Writing about my eating disorder makes me uncomfortable. That’s why I’m doing it. One of mentors assigned me the New Year’s Resolution to “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” If I stay in my comfort zone, I will stagnate. If there’s one universal theme I inferred from The Western Canon in my undergrad days, it’s that stagnation equals death. When Dante finally reaches the deepest depths of Hell, Satan is frozen in ice. Unmoving. Unchanging.
He does, however, have a delicious 3-course meal of Judas, Cassius, and Brutus.
I’m participating in a challenge through a local cycling studio. It starts with a body composition analysis. We have 8 weeks wherein we have to take at least 35 classes at the studio. At the end of the challenge, Dougal – the Irish guy with the bone crushing handshake – will analyze my body composition again.
I am upset about the numbers. I don’t weigh myself. Let me correct that. I either don’t weigh myself at all, or I do and that’s every day at least once a day. Whatever the number says, that’s how I feel about myself. One of the ways I know I’m healed somewhat – that I’ve grown into a better place mentally and emotionally – is that when I am about to get in the shower and I think of the scale, I say to myself, “This is the way I feel about myself and my body today, and I’m just going to stick with this.” I don’t get on the scale. Whatever it has to tell me, I already feel the way I feel, and there’s a 50% chance the scale will become a tool to bludgeon myself with.
Not literally. It’s already 100% a tool that I could actually bludgeon myself with.
I don’t know why I went to my body composition appointment expecting calipers. Showing my age with that one. I stepped onto a scale that had metal foot-shaped jobbies and handles with sensors for me to hold. I didn’t think about being weighed. It was an unpleasant surprise.
This fancy scale not only weighed me overall, it weighed my bones, muscles, and fat separately. Then it printed out an indictment.
I held it together well. I didn’t make excuses or show any reaction at all in front of Dougal. I like to think that being on the first floor isn’t the real reason I refrained from leaping out the window. Besides, there was good news.
The graphs showed bars for my weight, skeletal muscle, and body fat. All were above normal, including skeletal muscle. I finally have scientific proof that I am more muscular than “normal.” I am “above normal.” Not only that, I am quite a bit above normal. Even though I don’t weigh myself, my doctor does, and I’ve been frustrated that my weight has stubbornly refused to budge even while my body has clearly gotten smaller. “Muscle weighs more than fat” has become a cliche, and usually an excuse. For me, it’s true.
That’s the end of the good news.
Dougal started talking about what the program will entail, but I mostly tuned it out because I’m going to be able to read it later. Restriction makes me hungry then happy then high. I can keep it up for a finite amount of time and then I break down. It is a fact, like my heavy, excessive skeletal muscle, that dieting causes weight gain. I will not go on a diet. I patently refuse. I will add healthy foods. I will avoid calorie dense, nutrient poor foods most of the time. I will log food on the app, but I will not count calories and obsess and berate myself. I’m 43. I know where that leads.
The reality is that as we age, our muscle mass decreases and our bones become brittle and breakable. Hell, I read about a blogger named Becky whose femur fucking exploded, but that’s a story for another time.
People who weigh less live longer and have less disease. Yes, there are exceptions and yes, being thin doesn’t mean being healthy. Big picture? Thinner for me is healthier for me. My body fat percentage is too high. Working out makes me feel happier. It increases the quality of my life. I love spinning. I enjoy strength training and need to put more of it into my workout schedule.
Now that you know everything you ever wanted to know about my above normal skeletal muscle mass, you can breathe a sigh of relief! And look forward to my upcoming post about the progress of my writing, the brilliance of my children, and the long-suffering of my husband.
I’m also fresh off a binge of “Polyamory: Married and Dating” on Showtime, so please let me know in the comments if you’ve watched it. If you haven’t, it’s on Hulu and Showtime is doing a free preview, so catch up and meet me here.