You know I used to be a personal trainer. I guess in fact I still am…I just am not actively practicing right now. I used to teach people how to use there bodies. I used to teach them how to loose weight, and get strong. Looking back I see it as ironic (if that is even the right use of the word), as while I was ‘teaching’ these very things I was doing the opposite with my own. I was sick with an eating disorder, and the funny thing… I never had more praise then of how perfect my body looked. How’s that for ass backwards?!
I’d like to take you back a bit to a time when I was an athlete. In grade 12 I ran cross-country. I was approached by Bill Stephens, a club coach at Phoenix Athletics, to join his team after a race in North Toronto. If I remember correctly he asked me if I wanted to be fitter than I’d ever been. Well how could I refuse an offer like that?! From that day forward running became my life.
At the University of British Columbia (UBC), I competed in the NAIA’s in cross-country and Track and field. I was one of the top of my team and even won an All-American title in my second year. We would travel down the coast and go to competitions in Washington, Oregon, California and even Kentucky. Here’s a really old video I found of a race in Long Beach California…
After two years out at UBC, however, I moved back to Toronto. I continued on training and competing with University of Toronto Track Club and even started working the steeplechase….
This pic here is actually from Junior Nats in first year when I ran for team BC.
I must admit I was never very good at the water pit…And even though I look ridic up top in this pic, it still makes me laugh… I don’t think steeplechase was really my race, but it gave me an edge and made me feel tough!
Anyways my life used to revolve around sport. The way I ate, slept, socialized, studied…you name it, everything was dependant on when my workouts were, when I had a competition, when I needed a day off, when I had an injury etc. Eventually I recognized the lifestyle I was creating as dysfunctional. Now you can absolutely be a healthy functional athlete, but I along with many others, was not in that category.
When I chose to end my ‘athletic career’, it was very hard to separate the positive aspects of the activity from the negative aspects of the disease. I am an all or nothing type person, and when I stopped training I stopped running altogether pretty much. Ultimately I had to sever the chord completely.
Over the years, I found yoga and although I still am very much connected to the athletic use of the body, yoga has taught me balance. It reconnected the mind to the physical self and helped one to love and appreciate the other. It taught me movement without abuse.
Recently I started running again. I hadn’t trained for over 4 years and two weeks ago I stepped on a track for the first time. It was a little nerve racking as my history, as described above, is both savoury and sweet. I wanted to challenge myself in my clearer healthier mental state though… and of course I’m not one to back down.
So there I was running 400 repeats and actually bangin’ them out in decent time. Considering I am in no shape to be running fast, I kind of couldn’t believe what my body was capable of. In fact I was so happy with my body I was practically in shock and still am. The next week, I was back on the track doing 800’s and I thought surely last week was a fluke, but then I ran my splits in the 800’s faster than I ran my 400’s the week before.
This all got me thinking! I love my body. I haven’t always and I still have days when the weight of my problems in life get taken out on the physical self, but it does not take away from how I overall care for my body.
Most of my life I really felt uncomfortable in my skin. It didn’t fit right, I didn’t feel it represented who I was and am, I saw it as a limitation, as a burden, and ultimately I didn’t see it for what it was…and is. In these last few weeks it dawned on me…I see my body. I can feel it like I’ve never felt it before, and I love it inside and out. It can do things for me that…and it sounds obvious, but that I couldn’t do without it!
When I love it, it does things for me I never thought it could do. It responds with respect admiration and service. Almost as if it has a life of it’s own and a mind that works separately from the intellectual and emotional mind. I almost view it now as a little puppy that just needs guidance and boundaries…it’s a really cute puppy too!
Not sure where all this came from, and I certainly don’t mean this to be a sappy, corny, cliche story of how I grew to love my body…I don’t mean for this to be a story of I’ve finally made either, because one I’m not sure if I was aiming for this, it just happened, and two I’m not anywhere but where I am, and there will continue to be struggle and joy just the same. But as I move forward what I aim to cultivate in myself, others and the world around me is self awareness and love.I couldn’t see it before. These things were a total mystery to me and as a result a lot of what you could call unnecessary self-inflicted pain occurred. But I now liberate myself, I don’t need the hate anymore. I don’t need the self sabotage…and ultimately I don’t need anything holding me back.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the body…comment here, send me a message, ask a question….This will be a bi-weekly blog post, so check back here for more!!!! Can’t wait to get the thoughts flowing….