Our Bodies Change. Why Can't We Accept It?
I had an eating disorder growing up, but didn’t realize it until my mom took me to the doctor for headaches, and the doc asked me to keep a food diary. When she saw my homework, she was horrified.
I was very OCD as a kid, and still work on it today: my childhood was tumultuous, and, as we learn in adulthood, it was all about trying to control whatever chaotic situation I was in. I don’t know when my food issues crept up on me – sometime during high school, I think.
While in college, I learned I could put Equal instead of sugar in my coffee, and that counting calories was a good way to control my weight. I remember writing on a sticky note what I would eat each day, and it totaled less than 800 calories.
It didn’t help that I moved to Los Angeles after college. Actually, when I moved here, eating was at the bottom of my priority list. I was so insanely OCD and confused about life and who I was, that I was jogging 16 miles a week, eating the exact same thing every single day for every meal. And looking back, the worst of it all was I didn’t RELAX for six years straight.
After an 8 year relationship with my college boyfriend ended, I got skinnier than ever. But by then, I wasn’t even trying. I had lost my appetite for life.
A little over a year later, as I began to heal, I started to gain weight quickly.
I moved to the beach and jogged barefoot three miles a day on the sand. But my body was changing, big time. Soon, my leg muscles became extremely defined- big, really -- and I found I couldn’t fit into my skinny jeans. Going to happy hour with my best friend who lived down the street from me, several times a week, didn’t help either. (But at least I was HAPPY, right?) I was almost 30 years old, and good old metabolism was kicking in. Well, not just metabolism…
Maybe enjoying life for the first time in adulthood?
I won’t bore you with the in-between. Let’s just say I’ve spent the last several years trying to figure out my body, my diet, and what in the world I actually look like. I yo-yo like crazy. In my 20s, I never had to think or worry about this sort of thing; I suppose because I was too busy making sure I only snacked on six almonds at a time.
Am I happy with my body? Not at all. Am I hard on myself? Absolutely. But am I stronger than I’ve ever been in my life, because I’ve been killing it in really difficult yoga classes for two years now? You better believe it.
I still have jeans, shirts, you name it, in my closet I assume will fit me again one day. But the reality is, I am in my 30s now, and things have changed. My body probably won’t be what it was at 18, ever. And I know it’s not going to get easier.
Here’s what I’m working on: loving my strong legs that could kick through a window if my apartment was on fire. My arms that could fight off an attacker. When I see a tiny, cute, “typical” LA girl, I honestly say to myself, “I could totally kick her ass.”
And I could. I’m strong. I’m not petite anymore. But my heart is healthy.
Now it’s time to work on my mind.
To learn more about yoga, check out The Complete Guide To Yoga With Tara Stiles.
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