Monday, May 19, 2014

Wandering towards The Middle Way

I have never been one to traverse the elusive "Middle Way", no matter what the topic is. I like black and white. I like defined and delineated. I thrive on planning, clear direction, and goal setting. Many times, professionally and otherwise, this mindset is an asset. However, it has contributed to a lot of pain and heartache in my personal life. 

Being physically active and eating healthfully without being crazed; Still working on it every. damn. day.

Let me illustrate: For me, “I think I’ll go out for a run” is two quick steps from “and why don’t I just train for my first Marathon!” I have this quirky all-or-nothing mentality that has caused me a lot of trouble, anxiety, and needless stress.

Looking back at where I was a year ago, in May 2013, I can see more clearly than ever the un-healthiness of the “Healthiest I’ve Ever Been” status I’d achieved. I was at my lowest weight - a weight that left me feeling cold even in the heat of summer, and having very low-energy, even for daily activities. I was physically active for at least an hour most days- to the point of it interfering with other life stuff.  I consistently tracked every calorie that went into my body, and rated each and every thing on this self-imposed scaled of whether or not it was a “good” food or a “bad” food. Of course, I was not allowed to let any “bad foods” enter my system.  I had essentially turned being thin and fit into a religion, one to which I was an enthusiastic convert, diving headfirst into orthodoxy.

Now, I’m reformed my worship. I’m still practicing in the temple of Fitness, but I am fitting it in to my life where it belongs. It’s a component of a well-rounded, happy me; it’s not all-consuming, it is not ME. Throughout the last year since my "turning point", even within all these struggles with food, nutrition, feelings, cravings, sadness, and exercise, I have been building a more resilient self. Deconstructing the tough, hardened, rigid self I had created and taking pieces to form a flexible, adaptable, authentic me.

What this looks like for me: the ability to exercise frequently or even participate in races without having to train for the Olympics. The ability to eat healthfully and nourish my body without going on a Whole 30, Paleo-inspiried elimination diet. The ability to get to a place of fitness where I feel comfortable, energetic and active without feeling like I’ll be PERFECT if I just loose those last 2 lbs.

I’ve been working hard at this elusive destination- this Middle Way of health/fitness. I’m moving towards it. Heck, I guess that being on the path to the Middle Way essentially means I am already traveling the Middle Way. Now if I could only quantify where the true Middle is? ;) Just kiddin'.

In the midst of all this flailing about, there is a LOT to be proud of:
  • I continue to flail. I fall and fail on a weekly basis, but I get back up. Each time, I am a bit better at picking myself up, I fall a little less far, and I can rebound more quickly.
  • I’m consistently making it to the gym several times a week- I have successfully cultivated a Gym Habit- that’s a big deal!
  • I’m still un-packing my eating issues. Overall, I am more relaxed with eating what sounds good to me, without a lot of restriction.
  • I've continued to take whatever action is available to get my elusive menstrual period back ,and most days, I can stop myself from flipping out that I haven't had it in more than 1.5 years. Most days.
  • I am working, with the support of counselors, through a lot of the emotional issues that put me in this mindset in the first place. Counseling is painful, terribly slow, and helpful. Also, sometimes it’s the worst.
  • I am falling back in love with exercise, for the simple pleasure of it. I have continued to run 2-3 times a week for fun, I am getting back in to yoga, and I’m thinking about a 10k race here in a few weeks.
  • I’d still REALLY love to become a Spinning Instructor, and I’m planning on registering for a certification course for the end of June. 
The gift of honest self-reflection is priceless. It's a gift that I try to give myself in the toughest times, because a little stumble on the path does not equal a back-breaking tumble down the hill of the Middle Way. As the amazing Cat Stevens would say,  There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out  

No comments:

Post a Comment