I had a sad all last week and didn’t feel like writing. Not all of, but some of my sad had to do with my relationship with food and my body image. I told my friend NotMary yesterday that I’ve gotten fat.
Let me explain.
The CrossFit world heavily emphasizes eating Paleo, so when I joined in June 2012 I did my research and made healthy proteins, tons of veggies, healthy fats, fruits and nuts my new way of life. Along with the food changes, I worked out crazy hard. Muscles developed quickly on my scrawny arms and I felt great about how I looked for a month or two. Then I started dating a fellow CrossFitter who, plainly put, was obsessed. He was fanatical about CrossFit and Paleo
and with very rudely judging anyone who wasn’t Paleo/CrossFit and with talking about himself and admiring his own six-pack. Yeah, we broke up if you couldn’t tell by the snark, but I kept working and getting stronger. I was guzzling the Paleo Kool-Aid.
Then it felt like all of a sudden none of my clothes fit. I had a minor body image meltdown, but eventually came around to accepting that this was the deal – I work out, I get stronger, my body is going to change. The number on the scale shouldn’t matter. So I bought bigger/stretchy jeans that actually fit my newly larger (and quite righteous) ass. And I thought I was over this whole weight/body insecurity. After all, Pinterest is filled with these bad boys:
A few months later, I’m realizing that I’m not over it. I have a work trip coming up next week and it struck me that shit, I bet none of my dress pants fit now. (I work from home, so I haven’t had a need to wear them in a year!) I tried them on. They don’t fit. Like, not even a little bit. And there I was, back in the throes of mini-meltdown because the reflection in the mirror shows stretched fabric and buttons that won’t fasten by a long shot, which leads to thinking, oh holy shit my coworkers haven’t seen me in a year and I’m going to go there and they’re all going to say that I GOT FAT WHEN I MOVED TO ATLANTA OMG I AM HIDEOUS WHY CAN’T I JUST WEAR YOGA PANTS. Welcome to my brain. And maybe my hormones.
*Luckily I have two dresses that look great on me. Work attire crisis averted.
Yes, some of my freakout was me being slightly ridiculous – I am aware that I can no longer compare my body NOW to the clothes that fit THEN. But if I’m honest? I still hate the creep of the number on the scale. I understand that I shouldn’t care what it says because I’ve come so far from the nearly anorexic, chain-smoking, completely out of shape woman that I was. I get that a great deal of my fear of being overweight/borderline body dysmorphic is that 1. I used to be heavy and 2. I’m genetically predisposed to a slow metabolism and refuse to succumb to it. But I know what I see, and I know how I feel. I don’t feel like I’m the best version of me. What I feel is heavy. And it’s all about how I’m eating.
I’ll be great with Paleo for awhile and then I’ll crash again, and then I’ll go strict Paleo again… and the cycle repeats. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of stepping on the scale in the morning and cursing it. I’m tired of looking at myself in the mirror and taking a mental baseball bat to my own confidence. I’m tired of not loving myself in my new body.
This diet thing is driving me bonkers. Number 1, it shouldn’t BE a diet. It should be a lifestyle. And for me? I don’t think Paleo is a sustainable one. I don’t think I should fall prey to a guilt-and-shame-spiral if I want to eat oatmeal. Or greek yogurt. Or *gasp* ICE CREAM. Deprivation from things I like is not working for me. I love food. But I feel that trying to be strict Paleo is morphing my relationship with food into an unhealthy mindset. Screw that nonsense.
So, I’m done with Paleo for a while. I’ve had some conversations with a veteran CrossFitter friend we’ll call Bertie and I was floored to find that she does not entirely eat Paleo. Courtney did a great post about her philosophy, which inspired me to write all this out. It’s time to listen to how my body feels and try to figure out what works best for me.
The new and improved Peach plan:
- Clean eating. Stick with the basics of eating good, healthy proteins and lots of veggies.
- Add back in healthy carbs and small amounts of dairy. (THANK GOD, because I miss my greek yogurt!)
- Treats – in moderation!
- Smaller portions, more often.
- Keep exercising. Duh. I typically do CrossFit 2-3x times a week, 1-2 runs, and yoga 1x a week.
- Lose the extra Paleo/almond butter flubtub.
- Lean back out.
- Keep getting stronger.
- Feel and look amazing by my birthday in April.
We all have issues with our own bodies. If you say you don’t, your pants are on fire. Whatever cards we were dealt, we all have to learn to accept what we don’t have control over. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work hard to improve upon what we are able. Big picture? I am A-OK. I am blessed to have the life I’m living. It’s been 8 months since I began this journey towards getting healthy and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. Everything I’m going through right now is a part of learning what works best for me. But it makes no sense to continue the self-bashing on a system that so obviously does not work for me. Instead, I am making a pact with myself to take a different approach with food and to love myself more.
So here I go, still on the same journey towards being the best version of myself. This time, on my terms.