So, this blog is changing. It never fully realised it’s potential before and I blame that on a few things. Firstly, the fact that we’ve been traveling non stop. I really thought that wouldn’t be a problem, that I’d be off typing away at this blog in haute coffee shops in Europe. But I’m here to tell you that wifi is spotty in Europe. That’s not to say there’s not an abundance of cafes with signs that say “wifi” but you’ve got a 50/50 chance that the wifi actually works. Also, I spend a abnormally large amount of time on highly priced internet on the ship clicking through Pinterest. What can I say, I love the inspiration. Secondly, my focus has been…foggy. I lost my blogging identity. For years I was a fitness and “ health” blogger. But fitness and food has been frustrating and confusing. My identity in regards to food and fitness has been foggy as well. I’ve been running away from an eating disorder for decades – yes decades. and while I’ve been a healthy weight for a long time I have not been a healthy mind. and I thought recovery for me would be fitness and healthy eating but that has translated to phases of diets and exercise regimes to control my body with little regard to health. Basically if I think I can get skinnier I change up my plan to chase that. Under the guise of health I have had the same obsession – thinness, smallness and a certain number on the scale that I haven’t seen since college. That’s not fitness or health. but the runoff has been pretty satisfying stints with P90X, running distances, yoga and strength training. Diets have included versions of clean eating, many variations on vegan diets and two stints as a ketogenic eater. All have had benefits and I do think I’m pretty healthy. On the other hand I spend an inordinate amount of time calculating macros, deciding what to eat or what not to eat or how to put off feeling hungry and why oh why can’t I work out without gaining muscle mass? I’ve spent years on diet and exercise and never achieved the goal I had – which, if you really want to know was to easily maintain my weight around 110lbs and lose 2 inches off my legs and feel good about myself in pictures and clothes. I haven’t been that weight since I was anorexic in college and I’ve lost and gained 1/2 an inch at best off my thighs and I rarely feel good in my clothes or pictures…and I spend the majority of my time doing this – counting macros, dieting, exercising, researching diets and exercise. What’s that definition of insanity?
So, this blog is changing and here’s how. I’ve decided to make it a recovery blog of sorts. I am recovering from ED (admitting that is hard). Here’s how I plan to do it. Food and exercise has to take it’s rightful place in life – down at the bottom of Maslows hierarchy of needs. I believe that you can change your life by manipulating and choosing your habits. I think, talk and write about food and weight and exercise all the time. No longer. This will be a recovery blog that almost never talks about food. Or exercise. This sentence in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg has proved to be my impetus “An efficient brain allows us to stop thinking constantly about basic behaviours, such as walking and choosing what to eat, so we can devote mental energy to inventing spears, irrigation systems and eventually airplanes and video games” I read that and had my “ah-ha” moment (thanks Oprah). Choosing what to eat is a basic behaviour. As an artist who feels like she’s struggled her whole life to emerge and to create what I really want to, is it any wonder when I’ve devoted probably 85% of my brain power to food, diet, exercise, weight and restriction? How do I have time to create? My brain power is stuck at the basic decisions. While embarrassing, it would be more embarrassing to stay here once I’ve had the revelation. My career is evolving at this moment and I will reach my full potential. It makes sense that to do that I have to let go of the habits of the past that keep me locked in basic decision making.
So how does this shake out for this blog (and my life?). I’m a professional dancer and aerialist. I’m about to finish a contract performing and move somewhere new. I’m going to Cosmetology school in the fall because I want to further my artistic education. I’ll be doing things like auditioning for an acting agent, dancing in a new city…. I can’t really tell you everything that is going to unfold because I’m not really sure. I just know that I’m excited and I have a lot to look forward to and to focus on. While I’m onboard I’ve been reading a lot about makeup artistry and hair and I read that the best make up artists are good sketch artists. Funny, I’ve been sketching for years without any direction. So one of the things I’ve been working on in my downtime is sketching, faces and bodies in motion are the two things I’m most interested in right now. This blog is going to be full of my beginning sketches, my evolution towards cosmetologist (I’m really interested in doing make up and hair for theatre and runway), my creative evolution in dance – choreography perhaps. And anything else that inspires or interests me. I don’t really know yet!
But here’s how I’m addressing the ED recovery. I need to replace behaviours and thoughts with those I choose as opposed to those I’m used to. Here are the steps I’ve taken:
1. Deleted Myfitnesspal from my iPad
2. I cannot write down what I eat or an intended diet or possible diet for the day (all things I did everyday)
3. I cannot talk about my body, my thighs, my size AT ALL
4. I’m not dieting.
All this is to be replaced with:
1. I put several cosmetology books on my ibooks, on my iPad – to be read whenever I would have MFP’d (which was at least 3 times a day, mostly more)
2. I will be blogging. I can’t always post the same day I write a post because of ship internet, but I’m keeping Notepad up so I can write a blog anytime I want. I also have a sketchpad in my bag at all times. I will be sketching. I want to get really good at it and I’m a baby sketcher at the moment 😉
3. I can talk about hair, make up, dance, your (anyone who is in front of me) hair or make up or career. I can leave the room or change the subject if weight or food comes up.
4. I’m not dieting. But I am vegan. again. as I’ve proved over and over, I cannot sustained a diet that includes animal products, emotionally it takes a toll and I quit. This is the only thing that seems to override my desire to be thin, funny enough, as I seem to lose weight when I eat only meat and vegetables and cheese. But I do have a loose structure for myself based on what makes my IBS flare up less and so I don’t panic while I’m building new habits. I’m high raw vegan, high carb. which means I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, juice, tea, and rice, potatoes and bread if I want them. I can eat seeds and chocolate. I’m staying away from (right now) beans as they tend to hurt my stomach and all animal products and added oils. but I don’t want to overthink it, I don’t want to think about it at all. I just know for my peace of mind I need to have a structure in place for choosing foods when I’m hungry.
As far as fitness goes, talking about it will take a bit of a back burner place too. I’m in the beginning of a 100 day flexibility program that I’m really liking (day 7 today) as it’s for contortion and I feel the benefits in my dancing and just being in my body. I like to do yoga a few days a week. But I’m not really setting fitness goals except to “feel good”. I really miss running and I’ve stopped because I was afraid of my legs getting bigger. So I might start again if I feel like it. Why should I not do something I love. But on the ship I don’t love it as much as it requires me to run on a treadmill in a windowless box, so I may wait until I’m on land again.
That is where I’m at. It’s almost my birthday, I’ll be 33 and I am really looking forward to this year!
One of my sketches