I just had another mini revelation. Recently my left hip joint has been a little off kilter, I've been feeling it at all sorts of odd times and figured I shouldn't leave it too long before having a physio check me out. This morning as I was walking away from the gym towards my morning skinny cap stop, I just realised how much freer my hips were feeling. The strange rotating leg thing my trainer had tortured me with, which had been so horrific at the time, appeared to have done wonders.
With each step my awareness of my hips increased. I noticed more and more how they were moving and was suddenly acutely aware of how much pressure they must be under having to carry all my weight. Of course this isn't exactly news. I've watched my body creek and groan under the strain for many years; the aches and pains have always increased and diminished in direct relation to my weight fluctuations. For the very first time though, I felt sympathy for my hips. Soft and gentle sympathy for my body.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t felt some level of hatred towards my body. My body is disgusting. Even at my slimmest last year my body was still a mess of contorted, stretch-mark riddled skin covering patchy great big lumps of fat. My body has always been the enemy, my biggest nemesis. The revelation this morning was that my body is not the problem, my head is.
Again, in itself this isn’t exactly news.
I’ve always known my compulsive and anxiety-based eating is down only to me and my faulty thinking and coping mechanisms. So where’s the revelation? I guess it was just in the difference between me knowing this and REALLY knowing this. Not just "yeah yeah, I know" but really breathing in, acknowledging and acting on it.
My body's the victim in this story, not the villain. It's had to put up with the mess my head's made of it. It's had to face the world all these years while my screwed up thinking stayed safely hidden from sight.
I think of myself as being an intelligent woman - great mind, terrible body. Never occurred to me I may have gotten that a tad backwards. I knew I had emotional eating issues but it didn't affect the trust I put my head and took away from my body.
It's a known and real symptom of obesity to feel a complete disconnect with the physical body. I know I have. I've talked before of how disconnected I am with my appearance. I wouldn't know what my body actually looked like, even with the help of a mirror. That same disconnect is evident with my body's processes. Food is supposed to be a functional thing, a process of fuel and energy (sidelined with enjoyment of course). I've taken that role away from the physical body and given the job entirely to my mental controllers. It's been so long since I trusted my body to tell me when it's full or hungry I wouldn't recognise the signs even it was screaming them to me.
This process of losing weight and becoming a healthier, better me is all about learning to listen to my body more and my mind and emotions that little bit less (when it comes to food that is). I've tried to acknowledge this in the past but still let the very same head-thinking process the information. It's all very well focusing on where the real problem is but it doesn't count for much if that change of focus doesn't take away the blame and hate for my poor scapegoat body.
I'm not going to suddenly start claiming to like my blubberguts and thunderthighs but I'm going to try and learn to accept them. Forgive them even. I'm also not claiming this is going to be easy.