Sunday, September 29, 2013

Whose Standards Are They Anyway?!

I was a chunky. In 2008 and I'd let myself go and was eating McDonald's chocolate chip cookies from the Drive-Thru. I was newly single and found dating nearly impossible because I had low self-esteem. At the time, I thought I was getting all of the losers because I was 30 lbs overweight. Now I know it was self perception, not the number on the scale or my muffin top.

I found running. I'd always had an athletic inclination since track in middle and high school, so I knew what I needed to do lose weight and feel better. So I did. I ran- a lot. The weight fell off. I carb starved and more weight fell off. I joined Crossfit and while running 30 miles a week, beginning an obsession with my self image that was anything but healthy.

I became the "ripped chick". It was who I became and never wanted to not be.

 I didn't eat bread or pasta for two years. I weighed myself daily. I worked out 6 days a week, sometimes twice. So much suffering- the mood swings from lack of carbohydrates, the over training from running several half marathons a year, knee and shoulder injuries that wouldn't go away... it all became not fun anymore. It became a monster that I had to feed in order to keep it happy. It was never happy. There were fleeting moments, in a bikini, that I was glad I'd suffered so much, but overall I was just hungry.

I'd become so wrapped up in my self image as the "ripped chick" that I didn't care if it was making me miserable. The sight of those abdominal lines made it all worth it, or so I'd convinced myself... so much pride.

Then came yoga, the resetting of priorities, and the eye opening self realizations about what is important. Sustainability is important. Happiness is important. Healthiness is important.
I'm asking myself a lot of questions now: Why did I need to starve myself and keep a six pack? Who's standard was I trying to reach? I have no answer to these questions. Somewhere I decided that I wasn't worth much if I wasn't of the suffering fittest. I have no idea where this came from, but it was deluded and wrong. I had something to prove, and I have no idea to whom or why.

I've started eating carbs again, but I still maintain a healthy diet of whole foods. I don't weigh myself if I can help it, but if I do, my weight hasn't changed at all from when I was starving myself.
You mean I subjected myself all of that suffering for no reason?! Yes. If only I'd known I could maintain a trim, healthy weight without the struggle. There is a law of diminishing returns with most things that are good for you. The more of anything, in excess, actually stops becoming beneficial after a certain point. So yes, I am sustaining the same level of fitness with half of the effort.

The ab lines are still there, but not as sharp. There is a little layer of softness. My muscles are getting longer and leaner with less bulk. My shrunken breasts are filling out a bra again. My shirts used to tightly fit around my biceps and my pants barely went over my thighs; my clothes now fit. I eat a piece of dark chocolate every day. I don't train to exhaustion. I have no idea what my body fat percentage is. I am much, much happier.

I'm writing this because my ego is telling me that I'm not a bad ass anymore. I am losing all of my hard earned muscle, and my edge along with it. Lies. All lies. My ego wants me to look a certain way that is an illusion. It wants me to stay injured for the sake of vanity. It wants me to base my worth on how many pounds I weigh, weight I can bench, or miles I can run. My ego is such a liar, and I'm not listening..

I just want to be healthy and happy.

I still run every week around Stone Mountain, but only once instead of 3 times. I still lift weights, but not to exhaustion and injury. I do yoga the rest of my days, unless my body tells me it is tired. If I am in need of rest, I rest. I am still active six days a week, but I'm not over training. My injuries are gone. I am happy with me, presently. I will keep learning my lessons, and only focus on what is real.

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