On Being a Hypocrite
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
I have been thinking a lot about hypocrisy lately. Why, you ask? Well, I've been struggling to practice what I preach.
I've been dealing with achilles issues for four months. I thought that I was doing a good job resting my injuries by mostly sticking with walking and doing a little more strength-training workouts instead of my regular 5-6 mile runs.
But last week, my feet completely broke down, old-lady-hobbling-around style. Now my achilles are even worse than before, coupled with raging arch issues, intense heel pain, and tendonitis along the outside of one of my ankle bones into my leg.
Every google search basically pinpoints the same cause for each injury: "overuse."
I was so confused. And mad. I had only been walking 4 miles a day, 7 days a week. As fast as I could. And doing an additional half-hour to hour of strength training. Only that.
But then I had to really look at what I thought was "resting." I had to admit to myself that I clearly wasn't resting. I was still pushing myself physically beyond what I should have, beyond what was in my body's best interest at the time.
Because I need to be outside in nature? Because I need the endorphins? Because I want to be strong and healthy? Yes, yes of course--to all of those.
But also, because somewhere deep down inside of me, I'm still terrified of getting fat.
Exercise--and a lot of it--is a big stress relief for me, most certainly. However, in having this forced-evaluation of my exercise habits, I am realizing it is also a way to deal with the anxiety around my body and eating that I am still haunted by almost minute-by-minute. An anxiety still lingering from the hard-wiring I created through years of being a slave to my body and food obsessions. A slave to my frenemy, Fear. (He gets a pronoun. And he's a "he." I guess I'm sexist.)
I had to admit something to myself: I am a hypocrite.
Despite all my preaching, Fear is still ruling parts of my life, even ten years into my recovery. Two small examples:
1) Since it debuted, I have been unable to watch The Biggest Loser. It has always been an intriguing show for me, especially considering the premise of people doing hard things and improving their lives. But whenever I sat down and tried to view it, I'd find myself feeling incredibly anxious and I would have to leave the room or change the channel. It felt that watching those obese people's struggles and humiliations was like seeing one of my worst fears come to life: getting fat.
2) My husband and I went on a date last year where we asked each other "newlywed questions." One was, "What is your greatest fear?" And I had to admit to him, that beyond losing a loved one (that is definitely my #1 fear), is the fear of getting fat.
This past week, I had to re-evalute my honest-to-goodness motivation behind my personal health and fitness regimes. It was pretty alarming for me to recognize that Fear not only remains in my brain's hard wiring, being an annoying back-seat driver to my thoughts and choices; but Fear is still too-often in the driver's seat.
Monica, you know better. Monica, you've been down this road. Monica, you are letting Fear win. Again.
And besides that, if I got fat or even gained 10 pounds, what is so wrong with that? Fat is not inherently evil. My body is still valuable and of unchangeable worth, even if it were heavier.
A part of me doesn't seem so easily convinced, even after all this time trying. A part of me still believes in Fear.
Sure, I am doing WORLDS better on this front than I was ten years ago. I am proud of the progress I have made in trying to accept myself and take Fear and his tyrannical power out of my eating and exercise choices.
But I just wanted my little world to know that I am also a hypocrite. A hypocrite who feels anxious that she can't exercise her calories away. A hypocrite who still find herself over-analyzing food consumption. A hypocrite who wants SO badly to diet now because she can't exercise like a maniac.
BUT, I am also a hypocrite who is willing to face Fear head-on and keep fighting him. A hypocrite who isn't going to look into the latest clean-eating diet or do hours of foot-free exercising daily. A hypocrite who is still going to do her best to learn her lesson, to listen to her body and actually rest it, the way it really needs her to.
And eventually a hypocrite who is going to start up that running again with the real motivations she wants to be in the driver's seat. And that driver's name is Monica.
Fear, you can hitch a ride with someone else.