So after last week's slightly disappointing effort, I was determined to do a bit better on the exercise front this week. And...I did! Wahay me etc. I stink at this whole "bigging yourself up" thing. I have even started pinning motivational quotes to try to keep my mojo going. Also that sort of thing feels more natural when you've worked out and are feeling good, but I fear becoming really annoying with it too.
I like reading about other people's fitness journeys, but at the same time get really annoyed when lifestyle smug-ness creeps in. Or borderline fattist, clean eating inspo type stuff too. The whole "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" thing is never, ever going to fly with me. And I'm ok with that. I am pretty much resigned that I am going to have to try to find a way to do this my way, to have a treat if I want a treat (just not every day), and to also start thinking about things like grapes as treats(!).
Any diet or eating lifestyle that is extreme or restrictive has only one ending for a recovering (I want to say recovered but anyone who has ever dealt with this knows it's a lifelong thing) eating disordered thinker like me: rebellion and bingeing, followed by much self loathing, and then possibly a cycle of starving or "making up" for our bad behaviour.
I know that some people transition from eating disorders into variations of "clean eating", but let's be honest, it is still a form of extreme diet control, which for me is a no go. I have tried and failed every diet going over the years -I'm actually very good at diets, until I am not. Until the "old me" rears her hungry head.
I do believe in one form of "control" when it comes to how I think about food, and that is allowing myself to eat what I want, to try my best to be present about knowing when I am actually hungry, and to not overeat to the point where I feel stuffed. Also, not to beat myself up if I do eat something "bad", because that only leads to more overeating.
Things that have worked for me in the past in feeling happy in my skin and not dwelling so much on food or my body include: the books of Geneen Roth (the eating disorder ones, not the later, more religious ones, which might also be a good read but Idk as I've never read them), and also hypnosis c.d.'s (yes I dig Paul McKenna!), mainly because they encourage you to think nice things about yourself and trust yourself and not treat your body like an enemy that must be tamed.
I found Roth's book "Feeding the Hungry Heart" immensely helpful when I was younger and already had years of starvation, bingeing and occasional purging under my belt. All of the things that afflict so many teenage girls who have a moment in time where they decide they are not good enough and set about "fixing" themselves. From the first few words I felt like I was reading my story, and I had never really shared it with anyone, because while I knew other people had eating disorders, I was pretty sure none of theirs were as disgusting or shameful as mine.
I never even considered myself to have an "eating disorder" simply because I was never skinny enough or puking enough or whatever'ing enough to fit the image I had in my mind of what a girl with an eating disorder looked like. I did not even like myself enough to admit I was one of them, I wasn't even good enough at that very sad, lonely thing.
I went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting a couple of times in college and compared myself unfavorably to every other girl in the room, rather than recognize we were in the same boat. A very sweet runner girl from the group approached me at breakfast to have a nice conversation and all I could do was stare at the amount of food she was eating and feel envy. The truth is I thought about food and my body and little else for the better part of six years, from 15-my early twenties, often in a very extreme and self punishing way.
That was twenty years ago now, and while I am a rounder shape on the outside, I am a much happier person on the inside. I have weighed 110 lbs and been miserable, and no, being the weight I am today doesn't make me feel great, but I can see positives. It does not mean I don't want to be healthier or lose weight, but I absolutely must do it on my own terms if I don't want to fall into old habits.
When I read books or quotes or advice from people who have never fought a real weight or image battle that give out sage advice like "Just eat healthy most of the time and treat yourself some of the time" I know, on an intellectual level they are probably right, but also I know that they have never eaten a box of cereal or pack of cookies in one setting. They have never deprived themselves of food for a week only to have it all "fall apart" when actual hunger kicks in and takes over. They have never spent hours trying to vomit up a candy bar. They have never put food in the trash to stop themselves eating it and then taken it back out again.
So of course common sense works for them. But it's not a message I can accept or use without a lot of hard work, and I don't know why but the "it's really quite simple" brigade negating my very real effort sometimes feels a bit pat/somewhat belittling to me. It's not natural for me to eat like a normal human. "Normal" for me is a different measure. Not eating the whole house anytime I have unpleasant feelings, that for me is an accomplishment.
I of course have times when I am fine, usually when I am kept busy, but if I get depressed or lonely food was historically my salve, finding ways around that has been a learning curve that I am definitely better at now, but by no means totally reformed of.
When I begin a regime that involves counting calories or restriction, in any form, my internal judgement barometer creeps up to unhealthy pretty damn quick if I'm not extra careful and mindful. The answer here is maybe not to count calories but frankly that doesn't work for me either. So I'm trying, I am trying my damn best here, to just do what's good for my body and treat it with a bit more care
Um...so wow, I truly did not intend to write about ANY of that stuff today and I have no idea where it came from. I guess the weird thing is is when I am exercising and doing the "right" things, it feels...ok to admit that I am a mess inside, that I feel more in control of it now yes, but that this being healthy thing is actually really hard work, for most of us, for those of us who are no longer young of metabolism or naturally slim or motivated or who have never hated the way we were made.
And I guess I want to say it's ok to be weak, to admit we are scared and don't believe we can do it sometimes. SO much of fitness motivation philosophy is counter-intuitive, for me anyway, for the person that I have fought to become.
It's so "rah rah tough muscles/look at my rock hard abs and weep/feel the pain if you don't want to be a fat loser"* I don't aim to be perfect any longer, I think we can all just try to do our best and that's enough. I don't want anyone to ever read about what I'm doing and think it's easy or I'm saying it's easy if you are motivated and strong or any of that stuff. I know it's hard, and I feel your pain, anyone out there who also deals with constantly fighting what feels like a neverending battle with your own brain telling you you will never be good enough. SO that is why I am trying to do this thing and share it in as non-smug aspirational "eat this do this" a way as I can.
My Weekly Exercise Log:
1. Davina: Three Thirty Minute Workouts: Cardio Box (see previous Monday Motivations)
Davina: Buff Arms: I love this section so much, it is ten minutes of arm weights and you really feel it the next day.
Sleek Ballet Sculpt: I found this on Amazon Prime, it is T-O-U-G-H! I thought it would be a little before bed stretchy times, it's super hard ballet toughness, I was sweating after 15 minutes. I hope to re-visit it this week and see if I can make it a bit longer!
2. Pilates: Glad I went as there's no class this week. She had us do these plank push ups that focused on our triceps and I wanted to die.
3. Davina: Buff Cardio: This is probably the highest impact Davina section I have found. I managed 15 minutes then dripping with sweat switched to...
Buff Legs: Squatting Lunging Kicking ouchiness. I did most of it, because my knees can only take so much.
4. Davina: Buff Boxing: My legs were still feeling the previous day's workout (I need to intersperse days where possible but sometimes it doesn't work out like that) so I had to give up on the last two minutes of squat/plies.
So I was feeling it a bit more this week, I actually think I can handle an extra workout at this stage but you have my permission to call me an overexercising lunatic if you want! I also walked more this week, days where I didn't work out I walked at least two miles so that helps too. I picked up a Nell McAndrew dvd in the charity shop so we'll see how that goes, also we got a Fire stick because our Amazon Prime app on the Sony t.v. is a pain sometimes, also it has Youtube and Channel Four and Netflix and other stuff - mainly I am
excited to try some of the free Youtube workouts - I have dabbled with the Jillian Michaels one before and come away weeping but I am curious to try it again!
*My own interpretation of course!