Charting life's circuitous path


Weighty Doppelganger

I want to talk about weight.  Losing it, in particular, and the weird doppelganger that suddenly shows up to threaten the party.cb34518a7075ca198c7837033c23f19b

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.  😦

841b343cdbcec75351918913e41caf3fThese 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.

I try.

I don’t always succeed, but sometimes the music just drowns it all out. 🙂

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Brilliant Sky

6 runs, 23.60 total miles, 1 soggy month
and a playlist scattered with soul sapping songs
(But I am a Firework.)
blinding sun, large clouds, b.r.e.e.z.e
and heavy, clawing, clinging humidity.
(But I am here.)
lightness, steady stride, pounding away
and a sudden sharp stitch in the side
(But fist pumps of triumph and brilliant smiles to the sky.)
Maybe with no 26.2, or 13.1 or even 10k
Maybe with wadded tissues, sweat, and flyaway hair.

But each step, each inhalation, each breath
I am able to run

And that makes me STRONG.

(Image from Pinterest.)

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Aikido beginnings

“Wait!” A stern voice called out clipped with mild reprove.

“When you are leaving the mat, always leave from the back and bow.”

“Yes, sensei!” I couldn’t believe how easily saying “sensei” had become. The first time felt a bit silly – like I was pretending to be something I wasn’t (ironic given my Japanese mother).


It was our second class at our local aikido dojo.  We stood out like kids in detention with our regular exercise gear next to the starched white karate-esque uniforms of the other students.  Jokes about “you’ll need the advil tomorrow!” abounded.  Ha! You’re talking to a gal who can do the 30 day shred without breaking a sweat, mister.  Bring it on!  😈

After having my wrist squeezed like a dry lemon during my practice, I was thinking that they may have had a point.  😳  In none of my routines, even for yoga, was I ever put through so much bending and arm twisting.  It wasn’t painful, but it worked muscles that hadn’t seen such action.

Remember that promise a few weeks ago about expanding our intellectual and creative horizons?

Well, after stumbling about the internet and becoming increasingly annoyed at how the local pottery courses were offered during our work schedule, I did a random search for karate.  Hubby had expressed interest in it and I was out of other ideas to try.  One of the first links to display was for aikido.aikido2

Having never heard of aikido before, I clicked and discovered an activity that greatly appealed – it was relatively low impact, and it did not emphasize hits and strikes but rather melding with the move being delivered.  Most of all, it was focused on balance both in action and in thought.

Finding our local dojo wasn’t easy.  The map on my phone said it was right off the main road.  Little did it mention that it was tucked behind some buildings that had more to do with plastic surgery than Japanese martial arts. (Hopefully, those plastic surgeons won’t be necessary!)

The beginner’s class was held during the day, so it was comprised of individuals ranging between our age and their 50s.  They were mostly men, but a couple of women made me feel less, well, small.

Our sensei was a rather large man, but not in any way dominating.  In fact, if I had seen him outside of the dojo, I’d never have guessed that he was a black belt instructor – more cozy professor.  He taught the beginners class and we learned foot work, stances, a couple grabs and how to fall without killing ourselves.

aikido3It was almost a relief to be learning again.  I had come to realize that just living on standby, so to speak, did not lead to a fulfilled life.  I needed to keep learning, but more specifically, I needed to be taught.  Learning aikido was both physical and mental – I’m learning how to execute moves against someone coming at me, but I’m also learning how being reverent and bowing to the mat was more than just an action.  What felt silly the first time quickly took on meaning and soon I was bowing to my sensei and to Osensei’s picture with a level of thankfulness.  Thank you, I would bow, for giving me an hour and a half where I can challenge myself.

We plan to join the next time we go in for our weekly lesson.  Many people join gyms and clubs, but our little dojo with its motley group of friendly members and cold mats seems like the perfect place where we can be with others while doing something that not only helps us develop self-awareness, but also, like yoga, develops our mental focus.

We also get to wear the white uniforms, but I think it’ll be a long time before they deem us ready for hakama.