“Strong is the new skinny” is just another number. A level of achievement. A nebulous idea of what “strong” can be with the accompanying visual garbage like #fitspiration. It’s like our thin obsessed culture says, “Look, shiny object to achieve!” But striving for strong (and what we see in those images: healthy/skinny/fit/able-bodied/light skinned/able to afford the gym, “clean food,” etc.) is a distraction from the real issue: our culture says fat folks (and all other marginalized/unseen groups) don’t matter.
In the not too distant past, holiday mint M&M’s and I were Netflix and chilling (like, in an actual chilling on the sofa way). Things were going well until the bag was gone. Love affair over. Mindless munching turned into a guilt mudslide of thoughts. My self-worth felt as depleted as a that family sized bag of candy.
My first thought: “What the absolute FUCK is wrong with me?!”
Maybe your binge looks different. Maybe it’s bigger. Maybe it’s smaller. But whatever remains of the food fiasco you’re dealing with, you leave the experience defeated about your chances of recovery, health, and happiness. “My whole future is RUINED because of ME!”
My second thought (and the blessing of some good training and experience):
Guess what? This is a normal part of recovery!
When I discovered yoga, I was deep in the throes of an eating disorder. I didn’t know it because I believed that what I was doing was healthy. It’s yoga. How can it be bad for you? Besides, I wasn’t binging as much. I wasn’t not eating. I was feeling less anxious, which for me, was an incredible blessing.
The style of yoga I chose was intense: hot, sweaty, fast, difficult…in front of a mirror. The style reflected a lot of how I lived my life: fast, always taking on challenge, always “busy,” consumed by body checking (the mirror, the scale, the pant size).
A lot of what I know now about yoga is this: don’t always pick the style that matches your personality. Intensity breeds intensity.