As PMS rears it’s ugly head, I begin the cyclical fight with water weight, intense carb cravings, and irrational hurt feelings. Hormones shift towards cleansing rather than mating, and I’m driven to feelings of withdrawal and self indulgence.
I have also spent my life struggling through the winter. The urge to hibernate and rest overwhelmed me. I labeled myself a victim of seasonal affective disorder and spent years trying to make myself move through the tears and fatigue.
I didn’t know I was going to tell you this today. I began researching alternatives to the traditional model of fitness. I always start with the dictionary. It’s a cheat. Quick material. Very reliable. It stuck with me, though. That third part.
It made me think about how I’m feeling today.
Daylight has been increasing and my energy has been coming back with it. It’s a wonderful feeling, but not as important as it used to be. This summer I imagine that I will actually miss the slow quiet restfulness of the dark winter months.
I’ve read for years about the natural order of things. How animals are designed to slow down and rest in the winter. Animals evolved to store energy and then conserve it through the cold winter months. People evolved the same way. I decided to try something different.
A couple of years ago, instead of struggling against the fatigue and withdrawal – I gave into it. Aside from Christmas day I didn’t push myself to get crazy with the holidays. I scaled everything back. I did only what I really wanted to do instead of what I felt I was supposed to do. I slept in late. I ate cake. And potatoes. And the best apple pie ever for breakfast every morning for a week straight.
I told myself that this was natural. I held myself up to the light and said I am good and I am supposed to feel this way. I didn’t struggle and tell myself that I was falling short. I didn’t tell myself that I should be more than I am.
You know what?
I wasn’t depressed. I was content and well rested. And I do have to admit that I was also chubby. Of course, I’m always chubby come February. I just hadn’t struggled and made myself miserable about it.
Fitness may end somewhere around the shape your body is in, but I believe it begins in your head. You won’t find yourself in a body that you love if you keep telling yourself what a lazy slob you are. When you find yourself well rested and happy it’s a lot easier to get moving and find that summer body you are looking for.
As I cried on my keyboard over irrational hurt feelings while stuffing gluten free animal cookies covered in peanut butter into my mouth today – I thought – it’s okay to give in to this. Have a good cry. Have another cookie. You are exactly as the universe intended – emotionally messy and water logged. Stay in your pajamas and snuggle with the kid. It’s okay to slow down and stare out the window at those giant snowflakes.
And it’s okay to cry about how beautiful they are.