The two options I gave myself were continuing the disordered behavior or saying, "to hell with it." What I left out of the equation altogether was pursuing genuine health. True health is mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional. It's taking care of yourself on all levels. It isn't getting as lean as possible by whatever shitty means necessary. It isn't exercising yourself into exhaustion and injury to look a certain way. There's nothing healthy about that, but I had somehow confused achieving a look or sticking to a grueling exercise routine with "health." I admired people who (I thought) could do it and not break or experience backlash. What I wanted though was to feel amazing, to have no health problems, to live a long life, to be strong and well rested, to laugh easily and often, to connect with people, to have faith that it was all going to be ok. The shame and fear driven world of undereating, overtraining, and comparing myself to everyone around me couldn't produce any of that.
When I redefined what health meant to me, everything changed with my thinking and behaviors. Pursuing actual health (as opposed to a look or a weight) made me...healthy. This is so nuts! I didn't have to keep doing things that felt horrible, or that were at odds with what I wanted for myself. I didn't have to guilt, shame, and willpower my way through every day, or give up and hate myself. Health is none of that. When you get clear on what health means to you, it's easier to find it and keep it.
Thank you @skwigg ! I’m stuck where you used to be. No matter how awful it feels, there’s a comfort in the routine of what I’ve known, and fear of what is unknown or not yet experienced. If that makes sense. I need to start regularly practicing the small steps to get me to where you’re at now
@kslouf What does health mean to you? Why do you exercise? What drives your food choices?
When things were very messed up for me, health meant looking like a fitness model or celebrity action hero. My choices were driven mostly by fear, insecurity, and concern about what others might think. I wasn't doing anything because it was fun. It was more like I was scared not to. Social media played a huge roll in this. When I was a fitness blogger, I spent hours a day looking at other people's abs, pictures of what other people ate, following other people's workouts, reading snarky comments on other people's posts. Maybe you're not doing this, but it was a dumpster fire for me. That, and reading about all the conflicting research studies and diet cults. I wanted to know who was right and to do "food/weight/fitness" right, unlike those other fools who were obviously wrong and not ok. That kind of comparison puts it all outside of yourself. What you do, what you think, how you eat, it's all pulled from out there to impress people out there. Do I like it? Does it serve me? Is it making my life better? I never even considered that. Things like fasted morning cardio, calorie counting, and brutal hour-long metabolic workouts were clearly not healthy or fun for me, but I read somewhere that they were healthy and fun, or admirable, or optimal, so I kept flipping doing them! I was scared to stop.
Once I started thinking about what I really wanted, it wasn't hill sprints, or cookies made out of protein powder. Both of those make me want to barf. Sometimes a nap or a day off did more for my energy and mood than sticking to my training schedule. Concrete things that helped me were: getting off of or heavily editing my social media feeds (more kittens and cakes, less diet and fitness dogma), reading and doing the Intuitive Eating Workbook (so many insights!), eating satisfying meals at predictable times so I could reconnect with my own hunger and fullness, playing more, thinking about what would feel good or be fun today instead of doing workouts dictated by a schedule or calorie burn. Any small steps taken in this direction can make things better. The more you try something different and experience something positive, the more trust you build in the process. Action changes your thinking, not the other way around. I used to try to think my way through pros and cons, why I was different, why it would never work for me, why it works for her, what bad things might happen, thinking, thinking, thinking. Nothing changes that way. Action first, then the thinking shifts.
@skwigg I’m where you were... any words of wisdom/ advice on how to get where you are? I want to be there, but it’s so foreign and, frankly, scary unknown territory.
That’s great. Health to me is a combination of feeling great from the outside and inside. When you want to feel great, you don’t want to restrict or starve yourself and you don’t want to overstuff yourself to the point where you feel like crap either. I definitely live in the middle ground now and it feels nice.