“How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves.”
(selfless plug here, don’t forget to check out my book on the amazon store here: the noodle the noose and the nectar)
I’m going to motivate y’all to move your butt and get in shape!
Get up off of your seat and move your feet!
Come on, get into the groove of the workout!
Ten more sets, you can do it!
Whew, I get tired just thinking about trying to motivate myself to work out. Actually, that’s not true, I almost have to motivate myself to take a rest day. Rest day, fuck that shit, I need more miles! I want to run farther, I want to do more jump rope, I want to sweat! It wasn’t always that way, however, and I’ll be brutally honest, I’m not sure what brought on this need for exercise.
Oh wait, yes I do. An old friend talked me into it, my old friend Ed. He and I go way back, actually I think I met him back in 2004, and we’ve spoken to each other daily ever since them. Most people hate him, but thats okay, he’s my buddy. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if he didn’t watch and follow my every mood. Everyone should have a friend like mine, Ed, he’s the best.
Take for instance, my birthday a couple of years back. Ed traveled with a bunch of us to our condo at the beach for my birthday week. The entire week he and I hung on the beach, went kayaking in the ocean, we even flew kites (which I always though was for dorks, but it was a blast). All week he kept reminding me of my big birthday coming up, the big 29. When the big day rolled around, he was the first person to remind me that it was my birthday. As I got ready to head out for my birthday breakfast, which was of my choice – liver mush and grits – I took a long look in the mirror. Ed said this day was going to be tough, he was right.
I went out to see a my family and Ed ready to throw their arms around me and cheer “happy birthday!!!” I say down and was served a big heaping helping if my favorite breakfast, and I ate the hell out of it. Then I had another bowl, and another bowl. When all was said and done I ate almost a half pound of liver mush and about four cups of cooked grits. Ed cheered me on, reminding me it was my birthday and I should indulge myself.
Let’s just say the rest of my birthday went down hill. I made myself sick after consuming all that food and tried to hide it from the rest – but it didn’t work. The rest of the day followed suit. I punished myself for my breakfast binge and Ed reminded me of it on the beach. I don’t think I took off my swimsuit cover up the entire day because of my bloated abused belly. When dinner time rolled around we all went out to my favorite beach restaurant and I picked my food over. I even got a complimentary birthday pie, which I shared with the kids, but felt like even the few bites I took mad eye feel awful. Ed really sort of ruined my birthday, but I guess I did too. The next day I worked out all morning and promised myself to eat better.
Ed and I also went on a vacation a few years back to Louisville. He and I adventured all day and did some amazing stuff. When we got back to the hotel room he suggested we order a pizza…. Which we did… A large…. And I ate the whole thing. Then Ed suggested we get some ice cream from the hotel lobby, which we did, and ate all that too. That entire “dinner” made me feel awful, and Ed was laughing at me about it. He said “you know what you have to do.”
The next morning he woke me up at about six am, begging me to go to the workout room. I dragged my sorry ass down to the gym and punished myself on the elliptical. I pushed harder than I should have and pulled a muscle in my leg. He laughed, and even though he didn’t think it’d hurt my feelings it did. The rest of that trip I limped along, and Ed kept laughing about it.
Today Ed showed up this morning, before I could even brush my hair or scratch my butt. He said “you sorry son of a bitch, you lost your job, you’re broke, you’re pathetic. Look at you, flabby and broke, I still love you though.” Meekly I smiled and acknowledged his statement, but didn’t respond that I loved him too, because I don’t. He put his big ole arm around me, like old friends do, and said “there’s brownies in the kitchen, that’ll make you feel better.” I agreed and went on in and faced the brownies, still atop the stove where they were last night. I cut myself a sliver, a tiny sliver and let the chocolate melt on my tongue. It was amazing, the sweetness, the softness, all combining into an instant mood lift. Ed pointed at the brownies and nodded, and before I could think it through, I found myself sawing of another sliver, then another, and another. They were disappearing quickly, and Ed noticed. He slapped me in the back of my head and said “you fat pig, you ate half the pan of cookies”.
It hurt me, it stung, but he was right, I was a fat pig. I went about my day, hating myself, and wanting to feel better. I wanted my self esteem back, and Ed agreed what we needed to do to try and get it back – run. Just like after the pizza and so may other binges that Ed suggested I go on, he was urging me to get to the gym.
I got on the treadmill, by other friend. I ran, I almost wanted to hurt myself just so that I could stop running, but I didn’t. I focused on the run. One foot infront of the other, left right, left right, keep running! Keep pushing, go further. The sweat started to accumulate on my neck and my running pants were all twisted and uncomfortable but I was compelled to keep plodding along. My legs felt like bricks and my arms flapped at my sides like fish out of water. I was moving, I was exercising, I HAD to burn off those brownies and gummy snacks and burger and peanut butter and jelly. I had to get it out, I didn’t get rid of it earlier. I didn’t throw up, I didn’t use laxatives, I wad going to exercise it out.
Ed likes that. He likes it when I push myself passed my comfort zone while working out. There is a threshold of where you’re doing good for your body and when you just start hurting yourself. I made the decision today not to listen to Ed, he got pissed, but I really didn’t care. When I was walking to the showers he pointed out my silhouette in the window and balked “ugh, why didn’t you push harder! Look at that gut, why can’t you do anything right! If you want to be loved by anyone at anytime, you better get that shit sorted out.”
Ed and I are fighting right now, on the way home as I’m writing this. He’s looking over my shoulder every thirty seconds asking “you’re not really going to post that, are you?”.
