Victories and Thoughts

Way back on the 7th Janurary when I first started running, I went to Albert Park to do a few laps:

I wasn’t even sure if I could make 2 laps of the lake but was determined to
try. The first time around I did some running and some walking. They have
markers every 500 metres and I thought to myself, I’d really love to be able to
run the whole 500
metres without stopping. When I got to the 2.5 km point, I
thought bugger it, I’ll give it a go. So I started running and running and
thought the next marker would never come. Then I say it and I was like – woohoo!
I did it. Then I was like – shit, I’m going to die. So I walked some more and
ran some more.

Second lap around, I thought well I ran 500 metres last time, I’ll try it
again. I ran the 500 metres and when I got to the marker I thought I’d just keep
going for a little bit. Then a little bit more. My legs were so heavy and I was
going at the slowest jogging speed ever but I told myself to just keep going.
And, woohoo! I ran a whole kilometres without stopping. I did it.

I finished that post by saying:

Before I left, I said to the lake – “I’ll be back and one day I’ll run you without stopping.” The lake was just like – “whatever”. But that day is coming.

So yesterday I did it. I ran a full lap of the lake. I probably could have done it sooner but I didn’t have my car. Let me tell you, it was the hardest 5 km run. I think I’ve overdone it this week. I’ve had 2 weeks of being sick and doing NO exercise so instead of having an easy week, I’ve done 6 days straight of hard cardio plus two PT sessions.

I had to run to the loo after I’d finished the lap and was debating with myself whether to do a second. I didn’t feel all that well but figured even walking a second lap was better than nothing. But, as I walked out of the toilet block, it started raining so I headed to the car instead.

I should have felt fantastic, knowing I’d achieved something that had seemed so impossible to me at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t. Instead I felt a huge burden of guilt and disappointment because I’d only done 5 km. I should have kept on going and made it 10.

Of course doing another lap in the rain probably wouldn’t have been good for my cold.

On the way over to the lake, I got stuck in bad traffic (damn Disney on Ice – I shake my fist angrily at you) so I had lots of time to think and kind of had a bit of an epiphany. I’m an emotional eater and I’ve always thought of that as a bad thing but maybe it’s not all bad, maybe I do it for a reason. See I’m kind of slow and simple about some things and that includes realising what’s going on with me emotionally. I think I’m fine but there are storms brewing below the surface.

The emotional eating is like a barometer of my mental state or, I guess, a culinary mood ring. Instead of seeing these eating phases as some kind of monster I need to fight, I should look at them as a symptom of something greater. I’ve always figured eating is my issue, using food to deal with my feelings is the issue but yesterday, I had this blinding flash:

The issue is the issue.

It’s not about food or weight or controlling my urges. It’s about finding out what’s really going on and tackling the cause, not the symptom. And not doing it because I want to lose a few kilos either. Doing it because I want to be strong and healthy on the inside. Just like the eating is a symptom of something deeper, the weight loss should be a perk of fixing everything else.

It’s taken me a long time to realise this, that I’ve had everything arse up. And I don’t know how to go about fixing it. It’s so much easier to control the externals – to do the exercise and eat the right food – than to try to unwind the big mess tangled up inside. Even when I saw my shrink, I only did it because I thought dealing with that stuff would help me loss weight.

From now on, I’m going to change my focus. Weight loss is all well and good – and don’t worry, I’ll still obsess over it all but the more weight I lose, the more I realise it doesn’t bring happiness. I mentioned in a previous post about getting so many compliments about my weight loss last weekend. I felt like that should have given me a real lift, but it didn’t. Not because I’m one of those people who hate compliments – bring them on – but because every time someone mentioned how I’d done so well and how I should be proud of myself, inside I kept thinking “no, I’m not doing well. I’ve been trying to lose these last 5 kilos for months”. Of course I didn’t say that out loud. I smiled and thanked them but I felt like a fraud.

Lately too, I’ve been thinking a lot about plastic surgery – watching tv shows and reading magazines. Plastic surgery worries me. I have this feeling you could start and never stop. Once you start on a quest for physical perfection, for being just a little bit better, there is always something more you can do. The technology is out there to fix *everything* if you have the money and the inclination but should you fix it?

We get old. Our bodies fall apart and, eventually, you die. You can slow down the process but you can’t stop it. You can improve the quality of the life you have but in the end the results are the same. Our social ideal of beauty centres around youth but every year, every day we move further and further away from it.

