“It’s not you, it’s me, but we just can’t be together any more…I’m sorry…”
This week I have thought, then whispered, then stated these words, defiantly.
No…it’s not the world’s shortest marriage! It’s a conversation I am having with my FitBit*.
*(other step counters and smart watches also apply)
I’m sorry, FitBit; I know we have been together for such a long time and have shared so much fun together. We have been to some amazing places, and you have counted my steps – every single one of them – literally every step of the way. I mean, if you weren’t there, did I even work out??
I have hovered at the top of the FitBit leaderboard for weeks at a time and, when my trusty friend beeps at me to say I haven’t done 250 steps in *this* hour, I have got up and walked…or waved my arm around in the car as I drive…(surely it’s not just me who does that?!).
But I’m having something of a midlife crisis I think, and I’m completely re-evaluating diet and exercise and body image and self esteem and I am terrified and excited about this, in equal measure, and I want to share it with you at this point; the point where I have so many more questions than answers; the point where I don’t really know what I can do or be or become; the point where I feel challenged right to the very core of my being; this point, where I realise in a scarily profound way that I have been a slave to ‘being thin’ for at least the last 30 years, probably longer. And it has to stop. Beginning with the loss of my FitBit!
We have just come back from a glorious honeymoon, which was wonderful in every way. We sampled some of the most amazing food and wines from the stunningly beautiful wine regions of Western Australia. We have eaten and drunk our way around the Swan River and Margaret River, and beyond, and it has been blissful. And as we have travelled, so I have been reading a book called STRONGER (you can find it here… https://www.amazon.com.au/Stronger-Changing-Everything-Womens-Strength/dp/1529050812/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=stronger&qid=1636535621&sr=8-9)
In this book, Poorna Bell writes some incredible truths that have been hidden from me for decades. She writes that exercise can simply be for fun (what? Not for burning the most calories and ‘getting rid’ of last night’s curry?!). She says that exercise can be used simply to get fit and to become strong. And I never knew, not fully, that this was true. Society, the patriarchy, social media, and my own inner voice, have all told me that exercise is to get thin, stay thin, maybe get fit (but only to help with the thin thing)…and if you happen to enjoy it then you’re lucky, but, even if you don’t, you have to do it anyways because otherwise you will be F A T – and there’s nothing worse than that.
Friends, this inner voice talks bullshit. And she needs to be taught to sit down and shut up.
So I find myself here, on 10th November 2021, almost certainly weighing more than I ever have before (because I’ve not counted a single calorie since England, and I haven’t topped the leaderboard on my FitBit either), wanting so desperately to be free of this addiction to what the scales say…wanting to be free from the obsession over how many bloody steps I’ve taken today…wanting, really longing, to know the answers to some of these questions…
- What does it feel like to be hungry?
- What does it feel like to be comfortably full and then STOP eating?
- Why is my sense of self worth tied up in what I weigh?
- What if the ‘some foods are good and some foods are bad’ premise is actually a lie?!
- What if exercise was purely for fun??
- What would happen if I never weighed myself again, and just ate what I fancied, when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full???
You might be reading this and thinking ‘you can’t really mean that?’ but, genuinely, truly and honestly, I don’t know the answers to these questions but MAN, I want to find out. And I am determined to go on a journey of discovery to try to answer them because I’ve tried the whole diet-exercise-binge-starve-gain-lose-self-love-self-loathe cycle for way too long and it’s not right.
I would go as far as to say it’s not what God wants for me! I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Psalm 139 tells me so. And my addictions and obsessions do not lead me to live life in all its abundance, as promised in John 10:10. I’ve got it wrong. Really wrong.
And. I. Am. Done.
So, I am breaking up with my FitBit first. And I am going to walk along the beach because IT IS STUNNING and it is only 2 blocks away and because it makes my heart and soul glad and gives me space to thank the Creator of it all – and not because I have to hit 15,000 steps.
And I am going to try every last one of the crazy workouts available to me in this amazing part of the world – if they sound like fun to me. And if I enjoy them, I will do them again – BECAUSE THEY ARE FUN, not to burn off food that was delicious.
And, can I also say, I am scared of this? I am worried about embarking on this stage of the journey. And I don’t quite understand what my fear is (except the irrational fear that, as I said, I will get fat…and my brain is conditioned to believe that fat is bad…which is absolutely wrong).
So I am committing to blogging about it because it feels significant (to me) and maybe like something others might have thoughts and feelings about. I would love to know what you think.
Right: first up…aerial yoga!!
Go for it Gemma. I think it’s called contentment xx
Your weight, height, scales etc. Do not define who you are… it took me years to realise that (and I do wobble about the realisation far more often than I should!)
Your blogging will, I am sure, be of help to others… keeeeep blogging! (Say that as at the end of Strictly)
Wise words-looks like you have really found your happy place.Good luck to you both x
I’m starting on a guilt trip, cos that’s what I do!! If I’ve done this to you, Precious Girl, then I’m sorry. Having a dad that was as far around as he was tall didn’t help….but I commit to being better and right alongside you in this. Your Mum xxxx
You didn’t do it to me! Society did, and social media, and the patriarchy, and publications, and life, and subliminal messaging, and, and, and… But it’s good that you think you could’ve managed it all single-handedly! 😉
You might find Christy Harrison and Aubrey Gordon among others useful friends on this journey. Both have podcasts and books. And then there is HAES (Lindo Bacon etc). And then from the fitness/medical side there’s Tally Rye, Meg Boggs and Dr Joshua Wolrich. 😊
This makes a lot of sense to me Gemma being a person who never knows what my body weight is and when my clothes get tight think I must be a bit more careful about what I eat. Life is to short to deprive and worry ourselves over simple pleasures like food. Enjoy your new found freedom ❤❤❤
You have given me plenty to think 🤔 about. Always enjoy all your blogs. Glad you have enjoyed your honeymoon. You look wonderful, relaxed and happy xx
Gemma, it is just so wonderful to have you with us here. Thank you for the precious gift of your presence as our priest. You have already given a great lift to our spirits.