So for the past few weeks I’ve been really pushing towards making exercise a habit…and it really pisses me off. And that really surprises me. Whenever I start thinking about exercise I cease being the normally pleasant, mild-mannered, extremely feminine and gorgeous (shut up) Hot Mess Princess…and I become, well, the Hot Mess Raving Lunatic Bitch. Really.
The good thing is that I’ve determined that working out consistently works best for me when I do it first thing in the morning, before work and life and the general Hot Mess of my life takes control. If I wait, I’ll always find a reason why I can’t workout later. If I let my day go on, a million distractions take over.
The bad thing? I have to wake up at 4 am in order to make this happen…and forcing my 4 am self to do anything is not advisable. As it turns out, though, forcing myself to exercise at any hour of the day is quite a challenge. My internal monologue goes effing nuclear.
Here’s a sample of the shit Hot Mess Raving Lunatic Bitch says in my head:
This is stupid. This is so stupid. I don’t want to do this. I DON’T WANT TO!!!
I shouldn’t have to do this. Why do I have to be punished?
If I wasn’t so fat, I wouldn’t have to do this. How can I be this unlucky? Why couldn’t I be born skinny? There must be something wrong with me.
Yeah, I know. She’s nuts. And she’s rolling around in my head and getting in my way…and I’m tired of her. This leads me to another problem…
I have no idea how to get rid of this bitch.
Gastric sleeve surgery gave me a big ass tool with which to combat my food demons and put them in check. But this? This is all in my head. There’s no tool for that, really. If I was Oprah-rich I could afford to hire someone to physically manhandle me and put me on the elliptical every day, but I’m not. And that’s not really the way to handle this, is it? I need to find my way to a mindset that’s accepting of a physically active, healthy lifestyle that involves working out without wanting to stab myself in the leg with a pencil.
Alex, the exercise specialist dude at my surgeon’s office, gave me some great feedback at my last follow-up visit. He encouraged me to transition from looking to the scale for results to creating exercise goals for results. His guidance makes sense to me until I try to apply it with Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch hanging around.
I tried it, really. My goals were to increase my time on the elliptical by 1 – 3 minutes each week and add 1 – 3 reps to each resistance exercise each week. The problem with that is…I don’t give a shit!
I don’t care if I can do another minute on the elliptical than I did last week. I don’t have the slightest interest in doing more reps of something I find annoying in the first place. I. Don’t. Care. I get nothing from it. Yes, I know that’s not true. My body gets a lot from this activity…but Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch is very entitled and very loud.
I need to find out who I am as an exercising badass. Right now, everything about exercise just pisses me off. I know that’s not all me. Some of that is Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, who I believe exists because of ghosts from the past. She’s the reason I’m pissed off just stepping on the elliptical. That’s obvious. But I’m not so sure she’s the reason I want to punch the lady in my workout DVD right in the vag when she says “We’re going to totally shred this workout, ladies. DOESN’T THAT FEEL GREAT???” Yeah, I think I just hate the DVD chick in general…because that shit is annoying!
(This is also the reason I can’t take any kind of aerobics or Zumba class. I’m pretty sure I’d be jailed for assault any time one of my classmates let out a little “woo hoo” in response to the teacher yelling her shrill motivational sayings. BOOM! Right square in the vagina. I hate that shit.)
I thought all this mental crap would subside if I just put my nose to the grindstone and kept pushing through it, but it hasn’t. When I realized it wasn’t going to go away, I knew I had to bring in reinforcements. And the only reinforcement I could think of that would help me combat this crap is therapy. Psychological counseling. Head shrink’in time!
I’m not a stranger to therapy, not by a long shot. I spent a total of six years in therapy over the course of my 20’s and 30’s while I tried to unravel all the shit I went through in my childhood. It was a lot of work, but I learned how to be my own person and how to put up healthy boundaries that were not in place at the time. Therapy helped me to stop the seriously out of control binge eating that got me to my top weight. It helped me to stop hating on the entire male population just because of a few a-holes. It gave me the first seeds of courage that I would need in order to grow into who I am today.
