In a lightning bolt sort of way, I've finally come to see how choosing to live a fit, healthy life is a matter of choosing to live a life of self-love.
All of my life, I've struggled with my weight, opposing my body at every single turn. Never satisfied with my physical appearance, I've molded a very poor self-image. And trapped in that image, I've waged a war on food - equally with love and hate - that is still being fought today.
In these past years since I left what I think of as the land of "grown-up shoulds," and started hanging out in my own private world, this struggle of mine has only become better defined, and allowed to become increasingly problematic.
It came to a head a few years ago when I reached my highest weight of 372 at 5'11''. With exercise and initially Medifast, I lost 150 pounds. But since my return from Florida last summer, the weight has been, not creeping back, but charging back in to my experience. And it doesn't take a genius to see that my avoidance of social scenes is tied in with that. Actually, several things together have led me to live as a ghost again - but my body issues are certainly no small piece to the puzzle.
When I came home, I guess I just gave up. I started taking my body for granted and stopped taking advantage of all my wonderful physical capabilities. I stopped moving for the fun of it. I started eating crap again that only faintly disguises itself as food. I stopped fueling my body. I stopped watering it. I stopped nourishing it, stopped treating it with respect. I fell back in to the well-practiced pattern of neglect - one that I'm now waking up from, again.
One day not too long ago, I was in the backyard sweeping up leaves, tending to the pool, cleaning the patio furniture, etc. - all as an excuse to bask in Spring - when, all of a sudden, a fatigue came over me. I noticed my labored breath, and I realized just how out of shape I am - again. And how uncomfortable I am in my body - again. There I was out in the sunshine, adoring Spring's adoring of me, and doing all the physical chores I like to do, when I found myself wanting to be done with all of it just so I could go inside and sit my ass down. This is not the me I know myself to be. There is something wrong with this picture.
Even now as I write these words, my stomach is full, aching from the clumps of sugary and nutrition-less shit that I shoveled in to my mouth, hours ago. This physical discomfort has become commonplace. It's a perpetual malaise that I've slowly, and mindlessly, come to accept as normal. I sit here with it and can feel my stomach full of that crap - and I can just imagine how it's settling there inside me, rotting, contributing nothing, robbing my body of its precious energy and natural lightness.
Some of my most ecstatic moments in this world have been while exercising my body. In dance. Swimming. Lifting weights. Taking simple walks, even. To keep myself from being capable of these things, to settle for an existence that is so far below my potential is to keep myself from experiencing those types of joy - and that is not okay. Consistently trashing the healthy body that I have been blessed with is not okay.
And this is where the self-love comes in. Settling for unhealthiness and discomfort is not choosing to love yourself. Settling for anything less than the extraordinary is not choosing to love yourself. It's laziness and ingratitude - and I see that.
I get it.