The Fine Line of Devoted Vs. Obsessed
So I heard that a friend of a friend has become completely obsessed with working out, burning calories and her weight.
My first thought: wow, she must be dealing with some other stuff.
Second: wow, that was me like, four weeks ago.
Third: hmm. Where's the line between obsessed and devoted when it comes to this kind of stuff?
If you've got a weight loss goal, I think it's a great thing to work hard to go for it. And to think about it a lot, because let's face it, for most of us who struggle to maintain/lose weight, a lot of the challenge is the BRAIN part of it, not the food/exercise. But when and where and what's ok in terms of thinking about it, and what's reasonable, is where sometimes things go awry.
And I'll just throw this out there too: when I was watching an episode of Work Out one time, one of the trainers said something like, Look, we all have issues with our bodies, we never feel like we're gonna be good enough, that's why we chose the profession that we did.
And I think it's absolutely true. I also think the more you dwell on perfecting your body, as most trainers do, the more flaws you see and the more constant room for improvement you see -- thus begins the obsession.
I never was really reaching for a perfect body; I wanted an improved version of me. The challenge was the damn scale wasn't moving. I know that if I really, really wanted to work at a level, I could have a near-perfect body, but I really don't think that's for me. Now that I've had a chance to step away from the insane workouts and insane eating, I feel much more relaxed. I think the insane workouts were feeding a part of me -- my ego -- that desperate, bottomless, ego that's never satisfied with great results but pushes you to feel like the only results worth having are PERFECT.
And I also think it's a very wonderful and highly effective way to channel energies if things feel out of control/unresolved/unknown in other areas of our lives. For me, that was the case. I can look back at the times I was the most obsessed and tell you that something else was going on for me then. Distracting? Yes. Healthy = not necessarily.
At times over the past four weeks I've felt so guilty for not working out, but now I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's good to get some perspective to reevaluate what really feels right in terms of my health. The exercise that feels the best to me is walking and yoga -- they clear my head, nourish my soul, refresh me in a way nothing else really can. Not a glass of wine, not a chocolate sundae; a good walk does me a world of good. When I first moved to SF and was faced with the identity-altering experience of starting over completely, I'd walk for HOURS in Pacific Heights with my ipod. One night I walked in the pouring rain, and stopped ever-so-often to wring out the bottom of my pants. Those are the soulful nights. I never felt that in the weight room. I felt like a total badass, and strong and proud. But not soulful; not closer to the essence of ME.
And now, as my waist thickens every day and all those size small sweaters I was so proud to buy are pushed to the back of the closet to make way for the medium maternity sweaters, I think THAT is what I hope to cling to in the next 7 months -- that essence of ME is what's going to keep me from going completely Looney Tunes. I mean, even more so.