Time to check in, yes? 🙂
In yoga last week, the teacher reminded us to focus on our own mats. Do the pose first, listening to what feels comfortable for your own body before looking up around the room to compare or adjust to the technique of others.
This, I realized, is how I approach my healing.
It’s no secret that the last couple weeks have been rough. Binge eating, anxiety, stress. There was and is mountains of healing work to be done. Binge eating is a symptom of something I’m not addressing. A manifestation of unconscious anxieties. A reaction to present and forthcoming change. A flooding of the past into my current realities.
I can’t begin to explain to you how weird it feels to have a body (almost) half the size of the one I’ve lived in most of my adult life. Just believe me when I say, the experience is strange.
I’m navigating uncharted territory every day that I wake up. A world that sees me differently, but a mind and mirror that doesn’t. I feel like I fought so hard to make sure this very experience didn’t overtake my life by going about weight loss slowly, but aggressively, with a purposeful focus on health rather than weight, and with as much introspection as I could muster in being aware that this would affect me in some way.
Relearning how to eat feels like child’s play compared to relearning how to think about yourself. A mind shift from the fat girl to the fit girl. From lazy to accomplished. From disengaged to empowered.
I’m feeling overwhelmed even as I type.
I don’t know what it is that brought all of these things together in what feels like a rush of awareness, but it’s here, so I’m going to have to head in and confront it.
Like I said above, I go about healing the way the yoga teacher advised us to go about our practice. Focusing inward. I’ve never been one to invite the opinions of others into my life, and I feel that’s especially important now as I go through this very personal process. I’m holding my thoughts and reactions close, cradling them, and exploring them only the protective pages of my journal. It feels deliciously self-indulgent and I believe is the right way to go about beginning a process of growth.
There is a person that feels lost and disoriented in all of this, and I’m digging to find her again. I’m unabashedly taking as much time for myself as I need to satisfy this hunger.
Margarita Tartakovsky recently published a post on the Weightless blog called “Body Positive Lessons: On Making Progress, Not Perfection” that absolutely blew me away.
She talked about going away for the weekend and being off her eating, sleeping and exercising schedule and how – whether there was real weight gain or not – it made her feel fat. She could have either berated herself and cut out desserts while increasing exercise, or actually listen to what her body needed after time off of her routine.
Today, I realize the limitations of focusing on weight. If I focused my attention on whether I gained weight (and wanting to lose it), that’s all I would see. I’d be numbed by the numbers, ashamed and unaware.
I wouldn’t be able to realize that instead of needing to shed pounds (and making myself miserable in the process), what I really need is to nurture myself with more sleep, calm, movement and yummy meals at home.
I wouldn’t be able to see the habits and activities I need to truly feel better, more energized, relaxed and fulfilled. Instead, I’d be scrambling to lose weight, feeling deprived and still edgy.
I also realize that a positive body image isn’t the absence of negative thoughts. It doesn’t mean always feeling fantastic.
We forget that we can’t turn a positive body image into just another thing to get obsessed about; another path for seeking perfection. We forget that weight loss isn’t a panacea. It isn’t the answer to our pain.
This idea, of evoking self-love as a means to change, has always been at the crux of living well and healthfully for me and is a priority I need to consistently remind myself as I go down this path of self discovery.
Accepting my body as it is now isn’t going to be the result of more weight loss, or looking at “how far I’ve come.” It will be a process of continuing to focus on what got me here, the small things – cooking, taking walks, journaling – that make me feel good every day.
I have to put in the effort to discover what works for me right now, just as much as I had to put in the effort to figure out what worked for me at 243 pounds. There is no miraculous switch to living life and happy and joyous just because I’ve lost weight. The same effort in discovering what made me happy and fulfilled to lose the weight will be the same effort that I need to put in to continue losing, and maintaining and being happy with my body, health, and life.
“Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom.” – Lao Tzu