The Peak That Haunts Me

Another injury and I spiral faster than I would have imagined. I began the month of January getting back into consistent workouts, daily yoga, hitting my macros and taking care of my body. After an extended period of inconsistency in my health and fitness regimes due to covid and a rather sporadic work schedule, it felt liberating to move my body in ways that it had not for quite some time. The gyms were still closed and I made the decision that I need to be in control of my health and not rely on the gym and other institutions to provide this service to me. This increase in movement and nutrition led to uplifting, empowering and thoughts of gratitude. I was feeling stronger, quicker and more energetic each day.

Then I played a rugby game, only to come home to a shoulder that was screaming at me and an arm that was limp. The pain was extreme as I went to the walk in clinic, and next day got my xray; no break so the only option was to rest and manage the pain.

The nutrition advances I made the previous month of reducing sugar and processed food intake had required willpower, determination and critical planning. The progression violently stopped when I could not stand for long enough (despite it being my shoulder) to make myself a healthy meal, and the exhaust of being in pain wore me thin… and fast.

I was down 10lbs in January and it was back on my body within a week and a half post injury with 0 movement

What bothers me most about this entire situation comes down to a few contradicting factors:

  1. It demonstrates how unstable my relationship with food (still) is.
  2. Through previous injury and forced down time- I have found it neccessary to hold my own values of health, weight, body, fitness and food; acting thoughtfully when messages of diet culture, thin-ideals, and ‘health’ trends enter my world.

So, this ‘gain’ of 10lbs or reverse of my previous months work having caused me so much upset and self-criticism. Anxiety to show up to rugby practice or my workplace. I feel ashamed I was not able to ‘just’ eat all the nutrient dense and whole foods, while cutting calories by x amount to adjust to the decrease in movement and be super duper health conscious. Now that I am able to do light cardio I am nervous of the difficulty of getting back into any activity again, as it felt like I was verging on the breaking throughs levels of fatigue, speed, or strength. I feel I have let myself down.

In reality, I havent let myself down. I had an injury where pain increased by simply being awake and existing with an arm. Walking was painful, sitting was painful, and daily tasks of having a shower, or getting myself a water consumed all of my energy and more.

Feelings of self disappointment stem from the peak of my fitness journey; I quickly think back to running a marathon, or countless half marathons, lifting my heaviest weight, having the grit and routine of lifting weights every single day and going for runs on many of those days for a double workout. I worked extremely hard and had an unbreakable mindset with my food intake and nutrition. However, I have grown. Times of injury and recovery allowed space for finding myself beyond labels of ‘strong’, ‘runner’, or anything else to identify me. Who was I regardless of that? Additionally, my journey of self acceptance began. Despite losing 200lbs I still did not fit into societies beauty standards. I listened, thought, questioned and began my process of recognizing when an outside source sends me a message of needing to be thinner, eat this way, do not exercise like this, or to be like this. I stepped into being Tiana, for all I am and all that I am not, for me and nobody else.

This self acceptance yielded a sense of calm and trust with fitness and nutrition. I no longer felt obligated to workout in certain ways and frequencies that were not serving me. I learned how to eat for pleasure again. This pause and discovery brought me to now; where I am sitting heavier and less fit than I was three years ago. That peak fitness leaving me heartbroken in the body I currently reside, yet I know the benefits and happiness that I have gained from this process.

As I am loving getting back into fitness, pushing myself and getting more fresh air I remind myself that my movement practices will return, my thresholds will increase and I have my entire future to get faster, fitter and stronger. The expectation to remain and get back to my peak level haunts me. I am living in a completely new body from when I began my fitness journey the first time, and am working with new elements. I am fit, healthy, and secure and the exact weight or shape of my body as of now does not change that. I forget sometimes that we do not live in linearity. As much as I would like to have complete control.. that is not realistic or life.

Treating myself with gratitude, respect, honesty and care, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.

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