Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the disconnect

i've never been a very physical person. i'm not into sports - i don't really like exercising, and i'm not very graceful or coordinated (minor understatement!). most of the things i enjoy doing are fairly sedentary (knitting, spinning, reading & so on) & cerebral. & no matter what i try, there always seems to be a disconnect between my mind & my body.
a small part of this is an Aspergers thing - my messed-up sensory system means that sometimes i struggle with correctly identifiying physical sensations (pain, tiredness, hunger) & end up thinking i should be capable of more than i actually am (which never goes well, and makes me quite cross with my body & its limitations).
but for the most part, it's simply down to being female, and living in this society where we are constantly told that we'll never measure up. i've had the tv on the background while i've been thinking about this, and so far, i've seen a series of ads that are telling me i need to lose half my body weight, but enhance my "assets" (ahem); elongate my eyelashes, colour my lips, smooth out my skin, and hide my gray hair, wrinkles, & stretch marks; and that i should never, under any circumstance, let it be known that i sweat, menstruate, have body hair, or ever get that "not-so-fresh" feeling (& don't even get me started on that one - that's a whole rant on its own!). add in the fashion industry, with its clothes cut to fit an idealized, tiny body type (the like of which the vast majority of women will never possess), and the diet industry, whose sole function seems to be making us feel bad about enjoying food, and you can see how it all begins to wear you down.
because of this, my relationship with my body is difficult at best - i tend to see it more as something that i need to do battle with rather than something which holds & supports me, which gets me where i need to go, and which (more or less) works exactly like it should. & despite knowing how lucky i am to have a body that works, it's often hard not to feel like it's not quite good enough. & it's even harder to admit that although i try my best to like myself as i am, the simple fact is that i do need to lose some weight in order to be a healthier person.
with all the aforementioned factors playing their damaging part, though, things become very complicated. if i say that i need to lose weight, is it because i want to be healthier & stronger (yes) or is it really because i think i'll look better as a thinner person (also yes)? and if i'm losing weight partly because i think it will make me look better, is this some kind of feminist betrayal, because i'm buying into the idea that thin=attractive? or is it ok that by "coincidence", what will make me feel stronger & healthier will also make me feel like i look better? & so on, & so on.... sigh.
& so, with all that in mind, i've joined weight watchers (online only - no meetings for me, thank you) and have officially started my becoming-healthy project as of the start of this week. and as much as i loathe, detest, despise & abominate the diet industry, so far it looks like weight watchers is a fairly reasonable way to go - it's already making me more aware of what i'm putting into my body, and what it's actually "worth" nutritionally (i'm fairly certain that's not a word, but i'm just going to carry on regardless), and it doesn't seem to be geared towards making you feel guilty about food. & i'm trying some different ways to connect to my body, from the serious (healthier food & exercise) to the downright frivolous.

photo 53
(apologies to my friend with the foot phobia!)

& hopefully, soon, i'll start to appreciate my body for the wonderful thing that it is, instead of feeling so disconnected from it.


Once A Sheep said...

Thank you for this post. It explains far better than I could have, exactly how I feel.
I am torn constantly between self loathing and guilt and despair.
Unlike you, I am not yet reconciled as to what will motivate me to lose weight and how I feel about that.

RooKnits said...

I feel very similar to you a couple of years ago - I loathe the diet industry, but desperately needed some motivation to lose weight because I was unhappy with how unfit I was.
I went to weight watchers, and it certainly made me think about what I was eating and helped me make sensible choices. It also gave me the motivation I needed each week to carry on the same track. I lost nearly 4 stone over a period of about 1.5 years and can't recommend it enough.

Anonymous said...

You are very brave to post this! I also have struggled with a love-hate relationship with my body, and have never felt very connected to it. As someone who is energetic but not coordinated, I love to swim and do yoga, both of which help me feel connected to and in love with my body as I care for it. No team sports for me!

And I love the toes. My darling boy keeps mine painted at all times, under big bad black boots :)

Kate said...

Good for you, Lilith! The thing I really like about Weight Watchers is that you can eat anything you like, so it doesn't really feel like a diet. I never ever thought I would ever be able to lose weight, but I've lost nearly six stone now, and not only do I feel like a totally different person, I also look like one (or so people keep telling me). Yes, I do look a lot better, but more importantly I feel so much better about myself and have so much more energy, and that's what motivates me to keep going. Good luck!

lynnie said...

firstly...you have a beautiful soul..and secondly it is the insurance companied who raise the benchmarks for what is acceptable for a 'healthy' weight ..waist..etc.. do not be pulled in..do it for you..yeah eat foods that nourish and nurture and you will be good..good vibes coming your way as you start your new journey..love all the yarn by the way...

claudine said...

I was just enjoying reading thru your entries. Folks who knit (and garden and have dogs) are usually pretty good people. Like you, I'd love to lose weight and I've finally found the best reason aside from all the typical ones. Just think of the day when you pick a cardigan sweater pattern... it will be a couple of sizes smaller ---- the knitting will go so much faster and it'll take less yarn! See, we just have to tap into the right motivation! I enjoy your blog.
Claudette (all the way in Colorado).