Why am I afraid of putting on weight? Why am I so concerned about the person in the mirror as opposed to the person inside? Why did that voice creep into my head?
I never really had weight-related issues, nothing totally out of the ordinary: feeling self-conscious as a pre-teen and wearing a T-shirt in the swimming pool, hearing Grade 9 girls talk about the best body parts of other people in our classes. I remember these things because I am me, not necessarily because they were scarring. In fact, I only started having weight-related issues, thinking about the abs in the mirror or the definition on my chest when I started losing weight. Like the weight loss triggered some abnormal, never-reverseable (at least that what it feels like now) switch in my head, that the blackness turned on and uses against me, uses to cloud the me version of me. I read an interesting article from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders a while ago about this, about weight loss triggering an eating disorder – not sure if it is me, but it is interesting nonetheless:
“The role of genetics on eating disorders is of particular interest to researchers. Our knowledge at this point indicates that genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger. We are far from knowing specific genes that cause eating disorders. There are a number of genes that work with environmental triggers. Dieting and loss of weight may influence the development of anorexia by turning on a gene that may influence an eating disorder. There are many cases of transgenerational eating disorder and twin studies which make this connection. There is probably a 5-6 greater chance of developing an eating disorder if an immediate relative has an eating disorder” (http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/general-information/).
But again, I am not sure if this was my case. Chicken or the egg? Trying to understand the roots of an eating disorder, of this arm of the blackness, is troublesome. At a certain point, who the fuck cares? Some things I will never be able to understand, some puzzles will never by put together and for perfectionists that’s a hard thing (also for me, who tries to find patterns and parallels in a lot more than I should). However, to a certain point, it is important to care about the causes, in so much as it enables an understanding of triggers, potential pitfalls and warning signs.
Here is that certain point. As such, this is what I know:
- I have spent the majority of the day worrying about my bloated stomach, about the food I’ve consumed (it is weird to be hungry – actually hungry, as the impatience and “watching-the-clock” demonstrates – and worrying about bloat at the EXACT SAME TIME).
- It is a tool of the blackness, that is what I know. The rest of it, after this long, I cannot understand.
- I also know that it doesn’t seem to matter (yet) how many times my wife tells me that weight gain might be good, that it might actually be my set-point weight, that my body might be telling me that I’ve spent most of the last eight years starving it of nourishment, of health, of happiness.
- It just seems permanent, but that is too far ahead. Right now, I know that the blackness is screaming louder than ever about my bloat, about my definition, about my appearance. Right now, I need hope that it won’t do that forever…
The inspiration for this post was a page I came across from Greatist, about Neghar Fonooni from Eat, Lift and Be Happy. I have included that article at the end of this post because it is what will give that hope…
“This is my ‘reverse progress’ photo. In 2009 I was 120 lbs, 12% body fat. I was ripped out of my mind, and also ACTUALLY out of my mind.
I counted every last calorie and worked out about 2 hours/day. I was in an abusive relationship, lacked confidence, and only felt good about myself when I was lean. I weighed myself every single day and allowed that number to dictate how I felt about myself.
Today, I weigh roughly 134 lbs, and probably am about 17-18% body fat. I don’t actually know, to be honest. I workout 15-30 minutes per day, and once a week I do a longer strength only session, allotting more time for rest. I enjoy red wine on the regs, and while I eat a nourishing diet, I don’t stress out over food. When I travel, I indulge in local cuisine. I am active, strong, and fit. I’m not RIPPED and I honestly DO NOT care.
Why? Because any time I want to get shredded again, I know what to do. I know that I’ll need to tighten up my diet, and I know that I’ll need to be patient; leaning out will take a significant amount of time. I just don’t WANT to do that right now, and that’s okay.
I call this “reverse progress” but I actually think it’s real progress. I’m happier now.
Being lean isn’t my top priority. If it was, I’d work for it. My priority right now is being the best mom and wife I can be. My purpose is to teach women how to love and embrace their bodies, and should they want to be leaner, show them how to do it without going crazy.
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to see that fitness professionals aren’t perfect. We aren’t always shredded and we shouldn’t just show you our highlight reel. Sometimes I’m leaner than others, and that fluctuation is normal. It took me years to be okay with that, and to accept my body just as it is, 10 pounds up or down. I could look at that picture from 2009 and feel badly about myself for gaining weight, or I could look at the picture from a few weeks ago and feel proud of myself. I choose to feel proud.
In the picture on the left I was miserable, and today I am free as a bird. I’ve chosen not to let my body fat % dictate how I feel about myself, and fully accepted my body and all of it’s beautiful imperfections. I hope you will too.
Thank you Neghar