For those of you that know me well or have read a lot of my blog posts, you know that I have a complicated relationship with food, and have struggled with my body image for most of my adolescence. I’m definitely less preoccupied with my weight now than I have been in the past, but that may just be because I’ve gotten very good at controlling it. I weigh myself regularly, and if I notice my weight increasing even the slightest bit above what I think it should be, I feel a little “less than,” even if I know rationally that it’s just a temporary fluctuation, and even if I know that it’s just because I ate a ton of broccoli the night before that has yet to clear my digestive tract.
I like to think I’m more concerned with my health than my weight, but deep down I’m still terrified of losing control and gaining weight. Because I’m vegan now, there are a lot of fattening foods I won’t even consider eating anymore, but I still fret about drinking my calories or eating spontaneously when I haven’t planned to. For instance, if I accidentally spill more dressing on my salad than I intended, the thought of those extra calories will bother me slightly at least until I get on the scale again and see a number I like. Typing this out so honestly, I feel like I sound crazy, but I hope this resonates with someone out there.
Of late, this preoccupation with weight has been at the forefront of my mind because I have an injury that’s preventing me from engaging in my normal workout routine. I twisted my ankle, and it’s taking a while to heal. I can’t do any of the cardio I would normally do, like spinning and running and Zumba, and I love my cardio. It makes me feel great and definitely relieves stress, but, like many people, I also associate it with maintaining my weight. I have actually become convinced on an intellectual level in the last few years that the amount of exercise that I and most non-athletes engage in does not really affect one’s weight (especially at my size), but at the same time I still fear that I’ll gain weight if I’m not exercising and don’t eat less to compensate for it.
I have been pleased to find that I am not gaining any noticeable weight while I’m not working out, but it also bothers me that that is still my main concern. I definitely feel fortunate that my anxiety in this regard is not much worse, because I know it is for many people. But I think if I want to make my career about changing the way people eat and promoting a healthful relationship to food, I need to practice what I preach and really work on healing my own.