But it’s so much deeper than that. And, fitness, at least, my experience, my journey, goes FAR beyond holding a plank.
Honestly, I wish it were that simple.
Some days, it feels like everything about weight loss and eating right and exercising and staying sane seems like such a heavy load. And when it’s your business, your livelihood, how you pay for all of those DVD’s, fitness magazine, stacks of spandex pants and year long supply of kale in your refrigerator then you learn to “play the part” even when you are struggling. And that’s the challenge. How do you push forward when everything in you tells you to run the other way, hide under the sheets with a bag of Oreo’s and just resort to wearing pants with elastic? Or what if your struggle is even deeper? And there are just days when it overtakes you? That being “that weight” threatens your being?
I have those days. I’ve actually had more lately than I’ve had in a really long time. I have come to face to face with the notion that I am considered a “big girl” in my industry (yeah, I was thinking that too). For a few days, it got the best of me. I didn’t run out and eat cookies. I resorted to a behavior that scared me (and those whom I confessed) to death. I, all of a sudden, lost my appetite. To some, they would just mark it off as “stress” (and, boy, have I been stressed!) but it’s part of something bigger. I am a recovering anorexic. When I started to feel the pressure, my mind could convince my body that I didn’t want to eat. Sure, I felt like crap teaching my classes, running to get prepared for a half-marathon, smiling and waving like Ms. Fitness America on the outside. When I got home, I’d crash. I was forgetting the most simple things. I didn’t want to talk to people, not even my parents. I wanted to sleep. And when I woke up and realized I still had stretch marks and leftover skin and fat from having three kids and being almost 90 pounds bigger than I am now, after deciding that getting a hatchet and cutting it off wasn’t going to work, I wanted to go to bed again. Without food. Forever. Well, unless someone showed up with some Lays Potato Chips. That became my food of choice.
When I sent a text to my friend for accountability (I knew I was over the edge, I was feeling sick and I really did want help), I got a phone call. Immediately. At 6:15 a.m. When I finally decided to talk (food issues make you hide from a lot of things. It’s why we eat. Food makes no demands. It’s very cooperative in our eyes. It doesn’t talk back. Not until later.) several hours later, the words I heard were, “You are amazing and perfect the way you are.” (That was after I heard my name several times and the questions of “what?” and “why?”) My friend understood that while I was conscious I didn’t understand and I didn’t need to be chastised. I needed to be heard and affirmed. At the time I didn’t think I was amazing (my response to that perfect statement was, “oh, really? Have you ever seen me naked?”). I felt “less than.” And feeling “less than” puts us in the mindset that we do not “deserve.” I didn’t “deserve” what I KNEW I had earned so I kept hurting myself because “punishment” was all I knew for not being good enough. Where did that come from?
If you’re a dark girl, you can’t be on this team. If you’re not friends with her, you can’t be in this position. If you can’t kick to your nose, you won’t get a shot. If you don’t wear these types of clothes, you can’t be in our clique. If you didn’t train with so-in-so then you can’t be on our team. And all of that is a part of my past. But WHY am I choosing to still live there? My power is in making another choice. And so is yours.
Sure, I exercise. But I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should WHEN I should. It’s very random. So is my fruit/vegetable intake. I drink water when I feel like it. I pray all day but in random places. I need quiet. I need structure. I need order. If I want my abs to get stronger/smaller, then I need to do more work. I need to spend more time learning/working out for me, not necessarily teaching. I need to be more grateful. I need more me so I can get up every morning WITHOUT a phone call and look in the mirror and say to MYSELF, “You’re Amazing!” And I hope that, through this process, you will be encouraged to slow down when you need to slow down, step up when you need to step up and ask for help when you need help.
I’m not perfect. I’m just real. And being real is what’s going to help us drop these shackles about our weight forever.
Let’s do this.