Maybe you already know this about me, but I’ll tell you that I’m a pretty hard driving person. I know what I want and I go after it with strong conviction. From falling in love to conceiving a child to planning a birthday party, I don’t like to go halfway.
With my first marathon drifting further and further into the distance, I’ve been struggling with what to do next. I ran 1,100 miles in 2014. That number may not qualify me for elite marathoner status but it sounds staggering to me. I also turned 40 and started s business with my BFF.
Now that the new year is well underway and my huge training regimen is behind me, I haven’t really known what do with myself. To offset my now comparatively sedentary lifestyle, I started the Whole30 program early last month. It’s like a Paleo diet primer with a lot of restrictions.
I’ve always struggled with my body image and with disordered eating. Overeating in many of its forms have defined periods of my life. Bulimia in high school and college, anorexia early in my professional career and overeating throughout my adulthood. Like I said, I don’t go halfway.
The only problem with my whole-hearted guns-blazing approach is that I don’t leave myself much room to just be okay. I expect perfection out of myself. If I set a goal and achieve it (like fitting back into my pants after the holidays), I rewrite the goal in my head before celebrating the win. I ensure that I will never be good enough.
Today is the 30th day of my Whole30. I have fallen in love with this way of eating. I’ve followed the guidelines very strictly without cheating. Part of the program is to avoid the scale after an initial weigh in at the start. The idea is to make your body healthier with “whole” foods but to also overcome food’s psychological hold.
Emotional eating is a big thing for me. I love to eat similarly to how Pavarotti loved to sing. I love to cook, I love wine, I love restaurants. I just love everything about food. But I mostly just love to be eating. I love to be filling myself, but I’m never sure what the void is exactly that I’m replenishing.
Overachiever who I am, I think I may have managed to cheat on the Whole30 without officially cheating. Binge-worthy handfuls of nuts, seeds and dried fruit followed by meals with enough sweet potato to feed an NFL player are within the guidelines but possibly not within the “spirit” of the program.
So unsurprisingly when I went to my post-program weigh-in and body composition appointment today, I found that I’ve only lost 4 pounds.
I guess I expected to look like Christy Turlington after 30 days without wine, cheese or sugar. Truthfully I would LOVE to look like Christy Turlington. She’s so beautiful and she’s SO thin.
So instead of bingeing on nuts and dried apricots this afternoon, I went to yoga. I love this new Walnut Creek studio called “Just Be Yoga.” After procrastinating any kind of workout all week, I rolled out my mat this afternoon and cleared my mind. After an hour of sweat pouring off me, the instructor had the class sit in a big circle and hold hands while alternating between high and low boat poses. (Those are very strong abdominal exercises. Think sit ups with your feet off the floor.) She said to support our partners. After a few very hard rounds of that, we pivoted our bodies to one side and massaged the sweaty shoulders of the person next to us. Then we switched and did the same (returning the favor!) for the person who had been behind, massaging our shoulders. It was more lovely than I can put into words.
Finally, we ended with shavasana, the yoga resting pose. This is lying on our backs, with our legs long and our hands beside us, palms facing up. This is the pose where all the magic happens…in silence. Our bodies get to sink back into alignment after the challenge of stretching and strengthening.
As we settled, the instructor had us rest our hands on our bellies and hearts. She reminded us of how much love was surrounding us in the room. She reminded us of our circle and strangers fearlessly touched and supported one another.
I felt it all so strongly. I thought through my day. I remembered how disappointed I had been at seeing that I’d “only” lost 4 pounds. And then I remembered something wonderful. I am perfect. My body is a miracle. I can run marathons. I can “sit” in chair pose. I can hold my babies. I can love my husband. I can be a friend. I can encourage. I can support. I can love. I can go for 30 days without sugar, wheat or alcohol. I can heal myself.
Tears streamed down my face as I realized that I have everything need and it was all floating on top of that mat.
I am perfect.
And so are you.
Your body is a miracle. Just think of the amazing things you do all day long.
You. Are. Perfect.