Tomorrow Gabby Douglas and Allie Reisman compete on the beam. I didn’t take enough gymnastics to ever make it to this skill. You really do have to be pretty freaking amazing to conquer the beam in my opinion! You must complete the most difficult skills while remaining on a straight 16 foot long beam that is not only 4 feet from the ground, but also only 3.9 INCHES wide. So don’t fall off because that is a huge no no and a rather large deduction…
Actually it seems like everything is a deduction in this sport. Is it possible to get a perfect score? Yes but not likely. Because no one is perfect, yet that is what this sport and a lot of others demand of the athletes. Strive for perfection. This ensures the athlete is always improving because again perfection isn’t attainable.
On the beam every balance check is a deduction. These girls go through some pretty extraordinary measures to stay on that beam, but most of the time those measures cost them a few tenths of a point. Not fair right?
I say this because I have recently experienced the sensation of being off balance in life. You see, when I first came to Virginia Tech 2 years ago I made TONS of great friends, stepped out of my box, and acted like a normal teenager. But then this year for reasons I can only partially explain I lost my time with those great friends and stopped making time for FUN. All that mattered was that I received perfect grades so that I could build up my resume in order to ensure I was matched in 2 years for a dietetic internship of my dreams.
I was completely off balance! I was not making time for both sides of things. I forgot that too much of one thing (even something as awesome as a 4.0 GPA every semester) can be bad. Looking back I have mixed feelings about the choices I made to stay inside and isolate myself from the rest of the world so that I got in over 50 hours of studying, lots of exercise, and the meals that were comfortable and routine. Because these choices helped me remain safe in my comfort zone of great grades and planned food and exercise. But these choices also meant that I have no group to go to football games with like my freshman year. They meant saying no to some potentially fun opportunities. I forgot that all work and no play makes for a very boring day. Or life in my case.
Good thing I am dedicated to my recovery enough to realize that all of this caused me to turn to food to help cope. I am at a point when I can feel my ED and know that it is not because I want it back but because something else is wrong. Something in my life is off balance. My eating disorder is my very own balance check! The difference between life and gymnastics is that balance checks are allowed in life. Sometimes we have to put our hands down for support. What I mean is sometimes we have to ask for help, because when we are too off balance it is all we can do not to fall off.
So that is what I did. About 2 weeks ago on a random Wednesday I realized how overwhelmed I was feeling with life in general. I was nervous about school starting again soon and that I wasn’t doing enough to get the right experience in dietetics. I was feeling the exercise burnout/addiction coming back and knew it couldn’t. I was unsure about my food choices and if I was eating any of the right things… It goes on but you get the picture. So I called my therapist and we made an appointment. WOW did she help me see how off balance my life had become. To sum it up, when you are filling up on a bunch of resume building things you lose time for FUN! Now don’t get me wrong I love my work at the hospital and I love my time exercising and actually I LOVE LOVE LOVE studying. But now I see that I have to make time for FUN that is unplanned and has nothing to do with my resume.
So I have a few guidelines to help me.
- Work on reducing exercise for awhile so that I do not become dependent on it. This includes another rest day that is unplanned. Not easy but something I am ready to work on
- While still on vacation: 20 minutes (or 2 ten minute sessions) of unplanned fun
- In school: Take study breaks every 2 hours (yes I am one of those Hermonie Granger types who can study all day everyday with breaks only for food)
- Find fun at school and meet new people. I am going to try out ballroom dancing at VT first and a new church in Blacksburg. So I have a plan for this one!
- Be held accountable. AKA have someone I can tell that I am indeed going to the ballroom (and more than once!)
But the most important thing to remember is that I will not conquer all of these guidelines at once, nor can I automatically do them perfectly (or ever do them perfectly). I will slip up and forget the extra rest day, or forget to have my fun time because things get hectic, and sometimes I will not be able to make it to the ballroom class because I do have school and it matters too, or I might not like the ballroom but that means I find something else. This is about finding the balance again. Saying no to some things sometimes because the other side is more important, but then remembering that the side I said no to is still important and deserves just as many yes’s as the other!
Have a great Monday! My mom and I get to spend another day in Blacksburg fixing up me and the roomie’s townhouse 😀 which is making me uber excited for school and all the new experiences it will bring! I will be back later this week with pictures from the the move and a FUN moment!