the long road to healthy

August 20, 2009

fear and self-loathing in downward-facing dog

Filed under: fitness, keeping it real, yoga — karena @ 1:43 pm

Before I get to the crux of this post, I have to give you a little background.  I used to be really overweight.  When I was 21-ish, I weighed 230 pounds.  I walked and dieted my way down to 122.  From the waist up I looked almost gaunt, like a cross-country runner.  From the waist down, however, I still looked fat.  No amount of walking, and later, running, and dieting could move it from my legs.  And I don’t mean just my thighs, my calves as well.  I spent my life in jeans and capris and long skirts to hide my *shame* from the world.  People, I lived in Hawaii for two years and never wore shorts.  Slowly over the years I put back on nearly half the weight I had lost.  (That’s including three pregnancies, to be fair to myself.)  It has spread nice and evenly all over my body.  So… my legs are bigger than ever.

The ONLY time I wear shorts is if I’m working out and it’s just too darned hot to wear yoga pants or capris.  It’s 96 here today.  96.  In Belgium.  Something is not right.  Anyway, despite the heat I really wanted to get my power yoga practice in today, so I slipped into a pair of shorts and a T.  As I was rolling out my mat in front of the fan, which is right in front of our open French doors, I happened to glance up at the mirror on the other side of the room.  The sun did a fantastic job of highlighting each and every cottage cheese-like dimple on my thighs.  The front of my thighs.  I just wanted to cry when I saw that.

But crying isn’t going to help.  So I started my practice.  I know most of you who read this blog aren’t into yoga, but you’re probably familiar with some of the poses/phrases.  And all of us who love Jillian understand the idea of not *phoning it in.* So I’m putting my body image issues aside and trying to really be present in what I’m doing.  The practice is intense, I’m focused on my breath, I’m really *there*.  Then we return to downward-facing dog, and there are my thighs staring me smack in the face.  And I just couldn’t get past it.  Every vinyasa would return me to down dog, and every time I’d start feeling bad about myself.  90 entire minutes, and my mind never really quieted down.

I know I’m heavy, I know my legs are big.  So where did this self-loathing come from today?  Why this sudden fixation with what’s wrong, instead of what’s right with my body?  Why can’t I look  in the mirror today and see a person that’s kept over 60 pounds off their body for sixteen years?  Why can’t I focus on the fact that I’m doing something good for myself?

I think it probably welled up today because I saw something I normally keep hidden, even from myself.  And when you don’t see it, you can pretend it isn’t there.  I fear that, again, no matter how much weight I lose, I’ll remain this disproportioned weeble-wobble figure.  That’s something I’m going to need to come to terms with, I guess.  Is it possible to learn to love your body while you’re trying like hell to change it?  Do those two ideas HAVE to be at odds with one another?

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3 Comments »

  1. […] I’m not sure if my sudden aversion to exercise in any form has anything to do with this, but I know I’ve been extremely reluctant to do anything physical the last few […]

    Pingback by vacation, all I ever wanted « the long road to healthy — August 24, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  2. […] I’m not sure if my sudden aversion to exercise in any form has anything to do with this, but I know I’ve been extremely reluctant to do anything physical the last few […]

    Pingback by vacation, all I ever wanted — Karena's Blog — November 15, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  3. […] I’m not sure if my sudden aversion to exercise in any form has anything to do with this, but I know I’ve been extremely reluctant to do anything physical the last few […]

    Pingback by vacation, all I ever wanted – Very Nearly Vegan — May 7, 2010 @ 9:33 am


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