On Being Enough

I became first aware of my body thanks to a Kellogs Special K cereal ad, showcasing a woman who just couldn’t pinch an inch on herself. Standing in my Glass Tiger costume (bathing suit over tights and my dad’s squash headbands on waist and forehead), I could pinch an inch. Or two.

I was 8 years old.

28 years later and food was, up until a few weeks ago, the thing that used up the most of my brainspace.

I spotted a photo of myself from a few years ago, the summer of triathlons and working out 5x a week and counting every single calorie. I can vividly remember  how focused I was on wanting to lose more weight, on bettering my yoga practice, on eliminating my belly flab, on racing faster and better.  On the outside, I was getting all the shiny pennies, but on the inside, all I wanted was more.

I tarnished my own efforts by finding the flaws in my accomplishments and it spread far beyond food and body: the run wasn’t fast enough, the store wasn’t busy enough, the blog didn’t look cool enough, my apartment wasn’t nice enough, I don’t look polished enough, my sewing isn’t precise enough. I just wasn’t good enough for myself.

It started with my second Whole30 challenge, after this past holiday overload.  I had completed one before, which I had found to be transformative (something I had felt with the Montignac diet eons ago).  This time around though, it left me stuffed with dates and extremely angry.  I was angry that I needed to waste so much energy on what I looked like on the outside. Why did it matter? Why did our entire culture value being thin over being happy? Why couldn’t I just eat all the bread I want not give a shit?  I struggled for weeks, being ”good” by exercising and not eating carbs and then being ”bad” by drinking wine and eating baguette. I ran half heartedly, always hearing the fire hydrant of doubt: you’re not running fast enough, your posture is totally wrong, you should be able to run much farther….

Standing on top of that mountain, on the morning that I broke my arm, I thought I had it all figured out. My brain was aflutter with thoughts of a new writing career, making leaps and bounds in my running, I was ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN, guys I was weeping of joy up there. I was going to start food logging again and FINALLY rid myself of those last 20 pounds that I keep losing + gaining + losing + gaining. All  I needed to do was run down the mountain and get home to attack the 15 things I had on my sparkly to-do list.

Not quite what I had expected.

For years there had been food journals, myfitnesspal logins, cleanses, binge eating, severe diets and all of it just fed the constant  inner food dialog of what I *should* eat, what I *shouldn’t have* eaten what I *wanted* to eat and so on.  And so I made a decision after I broke my arm: I ordered bread from my baker neighbour and I ate a lot of it.  Like a loaf a day for at least a week. And while it tasted delicious, it didn’t fill me with the comfort I was expecting. IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. And with that,  I  decided that I was D.O.N.E,  maybe Gennene Roth was right, food was not the answer and I was asking all the wrong questions.

I’m on my 10th day of my morning routine and I feel like a real person again. My food dialogue is almost silent, the fire hydrant of doubt is quieter and and all it took was a broken arm.

Here’s to the next 28 years.

sky

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4 thoughts on “On Being Enough

  1. Ditto…and thank you. Here’s to the next 28 years and to raising daughters who will never know the “you can’t pinch an inch” jingle.

    1. OH Channy! It’s so hard to avoid, I wonder if our Kellogg’s jingle is any worst or better than Brittney’s “Work Bitch” or All of the Kardashians put together. I try to focus on being “strong” as the endgame, but it’s not always easy, because it hasn’t always been honest!
      Miss you
      xo

  2. I can totally, TOTALLY relate. Finally, I’m focusing on how I want to FEEL all around, and not on what I should or shouldn’t look like. It’s crazy to have had such a negative internal dialogue with myself for so long – I think my ‘Kellog’s special K pinch and inch’ moment came when I was about 12 or 13, and only got louder through my 20s, 30s, and into my 40s. You’re lucky to be getting there way before 40 – very happy your country life is proving to be so healing in many ways. xx

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