It’s been a while since I’ve felt as wired as I feel today. It’s been a while since I’ve felt my frustration as an intense physical manifestation. And it’s certainly been a while since it felt like fire and ice all at once.
I was going to say it must be a sign, and of what, I’m not yet sure. But I don’t actually think that’s the case. When you learn to listen for the messages God and the Universe are sending you, there’s not much confusion about it. There’s only what you choose to ignore.
Let me back up.
I came to the office today to get out of the house. Cabin fever, St. Louis gray, a general malaise and lack of productivity or motivation were saturating the last couple of weeks. I sat down with my lunch to read and return some emails, just as several other women were sitting down to their lunches.
The first one immediately said she needed to get on the scale again because she’d been eating so bad and, ugh, gross.
The second one responded immediately in commiseration, noting that she was also feeling gross and bad.
The third sat down and nodded along, adding her general feelings that the cravings for certain foods she was having lately were bad, while in the next breath sharing a story about being inspired by a reporter who was recently fat-shamed.
I listened. I did not talk. Hell, I didn’t even look up from my computer.
Lunch hour broke up a bit, and another set of three women, including one from the first group, began delving into workouts.
The first noting that she used to be better at getting up earlier for workouts, and she really should get back to that because it’s so much better.
The next adding that yeah, 5am workouts really are the best, and a certain high-intensity chain option is equally as best for everyone, and why don’t you try it?
Oh yeah, said the first, I love competition. It makes me feel like the workout counts for something.
The third, who was passively listening, chimed in by shaming herself and lack of consistent fitness routine right now.
More from the first woman on how early morning workouts make her so much hungrier, and that’s the worst.
Back to the second on how yeah, at first I lost weight, then I gained it, then I finally figured out how to manage my eating and workouts so I don’t overeat.
Now from the third on how, well, muscle weighs more than fat.
And that’s when I had to physically leave the room.
I had to stand in the conference room, close my eyes, take deep breaths, and imagine the fire and ice shooting out of my body through my fingertips. I couldn’t help but cry a little.
Because, GD, are we still here? Are. We. Still. Here?
We are. And you know what? OK. That’s OK. I understand. This shit takes time. A lot of time. What feels like forever. And it’s sneaky. It evolves in so many ways.
But you can’t in one breath say you’re so over toxic diet culture and in the next breath say how much you love the fitness studio down the street rooted in it.
I mean, of course you can say whatever you want, but do you see the contradiction here? Do you see the unresolved roots? Do you see the ingrained conditioning and responses? Do you see what that means?
OK, listen, I know I’ve been backing off of this hard line conversation for a couple years now. In fact, in part, it’s a reason why I took a full step back from fitness overall for a year or so. So, I’ve been quieter. I’ve been softer around the edges. I’ve been allowing. Listening. Learning.
And I do like the softer edges. The softer edges acknowledge the gray bits. The reality that life and stories and their accompanying behaviors look different for all of us.
But I’m finding that I cannot ignore the harder lines. I’m back in.
(And I guess I already knew it on some level based on this week’s Instagram post.)
I always say that fitness does not exist in a vacuum. And it doesn’t. How you feel about your body, how you treat it, how you think about it, what you do with it – and how and what you don’t for all of those things – affects absolutely everything else in your life. Those attitudes and behaviors bleed out everywhere.
Self-esteem and self-confidence in all of the above.
It doesn’t end with the food or the workout, or even the to-do list or the planner. The structures you use there are often attempts to alleviate symptoms. And essentially, they’re like slapping a Scooby-Doo bandaid on a broken arm with the bone sticking out of the flesh and hoping for the best, gritting through the pain.
You have to understand what kind of wound you’re dealing with before you can begin to figure out the best approach to healing.
Am I saying any of what I heard today is outright wrong? No. I’m not. You get to decide what works for you, what you want to eat, how you want to move your body, what time you want to do it.
But the key point is that you have to figure out what you want. And I’m not so sure we’re all fully conscious of what that is just yet.
Basically, I’m saying that the hard line is that you must entertain the softer edge.
Think of it this way, if you have to: if you find yourself approaching fitness or food from a standpoint of control, ie: this is the only thing in your life you have control over, is that even really true? Does it actually feel like control at all? And isn’t the ultimate form of control having your own freedom?
There are so, so many layers to this. I get that. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not saying everything is awful.
What I am saying is that if we’re willing to draw as many hard lines on as many human and social and business issues as we are right now, if we’re willing to get loud and stand firm on such things, and if we’re perfectly willing and able to dig deeper and learn enough, peel back layers to make educated and informed decisions and have interesting and thoughtful and conscious conversations about them – it’s high time we got willing to do the same about our bodies and our health.
And that digging deep and learning, that thoughtful and conscious approach does include the “surface” stuff like workouts and groceries too. Because that stuff is not really surface stuff at all. Again, it’s not where it ends – it’s where all the rest of the stuff starts.
I’m still feeling tingly and overwhelmed. This came out of me in a mad rush, an apparent shitload of pent-up energy from the last few months. The good thing about that is that I can also ball it up and direct it.
I can’t say exactly what that’s going to look like, but I will be able to soon. Think: a fitness and body image specific 1-1 guided coaching offering to work on sorting out your hard lines and soft edges in this department, live online group coaching with the same objective, a new approach to healthy living for professionals employee wellness program, and some kind of live event.
If you think you’ll potentially be into any of those things and want to hear about them ASAP, sign up here. It’s essentially a waitlist, and I promise I won’t bug you there about anything other than information specific to those things.
If not, what I hope you get from this is a greater awareness. Maybe of conversations like the one I experienced, perhaps of your part in them. Maybe of deep, or strong, feelings you didn’t know you had on the topic. Maybe of the layers you might want to start uncovering and unlearning.
Maybe of the importance of hard lines and soft edges.
Hey, if you’re feeling the fire and ice and can’t quite wait till the next thing comes up, schedule a call with me directly below and let’s chat about what we can make happen sooner.