Of unrealistic expectations and deadlifts

One of the silks trainers posted this article on her FB page and it really resonated with me.

As someone who has struggled with disordered eating most of my adult life, it definitely hit home. In a good way. I’ll obsess over calories. I won’t eat when I’m hungry. I’ll binge on unhealthy food and then restrict. There’s no balance there of 80% healthy and 20% indulgence. I equate every “bad” food I eat with being a “bad” person. I also enjoy healthy food a lot more. I feel better when I can keep it up for more than a few days. I love to cook and experiment with new recipes, but I’m severely limited given I don’t have my own kitchen or can do my own shopping. The most I can swing is a green smoothie every now and then. Maybe that just means I have to be a little more creative in how I choose and prepare my food for the next few months. Only 144 more days to go…

I started doing aerial work a little over 2 years ago. A friend of mine was a trainer and performer and she encouraged me to give it a try. As a ballet dancer and my general body structure, my arms have never been very strong. If I were hanging off a building and had to rely on my arm and shoulder strength to get back to safety, I would be totally screwed. I can’t even do a push up. Over those 2 years, I’ve had injuries, an epilepsy diagnosis, and generally a whole bunch of excuses to not go to class. The most I’ve ever progressed was to basic level 2 skills (out of 5 levels). Fact is, all bullshit aside, I get scared. I get scared that I’ll lose my flexibility. I get scared that an arbitrary number on a scale will go up and therefore diminish my self worth. It doesn’t matter that I’ll look better and generally be slimmer. I’m scared that other people with completely different body types and body composition will progress faster than I will and look down (in some cases quite literally) on me. I’m one of the few people with my body type (ectomorph) and composition (small on top, bigger in the hips and thighs) who attempt this regularly. Most of the other girls (and the odd guy) have builds more like gymnasts. A lot of them started as rock climbers. They don’t struggle with the strength nearly as much because they have totally different body types. Aerial work is actually one of the best ways to get cardio and strength training in the same workout.

Tonight is my first night back in the silks after months of being away from it. I’m starting from zero. I want to make an excuse not to go. But that’s letting the fear win. No one is going to judge me. No one is going to be mean to me because I’m not as strong or advanced as they are. They love me. They want to see me come back. They want to see me improve. They want to help and give me tips on how to get stronger and progress. I may be at a disadvantage at the moment, but it’s an opportunity. It’s the chance to go slowly and build a really good foundation. Four months of practice, level 1 work, and contortion / handstand classes is a lot of time. I also signed up for yoga classes at work twice a week which start at the end of the month. As I recall from taking it in college, I gained a lot of arm strength doing yoga regularly. That’s plenty of opportunities to tone, build muscle, and otherwise take back the strength I’ve lost to an unrealistic calorie count. Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. Go for 80% vegetables, fruit, lean protein (though I eat very little meat as it is), healthy fats & eggs. Avoid fried food and fast food. Eat dairy and sweets in moderation. Don’t worry about what I’m eating when I’m out for a nice dinner. Don’t obsessively calculate in my head how much I need to do to work it off. Enjoy my food, keep taking silks, ignore the number on the scale, and eventually I’ll be able to add dance back in.

So that’s where I am right now. Breathe in, breathe out, and take it as it comes.


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