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Health is a blessing, and a birthright for the fortunate. But, sometimes this journey into
health becomes a detrimental excursion into workout addiction.
Ladies, have you ever experienced an inner dialogue that goes a little something like this:
"If I could lose 5 lbs, I would be happier"
" If I could turn my abs into a bangin' six pack, guys would be more interested in me."
" If I could do cardio everyday, and strength train 3 times a week I know I would feel better about myself."
And if somewhere within you find the discipline to make all of these things happen, for many of my Type A sisters, you will probably discover 2 things simultaneously:
1. That your inner dialogue was right, and you have achieved the desired states of happiness, attention, and self-respect.
2. That these states are short lived.
And just like any other addict, what do you do? You go looking for the another fix. A good fix, in this case, is the high you feel when you have successfully disciplined yourself and achieved yet another goal. These fixes can range from feeling thrilled that you successfully deprived your body of 1000 calories in a single day, or that you were able to get 2 workouts in before 9pm, or that you burned off the same amount of calories you ate in that piece of your friend's birthday cake the night before.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for caloric restriction, increasing physical activity. But as a lifestyle, chronic depravation--it is a dead end.
So why do we do it? Why do we dedicate ourselves to countless ours in the gym, or feel a surge of pride and accomplishment when we successfully send ourselves into starvation.
This is just WEIRD!
But, I think that we shackle our legs to the treadmill, and mentally stomach-staple ourselves mostly out of fear. Fear that we don't measure up to the ideal.
It was only when I had lost the 5lbs, had the bangin' 6-pack, and was executing my workouts perfectly, that I realized that it wasn't enough. This realization brought me to my next goal of losing 10 more lbs, getting a 12-pack (I didn't care if that was "impossible"), and doing AM and PM workouts 5 days a week. Crazy, right??? More like obsessed, and with every pound I dropped, and every ripple I added onto my stomach, the more depressed I got. I was spending all my time so narrowly focused on my forcing my body to do things it was begging me not to do. The truth is, I didn't understand my body's pleas. When my body was screaming at me to rest by sending information through waves of inflammation, I just thought I was being mentally weak, so I would push through. When my body sent me multiple messages of exhaustion, I again, wrote it of to mental weakness, and pushed through. I was abusing the so-called "healthy" fixes, and was trying to fill a soul hole that was unattainable solely through physical perfection.
You see, I don't think we have been taught how to develop the self-awareness and trust to cultivate healthy bodies. I mean, I felt self-aware at the time, aware of what I wanted and how to get there. But I failed to really look at the question, "why"? Why did I want to hammer my body into a supposed ideal? My answer at the time would have been, "Because those
people who strive for and attain the eideal' seem happier and more successful." But once I successfully replicated the packaging on the "ideal" life, I realized it was not my ideal at all.
You don't slip on happiness like a size 5 pair of skinny jeans, a brazilian bikini, or spandex leggings-happiness resides within. Happiness for me has gone hand and hand with the knowing that my value as a person is not determined by the shape of my body.. Don't get me wrong, I still love being fit and getting attention based on my appearance (unfortunately, I am still not evolved enough to say that it doesn't feel awesome). But, I have loosened the reigns and find joy in submitting my ego's desires to the knowing of my body's intelligence. So now when my body says "Eat", I eat. When my body says, "Rest", I rest. It is like I am having a conversation with a more sound intelligence, opposed to being a hard headed brat that makes continual demands.
So, to all of my control-freak comrades with a disposition for vanity who have found yourself in this head space, we need to truly realize one thing. That your body/mind vehicle knows what is truly ideal for itself, but we have to first cultivate the ability to hear what it is asking for. And then beyond that, we have to be willing to give the mainstream magazine ideals the big ol' middle finger if our body's constitution was not meant to be 110 lbs.
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