I guess in some ways that is totally depressing but the way to fight it is be happy with who we are at this present moment, to reject the idea of perfection. Love the flabby belly and the not so toned bits. Enjoy the wrinkles and the grey hairs. Celebrate who we are, not the person we *could* be.


13 responses to “Victories and Thoughts

  1. What an emotional rollercoaster of a post kathryn! Ha ha!
    I was cheering you on, then I was depressed that I was going to die, then I was loving my wrinkles and feeling uplifted!

    Kudos on the running .. you’re my inspiration! Cheers.

  2. Aren’t women just like that? It’s genetic I think. It’s impossible to take a compliment without our brains trying to knock us back to our places. Like our heads are saying “uppity woman, who does she think she is? She still has…however much…left to lose. She can’t take that compliment!”

    I’m so proud of you for the run. Really. It gives me hope. Because I can’t run at all. Less than three minutes, and then I my heart rate is so high that I’m afraid I’m going to have a stroke. But I’m getting there. Slowly. Surely. I think you rock!

  3. I totally agree with you – losing weight doesn’t necessarily make you happy, neither does it solve your problems – they are still around unless you have dealt with them but it does mean that you are thinner when you have to deal with them. I was quite upset when I realised that losing weight wasn’t going to solve my other problems because I had always said “When I am thinner – this won’t be so bad” – but it is unless I’ve dealt with it.
    I think you were wise not to run the second lap of the lake especially in the rain but I can completely understand how you would have felt guilty about not doing it – sometimes you need to remember that less isn’t necessarily not good enough.
    Have a great week and look after yourself !

  4. Be proud of what you have acheived. Never forget your past but look forward to the future. Plastic surgery isn’t the way. Love yourself with yout imperfections.

  5. Celebrate who we are, not the person we *could* be

    What a great quote!

  6. Congrats in doing that run!!!!

  7. Great post Kathryn πŸ™‚

    You’ve done so well with your 5K run so don’t think anything otherwise, do you hear me? πŸ˜‰

    You’re so right – the issue is the issue, and I think that hits the nail on the head for alot of us. The easy bit is the healthy eating and exercise, the tough thing is dealing with the deep-seated stuff which caused us to use food self-destructively in the first place. All the best working through them Darl.

  8. Wow, a lightbulb moment here for me too! Instead of shrugging my shoulders and going ‘bloody emotional eating’ I need to stop and think – ‘What am I avoiding? What should I be thinking about and dealing with instead of stuffing food in my mouth?’

  9. Great post Kathryn! I feel every single one of these emotions you are expressing! I think it takes a lot of bloody courage to stop and ask yourself what the real issue is – many times it seems easier to cover it up – the only problem is that it always keeps bubbling up to the surface no matter how much you try to push it back down – we really only have the choice to address it so it can go away.

    Good luck on addressing your issues – I am still busy trying to face mine and CONGRATULATIONS on the run – I’m so glad you went back to show the lake what you could do! Don’t worry, there will be more opportunities to go back for the 10k

  10. Firstly I want to say well done for the 5km lap around the lake. That is an amazing achievement and you’d better stop beating yourself up about not doing 10!!! You did it and can only go further from here!
    I doubt that we’ll ever lose our emotional eating coping mechanism but the fact that you are thinking deeper and trying to find the real reasons is a great step.

  11. I remember that post where you said to the lake that you’d be back. And now you did it! WOOHOOO! That is awesome Kathryn, and you should be proud of yourself!

  12. oh man… what a great post. and well done on conquering the lake!

    i read this article by eve ensler, you know the Vagina Monologues chick. it was all about women and our quest for perfection, the diets and the fancy creams and plastic surgery – just all the goddamn ENERGY we devote in this pursuit; so much time and money.

    she was saying she was just as guilty of this as anyone, but imagine the things we could do with all that money and energy instead of using it to obsess about our flabby bits… think of all we could achieve and/or put back into the world instead. it really gobsmacked me… not entirely sure if my priorities are sound, you know?

    anyway sorry if that was a bit of a tangent but your post really got me thinkin’! hope writing it felt cathartic for ya somehow πŸ™‚

  13. “The issue is the issue”

    What a great line. And so true. Great post Kathryn.

    And whoo hooo on running the full lap. I am sure the lake waved when you left and thought to itself “She’ll be back – as soon as she gets out of the Disney on ice traffic”

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