Yes, Ed, yes I am. (read that you turd, I hate you)
For those of you that don’t know Ed, it’s what we in the eating disorder crowd refer to our eating disorder as (get it, Ed Eating Disorder). In the spirit of eating disorder awareness week, I wanted to touch on a subject of eating disorders that is often times overlooked – compulsive exercise.
Compulsive exercise is a form of an eating disorder that sort of skirts along the border of body dysmorphic disorder as well. The same way that people teary and regulate their food by certain means, they can do the same with exercise too. It’s a double edged sword. When I was 72 lbs and needed to gain weight I thought I was doing good by trying to gain muscle mass. I would go to the gym everyday, getting up at 445 am to drive 45 minutes to the gym to get there right when they opened. I then wouldn’t leave the gym until I had exhausted myself to the point that I’d actually look forward to leaving just because I’d get to sit down to drive. This actually caused more harm to my body overall, causing permanent bone and muscle damage. What some people thought was a healthy habit was really just a manifestation of Ed in a different way.
Compulsive exercise also got me in trouble when I first started into running. I wanted ftp go further and faster than everyone else, but instantly. I ran every day – pushing limits of physical capabilities – starving myself to become lighter – making excuses for leaving work to go on running events. I was addicted to running, because Ed convinced me that it would give me that sleek runners body I had dreamed of having. I was running one day, after restricting all week preparing for an event, and something just tore. I’m still not sure what it was – some muscle/tendon/band/magical connector from my inner groin to my knee. My leg flopped to the side and I crumbled in pain. Lack of nutrition and pushing so hard caused injury. I was on crutches for weeks and to this day my leg is still crooked, it never healed.
I go to the gym, and of course Ed tags along, but I approach it a little different than I used to. I actually listen to my body. Today, I observed a few different types of people, all of which I wanted to run up to and hug, a few that I could tell where there and miserable.
The first was a heavier set girl with a beautiful face. She seemed very timid, but she was giving it her all. She was busting her butt on the elliptical machine, then I saw her working with a trainer. She had this look of frustration, sadness, and embarrassment all at once. I could tell she didn’t want to be there, not mentally, but physically. She was pushing herself so hard, with such intensity, I can only imagine how hard she is on herself.does she have ed following her around?
There was a guy who also seemed to have his friend Ed with him. (yes, guys have friends named Ed too) this guy walked back and forth looking at all the machines, but also looking at the people on the machines. He ended up going on a treadmill and just walking for a few minutes. What was he afraid of by the weight machines? Sure, he didn’t have a visible set of guns on him, but the way he was looking at those weights you could tell he wanted some. He looked long and hard, almost like he wanted someone to show him how or tell him it was okay. Why does he want to have guns in the first place, does he feel inadequate?
The last was a trainer who, although exceptionally fit, seemed like the ugliest person in the world. For some reason as I was doing my stretching she kept looking at me with this almost glaring eye, and if I didn’t know anything better I’d think she knew me. She kept glancing over, I didn’t get it, it made me feel uncomfortable. Was I not working out hard enough, was I not stretching right? I could almost see lines of criticism coming from her and bouncing off me, and it made me depressed. She had the look of “I know everything about fitness and everyone is doing it wrong, but I can’t help everybody. All things fitness, she knew it. She lives breathes and sleeps fitness, it’s her life.
When something doesn’t feel right, or starts to take control of your life in uncomfortable ways, you’re looking at a possible disorder. Although compulsive working out doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with eating, it does fall into the healthy living and wellness category. A healthy lifestyle is ridden with balance in all areas including work and play. When playing becomes more like work, and when getting fit and taking care of yourself seems like a chore – YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.
Try something else, anything else, just don’t give up. It’s imperative to allow yourself to realize that what works for you may not work for others and vice versa. In the modern day of not only fashion magazines and television, were also faced with social media taunting us to be beautiful. The world is always suggesting something new and great, lotions to “zap” cellulite (I bought some), diet pills that give you a metabolism boost (bought those too), crazy athletic gear that is supposed to boost your endurance by lifting your mood (it’s a stretch, a study said you’re more likely to work out longer if you think you look good). All of these changes and purchases that can be replaced by one simple thing – balance – in all aspects of life.
Balance your intake of everything, not just diet and exercise. Take in more natural and less technology (except for my stuff), drink more water and enjoy the rest of your beverages even more when you have them, eat brownies but eat your veggies too. When we start putting up too many restrictions when we do slip and indulge its way too easy to go hog wild. Balance, just like doing a tree pose in yoga, everything has a place and when you put all of those parts in place (for to side of knee, hands over head holding palms together) you will be balanced. It’ll take a while to find where your exercise balance is. You shouldn’t look like you’re going to cry when you’re working out.
I ran four miles today, and the treadmill asked me if I wanted to have a summary emailed to me. High tech bullshit. Of course I said yes and voila, there it was in my inbox. It said I ran two and a half miles, I panicked. I looked it over and felt my stomach begin to churn. I knew I had ran 4.2 miles, I do it every day in the same way because it’s where my balance is, it’s what makes me happy. I started accusing myself for being slow and fat, and what was up until that point a good run turned sour quickly. I hung my head and pouted, why?!?
It wasn’t until after I had come down from the runners high that I realized that the world isn’t perfect and technology damn sure isn’t perfect. Just two days prior when I was on my run the calibration was way off and after 45 minutes of running it said I had only burned 12.5 calories. Even then I was disheartened, that’s not even a reeses cup, it ruined my workout. Technology had failed my run yet again. I’m not going to let it happen anymore, technology had no business in my personal exercise plan business. It just messes with my mind.
Balance. Listen to your body, not numbers on the machine (be it treadmill scales or other). Strive to be healthy, not somebody else.