Sneaky brain

Today was a lifting day and another marginal day at the gym. I think this is more a function of my mood overall than any problem with the gym. When I got there, the locker room was closed (maintenance was doing work in there). So I waited 15 minutes, they finished up, and I got to go in and change– then I realized I left my towel upstairs in my office so I had to go back up (in my gym clothes, of course) to fetch it. Finally, I got to the actual working out part. I increased the weight for pec flys to 20lb in each hand and it didn’t go well– I lost control of one of the weights on the 3rd rep, it fell below the range of motion where I could lift it back up, and I dropped the dumbbell. I don’t think I’m ready for 20lb yet, so back to 15lb for a little longer. No squats today, but I did do lots of situps (3 sets of 30, hey!) and doubled up the rest of my core stuff. Stretching out, I realized just how wrecked my legs are– my calves, my knees, my hamstrings, quads, and hips– it’s all a mess. “Everything below the waist is kaput!”

(TW: Weight loss talk)
I’ve been at this HAES and FA thing for years now, so you would think that I’m pretty good at it by this point, right? Not so much. During this past month my weight fluctuated down for an unknown reason, then bounced back up again after a week or two. I had the reaction you might expect to all this, and that’s a good reason that I shouldn’t weigh myself– to avoid getting on that roller coaster again. But the experience has been a diet trigger for me (my low mood isn’t helping this at all) and I’m finding all kinds of excuses to entertain these thoughts.

The problems with my foot and knee have been ongoing, and sometimes I feel as if I should try to see if losing weight will help. I’ve tried strengthening my quads, and stretching out really well and wearing supportive shoes, and it has helped a bit– but essentially, these are overuse injuries, though the threshold to get to “overuse” seems very low to me.

It seems to me that the sane, HAES answer is simply to do less running and substitute activity that’s less taxing for my lower body. But I have this emotional investment in running now– I want to be better at it, and I’m working hard but my body doesn’t always cooperate. (By the way, this response isn’t unique to me– thin runners have just as hard a time backing off after injury.) There’s a very sneaky part of my brain that says “Instead of changing your routine to what your body can handle without injury, why not change your body?” Of course, that’s not a guarantee of anything, since thin runners are also injured frequently. Not that I could get to thin, anyway? Sneaky brain, your argument has more holes than my favorite socks.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me fighting my own impulses, but there’s this whole fitspo complex that supports the imagery of fit=thin, media pushing weight loss for health, and the
diet-industrial industry making sure we never feel satisfied with our bodies. It’s damn hard to isolate myself from that.

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1 Response to Sneaky brain

  1. I have been having the same issue with weight! I follow HAES, granted I just started this year, so I don’t focus on my weight, I focus on my healthy behaviors. Still… I have to be weighed for my medication monitoring, & it’s only every month or two but I find myself getting either anxious or excited depending on how I feel about my weight. I have considered asking her to check it & write it down so I don’t have to see the number, but a part of me really wants to see it (plus, I’m a bit of a numbers geek so up or down I like seeing it).

    I have come to the conclusion it’s this idea we’ve been sold that if we do this, this, & this we’ll lose weight. Weight loss is supposed to be my reward for all this hard work, & if I’m not losing weight then clearly I’m not working hard enough. The feelings are still there, but I’ve at least felt better at dealing with them now that I’ve identified while I feel that way.

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