The Fine Line

Sooo freaking nervous heading out for the first 5 mile leg.
Sooo freaking nervous heading out for the first 5 mile leg.

I was never much of an athlete growing up.  In fact, I can remember in the 2nd grade overhearing my mom talking to another mom about enrolling me in dance.  They were going on about how it would be such a great way to “slim me down” and “get me active”.  I took dance and baton for 5 years until I reached that awkward stage.  In 7th grade, I decided to do the drill team thing, which I ended up enjoying throughout high school.  Needless to say, I just never could get the hang of sports.  Honestly, I think that part of it may have been insecurity and a feeling of total uneasiness with my body.  I don’t blame my mom for anything at all, in fact, I am glad that I did take dance all of those years!  What I do know is that somewhere around 2nd grade I started to feel different about myself and my body.  I felt too tall, too big, not skinny, not pretty, etc.  Why?  I am not completely sure?  There is a lot of talk about ED’s and the role that environment plays vs genetics.  Speaking from the perspective of someone that has an ED, I truly believe it is a combination of both.  There has to be some genetic factor that led me down this path.  No doubt, it was perpetuated by environmental factors.

So, what is my point?  Well, I shared an early memory from elementary school regarding my feelings toward my body, and my non-athletic abilities.  Fast forward to high school.  I remember the summer after my freshmen year.  I had decided that I was going to make it a summer of renewal, lol.  I had seen a girl down the street, who was much older than me, running early in the morning down the dirt road by our house.  She was a larger girl, and I thought…dang, if she can run, why can’t I??  So, I set my alarm and set out to run.  Well, as you can expect, it didn’t go quite as I imagined it would.  I made it about 3 minutes and thought I was going to die!  I tried a few more times that week, and eventually decided that I was just not meant to be a runner.

Things changed when I got to college.  I gained a ton of weight my freshmen year, and by the time I was heading into my junior year, I decided that I needed to figure something out.  I took some classes at our Rec center, and started gaining some confidence.  The more I stuck with it, the better I felt, and the better I wanted to do.  I went from a taking a step class every few days to taking a cycle class every morning followed by a step class and kickboxing. Now, this is a tricky line that you have to be VERY careful with when you have an ED or any addictive type of personality.  It is very easy to swing from the far left to the right without even realizing what you are doing.  In fact, that is exactly what I did.  As I look back to elementary, junior high, and even high school, I see my ED.  It was there.  It exhibited itself in the form of yo-yo dieting, constant self-criticism, and a need for total perfection.  There were other unhealthy behaviors as well, in an effort to get thin/better.  I was never comfortable or satisfied with my body then.  However, I have to say that my ED officially stepped up and took center stage my junior year in college (perhaps the summer before).  I went from trying to get healthy via a better diet and exercise, to over the top extreme.  I had no idea what I was doing.

Well into my senior year, I was stuck in a vicious cycle.  Unfortunately, this craziness lasted for about 15 years.  Every comment from someone about how great I looked, fueled the fire.  Every failure or bump in the road, fueled the fire.  There was never a good time to get out.  It became my identity, and I remember thinking that there was no way I could give it up.  I was so scared to even imagine what would happen if I had to stop.

Why is this important for me to share?  Over the weekend I ran in the Ragnar race that I have been training for for several months.  I have never been so nervous in my life!!!!  As I mentioned previously, running has always been a challenge for me.  I have definitely gotten much better over the years, but this race was going to push me to run 16 miles!  Anyway, I survived it.  It was a huge challenge, and the last leg was cancelled due to extreme weather, but I did what I never thought I would be able to do.  I really think this race made me dig deep like I have never had to before.  It was a major sense of accomplishment.  When it was all over, and I was back home, it occurred to me that I was back at that fine line.  I have been training hard.  Granted, I have eaten well!  But, as I have ran everyday this week since the race, it has been in the back of my mind.  I felt as if I needed to revisit the path that has brought me to where I am today.  I needed a strong reminder of that fine line that I jumped over so easily without even realizing it in college.  I do intend to keep up my running, because I actually do enjoy it as a bonus to my walks.  However, I do not intend to go over that line into out-of-control ever again.  It will be a constant struggle forever, but I will not stop fighting.

