It's Okay for Your Weight to Fluctuate and Why You Should Tell Your Inner Bully to Fuck Off
I decided to take some pictures of my body (top pics) when I was at a low point. I was struggling emotionally with some personal things and berating myself with negative self-talk for some mistakes I had made. For the most part, all of my nutrition and training habits had stayed the same but the major difference was that I was being unkind to myself. I was obsessing over my food intake and making intense workouts mandatory. This was clearly stressful on my body because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. My body was not happy with me. I know myself well enough now to know that when I’m struggling with some emotional shit, I obsess over what and how much I eat and I force myself to push too hard in the gym. Think “Go Hard or Go Home” type training. Although there's a place for it, I don't enjoy that anymore and my body doesn't respond well to it. Alas, these are my coping mechanisms. They give me a distraction and allow me to feel in control of something when I’m feeling out of control. Classic-- I know.
At this point, I’m used to the typical ups and downs of life and I’ve accepted that they’re part of being alive and human. Instead of running away from the valleys-actually it’s more like trying to frantically crawl out of them while kicking and screaming-I tend to want to face them head on or "lean in." However, I’m still a human being and not a robot. I’m still growing, learning, and trying to figure all of this out. I’ll probably be doing that till the day I die. I’m fine with that.
Anyways, it’s funny how we are such creatures of habit that even the things we feel like we’ve overcome tend to present themselves again when you least expect them to. They’re like little tests from life saying “Hey remember that thing you thought you dealt with? Why don’t you try dealing with it again, sucka!” For me, it’s usually my issues with food and control that creep back up.
Even though tracking calories is an excellent tool for accountability, mindful eating, and being more aware of what exactly you're putting in your mouth, I know that if I’m obsessively tracking and beating myself up for poor choices, I need to take a look inside and figure out what’s going on. It always continues on for awhile before I decide to put my big girl pants on and have a chat with myself. I put it off until I can’t take it anymore.
This has happened to me multiple times. The difference is that now I’m much quicker to have that conversation with myself. That’s exactly why this time around I wanted to vividly remember what it was like to be in that rough place. I also wanted to provide a visual depiction of the effects that your inner bully truly has on your physical well-being. I knew these pictures would come in handy when I came out the other end of the dark tunnel I was passing through. I didn’t know that I would be brave enough to show them to the world, but here we are.
Once you have awareness, it’s nearly impossible to play dumb. It’s like you’re watching yourself act in a movie scene because you’re no longer fumbling through the dark and bumping into shit. You have a floodlight shining on all of your shame, fears, and insecurities. You tell yourself “hey dude…you’re doing that thing again. Cut it out and deal with your feelings like an adult.”
I knew I was obsessing over “healthy” food vs. “unhealthy” food. I knew I was counting calories. My tummy was always bothering me. They say your gut is like your 2nd brain, and even these pictures show that my gut was very unhappy. I was so exhausted and in pain that my workouts were starting to feel like a chore and a punishment instead of enjoyable movement sessions. I was losing my zest and drive for doing things that I was passionate about. The cherry on top was that I was being really mean to myself about all of this and constantly telling myself I was sucking at life. After an immense amount of journaling, I snapped out of it and told my inner bully to FUCK OFF. Okay, so maybe I had to get a little angry with myself before I could love myself again. Whatever works.
What was the root cause of all of this? I was putting off some tough conversations because confrontation is a difficult thing for me and I still gravitate toward people pleasing instead of standing in my truth. I also doubted myself on some pretty major decisions I had made. Folks, stop doubting yourself. Just don’t do it!
I knew I was allowing myself to sit in suffering and misery. As soon as I had those tough conversations, stopped obsessing over the past, and dealt with the feelings and emotional pain…it was like pure sorcery, Harry Potter type magic. My tummy problems started to subside. My body felt better (a massage helped with this as well), and I was excited to train. My energy levels went back to normal. I felt like myself again. I also took it easy in the gym by incorporating more of an intuitive movement approach. I backed off the weights and went for calming hikes. I did more Pilates and bodyweight exercises. I stopped giving a shit about the type of food I was eating and just ate what sounded good to me. Look what happened! Voila!
But do you know what the major lesson in this was for me? Sometimes your weight is going to fluctuate with your life. Sometimes your routine is going to change. Be nice to yourself about it. I knew my body was changing because of my stress levels, lack of sleep, and lack of self-care. I know to an outsider, they may seem like nothing, but I was unhappy with those changes and I was mentally and physically beating myself up. As soon as I started giving myself the love I needed, everything leveled out.
Clearly, I needed to learn this lesson and I’m sure I’ll learn it again and again. I’m hopeful that the next time it happens, it will be a quicker turn around and I’ll know exactly how to deal with it. I’ll tell that bully on my shoulder to kick rocks. I’ll get a massage, eat some pizza, write it out, talk to my best friend, go for a long ass hike, and face my feelings.