I have a love- hate relationship with my body. My entire adult life has been a series of “Ok, I am serious here… I am going to get fit. I am going to eat all the healthy food. I am going to exercise. I am going to drop all of this weight. I am going to fit into all of those clothes I have shamefully outgrown. I’ve got this.” A month or two, a week, or maybe even a day later and I would slip back into my bad habits and eventually find myself right back where I started.
Earlier this year, thanks to the Facebook “on this day” feature, I finally had a mini-epiphany about this: this is the exact same struggle that I’ve had my entire adult life. Seeing post after post about how I was “making progress” and doing this thing and that thing really made it sink in. This happens year after year, and yet nothing has stuck. It made me ask myself “Why did I stop? Why were those efforts not enough to keep me going?”
The closest I can pinpoint to the origin of this love/hate, cyclical relationship that I have with my body is probably around my freshman year of college. I know everyone talks about the infamous “freshman fifteen,” but there was something else. I could tell something different was going on with my body. I wasn’t totally sure what that something was, but I knew that something wasn’t altogether right. I went almost my entire freshman year of college without a monthly cycle. I gained weight at a much more rapid rate than the other girls around me. Things just seemed off.
How a PCOS Diagnosis Became an Enabler
It wasn’t until the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college that I finally went to the doctor to try and sort through my body’s issues. It was at this point that I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. At that point all I heard was “you’ll gain weight, have trouble losing that weight, probably grow hair in weird places, have irregular cycles, and chances are, you’ll have extreme difficulty getting pregnant when you’re ready.” Sounds scary, right? Try telling that to an 18-year-old. From that point on, I now realize I used what the doctor told me that day as an enabler for my bad habits.
From time to time I would start feeling guilty about the weight that I had put on and try to do something, anything to change my body. I tried diets, exercise, lifestyle changes, pills, regimens, and just about anything you can think of to lose weight and none of it stuck. I had a desire to be healthier, but in the back of my head there was always this self-defeating voice that told me none of my efforts mattered anyway because I would always have PCOS.
Finally Getting on the Same Team
Several months ago I decided to really take action and get a handle on my weight. I am not entirely sure if there was that one moment where things truly clicked for me. I I do know that living the rest of my adult life unhappy with my body is not an option that I am ok with. I started to see a nutritionist. I started to plan my meals and be conscious about what I was putting in my body. I committed to working out. My progress has been slow — painfully slow at times, but steady. My nutritionist recommended Erin Motz’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge to keep me working towards my goals on a daily basis. Through this recommendation, I connected with the Bad Yogi community and eventually, the Perfect Body Yoga Program.
In the middle of the Perfect Body Yoga program one of the weekly mantras is “My body and I are on the same team. We can do this.” During the weekly meditation I realized that this whole time I have been treating my body like the enemy- we haven’t been on the same team — and that’s why my “healthy living” escapades have only been short lived. Instead of celebrating my body, I tried to conquer and convert it.
So why this time, these efforts? How is this any different from times in the past? I think it’s because this time my body and I finally ARE on the same team. My body has always been there, willing and ready. It’s just that my mind is finally in the right place to meet it. My body wants to change. It wants to be healthy. It wants me to be happy. But this time around I’m also actually listening to my body, I’m more in tuned with what it’s telling me. And THAT is teamwork.