Smile Politely

Week Seven: The mug cake and the damage done

I’m not going to pretend like this whole thing is easy. I don’t want to fall into a trap here of trying to gloss things over or to make them pretty for public consumption. This is intended to be a true documentation of my journey during The Yoga Experiment. And this week I fell off the wagon. I didn’t just fall off, I jumped off and went flying into oblivion.

It isn’t the yoga, really. Yoga is awesome, and I have still kept to my at-least-one-hour-a-day-five-times-a-week edict. It’s part of my life now; I get up and go to class without thinking about it too much. I’m still seeing improvements in my flexibility with each passing day, and I’m having a really good time.

No, this week was a tough week for me and food. As I’ve told you before, I have a problems with food. The first few weeks of TYE I was very strict with myself; I cooked nice vegetarian meals every night and only allowed myself one restaurant meal per week. The plan paid off: I dropped the aforementioned 10 pounds in my first month. But for the last three weeks, I have been slipping. I’ve been eating out unnecessarily and having too many snacks. The number on the scale hasn’t budged. My frustration with (myself and) this fact, in combination with the discovery of the 5 minute mug cake and the potluck that we hosted at our house on Friday night pushed me over the edge. I started eating on Friday and didn’t stop until late into the evening on Sunday. (However, I did take sleep breaks.) If I were to list for you every disgusting thing I ate over the weekend, you would recoil in horror.

Now, before you start admonishing me that I should Love My Body The Way It Is or to Not Be So Worried About The Number On The Scale, let’s be honest with each other. I really don’t give a shit about the number, when it is all said and done. Talking about body image is a tricky subject. It’s hard to broach it these days in certain liberal/feminist circles (aka, this whole town).

Once I had a friend practically berate me when I mentioned that I would like to lose 20 lbs. “Why are you so concerned about conforming to society’s ideals,” she asked. “This is how the beauty industry wants you to think! You should accept and love yourself the way you are.” She kept harping on about it until I wished I wouldn’t have said anything at all. Who would have thought that making a hopeful statement and wanting to change your life for the better could elicit such a negative response? It’s bullshit, by the way: if everyone accepted themselves the way they were, we wouldn’t have Olympic atheletes or great writers or musicians. We need to have the desire to push ourselves to accomplish something more extraordinary.

I don’t hate my body, quite the opposite. Recently my body has surprised me with its strength and adaptability, and I’d rather have my body than anyone else’s that I know. (It just has a little bit of fat attached to it right now.) The number on the scale is just an outward manifestation or a barometer of my health. The fact that I have not made any progress on this front in the last few weeks signifies a lack of focus. I’m tired of feeling schlubby and gross, spending nice days inside because I don’t have the energy to go out for a walk or to ride my bike. I don’t want to spend another summer wearing jeans and cardigans to hide my love handles. My new goal in life is to reach my true potential, physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, etc. When I am overweight I am not any closer to that pinnacle, and I’m especially not working toward it when I am eating everything in sight.

So why, why why? do I go on binges? Why does it feel SO GOOD to eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting? These opposing impulses have been fighting each other in my brain these last few weeks: the desire to be a whole person vs. the desire to eat something really tasty. Hopefully through doing more yoga, I will become more mindful of my body and how I am feeling, and learn about the place where the craving for Totino’s Pizza Rolls really comes from. So what now? What is the next step? Should I give up all forms of sugar completely? Instate a moratorium on going out to dinner? Become a vegan? I’m not exactly sure. But I’m going to get back on my mat and try to do better tomorrow.

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