Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Integration

Today is a homework day for Bootcamp. Knowing I didn't HAVE to get up at 5 this morning (although it still would have been smart to have gone ahead and gotten up and gotten my homework workout done) I wallowed in TV last night. This whole healthy lifestyle thing has seriously encroached on my TV addiction. If it weren't for the wonders of a dual drive DVR I'm not sure I could handle programming a VCR and keeping up with all the tapes! I have cut back, it made sense to streamline out anything that wasn't really beneficial (like Gray's Anatomy . . . crying once a week over my TV friends is cathartic and makes me feel better . . . so there!) and there was no way I could rationalize Desperate Housewives anymore. Or any but the original CSI.

I have picked up the Biggest Loser though. I've never seen any previous seasons and I find myself shouting at the show a lot. One of the trainers really really annoys me because she's more focused on looking tough and hot and screaming curse words at her charges than she is in caring for them and actually encouraging them. She's like most of the PE teachers I've ever known (minus the curse words . . . well mostly). Also the Biggest Loser is possibly very damaging in its portrayal of weightloss because they make it seem like you SHOULD be losing 10 lbs a week or there is something wrong with you! That is SO not helpful. When you're talking about a man over 400 lbs that's maybe not so unreasonable but when you're talking about a woman in her 200's it's really a skewed point of view. They never address the obvious differences in rates of loss between the men and the women. They never talk about plateaus. They never address bloating or water weight or menstrual cycles or muscle weight or stress or the impact of all of those factors. So you end up with women who have worked really hard who are really really upset that they only lost 1 or 2 or 3 lbs in ONE WEEK and it makes me CRAZY. The show totally implies that they FAILED that week and no one rebuts it, at least on camera. The other two trainers are so awesome and caring and rock so much that I'm just trusting that off camera they get that information but that for some reason its got to be a big secret from America? WTF? But I keep watching, because it is fun to see them succeed. I just simultaneously want to sue the producers. Is that wrong?

Anyway, I got off on a tangent there. I titled this post integration because I feel like I'm experiencing something like that. For a very long time I've had a very distant relationship with my body. After all, in my mind I've always looked very different than I do in the mirror. In my mind I've always been able to do all sorts of fun things like cart wheels and roundhouses and back flips. Seriously, in reality my body has never done any of those things, even once. I took gymnastics when I was 5 because my best friend was taking it. I faked so many stomach aches that I'm sure the teacher thought I was the only ulcerous kindergartner she'd ever met. I did succeed at dance through most of my childhood. It didn't involve hanging upside or launching myself intemperately through the air. But despite that, my whole life I've been continually shocked by the fact that I can't do a cart wheel. I get happy and joyous about something and I have an urge to do a cart wheel. And then it hits me that there is no way my body is going to ever cart wheel, and it would look ridiculous trying. And I feel like such a failure. And its like when my 6 year old hits a barrier. He'll throw up his arms and announce that he officially can't do ANYTHING because he can't do this ONE THING in this ONE MOMENT.

So I exist with this duality. This imaginary body which is slender and toned and athletic and agile and graceful v. this real body which is overweight, flabby, dumpy and much too heavy and floppy to be flung through the air in any sort of acrobatic attempt. Every confrontation with a mirror has the potential for shock. Likewise, every time I encounter other evidence I find myself suprised. Sitting at my desk if my hand rests in my lap such that I can feel the layers of flab on my belly it feels wierd. Like it is someone else's body. Or like I'm wearing some sort of fat suit.

But that feeling is lessening. Still not losing lbs, but the pants are getting bigger. Today I was wearing a pair of pants that I used to not wear without a long top (this despite the fact that the oversized shirts and big leather belts of the 80's have still not come back, sadly). And I was wearing them without a long top. And I almost felt like I could have even tucked my shirt in! CRAZY.

As I was walking past the mirror in the bathroom I noticed that you can still see a bit of a roll under the pants, the pants aren't stretched tight but you can still see. But I wasn't suprised, and I didn't feel disembodied. I ran my hand over it and realized that it's smaller. And I could feel the tightness of my aching abs underneath. And I felt like my body, even with its imperfections, belongs to me. It didn't feel foreign. So what if I'm not a cartwheeler? I can run. And running is a perfectly acceptable manifestation of joy.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

You Rock. I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. -Jeff

Rachel (bigchezmktg) said...

Lemme tell ya, I'm no cartwheeler either...yet.

Remember, it's about progress, not perfection (Body for Life, Bill Phillips). Take each day as it comes and work towards it.

Start measuring yourself. It's painful at first (TRUST ME) but I'm down 10 inches and am looking for new jeans - I'll take that over a pound or two anyday!

You can do it! I believe in you!