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Mind and Body

Truce

My body has a mind of its own.

For example, when I’m playing singles, I’ll tell myself not to hit a low percentage shot, like an overhead from 3 feet behind the baseline. But then my arm will be like, I can totally hit this shot from back here! It will be ESPN-worthy! And it will defy me and hit an overhead from 3 feet behind the baseline. And then I’ll yell at my arm: Are you trying to lose? Because that’s what’s going to happen if you keep hitting that shot!

This is why I don’t tell people what I’m saying to myself during a match when they ask.

Weight loss is the same way. I can eat healthy and exercise and count calories and nothing happens. Sometimes my body will even defy the laws of nature and I will gain weight. However, if I go through a divorce, I lose weight without even trying. Apparently, my body doesn’t like marriage. Which is fine, I guess, but divorce is a pretty radical weight loss strategy, and you can only get so many of them.

My body also likes the GERD diet, in which I can’t have anything 3 hours before bedtime or before exercise. Which is ironic, because I used to make sure I ate during these times, thinking I was doing my body a favor by preventing hypoglycemia. It’s also unfortunate, because I happen to like food.

I’m trying to get my body and mind to realize that we are all on the same team. Lately when I play tennis, the conversation goes more like this:

Mind: You’re good at defense, right?

Body: Yes! I am awesome at defense!

Mind: Well if you can just get all her shots back in this next game, there’s a good chance we can win it. Don’t try to put it away. Just keep it in play.

Body: I can totally do that!

Mind: Great! I have faith in you!

I know. It’s weird. But I swear, it works.

Since I’m on a relationship hiatus, I’ve been much more emotionally stable, so my body is pretty happy about that. The GERD diet, however, continues to be a struggle. I need food before a match, and sometimes I’m not awake long enough to give myself a 3 hour window before eating. And the matches are usually at night, so I can’t always finish eating 3 hours before bedtime without staying up even later than usual. And I cannot live without coffee and chocolate indefinitely.

So I’m trying a mindfulness approach where I check in with myself and see how my body is responding. I test the limits of what and how much I can eat, how much I can play tennis, and how little sleep I can get away with before my body rebels. But when it says no, I don’t push any more. I back off.

My mind and body are getting along better these days, but it is by no means a perfectly harmonious relationship. I’m committed to making this relationship work, though, because divorce is not an option.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

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  1. Pingback: Excuses | Normal in Training

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