You may have noticed—or not—that I’ve shied away from writing my typical “Fat Tuesday” posts the past week or two. It was all spurned by a comment that the sweet, lovely, supportive Jaka left me, asking why on earth I continued to call myself “fat” in posts.
This touched a nerve, not in a bad way, but it did get me thinking. I thought about it in yoga class that weekend, as I tried to bend and contort my body into the proper pose and found myself looking at my body in the mirror and thinking, “You’re disgusting! Fat, gross, lazy, ick, you shouldn’t be here…”
I began thinking so much about my body’s journey from a chubby kid in high school, to scary-thin in college to where I exist currently: heavy and unhappy. It completely ruined my yoga class, because every time I found myself in the mirror to check my form, I’d find my eyes welling up with tears. I hated my body—and myself—so intensely at that moment that I thought I might burst.
The past few weeks of my weight loss journey had been hard. I found myself weighing in obsessively—upon waking, after peeing, before work, right after work, after dinner, after the gym, before bed, in the middle of the night. I counted calories, found myself tempted to skip meals, craving foods I wanted and deying myself even the smallest of treats until I’d want to gorge so much. I was pissed off about food, dreaded the gym, and was so, so, so sick of counting points and logging in and tracking every single morsel I put in my mouth. I would cry if I gained even half a pound, and get pissed off at myself. I had a constant stream of negative thoughts in my mind about how lame I was for not being able to do this.
And then I decided I had to stop the insanity.
The facts are these: I love food. I love baking, sharing in treats and enjoying delicious things. I will never be the girl who can, or wants to, turn down a cookie that looks delicious and is chock full of chocolate chips. I love baking so much, and get pleasure out of the entire cooking process. I also love salad, fruit, vegetables, sushi, fruit, chicken (when it’s not dry and gross), steak, pizza, pasta, smoothies and just about every other food. I don’t like being told I can only eat fruit after 5 pm, or nothing after 7 when I don’t get home until then sometimes. The other fact? I’m not ever going to love working out. I don’t enjoy running, or step class or anything else. I do, however, like spin, swimming, hot yoga and a bit of cardio before a lot of weight lifting. I like taking walks with Andrew. I like working up a sweat. And more importantly, I know I have to in order to feel fully alive and happy.
I’ve lost weight before. I didn’t do it with any special method. I ate a healthy breakfast. I didn’t really eat a huge lunch, preferring instead to graze on popcorn, carrots, sliced turkey, yogurts, etc. Then, I’d eat a sensible dinner. If I went out to dinner and wanted something “bad” I would have it occasionally. I went to the gym most days and did 30 minutes of cardio and some weights, and if I didn’t go? I let it go. And over the course of a year, I lost 50 pounds. Later, my eating grew more obsessive and disordered, but for the first year, I was happy, healthy and content with what I was doing to be healthier. The gym wasn’t an obligation, but something I looked forward to doing, because I wasn’t on a strict schedule. I weighed myself, but I also measured myself, and mostly based my judgments on how clothing fit.
I want to, need to, get back to this style of thinking. I’m working on it. While the gym is still a non-negotiable and something I don’t love, it’s easier to go when I do it in the morning, and I get it out of the way. I’ve got a mini-fridge filled with healthy stuff at work, and have been finding my old “grazing” pattern of eating a little bit while hungry to make me feel so much better. And yes, I dropped Weight Watchers. I am not going to ever really love tracking food.
I think that after struggling with this for so long, what I’m realizing, over and over again, is that what I want/need most is a healthy relationship with food, working out and my body. I want that little voice in my head that tells me that I’m fat, ugly and not okay to go away. I want to feel pretty in pictures, but I also want to feel strong and healthy. I want to come to enjoy what I do to work out, and to put good things in my body. I don’t need to follow a plan or a schedule or anyone else’s rules. I need to listen to myself.
So, I am. And the best part? I’ve already seen a difference in my body: my waist is slimmer, by legs are becoming more defined, and I’m sleeping better. I feel happier. And I’ve been eating healthfully for the most part. I didn’t want to work out this morning, but then I thought about how happy I’d be if it was done, so I went and swam for 30 minutes.
This feels like a good change for me. Here’s hoping that it is successful for my body, too.