Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
Choose Your Own Adventure
With the magic of yoga I’ll be able to move on and be the perfectly healthy and thin person I want to be.
BY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR ANNA GUEST-JELLEY
Anna’s website Curvy Yoga
So, I have a little secret. Okay, it’s actually a kind of huge secret, but I thought if I prefaced it as little, I could get through this.
Despite all my writing (and thinking and meditating and wishing and intention setting) about body acceptance, I have never really accepted my own. I became a lot better at acting like I did, though, which I guess was something. Fake it ‘til you make it.
I really want to accept my body; I just never quite got there.
Get me through this semi charmed kind of life
I was recently reading something about what gets in the way of people doing their yoga practice on a regular basis. The person talked about how one of the things that gets in the way is the messages in our head. She suggested stopping in the moment, registering the messages (e.g. “I’m too frickin’ tired to practice), seeing them for what they are, and then moving on. Pretty simple, right?
Well, the problem is that I’ve heard this same advice at least 337 times (minimum!) about weight and health.
I’d always nod and be like, “Yeah. That’s right. I just need to notice the *@#&ed up messages I’ve received, process them, and then I’ll be able to move on and be the perfectly healthy and thin person I want to be.” After awhile, I was able to get down the receive and process part (most of the time, at least), but I never got to move on. At all.
Instead, it went a little something like this:
It’s 5:00pm, and I’m really hungry.
Okay, don’t worry; you’ll be home in 30 minutes and can have a snack.
But I’ve had a really stressful day. Maybe I’ll just stop at the gas station for a little Snickers to ward off any potential headache.
That’s not going to happen, and you know it. Go ahead and get in the car.
But it might, and that’s scary.
Okay, good; I just made it past the gas station. I’m safe.
You’re really just tired. If you make it home, you can have a snack–or not. You could go straight to your yoga mat.
Don’t push it. Home to snack is all I’m hanging onto at this point.
Okay, that’s fine. Let’s go with that.
Oh, ^@#&. There’s the fast food restaurant of your choosing.
With a side of anesthesia, please
I’ll pause here like this is a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. What will our heroine do next?
If you guessed turn up NPR and keep driving home, you’d be wrong. If you guessed shut down mentally and emotionally and pull in, you’d be right.
I could never quite figure out the disconnect that made me miss the end of the listen, process, move on cycle. It has been bugging me for several years (and probably more like twenty). And then a couple years ago (and by that I mean weeks), I realized why.
I’m still hoping for a miracle.
That’s right: me. I’m still hoping for something, anything external that will be the magic key to health and weight loss.
Clean and free: no more diet doping
I’ve felt proud of myself the past few years that I realize this magic pill won’t come in a diet (that was a lesson only 15+ years in the making). These days I’ve been hoping for a miracle in other forms: acupuncture, naturopathy, intuitive eating (without the intuition), herbs, detox, and yes, sometimes even yoga.
In other words, another diet in disguise.
This isn’t to say these things are diets, or that they haven’t helped me tremendously in other ways, but rather that I’d been secretly hoping they’d also function as one.
What I now see is that there is no miracle. There’s just me, making choices out of love rather than rules.
And, surprisingly (especially to me), I don’t find that depressing. I find it to be a gigantic relief (even if I feel a little bit like an idiot for only realizing it now). I’m the one I’ve been waiting for, as the saying goes.
Anna Guest-Jelley is an advocate for women’s rights by day, a yoga teacher by night, and a puppies’ mama all the time. She is making her way through life with joy, curves and all. Visit her at her website Curvy Yoga and on Facebook and Twitter.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.