Good Morning! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to explain why.
When I started blogging, I found this great community of healthy living bloggers, runners, and people who did a lot of the same activities as me. Yay! Good! New friends! “WIAW (what I ate wednesday)” posts appealed to the voyeur in me. I loved reading people’s year end recaps and seeing the amazing accomplishments they had, cheering people on, and trying to encourage them when they hit a slump or an injury.
All these things were great. I loved them. I’d hit my bloglovin feed every morning to catch up with everyone while I drank my coffee. And then the comparisons started. “Blogger X loves smoothies? Maybe I should try them” or “Blogger Y ran 50 miles in one week? I need to step it up!”. Despite the fact that the comparisons were all in my head, and totally unintended by the bloggers themselves, I started trying to keep up. Have the healthiest eating habits. Run the farthest. Work out the most. Sometimes it gets easy to forget the simple things in life because you’re focused on metrics.
When I kept trying to run despite a few stress fractures on my left shin, I started to realize I had a problem. I switched my workout plan to let myself heal-and despite my greatest fears and strict monitoring, the sky didn’t fall. Birds didn’t fall out of the sky. And most of all-I stayed at the same weight and level of fitness. I started realizing that maybe pounding the pavement for 35 miles a week had been making me miserable. And then, a friend sent me this article. I saw a lot of myself in there, and I didn’t like what that meant. I’ve complained a lot in my life about falling into the comparison trap. But what I’ve come to realize is that I was walking into it. And after over 20 years of some kind of diet or exercise obsession or the other, I am just plain tired of it. I’ve treated my body as the enemy for far too long. I bullied it into being something I thought was “perfect”, and shamed myself when it didn’t. So I’ve started trying to stop myself when I have a negative thought. I think, “if you were having a conversation with your friend, would you say those words to her? Would you post this thought as a Facebook Status or Tweet?” and if the answer is no (and it almost always is), then I need to be my own best friend and knock that bitchy inner voice off my shoulder.
Recently, my Mom has started to mirror my running habits and has developed a pretty terrible hip injury as a result. I’m trying to help her, but she’s in the place I was 6 months ago. It’s hard to watch her go through this. We’ve been in a strange competition all our lives, and I know she saw the weight loss I achieved and wanted to mirror it. But watching her now, I don’t see a healthy attitude. I don’t see a strong, independent woman. I see someone desperate to keep a measly 5 pounds off by running their limbs into the ground, no matter the cost. And I cannot become that person again-nor can I let her continue to be that person. It almost makes me relieved that we’re not having kids because I can barely teach myself a healthy body image-how the hell would I teach a child to love her body?
This morning, I watched the documentary “thin” and it broke my heart. So many people are consumed with body image disorders-too thin, too much exercise, too much food, whatever. It seems like those with healthy attitudes and weights are the anomalies these days instead of those with the “perfect” bodies. And while thankfully my issues are a drop in the bucket compared to what those women were facing, I think everyone can watch that show and recognize at least one thought they’ve had before in regards to their body image.
The world’s a funny place. We’ve advanced so much that more people die from an abundance of food than from the lack of it. We’re given a dollar menu in one hand and a photoshopped cover girl in the other and expected to balance them and stay sane. We’re basically sisyphus trying to balance the rock on the hill. It’s never been more important to find your happy place-whether that means following a strict diet or a loose one, boycotting media that glorifies retouched images or recognizing that it’s just as much art as the print on your wall, and keeping vigilant in your war against negativity. And for that reason, I’ve stopped blogging as much-if I don’t want to tempt myself to undo the work I’ve done, what’s really left to talk about? My life is not glamorous, wild, or particularly noteworthy. I don’t plan on being an insta-celebrity. So until I can find a happy voice on a subject that doesn’t put my toes on a dangerous line, I’ll probably be pretty sporadic in my posts. After all…