It’s 6am on a Sunday morning and my house is quiet as everyone else sleeps. I’ve been up since 5 to walk the dog, then surf random bits of the internet and drink a big huge mug of coffee.
And here, in the quiet darkness, I’m finding my head buzzing with thoughts and ideas, criticisms and pride. I’m a complicated place, it appears. Lately, mostly due to a potent cocktail of too little sleep and too much moodiness, I’ve been struggling with body image again.
Yesterday, this happened. That’s me, thrillingly close to a forearm stand. In fact, even as I was up there I could tell that most of my hesitation in getting that other foot off the wall was about nerves and not doubts about my strength.
In short, I’m actually very very awesome. It’s not perfect, and I’m not there yet…but I’m close and I’m excited about it. I felt awesome as I came down from the pose. I uploaded the pic, opened it in Instagram…and then all I could think was “I look so fat.” I’m UPSIDE DOWN, balancing on my forearms, and all I can think about is how my body looks. THAT is a problem.
Now again, I’m not in the most stable mindset thanks to hormones. I am at my most vulnerable when it comes to doubts about body image, and I hope to revisit this picture in a few days and wallow in pride instead of worrying about the shape or size of my body. That being said, and while I recognize I’m focusing on all the wrong things right now, I am trying to examine these feelings and find their use. More and more I’m seeing things lately that reinforce a barely understood thought that feelings we perceive as negative or unpleasant aren’t to be escaped. In fact, they’re often the ones we stand to learn the most from if we can just stop and sit with them a bit. So I’m trying to find a way to sit with this without it turning into an epic struggle over my weight or body size or shape. And in this morning’s moment of quiet, I thought it through.
Actually, I was in the midst of two simultaneous streams of thought. The first was that I ought to get a nice big journal for my vision “board” and make it a dream journal instead, since I’m really digging the idea of putting together the first few pages as generalized inspiration, and then creating new pages all throughout the year to revisit important reminders and to recenter me when I’m struggling. So maybe when I’m having an “I’m fat and awful” sort of day, I create a new page to help me work through those feelings, and then over time I’ll have created all sorts of resources for myself to reflect on the good when my head wants to produce nothing but storm clouds.
The second train of thought was around strength training. I’m trying to make this the month I return to Gorilla Workouts because they’re manageable. So then I was considering maybe doing more official strength training. Maybe I’d spend February with Shrink Sessions, then Beautiful Badass in March, then Jedi Training in May, and finally working up the nerve to tackle the vaguely terrifying Stronger workouts I found on Livestrong. Then I thought more about it and realized that a lot of these programs are more than just a month if you really follow their full plans, so I thought about putting together a (hopefully simple) calendar to work through them all back to back, just to see how it works.
I’m still not sure if that’s the right path, though I’m still considering it because… well, why not, right? No hard and fast rules to it, just trying a bunch of new things to see what sticks. In the end though, what it had me realizing is that something is still not sitting well for me. Something is still not feeling settled even in the midst of daily yoga and meditation and feeling increasingly in tune. In fact, maybe all that tuning in is what has me finally seeing that there’s a glaring area in which I continue to ignore my body’s most reverent requests.
I bet you’ve got a guess on this one, huh? Yep. It’s food. And it finally hit me when I was reading an email from Nia Shanks. Her one food “rule” was super simple. All she said? EAT REAL FOOD. And there it is. There is why I continue to struggle with making the right food choices, with cravings, with feeling satisfied with my food. Most of the time, I’m not eating real food. Due to a lot of things including being very busy and often tired, having a commute to deal with, and being somewhat more than occasionally overwhelmed by being Evi’s sole caretaker a lot of the time I’ve created a life built around a whole lot of packaged, processed, convenience type foods. And finally, finally I see it. I know all of the reasons why I make those choices, and they’re all super legitimate reasons, but I’m tired of letting them matter. I’m tired of making the easy choices when it means my body is worn out and I crave too much sugar and I struggle to provide better foods for Evi. I don’t feed her the way I feed myself. I would never. And there is the big, glowing issue. Why would I EVER feed myself in a way I wouldn’t condone for my beautiful, incredible little girl. Didn’t I just settle in to the reminder that a very similar little girl is still in me too? So isn’t it time I treat her with similar respect and care?
So there it is. It’s time for real food. I’m still trying to work out a game plan, a shopping list, something to help me make this shift. I intend to make it in baby steps, and to blog about it along the way. Let’s see how this works.