The benefits that my employer provides allow for four free sessions with a therapist, so I decided to take advantage of them. My first appointment was last week. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d made the right decision. As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around at her book selection and there seemed to be an awful lot of books focused on finding your inner child…or speaking to your inner child…or going to Disneyland with your damn inner child.
I think the whole inner child angle can be helpful to some folks, especially at first. Way back in the day, it helped me to be able to look back at nine year old HMP and realize that no adult should ever have treated me like that. But as useful as those lessons were, it can also be a trap. Speaking from personal experience, my first therapist kept me on the inner child track for too long…and I ended up re-living a bunch of shit and perpetuating a victim mentality that just made me angry and hateful as an adult. It’s not something that would be useful to me now as an adult – and the books on her shelves were making me roll my eyes so hard I burned a few calories doing it.
Thankfully, when I met her my fears went out the window. She seems like a capable person who can help me. And honestly, I don’t expect to have this whole thing handled in four sessions…but I do think I can find my way back to the right road. Right now I’m so far off the road it’s not even funny. I don’t recognize the terrain out here. I don’t know which way to walk. When it comes down to handling Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, I’m lost.
My homework for this week is to take note of the following:
- Write down every memory I have from when I was at the dance studio
- Write down all the shit rolling around in my head when I get up to workout and when I’m working out
- Think about how my dance teacher made me feel. Write it down
- Think about how I sabotage myself and why. Write it down
Not a problem. I’ve got this. I have no idea where this is going to lead me, but I’m proud of myself for being willing to look at it. I’m finally ready to whack this bitch into submission. Why now? Because of moments like this:
I climbed onto the elliptical trainer on Wednesday morning last week and started pedaling. Immediately, I said to myself “Wow, this actually feels good! This is good. I’m so glad I’m doing this again. I’m making great progress.”
That was immediately followed by this:
“No it doesn’t! This is stupid!!! I hate this! Don’t you dare like this…don’t even start that shit. This is stupid!!!! I HATE THIS!!!!”
I have no idea where that’s coming from, but it’s not helpful. In fact, it’s harmful. I can’t allow this kind of negative self-talk to continue…and if I do, I truly believe I’ll end up back on a path of self-destruction.
So I’m sorry, Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, but I’m suiting up and getting in the ring. Your ass is going down. You might want to leave town right now. Just say’in.
Bad Childhood—Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood
4 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Shrinking”
great post, thank you for sharing. I’m also a person of size and I hate exercising. Hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it. And oddly enough until I read your post I didn’t realize that it does make me angry. But I also know that it’s something I need to do. I need to do it not to lose weight but to gain strength and to relieve stress. My goal is just to get out and walk in the park. Not power walk or train for anything but just get outside breathe fresh air and move my body. And believe me, for me that’s a huge goal! Thank you for being so open and sharing your journey, it really does help.
Lisa, thanks for your comment! I totally get that as well. In fact, just yesterday I had a girlfriend come over and we were having a Downton Abbey marathon. Several episodes in, I suggested that we get out and go walk around a local store here…not to spend money, but just to get out and get moving. I actually got antsy sitting around the house! This is a new sensation for me and I welcome it wholeheartedly. Good luck to you in your goals!
It’s good to see someone being honest about the hard work of reclaiming your body. I’ve been realizing the ways I have sabotaged myself in the past, as if I didn’t deserve something good. I’m glad you took it upon yourself to get help when you realized how important it was to fight those negative voices. Your honesty in your journey is a big help to those of us fighting the same fight. Keep fighting that Lunatic Bitch, and I know one day she will be totally wiped out!
I want to say something, but I’m not entirely sure what to say besides good lord, I feel you. Therapy can be really hard but worth it. Go baby go!!!
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