“I abandoned my obsession and I found life.”
Like I said I would, I spent the entirety of this past month in a personal rehab. I didn’t work out, for a month. I ate whatever I wanted, for a month. And I tried my hardest to stop obsessing over my body.
It wasn’t easy. To say it was only four weeks feels like telling a lie, because it felt more like an eternity. But here it is in four parts. Just as I promised, I’m going to share it all with you.
The first week was the easiest. Going without exercise for a week was something I had done before, and actually quite often. It wasn’t so much of a big deal, and neither was eating whatever I wanted. Eating clean has always been a consistent struggle of mine, so at first it just felt easy.
The only thing that haunted me was knowing that this “feeling fine” wouldn’t last forever. I knew it was only a matter of time before I started feeling gross…flabby and lazy from the unworked muscles and abnormal amounts of bad foods. I knew that soon it would catch up with me and that is when I’d begin to struggle.
The second week was actually surprisingly easy as well. I had a bit of an emotional breakthrough which left me feeling high and victorious. My small victory actually almost fooled me into believing my mission was done. It tricked me into thinking I didn’t need a whole month anymore.
Glad I didn’t give in because boy was I wrong!
Boom. It finally hit me.
I began feeling disgusted with myself. I had eaten so many fear foods, and they had left me feeling guilty and simply disgusting. I started to become aware of the layer of fat that was covering my muscles. I started feeling thick and balloon-like. Not just in my stomach area but everywhere.
My insecurities were marching around my brain with loud speakers. My entire mind was rebelling alongside my body. Only my mind had become the leader. I was in panic mode. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? I’m going to set myself back so much. I’m going to have to start all over again. I’m making things more impossible for myself.
I wanted to work out so badly. I felt so self conscious. I couldn’t stand the thought of another week.
Feeling worse and fatter than ever, I counted down the days.
I almost gave in a few days early. The urge to work out was so strong. You probably wonder, why not just do it then? But I wanted to face the emotions. I wanted to work through them. All I could do was remind myself…my body needs this, my mind needs this, stay patient.
So I did.
After stopping to take a deep month long breath, this is what I’ve learned…
I learned to stop obsessing and start living.
Sure, some days I may have felt gross. I may have felt fat. BUT! Through all the ups and downs and good days and bad days, the hating myself and loving myself throughout that long long month, I was experiencing much more happiness and having much more fun than I was having before!
During that month, I woke up every day, and asked myself what I wanted to do instead of dreading the day because of what I felt obligated to do.
If I felt like staying in bed until it was time to go to work, that’s exactly what I would do! If I felt like making myself a big homestyle breakfast and then painting shoes or watching Netflix for hours on end, I did! If I felt like playing in the parks, visiting friends or family, cleaning the entire house, or simply hang out with my cats staring at the ceiling and contemplating life, guess what? I DID IT. I didn’t obsessively wake up to an early alarm and schedule my entire day only to judge myself later on whether I was productive or not.
During that month, instead of hiding away and secluding myself, I tried my very hardest to be more social and spend time with friends and family.
Although that was still a struggle for me, my efforts were solid. I tried to branch out and be fearless, and it was working. I went out with friends more, spent time with my roommates, visited with family, and interacted with people at work more than usual. Because instead of obsessing over myself and having control over what I was eating or what I looked like, I gave attention to those around me and focused on having a good time with them.
And most of all..During that month, I ATE. Instead of sticking to my “safe foods”, I allowed myself to eat what I wanted.
Throughout that month I ate fear foods. Boxes of brownies, chicken nuggets, pizza, chocolate, fast food, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, grilled cheese, even foods that don’t seem so absurd like orange juice, toast, sandwhich meat, milk, pasta. There were days I’d go without eating a single veggie. There were nights I’d eat right before bed. But there were also meals when I’d crave the safe foods. Not because they were safe, but because my body needed them. I stopped obsessing over what foods were bad and good, and I learned to eat healthy foods because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to.
Do you see the pattern here?
I abandoned my obsession and I found life.
I found life within choosing what I wanted and what made me happy. I found life within spending time with the people I love. I found life within the scariest of all the demons…FOOD. Every fear I cast aside, every bit of control I chose to let go of, every obsession I chose to abandon…they all brought me to the life I was missing out on.
And guess what? After all this crazy behavior…I’m okay.
I didn’t gain ten pounds. Actually, I gained no pounds whatsoever (to my surprise). I didn’t ruin my life or my relationships. In fact, I strengthened them. I didn’t become fat or ugly. I didn’t become less beautiful or less successful. I didn’t lose anything or fail in any way. It was ALL IN MY HEAD. It was all in the obsession.
In fitness, it is so easy to become obsessed with an image and an idea of what we are supposed to look like. It can become so strong that it takes over our lives. We believe in order to obtain those #goals society has set for us, we must practice control. Control over calories and control over our exercise plan. We start living so deeply inside our heads because that is where the images, ideas, and obsessions live. Soon we are in so deep that control becomes obsession and we forget the rest of the world, only to find ourselves living for an unhealthy and unhappy party of one.
I took this month for many reasons. One, I believe myself to be experiencing metabolic disruption, causing me to plateau and fall short of my goals. And two, for the reasons I listed above. I needed to heal both physically and mentally from the obsession, the dieting and exercise extremes, and the self loathing I found myself experiencing on a highly unhealthy regular basis.
Healthy is about YOU and what makes you HAPPY.
After this month, I am discovering for myself that balance is what makes me truly happy, and balance is what my mind and body needed.
I want to eat healthy, and I want to eat junk food.
I want to work out, and I want to lay in bed all day.
I want to have time for me, and I want to have time for others.
I’m going to go a little Hannah Montana on you and tell you, you can have the best of both worlds. You don’t have to choose.
Because it’s true.
Believe me when I say that eating the occassional pizza or brownies will not gain you an extra pound over night. Believe me when I say that occassionally missing a work out will not prevent you from reaching your goals. Believe me when I say that you can have time for you and time for friends and not sacrifice your progress.
If you don’t believe me, like I used to, then maybe you need to take a step back, like I did, and gain a little perspective. Maybe you’re not focusing on what truly matters…
Healthy has gotten this bad reputation of insecurity, restriction, and misery. But most people who are insecure about their bodies, restricting their calories, and miserable because they are on a diet and cardio exercise plan are not trying to be HEALTHY, they are trying to be SKINNY.
Skinny can be healthy, but healthy is not always skinny.
Healthy is an outfit that looks different on everybody!
If you have no idea what that means, I’ll tell you! Bodies are so unique! My friend can weigh 110 lbs with a beautifully skinny build and be completely healthy, while I myself at 110 lbs would possibly have a dangerously skinny build and be unhealthy! And vice versa! 150 lbs on me can be healthy while for someone else, 150 lbs could be overweight! Healthy is unique to your body and it’s needs. Skinny can be healthy! Slim can be healthy! Curvy can be healthy! Thick can be healthy! Basically any body type can be healthy. But society can’t tell you if you’re healthy. Only your doctor can! So of course they are going to sell whichever body type they govern is best. Not like it doesn’t change every century or so anyway! Thick women used to be in fashion, then curvy, then skinny! Who knows which will trend next!
The point I’m getting at is…find what works for YOU. Because getting caught up in the bullshit the world is serving on a sparkly platter these days will only lead to food poisoning of the heart, mind, and soul.
I know it’s not easy. After reading this entire blog post I’d hope you wouldn’t think I thought it was.
Just don’t obsess. LIVE.
That’s all for today.