If there’s anything my kids love it’s looking back through old pictures of themselves. They’re delighted by their own faces, enamored of their growth. I, on the other hand, am less than thrilled to take these walks down memory lane. For one it makes me nostalgic for babies and then my ovaries start twitching and that’s just not good for anyone. But more than that it reminds me of how much I myself have grown in the past year. Mostly width wise.
Looking at Google’s oh so helpful, “Rediscover this day” floods me with shame and a frightening desperation. I want to diet. I want magical pills and chalky shakes that leave me feeling smug. I want to spend an hour doing burpees. I want to do whatever it takes to go back to the body I had and to escape this mortification. In an effort to numb these incredibly uncomfortable feelings (sorry to my therapist…some days I’m better at sitting with discomfort than other) I turn to Facebook. And there they are, adding to my desperation. Water challenges, bikini challenges, Beach Body challenges, squat challenges, tracking challenges…they’re all there like massive low calorie apples hanging from the tree of discontent. And holy shit guys I want to join them all. I want promises and accountability and tough love and dammit I want to be thin again.
But I can’t go there. Some people can. They can do a challenge and come out the other side a bit healthier with their sanity in tact. Not me. I will come out shattered but because I look healthy no one will notice. I have to take on that responsibility, noticing my own cracks before I fall apart completely. So no, I can’t join your challenges. I cannot look at your tidy meal pictures with the calories adorably superimposed in comic sans font. I cannot applaud your 15,000 steps or your successful completion of a juice fast. To be honest I might even have to block you for awhile because right now I can’t even look at your challenges without feeling the tell tale crackle, the pull to go back to the camaraderie of diet culture and the inevitable decline into the extreme.