Over the last two years, I’ve been able to lose about 20 pounds and keep it off. After my high cholesterol scare (and with me only in my early 30s), I hopped onto the FIT bandwagon and I’ve been dancing to the beat every day. And I mean every day. I exercise in some form every single day with maybe a day off here and there during the course of a month. I rotate my exercises to match my moods and how my body feels so I might bike one day, run another or do weight lifting in between. I love how I feel after I do a routine – more energetic, empowered, and beautiful.
Am I dancing for joy?
Sometimes. There are days where I’m very happy with my weight and with my body. I like how I fit my clothes, I like how my body feels when I walk, and I like how much more healthier I am than before (my doctor is pretty happy about this, too). I feel good about how much taller I stand (partly due to the yoga and partly due to a greater sense of confidence) and how much control I’ve been able to exert over my eating habits. Overall, yeah, I’m dancing to my own beat and I’m loving it. 🙂
Except those times in-between. The times when my evil inner self decides to pull the plug on my happy music and throw the boombox out the window with an evil cackle. It’s like I suddenly acquire a Double me that is my old me – the more depressed, shy and undervalued weighty me. This me isn’t happy. This me wants to eat and eat and eat. This me hates many parts of my body and hates the way she looks. For some reason, this me wants me to go back to how I was, even though I fully recognize that I’m happier how I AM now than how I was then.
During those times, I’m right back in the dark place I used to be when I weighed 20 pounds more. In fact, in some bizarre way, I feel even worse. If I let my double talk me into it, I’ll binge. I’ve done it over the last year where a plate of free cookies or free cupcakes will be sitting on a table at work or at a party and I JUST CAN’T STOP. Even though with every bite I hate what I’m doing and with every bite I realize that this isn’t even as good as my crazed scarfing indicates. I want to stop and I know I’ll feel worse later, but my hand shoots out and I grab another and another as if my hand recognizes that my brain will take control and it needs to get as much as it can.
I know, I sound a bit like I need some serious help. 😦
These moments are getting a bit better – they don’t happen quite so often because once they do, I feel so weepy horrible that I use that awful experience as a shield for when I feel like binging again. Do I want to feel that way again? NO. So I recall how it felt and breathe and move on. (Sometimes it actually works.) The odd thing is, when I was my old self, I never experienced that loss of control. Sure, I felt generally bad, but I didn’t feel like the world was ending when I would eat a large, unhealthy snack or dinner. It wasn’t until I lost the weight that my inner self started to split into two – the new me and the old me.
And that’s something that doesn’t get talked about very much. I follow a lot of fitness blogs and while they talk about struggles and triumphs, I don’t hear a lot about the doppelganger that can suddenly materialize when you’re feeling insecure. I don’t hear about that other self who wants to sabotage everything they’ve worked for and drag them back into the dark place full of hatred and no music.
I’ve just recently finished a book called The Undervalued Self by Elaine Aron where she talks about such a double that she calls the protector-persecutor. This protector-persecutor makes you feel bad about yourself to protect you for imaginary bad things. It made me realize that perhaps my own double is like the protector-persecutor in that they are trying to make me feel bad about myself so that I am saved the “disappointment” of feeling bad later when I gain weight (even if I never gain weight, the self wants to protect itself from the imaginary inevitability). She suggests some serious therapy that’s outlined in the book on how to deal with such a thing, which is daunting (and apparently my feeling that it is daunting is all part of the protector persecutor’s plan to keep me as is – scary? Confusing? Definitely!).
At the moment I’m taking it day by day and trying to remind myself of all of the positives before I let my negative self take too much control. I tell myself that just yesterday I loved how I felt walking down the hall at work and that in 12 hours I surely couldn’t have changed so radically to warrant such self-hatred.