Being “Healthy”

I have a complicated relationship with exercise.

Sometimes I say things like ” I run so I can eat pizza”.

How fucked up is that?!

Running isn’t supposed to be a punishment for eating. Eating shouldn’t be a reward for exercise. But, lately I’ve been finding myself in this mindset. I’ve committed to regaining some strength, to making time for myself, to making my heath a priority again, but really, how healthy am I being? Is it an actual mindset shift, or am I just punishing myself in the name of Being Healthy?

I love how energized I feel after a run, when I’ve ran further and faster than I thought I was capable of. I love how calm and focused my mind feels after a good yoga session, how strong I feel in my base, I feel like I’m in control of my body again. I don’t know why I fall into this trap of “you have to lose 5 more lbs! You ate a whole box of wings, you need to add extra miles this weekend!”

I think part of it is that I haven’t gotten control of my eating yet – I still do things like eat an entire pizza, or the whole box of wings. And not just every now and then – more often than I’d like to admit. I have no motivation to cook healthier, because it takes more time and that’s something I have so little of. So when I do things like this, I always end up on this mental loop of “You’re fat, you’re lazy, you have no self-control, your husband is going to leave you because you’re fat and lazy and no one wants to have sex with someone who’s fat and lazy.” So what do I do? Binge exercise, wear myself out, get no results because I have unrealistic expectations, and then eat because why not. Then I look in the mirror, say “look at that fucking gut” (read: post c-section sagging belly) and the cycle starts.

It’s a cliche, but I started to try to shift my mindset in January. No resolutions, just an attempt to bring myself back. Gentle weight loss, move more, eat more veggies. I’ve managed 1/3. I’ve rediscovered how much I love regular yoga. The weight keeps fluctuating – up 5, down 15, up 7, down 2, up 5, so on and so on -and for the most part I’ve stopped the late night binges. However, the healthy cooking habits are still a challenge, and I don’t want my kids to grow up with unhealthy relationships with food because I have unhealthy relationships with food. But even that seems to not be enough to really shift my mind.

So now here’s my conundrum. How do I force myself to eat better, create a better mindset around food and exercise, without it feeling like I’m punishing myself? Is there a mantra I can tell myself? Something new to help reframe my way of thinking? Obviously I need to speak more love to myself. Be kinder to myself. Everyone is their own worst critic, that’s what everyone keeps saying. Too bad my critic speaks so fucking loud.