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A Week Without Facebook, and Other Scary Stories

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photo credit: Infographic – Social Media Marketing for Car Dealers via photopin (license)

 

Yes, I did it!  I gave up Facebook for an entire week, LOL!  Why?  Well, it all started out with a conversation I was having with my best friend.  It seems like Facebook has been a hot topic among us lately.  “Did you see _ on Facebook?  I am really tired of hearing about _ on Facebook.  Okay, seriously, if I see one more post about _, I am going to scream!”  That is kind of how the chat goes.  So, on a Sunday afternoon we were having some wine and the normal FB discussion.  This time I said, ya know, I wonder how much happier I would be without looking at FB?  Maybe if I didn’t open it once for a full week?  I wonder if it would make any difference? That is what I did.  This is what I discovered at the end of the week…

  1.  I had significantly less anxiety over the course of the week.  Why?  I am not really sure, but I think it may have to do with not seeing a million Crossfit challenges and smoothie cleanses?  Or, maybe it was not seeing a ton of before and after photos captioned with pant sizes?  Or, maybe it was not seeing all of the superhuman/supermom posts throughout the week with nothing but rainbows and butterflies (when I am running around trying to slap some food on the table while perusing through dirty laundry looking for gray gym shorts for athletics and sitting on hold with the toll authority to “discuss” the incorrect toll violation they just sent me.) 🙂
  2. This next discovery is somewhat of a spin off of #1 (I think?).  It seemed that I felt less pressure on myself, and I put less pressure on my kids.  Unfortunately, this tells me that despite every effort to be a person that doesn’t conform or try and “keep up with the Joneses”, I must be that person. 🙁  So, this is a good thing.  Now, I realize that I have gotten a little out of control with my competitive and perfectionistic nature, and I need to bring it back down to good.  I read something that I needed to be reminded of…”Beware of trying to impress others by acting as if your big steps were small ones”. (quoted from Jesus Calling daily devotional)
  3. I wasted a lot less time.  Yep.  It is true.  I apparently waste a lot of valuable time on FB.  Imagine that!  I was really productive last week, seriously! Laundry, work, cleaning…
  4. I had a gut feeling that FB (and most other social media sites that I follow) provide many triggers for me.  I definitely confirmed that theory.  This is no one’s fault, and just part of the real world.  I was half joking on #1 when I mentioned the before and after photos with pant sizes in the captions.  Let’s be honest, there is really nothing wrong with anyone posting their success photos.  Many people use FB as a marketing tool for their business, and I totally get that.  I am sure that for a lot of folks, those pictures are inspiring!  However, they are the opposite for me.  Very triggering.  My FB feed seems to be inundated with motivational words to inspire weight loss and working out and losing multiple pant sizes.  Recovery has taught me that there are just some things I have to keep at an arms length.  I know this.  Why have I allowed my feed to become full of these things?  Just like with anyone in recovery, it will always be a ongoing battle.  I am really glad that this experiment made me re-evaluate some unhealthy behaviors on my part.
  5. Perception is not reality.

What am I going to do with my new found discovery?  Well, I am not going to abandon FB…that would be crazy!  😉 I am going to exert some self-control, however, and put it in check.  Instead of checking it 10,000 times per day, I am taking a few scheduled breaks to catch up.  I love having all of the friends that I have, and I really do not want to unfriend anyone.  My plan is to hide the triggering posts and see if I can get around it that way.

Yes, the title of this post is “A Week Without Facebook and Other Scary Stories”.  My other scary stories are really not that scary.  They go something like this…#whyis5thgrademathsohardformom #whokeepschangingmathrules #doesanyonememorizemultiplicationtablesanymore #pleasegobacktoteachingoldschoolmathforthesanityofmom  🙂

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