Monday, June 21, 2010
Truth: I've been avoiding my blog. I've been putting my focus inward because I'm still trying to make peace with my body and these sorts of things are hard to talk about with loved ones let alone the whole internet. But I'm at a point where I feel like perhaps broadcasting my issues might help someone shed some light on issues of their own. My weight loss journey has bred some disordered eating habits in my life. As much as I'd like to tell you all that I reached my goal weight and life was perfect and yours can be too, it just didn't happen that way.
When I started eating less and moving more I was morbidly obese and I found calorie restriction to be something that could potentially save my life. Getting the weight off took little effort and went fast because I was determined not to trip up for fear of slipping back into old unhealthy patterns. That chapter ended two years ago. Since then I've been struggling with life after weight loss. Once I hit my first goal weight, it wasn't enough. Five more pounds. And once I lost that, ten more pounds. Reflecting on how I was treating my body at that time where my weight was plummeting below goal frightens me, to be honest. I was eating far too little and exercising far too often and hit a point where my body just stopped losing. I was hungry for praise and attention for my weight loss and once it stopped I didn't know who I was.
Eventually I decided to learn to love food again. That's about the time I started this blog. I was relatively comfortable around food. I put some of the weight back on and have hovered around goal for some time now, however on bad days, weeks, months, I'd revert back to bouts restricted calories/over-exercise. These bouts were always met by a subsequent binge. The kind of eating where you feel like you can never get enough or there will never be enough. The kind of eating you save for times when you're alone and no one can see you because you've believed that eating was "bad" for so long.
With the binge eating and slight re-gain has come a slew of other issues, body image being one. Despite losing all of that weight, I learned that happiness could not be found in size 8 jeans and I would not learn to love myself just because I didn't have to shop in the plus-size section. I still look in the mirror and pinpoint my flaws rather than my successes.
It's a lot to share, but I guess I just want to stress to others on their weight loss journey to be gentle with themselves, for the consequences of setting your expectations too high or resorting to extremes can lead to a lot of troubles way worse than a few extra pounds. Learn to love your body as it is NOW and health should be easy to achieve. So many shame themselves thin instead of focusing on nourishing and strengthening their bodies. Every day I am working towards fixing my relationship with my body, mind, and (of course) food.
On a lighter note, I feel like this past weekend I've made some significant progress. I took my first dance class yesterday. On a whim, I signed up for a crash course in Argentine Tango. It consists of two 4-hour sessions in which you learn the basic moves of the social dance. Because I still struggle with said body issues and leftover shyness from my obese days, the idea of dancing with strangers had my stomach in knots. This first class took me way out of my comfort zone. Around the second hour I was about ready to give up, but I pushed through my discomfort and at one point a switch went off in my head. I can't explain how connected I felt to my body. There was a new awareness of my arms, my chest and my legs as the music echoed through the studio room. When following, we were encouraged to close our eyes as our partners led us around the dance floor. Once I let go, it felt kind of like I was gliding around. Weightless, even.