aka So did you go down the hiding route or the trying route?
aka Why ‘judgement’ is so overrated?
I left my body alone until I was 14.
Up until that time I was playing soccer ‘good enough’. I was on the travel team, and the summer Police Athletic League program where I got to practice and play with these really cute Israeli guys. It wasn’t stopping me from anything I wanted.
At 14 though, my body hit a wall. I started running cross-country and track in highschool and some new limits were discovered. I remember the spring of my freshmen year we were doing repeat 1000s, or maybe miles, on the track and I swear I felt like I had turned into that pumpkin of a baby that I started out as. I was so NOT gliding around the track like the desirable gazelle.
And to make matters worse, of course this was all on show for the really cute Israeli guy on the soccer team to see.
It is one thing for the impact of lactic acid in your legs to happen in private. It is quite another when you are surrounded by a squad of teenage boys who seem to have complete control over their perfect bodies.
And it’s even worse when you seem to be the only one of the girls who can’t get her body to perform.
Again, what do those girls have that I don’t have? Why can they haul ass around the track without breaking a sweat?
Thanks to the highly developed and fully functioning left-brain of mine, it was easy for me to do a quick analysis and draw up some conclusions.
They are shorter than me.
They are thinner than me.
They are carrying less weight around the track than me.
Their muscles are more defined than mine.
Those thighs of mine that I was always worried about have finally let me down. They need to be more cut, and I need to carry less weight.
Do 100 pushups and 100 situps every day after your run.
Do squats and lunges and chairs-against-the-wall 3 days a week.
Run harder, run longer.
Run every day.
DO NOT miss a day.
Do not eat fat.
I know, I know, there’s some faulty logic in there, but there it was:
The attempt to turn my body into a machine.
In short, I opted for the trying route.
Here’s what I failed to realize at 15.
My body ALREADY was a machine. My body was a well-oiled, fully functioning combination of systems that self-regulated, responded to conditioning, and was working perfectly.
Except I thought my body was failing me. I thought it was keeping me from acceptance, attention, love, and worthiness.
The faulty logic: when my body looks like hers and performs like hers, then I will have what I’m looking for.
Except what do we both know?
That even if your body ends up looking like hers and performing like hers, we’re still not happy. We still feel lacking and want more. There is someone else to compare to. The goal post gets moved and now love, belonging, worthiness, acceptance and happiness is even further away.
Which sucks. Because you know what that means?
It means that all the work you just put in to turn your body into a machine? You need to triple, if not quadruple, that amount of work to achieve the next result.
It becomes a never ending cycle that has moments of temporary fulfillment but ultimately leaves you unsatisfied.
A 3rd option?
What if we could believe in our worthiness, know that we are loved and accepted, cultivate happiness, from right where we are?
What if our quality of life was determined from the inside out vs the outside in?
How do we do that?
For starters, go back to yesterday. Remember how neither me nor my cousin were grateful for our bodies? We were too caught up comparing and judging the differences.
Here’s today’s prescription: Stop placing judgement.
It’s natural to compare and it’s probably a sign of intelligence, so I won’t ask you to stop comparing. But once you notice the differences, there doesn’t need to be a value placed on them.
Since when is circle better than square? Or square better than triangle? Or omg that that octagon just really has it all!
When we are 3 years old learning how to compare shapes and sizes in our cribs, we were content with just holding the shape, studying it, and then sticking it in the matching hole.
So whatever shape or size you are, accept it for what it is today. Hold it. Study it. And find which ‘hole’ it slides into easily.
You may want to lose or gain weight for health reasons. That’s great. But still be a square, circle, star, heart, or whatever other shape you want to be. And don’t let your body define your worth.
Some things to think about: How have you tried to change your body? Did it work? Why did you try to change it? (Are you infatuated by cute Israeli guys too?) Who do you compare your body to? How can you accept it for what it is today?
Here are some great videos from Byron Katie to watch that can help you love your body even more.
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