It has been exactly one year to the day since my last FatNoMoSho post. In it, I admitted that when I went make the finale of the Sho, I realized there would never be an ending – that the journey would always continue as we ebb and flow through this unpredictable, insane, mostly beautiful life. It was the neatest bow I could tie around it, and I felt complete. I had tried twenty different workouts and interviewed health and fitness experts. I even tried hypnotizing my way to a fitter me. And eventually, I found a workout that I loved, I developed a community of support, I created an exercise and eating regimen that stuck, and I achieved my goal. I got in the best shape of my life. But it didn’t last.
Shortly after achieving my goal, I took on a new project, and then another (I work as a freelance TV producer, so I’m on a new show every 3-12 months). The next several projects were much more demanding of my time, and although I met amazing people and had great adventures, I developed anxiety and depression, and all that weight that was lost soon found its way back to my precious body. Thus began a vicious cycle. I would attempt to get back to the gym, to eat right – I had the tools, I knew what I needed to do – but the work would catch up to me, and I would be too exhausted, or physically unable to make it to class. Then I would feel frustrated, upset, angry at myself, and the anxiety and depression would tear me further away from my once healthy self. My coaches tried to help, to tell me to do squats and push ups on the road, but I felt I had fallen so far off that any attempt was just a reminder of my failure. I knew then that the only way to truly be healthy – both physically AND mentally, was to get my mind right first.
I found an amazing therapist through psychologytoday.com. With her help, I discovered that I had developed an eating disorder in childhood as a way to deal with depression. I would emotionally eat in order to cope with the confusion of my parents’ divorce. That led to being an obese child, and to deal with the bullying, I ate more. I was able to overcome that by being active in high school, college and throughout my 20’s, but with this adult-onset anxiety, that childhood method was my default way of coping when things felt they were spiraling out of control. This awareness led to a better understanding of my relationship with food, and how important it was to nourish myself with good. It allowed me to look at food in a whole new way, on a deep emotional level, and to begin eating right again. And those times that I fall into a “fuck it! I’m eating this!” hole, I’m aware, and sometimes I let myself eat the chocolate bumpy cake, and sometimes I don’t. But either way, I don’t beat myself up for it, I just move through it and move on. This is a constant battle.
Our society is largely set up to fail us. Thankfully there is a shift happening, where we are becoming more aware of damaging processed foods and, thanks to documentaries like “Fed Up,” we are exposed to the way our own government is in bed with big food corporations to deceive us into thinking that what they’re feeding us isn’t addictive poison. It’s not just a matter of getting in shape and going to the gym. We have severe obstacles to overcome. Many of us battle with bouts of anxiety and/or depression. Eating disorders are not limited to bulimia and anorexia, but over-eating binge-eating, and emotional eating, and addiction. The way we work has to evolve, as we’ve come to value busy-ness as an indicator of success, leaving no time for a healthy mind and body.
The next phase of this journey will be a deep one, and it’s also a bit scary. I know how to physically get in shape now, and how to eat right. And I did learn to love myself. But in order to STAY fit, my mind needs to be fit as well.
So this time, I’m getting back in shape both with my body AND mind. I started this morning by going for a run, and meditating for ten minutes.
Why don’t you join me? I think it’s time.