This week has been pretty stressful, and one of those weeks where I’ve felt like I’ve been caught up in a whirling dervish of pressure, expectations (my own, mostly), planning, organising, etc, and have not had time, or more to the point MADE time, to just ‘be’.
I’ve never been good at relaxing into my life. I’ve always viewed it in some ways like an extrinsic project, something I have to manage like a small business, where failure is not an option. I have to win at this, because if I don’t, what then? (Actually, I can’t answer that question – probably no one can).
Finding my authentic blogging voice
Who knows where this particular dysfunction comes from but I feel like I’m slowly, slowly learning to appreciate the benefits of this endless drive to ‘do’ things, and know when to step back and just chill out a bit. It’s not a race. At the end of my life you’re never going to see “well, she sure was productive” on my headstone.
Thursday night I was having dinner with friends who could see I was spinning out a bit, and we ended up having a really good conversation about a lot of things, but there was one little nugget of gold that lodged in my mind, and I’ve been chewing over it ever since (to mix my metaphors).
The discussion was about how I lean too far towards obsessing over my diet and my fitness. I attach far more emotional significance to how my body looks and functions than perhaps I should. I am SO afraid of waking up tomorrow to find I’m back to how I was – overweight, unhappy, etc.
It’s the ‘going to gain 10 pounds overnight’ thing, which I understand happens to a lot of people when they’ve lost weight. It’s nonsensical, I know. I didn’t put the weight on originally overnight, or lose it overnight, so it’s not going to suddenly pile back on because I have an off day, or week.
I can’t ‘fail’ now!
I was reflecting in conversation that although I started the 12 Week Challenge to give myself some much needed focus – to ‘up the anti’, which has definitely worked, making it so public has also increased the feeling of pressure and accountability.
I can’t ‘fail’ now – I would be twice as disappointed as I would be if this were a purely private project. But what is failing, exactly, in this context? Not meeting my goal? Or meeting my goal but at great cost – i.e. to my sanity, and other areas of my life that aren’t being nurtured because I’m spending every waking moment either at the gym or playing with my food diary?
When I started G.I. Gen, one of the things that was firmly lodged in my mind was that it had to be authentic. It speaks absolutely to the heart of how I want to live my life – with integrity and authenticity. I won’t say things I don’t believe, and I can’t be anything but honest.
So I wondered if by trying to motivate and inspire others – likely women but not exclusively so – to believe that our bodies don’t control us, while staying quiet about the degree to which my body STILL controls me, and likely always will – am I being sincere?
I’m presenting the rosiest picture I can of how GOOD IT FEELS to have lost weight, and ‘found myself’, and I’m sorry if that makes a little bit of vomit come up in your throat, but it’s TRUE. I feel this almost desperate need to share the gospel.
So, here it is. My confession. There are days when I still feel ‘trapped’ by my body and yearn for the good ole’ days when I just didn’t really give a shit what I put in my mouth.
You’ve heard of mindful eating? That’s my default setting now – I can’t do anything else – and that can get pretty exhausting. I wouldn’t go back to that place for a second – the emotional baggage that came with the weight gain was what really weighed me down, and losing weight has freed up parts of my mind and my soul that I had forgotten I had.
But, I haven’t been completely honest with you about quite how hard it is – G.I. Gen puts on a brave face, because I feel a responsibility to do so.
And here is my commitment: in the interests of finding my ‘authentic voice’, I’m not going to sugar coat things more than is absolutely necessary. Yes, I want you to be encouraged – emboldened – by my experience and to have access to the information you might need to head in the right direction.
But I also need to be frank about the fact that the physical effort required to lose weight may be the very least of the challenges you’ll contend with. I get asked all the time how I did it, and my response is often a chirpy “it’s not as hard as you think!”, which is both absolutely true, and total bullshit.
I’ve been quite careful so far about what I post, how I say things, what resources I link to, and I’m already bored with that. I don’t want to disenfranchise anyone, so I’ve watched my language, and tried to maintain a polite, cheerful veneer, but the truth is that that just isn’t me.
In ‘real life’ I usually say what I think, with a healthy (I hope – haha) dose of sarcasm and cynicism and a few four-letter words thrown in. My ‘authentic voice’ may not appeal to everyone, and that’s ok, but this has to work for me if I’m to sustain it.
Losing weight is hard. Being fat is hard. Choose your hard.
I saw a motivational saying the other day that I loved: “Losing weight is hard. Being fat is hard. Choose your hard”. I’ve chosen mine – being slimmer and fitter is absolutely the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, and the sheer joy of being able to frolic up mountains and throw heavy weights around is unbeatable.
But there’s a side effect of anxiety that I may just have to accept and work with.
So over to you – what ‘hard’ are you going to choose? Tell me about it in the comments section below!