm not really sure they're back with a vengeance, but i feel out for blood whenever i get on the scale.  i had my appointment with the personal trainer on friday. she killed me through circuit training and after telling her about how i had been exercising pretty aggressively and regularly since january and yet hadn't lost ANYTHING, she said something about overtraining and how our bodies adjust and blahblahblah.

i'm certain she was right, so please don't take the blahblahblah to mean anything other than IT'S NOT FAIR.  and also perhaps a trifle bit of bitterness at the fact that i could not move my arms normally for four days post session because she made me do things to my pectoral muscles that were inhumane.  i literally sobbed when brent touched my chest to try to rub out that part that gets sore, right next to your armpit and over your heart, when you do pushups.  it hurt TO THE SMALLEST TOUCH.  so i might be a little bit bitter.

i found myself saying this yesterday: "i hate my body."

the moment that those words escaped my lips, i knew two things. the first is that i don't mean that. my body is a gift. it is healthy. i feed it (mostly) healthy things and it performs admirably in the tasks that i set before it. i have a brain and a body that work well and i am blessed.

the second thing i knew is that i really have to figure out, once and for all, how to love my body the way it is.  i had gotten there for a brief shining moment, just before i got married.  it's not really much different than it was then, although the scales tell me it's 20 pounds heavier.  it's about the same size, and definitely can do more than it used to be able to. 

i recognize the signs of holding on too tight to this idea that i have of what i should be, what i should weigh, what i should look like.  i don't fit, and never have, into models of BMI and body weight. even at my dream goal weight, i would still be considered overweight for my height.  i can barely imagine getting to that point, and i would imagine that i would look almost too skinny. my mom, at the same height and weight, looked almost gaunt to me. 

so our bodies don't fit into the models that are supposed to fit everyone.

but it's more than that. when i hold on so tight to things, i can't see what really is happening. that's true of everything--not just about my body image--but it's definitely true in this case. when i look at myself, i can't see how i am improving, how i really look. i see things through a distorted lens of loathing that only makes me unhappy.

i don't want that. i really don't. and i really have no reason to feel anything but pride in what i routinely do. i have changed the way i approach food. i routinely make ridiculously healthy choices.  when i actually think about things, i choose good. that ought to be enough for me.

but at the same time, i want my body to cooperate with my efforts. i want to be rewarded for my diligence. i want the strawberries and chicken to count for something, when i could have caved to pizza. i want my body combat and hours on the treadmill to get me somewhere, instead of leaving me exactly where i'm at.

i want the formulas to work. i want to stop being the exception.

but in the meantime, and for a greater purpose, i want to know how to be okay with where i'm at and how to look at my body with pride rather than disdain.  i want to see the good instead of immediately seeing what needs to change. i want my first thought to be something positive.

someday, i will have daughters. i'll be darned if they are going to grow up not loving who they are because they see me obsessing about it.  i will be a positive role model.  but first i have to learn how.

in a world where we are constantly told that we are not [insert appearance-related adjective here] enough, how does one do that? 

1 comment:

  1. I have tried my hardest to get over my obsession with the scale. Water weight, stress weight, and everything else that messes with that number is frustrating. And on top of that, the number doesn't even matter so much to me as the way my clothes fit. But I still get on that stupid scale, wanting to see some sign that my efforts (or lack thereof) have some effect. I guess it's the rational part of our human brains needing some reinforcement to continue or discontinue certain behaviors.

    The funny thing is, even when I was what I would now consider my ideal weight, I thought I was so chubby and put together all wrong. Now I look at those pictures and am startled at how skinny I was. And even though I'd like to be back to that point, I also am happier now with myself than I was then. And I NEVER exercised back then, whereas now I do on a regular basis, and I love the way it feels. At some point I have to accept that if I am eating right most of the time, exercising regularly, treating my body the way it should be treated, then my body will eventually shift back to reflect that. It may not be where I would like to be, or look exactly as I want it to, or how the world thinks it should, but it will be something I can be comfortable with and maintain. Kate Moss may think that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but I really wonder how good her "skinny" actually feels. If her skinny is denying delicious things, even in moderation, and/or exercising beyond the point of enjoyment to the point of collapse, day in and day out, meticulously measuring and weighing and checking...how good can that really feel?
    Also she has no chest, so I'm sure even she has self esteem issues.

    And I think of how many beautiful people I see, of different sizes, and I wonder why I feel I have to hold myself to the world's standards when the standard of beauty I apply to the women around me is so contrary to it. Why do I hold myself as the exception to the rule, why do I cut myself zero slack? And I see that it applies to so much more than the way I look, that this thought process is a reflection of how I judge myself on many different levels.

    I don't know where I'm going with this.

    You should read Intuitive Eating. I really enjoyed it, and it changed the way I approach my body and my goals for it.

    I think, at the end of the day, if our (future) children see that their mother eats intuitively, has a positive and natural relationship with food, enjoys being active and moving in a number of ways, they will instinctively learn how to do the same and love their bodies as well, because those actions and the feelings that come from them will be stronger than words or pictures could ever be.

    I'm going to go eat some cake now.

    The end.