when your body can't do what it used to

Quick note: I want to acknowledge off the top that I have a lot of privilege, one of those being that I am an able-bodied person. I talk a lot about movement in this post but I want to acknowledge that 1) not all bodies can move so freely and 2) the experience of your body being capable of less might be much different if it’s due to chronic illness or something other than natural deconditioning (or whatever you want to call it). My hope with this post is to provide some food for thought but I recognize that this may not resonate depending on your lived experience. If this sounds like a sensitive topic for you, I might encourage you to skip this post. If not, I hope that there’s something here that rings true for you, dear reader! I’m so glad you’re here.

Last week, I went to a yoga class for the first time in awhile (8 months? 10 months?) Yoga is something I wish I did more regularly and at one time I did, but now I’m super selective about the classes/teachers I’ll go to (No weight loss/fitness talk! No yoga practices being co-opted by diet culture! Do not talk to me about bikini season! Do not force me to do crunches and pretend that it’s some ancient practice!)

My relationship with exercise has been somewhat complicated over the years. There was a time in my life where I absolutely abused exercise in all its forms. Yoga at that time served only to burn more calories and I forced myself to go to the heated “power” classes, pretending that it helped with my mental health but not really fooling anyone. Yoga was basically an hour of forcing my body to do things that it didn’t want to do while it begged for sivasana so it could finally get a few minutes of forced rest.

It was not great. 

My relationship with yoga has waxed and waned throughout the years - sometimes going once or twice a week if I found a studio/teacher I liked and sometimes taking months at a time without doing a single intentional yoga pose. That being said, there were times where I certainly considered myself a “yogi” doing box poses against the wall, inversions, vinyasa-ing the day away, taking Bikrim classes a few days a week. 

So when I went back to yoga last week, I expected my body to lag a little bit but I didn’t expect that I would totally forget basic poses - which is exactly what happened (I’m sorry, what’s a crescent moon again?) I showed up to class and realized as the teacher was guiding us into poses that there are poses my brain and/or body completely forget how to do. Because my body had changed. It lost some of its muscle memory, it lost some of its muscle in general. It wasn’t used to be stretched out like taffy and I found I was much more inflexible than I remember being. It felt like my body was straggling throughout the class.

There was a time in my life that I would have been angry or frustrated or disappointed that “I let myself go” or got “out of shape” (I’m sorry, what shape is that?). I didn’t feel any of that this time and I actually found myself laughing as I fumbled along throughout the hour. The idea that my worth or even health is somehow determined by what my body can do is bullshit sold to us by diet culture. Don’t get me wrong- our bodies do cool shit all the time and we should acknowledge and celebrate that. But they don’t define us  (also: it’s hella ableist to imply that they do but that is a conversation for another post).

Add happy_ Maybe you could crush a Crossfit workout but were you at peace with yourself when you came home at the end of the day_ Which values were you living by then and which do you want to be living by now_ What m.png

The bottom line is whether or not I fall out of my crow pose, I’m still a good person. If I can’t twist as deeply as I used to, it doesn’t mean a damn thing about my health status. If my body can’t navigate its way through a vinyasa, it’s still doing pretty cool things like keeping me alive and letting me walk around and explore the world.

If you’re struggling with your body changing, no matter what those changes are, I would invite you to do a little digging. Think back to the time you’re longing for. Maybe you could run six miles, but were you happy? Maybe you could crush a Crossfit workout but were you at peace with yourself when you came home at the end of the day? Which values were you living by then and which do you want to be living by now? What meaning did movement take on for you then and what are you still carrying with you now?

What your body is capable of is not indicative of who you are as a person. And the cool thing about bodies is that they are always changing (case in point? I went back to that yoga class today and knocked that crescent moon pose out of the park). So wherever your body is today - it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be that way forever, for better or worse. As long as we live on this planet, our bodies are going to continue to change so we might as well settle in and get to know each other.

