We live in a world of polarizing extremes. I recently got rid of a book I purchased a few years ago, titled ” So and So’s method to a flat stomach” I don’t know why I even purchased the book, lets just say it was an impulse buy during a massive outbreak of PMM- Pre-menstrual-mania. I’m sure I even purchased the book at some super cute Starbucks-BarnesNobility along with a frosted orange-cranberry -scone (my favorite treat , in case you were wondering what to bring me as a baked-good surprise. )
I’m not immune to the strobe-light eye-bulging-pings of pictures of muscled up models , with their fashionably tousled, frazzled hair and looks of undeniable pain and beautiful desperation in their face with quotes such as “If you do not look like me while you are working out, then you should go eat that orange-cranberry -frosted scone while you sob in the corner for not pushing yourself this morning, you lazy , sad person” Yes, I’m being facetious with my quote; however, unless you live in a hole, you have seen something of this sort somewhere in a magazine, in social media or at the nail salon while buffing up your nails.
I have been down the exercise-lunatic road- secretly running at 3 am in Boston Massachusetts, ironically “hiding” my completely obvious obsessive compulsive-exercise disorder in the depth of the pre-Team Jacob hour, praying that no-one would notice my mania. I would- pretend I was “just taking out the trash” when I came back dripping wet, limping from overused tendons and shaking from hunger in my “running clothes.” I have had to ceremoniously burn all my fitness fanatic magazines as a form of therapy to rid myself of the demons to have what I thought might have been the perfect figure because I imagined that punishing myself for eating would bring me peace, content and eternal happiness.
I really do not know many women (and some men) who struggle with their body size, image & food intake, etc on a daily basis. Lest, here I am again , teaching fitness , joining a run club and blogging about what continues to creep into my mind , yes sometimes on a daily basis Am I dancing with the flame that burnt me to the ground twenty years ago? Should I teach Dance as fitness? (which I came to the conclusion after a few classes that , no , this might not be my skill set , as Carlton Banks tried to sue me for stealing his patented moves) I have also listed other questions that pop up in my mind and minds of others due to the insidious ADHD’ness of the fitness-fanatic posts..
“Am I working out enough? Am I eating too many carbs? Am I eating enough carbs? Are carbs and grains really that bad for you? Seriously now fruit has too much sugar in it?? Am I doing the right exercises? Should I be lifting weights more because strong is the new sexy which is the new skinny which, inevitably the people lifting still look pretty darn skinny so that’s just totally confusing and overwhelming? Should I try to lose 5lbs because someone asked me to be in their challenge group to “get fitter?” STOP!!!
I want to inspire and motivate people to be and live a healthy lifestyle; yet not let it consume them in a negative self-centered, controlling manner. I haven’t figured out the best means to carry out this message, but I am learning slowly that standing up for the us “middle-grounders” is a good place to start. You can be healthy, run, exercise, walk, jog, crawl, teach, box, tae-bo, turbo, ski , jump, hop , bungy jump , swim, zumba, dance, frog jump, play red-light , green light or what have you and ENJOY IT! I guess I just feel like health& fitness on social media sends the message that inevitably frightens people the most that really need a reason and an authentic, stimulating catalyst to get up and start appreciating exercise as a part of their life that’s flippin’ fun! not agony!!!!
As I am trying to put into my own words, I’ll lean on the very media that sometime pushes the negative voices in ourselves to an advertisement that literally makes me want to cry because I’m so in love with the message. I’m referring to the Special K advertisement currently on tv. (google it!). In a nutshell it’s a variety of beautiful women, all different shapes and sizes, trying on “size-less’ jeans ,with words of inspiration as tag instead of “size x, y or z”. This advertisement is such a breath of fresh air betwixt the other messages of “do or die to get to a size” .
The inspiration for this blog was my post on Facebook today “What do you think of the popular fitness/health Facebook post “Abs are made in the kitchen”. Here is a quick summary on how I feel about this post:
- Being healthy & exercise is more about how I feel than looks. Yes- I want to feel confident about myself- but quilting my way out of something enjoyable to have ripped-up abs- is just not my cup of Joe- Plus Cups of Joe should be starting in the kitchen..For me, it about feeling peaceful & healthy and intuition and moderation play and major role in my decision making when it comes to eating. I do not measure, count calories or weight myself. (ok, occasionally I step on the scale, but I really try to avoid at all costs) I am not saying that people who want to lose weight – should follow my protocol, I’m just saying that if I’m not listening to my body in terms of what I feel like I need to eat , and stop when I am full and I’m going by a calorie counter- I end up feeling deprived, restricted and angry.
- Please let it be noted, I’m not disrespecting anyone who uses these methods to stay healthy, I think that’s awesome! I’m a HUGE HUGE fan of weight watchers and my fitness pal.c om because it does encourage moderation and nothing is “off limits, I’m simply referring to how my brain works and hoping to inspire people to think about a variety of ways to be healthy, lose weight, gain muscle – etc!
In closing, Do not let your self worth be determined by number on a scale, jean size at Jones, or a flat stomach flapping in magazine in front of you. Ok, I wanted my blog to have more of a humorous slant, but for me this is a serious subject too because of the fact that anorexia and obesity are one of the same disease. They are eating disorders, and both should be treated as such. Do you know that when I was anorexic, my therapist made me go to Over-eaters Anonymous? What the frack? Well, what I realized is that OA, is not just about – overeating!, it’s about using food to control your emotions!!! Therefore, my message to anyone that may be struggling with eating and health, if you feel like you have a serious problem- there is help, and getting control of the emotional aspect of literally “what’s eating away at you”, is the first step in freeing yourself from emotions that bind you into using food/exercise (lack of /overuse) I will list a few hotlines, links below. Thanks so much for reading! I hope i have inspired or helped at least one person to take the step for a health life , that is not driven by a jean size or a scale number.