I do have to warn you: today’s Trigger HAPPY Thursday may contain some triggers. If you aren’t ready for this, that’s okay. Just come back when you’re ready to have it out with the ED in your head.
Today’s happiness trigger is: Get the Body You’ve Always Wanted.
To do this, we’re going to start with a little exercise: Take out a piece of paper and a pen (if you still use such antiquated technologies) or open whatever app you’re using to record your thoughts.
Now, picture your “ideal body,” and jot down the answer to this question: What do I want?
Maybe that answer is to be thinner or more athletic or fit into a certain pair of jeans that you have hidden in the closet or deadlift more or any number of things.
Now, I want you to take that mental picture…and I want you to crumple up your piece of paper or hit delete on your app. And I want you to start fresh.
A few days ago, I had kind of an breakthrough. I was talking with a woman who is deep in the throes of her disorder–Whether it’s ana, mia, or any of of ED’s shape-shifting minions, it doesn’t matter. She could be any one of us who struggles with her relationship with food, her understanding of exercise, or her reflection in the mirror. The woman told me that her personal trainer posed a question to her: “what do you really want, and what are you willing to do to get it?”
Now, I know that this is a question that my inner personal trainer has asked me many times–when I was a calorie-starved cardio bunny, when I was a protein-bingeing figure model wannabe, when I was a nutrient-deprived vegan. And every time, the answer that came out–whether it was to have a better endurance, stronger deadlifts, or a deeper yoga practice–was always the answer that ED wanted to hear.
Really, my performance goals were aesthetic goals: to be as “toned” as the stars in the magazines, as ripped as the figure models in the supplement ads, as thin as the women who ran their vegan food blogs.
When asked what I really wanted, I could only come up with the surface answer: a performance goal tied to an aesthetic goal. And I was willing to do anything and everything I could to get it.
So here’s my question to you: what do YOU really want? Not what ED wants. YOU.
What do you want?
For me, I want:
- To be a fertile, functioning woman.
- To be free from routines and rules.
- To have time for friends, family, and lovers.
- To travel without freaking out about schlepping a TRX and hardboiled eggs.
- To enjoy rest and play more.
- To look in the mirror and not have a mean remark already queued up and ready to go;
- To be good enough. To be optimal. To be happy.
None of these things, by the way, are tied to my ultramarathon time or my place in a figure competition.
None of these things are quantifiable in physical performance or aesthetic goals.
None of these things are part of ED’s vocabulary. If I look and perform better as a result of less stress and more enjoyment, that’s a bonus. But first I have to wrest control over my story away from ED. I have to change the dialogue because, otherwise, I’m just going to relapse into the same old patterns, even if their expression changes.
So I dare you to get the body you’ve always wanted. The one you may not even realize you wanted, because you were so busy working for the body ED wanted you to have.
On a new sheet of paper, or in a different document, write down your list of wants–and don’t write them in ED’s language. Take control back and, while the reflection in the mirror might not have a six pack or be able to do a backbend, tell yourself that, as long as you are working toward making that list of wants come true, that the body you have is okay.
I promise: you will be okay.
If you feel comfortable sharing your list, leave me a comment below, or even contact me using the “Share your Story” button above. I’m listening.
Stay hungry, and keep triggering happy!