Cover photo by Fabian Møller

my post-vacation detox plan

It’s been awhile but I’m finally back with a new blog post- my life has been a series of transitions for the last few months but I’m hoping as things settle down, I’m able to spend more time writing more posts about intuitive eating, eating disorder recovery, and Health at Every Size (among others). I’m also hoping to share some snippets of my personal life as well because some of you have expressed interest and also that’s personally what I enjoy reading on other people’s blogs. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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my post-vacation detox plan


Similar to my last post, this one is inspired by a recent trip I took. At first, I thought how odd it is that they both inspired me to write something here considering I really don’t travel very often- then I realized it’s really not that odd given all the bullshit diet culture ideas I harbored around food and travel, all the articles I used to read about how to “stay on track” while traveling and the best way to detox and reset our bodies when we get home.

So I wanted to share a little bit about how I’m detoxing this week after a weeklong vacation. If you follow me, it will come as no surprise that I find most detoxes and cleanses to be bullshit, forcing you to pay hundreds of dollars for something your liver and kidneys are perfectly capable of doing (even if you do have any issues with renal/liver function, a week of $300 juices is not going to be your cure). There’s no need to cleanse or detox- your body is very well-equipped to rid itself of toxins and absorb nutrients when you eat something. No lemon cayenne fire water is going to make that process any more efficient.

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Yet there is a remarkable number of people and companies eager to tell you how to “reset” your body after any sort of indulgence as if we need to rid ourselves of the positive and joyous eating experiences we have after vacations, holidays, or social events. Here’s the thing: I don’t want to reset. I very much want to remember eating full Irish breakfasts, eating fish & chips at a pub in Galway, and drinking a pint of Guinness in Dublin. I don’t want to rid my body of food and drink I had while I was enjoying myself; rather, I want to make sure that food nourishes every part of me. And that’s the same whether it’s a weeklong vacation in another country, a meal with people I love, a holiday celebration, or any other meaningful eating occasion. I don’t need or want to rid myself of it. The nourishment it provides (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) can hang around for as long as it wants, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not hoping to forget about it any time soon.

So my detox this week - and my hope for you next time you feel like you have “overindulged” - is ridding myself of the notion that food, joy, or pleasure ever needs to be compensated for. Letting go of the idea that I need to eat salad and drink charcoal rather than tuning in and listening to what my body needs (last night, that meant a salad; today it was mac and cheese and roasted veggies). Cleansing myself of the perception I held for years that I have to strap on my running shoes and “make up” for my vacation with a few extra miles. I’m also letting go of the idea that I can only check out of social media/obsessively checking emails on my phone because I’m on vacation and finding ways to carry that in my everyday life. I’m cleansing myself of the notion that adequate sleep and leisurely walks can only happen outside of my day-to-day routine. I’m letting go of any idea that pleasure is just for special occasions and life is something to slog through otherwise.

And that, my friends, is a pill much easier to swallow than any shady detox nonsense I paid half my salary for.

food travel tips + more road trip thoughts

food travel tips + more road trip thoughts

If you've ever struggled with disordered eating or have been stuck in the diet mindset, you're likely familiar with the panic/anxiety/fear that comes with any sort of trip or vacation. And I get it- there are so many things that make traveling a challenge when you have a poor relationship with food. Recently, I found myself on a 10-hour road trip (when I say recently, I mean 5 weeks ago and this post has slowly but surely been in the works since then) and I was reminded of how several years ago, spending multiple hours sitting in a car without access to my "safe" foods was my worst nightmare.

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You Don't Have to Deserve Your Food

You Don't Have to Deserve Your Food

Recently, I was talking to one of my clients about the need to "deserve" food. This is a narrative I hear from a lot of people (and one that's reinforced by the culture at large). Truly, how many times have you heard someone tell you they deserve to have dessert because they did XYZ activity today. I can hardly go out to eat without overhearing someone say "oh come on, you deserve it!" whether it's to dessert, a second drink, a meal that they would consider "bad". I should make it clear that I fully support their decision to order any of these things if they want it but it has nothing to do with whether they deserve it (they do).

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