TW for disordered behaviours regarding food.
Sometimes relapse is a part of recovery. Last week I found myself after having consumed a mars bar and some lollies feeling angry and disgusted with myself. Despite the fact I strongly believe that I can eat anything I want whenever I want and not feel bad or guilty about it. Despite the fact that I have made peace with my shape in the mirror. Despite the fact I have promised myself to show my body love and not hate. I got down on my knees and thought about how disgusting I was and vomited up my dinner and desert.
Afterwards there was no feeling of relief. No satisfaction from not letting those calories attach themselves to my belly in the form of adipose tissue. All I felt was sad and angry. Sad that I still struggle with these thoughts, that my eating disorder bubbles away under the surface of my brain, and that not succumbing to it is a conscious decision I have to make every day. Angry because I had come so far only to take such a huge step back like this. Angry because I had let the little stabs that my co-workers and friends make about their own bodies get to me.
I am not going to beat myself up over it. I am going to pick myself up and just take it one day at a time. As I have learnt in the last little while life is far to fragile for me to waste any more time freaking out about the size of my waist. it is also to fragile for me to be furious with myself when I live in a world which places so much importance on these stupid little things.
Recovery is a process and day by day my resilience grows.
I work out in my underwear because it makes me feel sexy. A sports bra and briefs make me feel like those be-hot-pantsed fitness instructors with cut lines from here to there. I don’t have cut lines anywhere but that doesn’t matter. I can see my muscles tensing and contracting, shifting and moving under my skin (and adipose tissue) to make the movements I do.
I feel like super woman when I see that. I have muscles and they do things! A fact I knew intellectually before I started working out at home in my underwear but now I can see it happening for real I see all the little movements it takes just to do a press up or a squat ( I also work out in front of a mirror) and I can revel in the miracle of all the little forces coming together to make it so that I am able to do these things.
In the gym I could feel my muscles moving but I couldn’t see them and so it did not impact upon me in the same visceral way. I did not have that punch to the gut realisation that I have a body and it is good. That my DOES things many things which I do not actively control. As a result I am more grateful for it than I ever have been.
I love how often when I am starting to think about something in a new way I will often stumble across a blog or piece of writing on the internet which will verbalise exactly what has been niggling at me.
Shaunta over at Live Once, Juicy has elaborated the beautiful idea of being a defiant athlete and I encourage you to go there and read all about it.
I am at a place right now where I can do more with my body than I have ever been able to in my life. I feel fit and strong and fucking beautiful.
It seems so sad to me that it has taken me 23 long years to find the absolute sheer joy that I now have in being able to move my body. The pleasure I take in being able to do actual full push-ups, how giddily jump lunges make me feel like I can take on the world.
It makes me angry that it took this long to realise that I don’t hate being active, or excercise, or even sport. I was just a quiet nerdy child who was sufficiently uncoordinated to make P.E classes a nightmare. Its funny because I even took part in competitive sport, before I hit my teenage years I was a competitive swimmer and I was even on a netball team. Somewhere a long the line I just started to see myself as someone who just couldn’t do those kinds of things.
Now I know that is not true and so I name myself. I am an athlete. I work every day on seeing what my body can do. How I can make it go a little bit faster, push a little bit harder. At the same time I respect my body’s limits. I do what I can to not injure myself and rest when I need it.
None of this is determined by my girth.
So we have established a few posts ago that I identify as fat. More specifically I lie somewhere in the ‘smaller’ fat range.
So I am fat and I also work out fairly frequently. This is my privilege because I am currently able bodied and have the spare time and resources to do so. One key motivating factor for me working out in a public place (i.e. the gym) is to present an image of a chubby chick kicking butt – running faster and lifting heavier than anyone would expect. This could be bad but I am reasonably careful about training to my fitness level and not punishing myself in work outs. I also work out because I enjoy becoming fitter, more flexible and stronger ( especially stronger, I get a kick out of lifting heavier than boys) and it helps me manage my depression which is currently well in check.
I do however also have a dilemma I don’t want to hand over my hard earned cash to an industry that relies on heavily othering bodies like mine and strongly contributes to the climate of fat phobia. So much so when my gym membership lapsed I started looking around for alternatives that would still challenge me but yet not require too much effort on my part.
that is how I discovered http://www.bodyrock.tv. I wouldn’t go there if you are triggered by images of slim/muscular women not wearing all that much and they do natter on about fat/weight loss quite a bit. However the workouts are short and intense and often don’t require any equipment at all (if an exercise does I just sub them out for something that doesn’t)
I know I still contribute in terms of hits to the website but it makes feel less cranky than being in a gym surrounded by weight loss oriented crap all the time.
Teaspoon against a tidal wave right?
TW for descriptions of disordered eating.
I was born, apparently large and lazy – 10 days late and still not coming so I ended up a C-Section because of that and my very large head. When I was born – the treasured first child smiling and fair – this body was loved. It stayed loved for a long time 12 or 13 years perhaps. It had been through puberty and was now navigating high school and this is when the fear began. The fear that this body might be found wanting, by family, by friends, by boys. The fear was fueled by casual comments, by the merciless mocking of others as this body sat silent – terrified of becoming the next target, by the pictures in the magazines, by the people on TV. The fear became an ever present companion. The body began to examine itself, critically, checking to make sure it was compliant. That there was not too much of it. Despite the fear the body was ok for another few years until it began to betray itself. There were many things going on at this time, the person inhabiting this body became an emotional wreck and blamed it on the body. If only this body could be smaller then everything would be ok. So the torture began.
It started off innocently enough. In the interests of health improvement pies and other foods considered damaging were no longer allowed to be consumed by this body. Soon it was only allowed to consume fruit and water. Soon just water and tea except for weekends. As the body shrunk it got many compliments, but it was tired and it was stressed. It could not maintain this forever. So a cycle was struck. Binge starve binge starve. Whenever the body started to grow bigger people would make comments about it triggering the starve part of the cycle all over again.
Luckily, just by chance, the girl that lived in this body found Shapely Prose. It started a long and painful journey which included a few events that are just too painful to talk about. The upshot was that this body grew. Slowly and then more quickly – as habits and economic status changed. As it grew so did acceptance although it was shaky and difficult to come by at first.
So now this body is what it is. Bigger than it used to be. With more stretchmarks than it used to have. Stronger and more vibrant than ever before. Finally there is no division between this body and the woman who lives in it.
I am just me.
Sometimes I feel sadness for the divided girl that I was and wonder what I could have achieved, what I could have been, had I not been so. Mostly I am just glad that I am not anymore.