Despite being the end of December, today was unusually balmy (near 60F!). As such, I spotted an unusual number of runners out today. Many of these runners were just using one of the many trails available, or the bike lanes, or whatever. And as I drove past, I realised with a jolt that I was jealous of them. After all, they were burning calories while I was sitting in my car like a Lazy Fat American™. Even more than that, they were getting the wonderful endorphin high that I so often find myself craving. The runners and other "exercisers" seemed somehow so much more virtuous than me, that if the Candid Camera crew snuck up on them, they would get a high-five and a pat on the back, while health officials would only shake their heads at me.
(Have I ever mentioned that those Ambush Makeover deals on talk shows scare the living crap out of me? I am terrified that I am going to be stopped and someone is going to play Tim Gunn or "What Not to Wear" and tell me how horrible I dress. I am also abnormally paranoid when I'm in a public eating setting that some journalist is going to pop up like a jack-in-the-box and ask me if I know how many calories I'm currently eating, and then I will be seen on national TV with my dinner plate. Scenario B says that I will be seen on national TV kicking the guy's ass, followed by a Central Booking mug shot.)
I am currently allowed moderate exercise by my treatment team. Usually, I ride my bike several times per week and just enjoy myself. This is good. But I still feel incredibly guilty when I compare my psycho exercise regimen when I was living in DC to what I do now. I'm aware, on a cognitive level, anyway, that I was exercising way the hell too much, and it led to my relapse and all sorts of other bad things. Yet the guilt remains. I have tremendous anxiety about the wide variety of "exercise recommendations" given out by almost every health agency and advocacy group around the world, and how almost none of them agree. The numbers that seem to stick in my head are the highest number of minutes people are "supposed to" exercise each week. I do less than that, and so I worry what people must think of me when they hear I only exercise X times each week.
This is where The Therapist will usually stop you in your long, rambling monologue about how disgusting you are for not following the guidelines and ask you to come up with a powerful! positive! and affirming! statement about exercise and your eating disorder, such as "Today, I am Choosing Health," or "Every step I run is one step further from recovery." Which may very well be true, but I've always wanted to grab The Therapist by the shoulders and scream, "Who the f*ck are you kidding? I want to be out exercising right now!" And so it goes.
I want to know what "good enough" really is. I want some quantitative standard to tell me whether I'm doing good enough. Life ain't really like that, though, and I need to let go of that "good enough" searching and understand that right here, right now, whatever I'm doing, is good enough.