Last week was a bad week for me, internally. (That is, nothing went wrong in the external life.) I had a dress fitting on Tuesday — finally saw what the finished dress will look like. It’s an amazing dress. Amazing. The color is gorgeous, and the neckline and bodice are exquisite.
As I went to my car afterwards, a wave of sadness rolled over me. I had a hard time pinning down the cause (==> not very good with emotions <==) but eventually realized that it was seeing myself in all my weightiness that was doing it. The dress is amazing, I look horrid.
Now, you know me, I don’t ‘do’ negative emotions like that. I struggle with self-esteem, but my issues are *tiny* compared with many women. I genuinely like myself and don’t think about my physical image very much. I do what I can to be healthy and make living well a priority. I see it as a process, not an event.
So, this was more than a bit upsetting for me. I ended up writing to my dressmaker, saying (basically) “I hope I’m not a bridezilla, but I think I need something different.) What I proposed was to keep the neckline, back and sides the same, but to make the front looser, more flowing. Kind of Grecian, really. (want to see an image of my inspiration? click here.) All to hide the belly. She said ‘no problem’ and ran up a thing in muslin that was a good starting point for us to discuss further changes with. She also tailored the first dress a bit more. It looks even more amazing. I took a few pics and showed them to a couple of people and asked what they thought.
Basically: I do not look as heavy as I think I do.
My friend Di put it best: “when it comes to bellies, we are our own toughest critics. It really doesn’t look terrible. It looks like you’re a woman.” She’s right, we are our own toughest critics. Despite working with HAES and really getting my head into a better place, I got totally blindsided by external images and expectations. I was crushed and depressed and very sad.
But I went to my Muay Thai class that night, and again on Thursday. I didn’t eat a pint of ice cream or bake a cake or buy potato chips. I just kept on going.
And I got through it.
My Pilates class is shifting to Sunday afternoons. In changing my calendar, I took a look at my fitness schedule and thought about what I want to do with it. I think I want to join a fitness club, LA Fitness (where J has an account) specifically. They have a 9am Aquafit class that might work well, and I could swim there on Monday evenings. Maybe pick up the occasional weight lifting on my (randomly and occasionally) free Wednesdays. The plan now looks like this:
- M: swim
- T: Muay Thai
- W: SOMA or class or strength training
- Th: Muay Thai
- F: rest
- Sa: Aquafit
- Su: Pilates
That’s completely do-able. I’m also back to using Loseit to track my food daily. It’s not a magic worker for me, but it is another tool to get healthier.
In Muay Thai, I am doing very well. A typical workout might look like this:
- footwork/shadowboxing: 1, step, 2,3 (jab w/ step, cross, hook) forward, then 1, step 2, 3, step backward; switch lead, repeat. (15 mins)
- jab, cross w/ mitts (15 mins) varying intensity, moving back and forth or around in a circle, sometimes varying level (drop for ‘gut’ jabs)
- kicking, round and front (10 mins)
- blow out — usually a fast or hard jab/cross w/ knees (5 mins)
It’s intense, and I’m able to do more week by week.
Along those lines, I realized that I need to start doing a daily fitness/therapy session. I’m still working out the details, but it involves doing the PT exercises I was given last year when my back went out — the Matrix and the 1/2 roller work (5 mins). I also need to do the balance/strengthening exercises that Staab has recommended — the one-legged stand w/ arms (5 mins), the step up with arms (5 mins), slips (5 mins), bob & weaves (5 mins), and shadow boxing (10 mins). Then I need to end it with meditation (for relaxation) and some guided work to help with the HAES. All told that’s about 90 minutes a day, which feels like a lot, but I have that time, and that’s a full workout which I would only do on M, W, F, and Sunday. The other days are just the PT and meditative work, which is less than an hour.
Alongside all of this, I’ve been contemplating leadership and how most of us lack role models of people who bring us up rather than push us down. It’s easier to push people down while you are climbing up, so those that don’t, the few, are especially due to be honored and admired. It’s a quality I hope I am bringing into my own life, both private teaching and mundane work.
I’ve also been contemplating the words of a woman I’d like to call a friend, but we only know each other through the blogosphere: Dianne Sylvan. I’ve been reading her for years, and completely emphasizing with her struggles to love herself, her writing, her creativity, and her ongoing battles with depression. It turns out that she isn’t depressed, despite being diagnosed as such and taking various medications in varying amounts for more than 13 years. (13!!!) No, she has bipolar disorder phase II. She writes:
Just having the right diagnosis has already made me feel so much better. Bipolar is not curable, but there’s so much I can do to help myself manage it, to learn to navigate the waves – now that I know what I’m really dealing with, I feel more optimistic than I have in a long, long time.
I can only imagine the relief she feels at finally *knowing* what’s wrong with her. She’s been doing all the right things over these years, it must have been crushing to never find the right answer. Oh, and I love what she calls her psychiatrist: “Crazy Whisperer”.