I finally tried out Anna’s Curvy Yoga DVD on Monday morning. I was feeling cranky and tired and unprepared for a new week, so I settled down for the twenty minute restorative session, which turned out to be a slow, stretchy, rejuvenating meditation.
As I began the practice, I found myself having some shockingly unexpected thoughts. Here is just some of what went through my head in the beginning:
“This is too easy.”
“This isn’t for me.”
“I’m not really that fat.”
Wait, what? Whoa. Check that negativity and fear out! Most days I consider myself to be doing pretty well on this journey to loving my body and myself, so this shocked me and led to even more negative feelings. I was ashamed, angry, embarrassed, sad… I felt like a failure, a judgemental bitch, a bad person.
And then slowly, quietly, as I went through the motions, something began to shift. Anna’s words, her calm, the grace of her movements… everything began to change. I remembered that I own this body, that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I settled into the reality that I AM curvy, and many people would happily call me fat. I certainly am by the measure of any BMI chart.
So what? Does that define me? Well, yes. It does, along with ten thousand other things that define me. It goes part and parcel, hand in hand with my identity as a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend. It strides alongside my strength, my wisdom, my devotion, and my fear. It dances with my amorphous spirituality, skirts the edges of my fearless silliness, and twirls about amongst a laundry list of other physicalities that matter almost as often as they don’t matter.
Anna shared beautiful, powerful quotes. I made myself repeat the words aloud. My fighting mind began to soften, giving my heart room to speak. And there I sat, alone in my crazy leggings, crying on the living room floor at 6am. I cried to let go, to let it out, to let it in. I cried to apologize to myself and to remember that love is all there is. Just love.
In the vulnerable, extra sensitive wake of that morning I began to slowly admit some hard truths. In terms of acceptance and self love, I’ve made incredible strides. I’m capable of looking at my body with respect an awe instead of disgust. I posted yoga pics in just a sports bra and leggings because I’m happy with my shape. I recognize my own strength and beauty more often than not. And in seeing all I’ve accomplished and all I continue to allow to blossom, something else drifted up into the light.
In one big, important way, I’m still denying myself the love I deserve. I’m still punishing the body I spent so many years hating.
It’s all about food. As I thought about it, I realized I’ve spent nearly every one of the last many days feeling tired and sick. My colitis is flaring again. I’m unconsciously but quite intentionally overloading on sugar. My head hurts every day. My body aches like an old woman’s. Even my compartment syndrome is raging again.
My body needs ALL my love, not just the superficial stuff. I don’t deserve constant stomach pain and embarrassing emergency bathroom trips. I refuse to take the auto immune meds the doctors offer; medication I’d take for the rest of my life, with a 65% chance of eradicating my symptoms and a 45% chance of nuking my gut and leaving me worse off than ever. I don’t like those odds. I tend I end up on the wrong side of statistics.
But those meds aren’t the only answer. There are options. There’s a damned good option… one that’s hard and scary and unpleasant and exactly what I need to be doing right now.
I downloaded the Gutsy Girl Bible. I read through the 21 day gut healing plan. I thought about how much I needed to heal. Then I spent three days talking myself out of it.
“I don’t need something so extreme.”
“It will be too expensive.”
“Thanksgiving is coming and I don’t want to miss out.”
“And Christmas is right after that.”
“It will be too hard.”
“My family will hate it.”
Sure. Because dealing with moderate to intense stomach pain EVERY DAY, pushing a body too tired an aching to thrive? That’s much better than three weeks of mild inconvenience, right?
Huh. Maybe…maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s time I honor the body I’m working so hard to love. Maybe it’s time I trade pain for purpose, habit for healing, battling for blossoming. I’m sure it won’t be perfect or pretty sometimes, but it’s worth the effort. I created a Pinterest board full of (not officially approved) recipes I think are aligned with the healing plan. Honestly, some of it sounds pretty darn fabulous. I’m actually EXCITED by some of the recipes. I’m going to work on a meal plan this week and then hit the farmers market this weekend to stock up on supplies. I love that everything will be fresh and local and in season and just.. clean.
I want to say I’ll make changes to the plan, but the whole point of this is to eliminate ALL possible irritants and then add them back slowly to determine our culprits. Sugar is DEFINITELY one for me. I won’t lie. I’m hesitant…because it’s hard. Because it’s scary. Because it might teach me things Idon’t really want to know. Because, sadly, living with GI pain has become “comfortable” for me.
Right now I feel like the fear is exactly why I DO need to do this. Maybe I’m scared because it might work. And what the hell would that be like? It’s as terrifying as it is potentially awesome. Honestly, I’m freaking TERRIFIED that this WILL work. That it will fix things. That I’ll be eating this way, feeling all fixed and healthy, forever. I’m so damned attached to the awful foods I eat that I am feeling a little bit of real panic at the thought of “losing” them even though I know what they do to me. Will I feel like a freak? Will eating out be awful?
It doesn’t matter. It’s time to try. Off the list for three weeks: corn, gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, sugar, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onions, soy, eggplant, potatoes, legumes, beans, alcohol, shellfish, and chocolate. (The list is longer than this…) So… recipes? Please?