I am sitting in the teachers’ room at one of the two high schools I teach English at in Omuta, Japan on Kyushu island. My name is Maryann and I have a terrible relationship with my own sense of discipline and body image. I have started written journals, made notations in my schedule books and planners, written and printed workout routines and food plans, made rules for myself, and told myself over and over again, “Tomorrow I am going to start dieting and working out.” But I never do.
I think my poor relationship with myself started well before high school, with traumatizing run-ins with my loving but overbearing mother and her insistence that beauty and a thin body were synonymous, not to mention the crippling anxiety that comes with simply being a teen and preteen. It wasn’t until after a mentally straining year or more in college that I finally got rid of my so-called freshman-fifteen (more like 25) and found the calling that got me into the best shape of my life: rock climbing. A series of unfortunate events (namely a broken ankle followed rapidly by a dislocated elbow) threw me out of that saddle though and into the grip of a deep depression, during and after which I would not be able to regain total control of my weight again.
My rock climbing days were about 8 years ago now. Today, admittedly, I am not grossly overweight. I am reasonably active and haven’t felt held back physically from doing the type of traveling or activities that I want to try. I eat lots of vegetables, I don’t have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or anything like that, and my husband thinks I am beautiful.
I am not satisfied with the way I look or feel though, and I know that the only reason why is because I have simply not made the decision to change my lifestyle and follow through. That’s the bottom line. This means that my problem is so much more than just the number on my scale. It stems from a part of me that I want to and ought to improve on a deep level, a place that holds me back in all aspects of my life, not just my weight. It tells me to hit the snooze button in the morning. It keeps me from getting out of my post-graduation slump and making new artwork. It stops me from sitting down every week and making progress in my Japanese language acquisition. It will limit me at every turn if I let it. That part of me is my sense of discipline, motivation, and hard work, and that’s what this blog is really about. Self-improvement on a base level. Cheers to discovering a better version of myself in here somewhere! And hopefully losing a few pounds, and becoming happier along the way.