Monday, August 9, 2010

Fear, Approval, Awareness, the Beginning

I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile, but I've been too afraid to "confess" the way I've been feeling about myself, my body, my food choices.

I suppose I'm nervous about how I'm going to sound to my team (unhealthy, but at least aware?) and how this is going to impact those who are interested in trying KFB. I'm not exactly a poster-child for this project.

Clearly, I've been putting added (and unnecessary) pressure on myself to blog about the "right" thing these last 12 weeks. What the hell is the "right" thing? Is a "good post" one that Patrick and the rest of the team respond to? Or is a "good post" one that's written breezily and candidly? Should you really say what's on your mind when you have a reaction to the KFB, or wait 7 seconds before blogging? Especially if the thought is scary, gross, and destructive?

Because honestly, my mind has traveled to some dark places during this project. Instead of blogging it all out, I remained relatively silent and started therapy - which was a good decision; for despite the ups and downs of this project, I'm very thankful to have uncovered (and interrogated!) my pain surrounding food and body. It runs much deeper than I thought. And I'm 100% sure I would have continued on my dizzying, circuitous journey to "health" had it not been for the astounding realizations I made on both the PCP and the KFB.

But here's an example of a not so healthy moment in my journey (note: the following describes one of my milder episodes). This weekend I was at a friend's baby's first birthday. Can you think of a more beautiful occasion to celebrate with family and friends? I can't either. It was a gorgeous day. Things went well, at first - I did my workout, had a sensible lunch. I helped make cupcakes and only licked a few bits of frosting, and snacked on celery and carrot sticks.

Suddenly, party time came, and I was fielding questions about babies I'm not even close to conceiving, and books I haven't written. Then I was drinking. And having more uncomfortable conversations. Instead of handling these interactions with grace, I handled two cupcakes and a piece baklava. And several glasses (more) of wine. It's not that I ate these things, it's how I ate them. Frenzied and worried. No doubt I felt powerless, ashamed, sad, and unworthy compared to the baby-ful family folk around me.

What a bummer. The rest of the evening was wrought with anxiety. In the bathroom mirror I caught a glimpse of a part of my body I've resented for, oh...20+ years (it's my knees people - they're fatty no matter what I do), and was flat out disgusted. On the way back to New York, at a McDonald's stop on 1-95, I almost bought a sundae. The only thing that stopped me was my belief that I am now lactose tolerant (good thing, dude).


One day I will get to a place where I can have a cupcake and move on.

So yeah. I'm not in the best mental shape I could be - but again, this project has brought me to a point where I'm ready to put in the work to change. BECAUSE WHEN I HAVE BABIES I don't want to pass any of this shame and negativity on to them. Because that's no way to treat them, or myself, dammiiiitttttt!!!

On the fitness front - I'm finally feeling stronger. I lost a ton of energy around days 65-75 or so but love the workouts again. I still can't do a full pull-up, or a kung fu sit-up, or hang out for more than like 8 seconds, but my push-ups are looking pretty good and I can finally do all sets of back kicks without needing to eat a banana in the middle (those just killlllllllllll me!).

I hope this is translating into stronger and more mindful yoga, boxing, and capoeira practices, and that I can continue to KICK ASS day 90 and beyond!

Hoping to have a healthier last few days with you all!


  1. First of all, no matter what you feel about what the outcome SHOULD look like, YOU'RE DOING GREAT! We're each having a different experience, and we'll all get different results—because each of us faces different hurdles.

    Kudos for diving into therapy. It can be scary stuff, but I don't think I could have had the same success on PCP w/o being able to explore my own food and body issues with my therapist. Just be kind to yourself—and patient. Change takes time, and you probably won't even notice it till after it has happened. It can, at times, be very unsatisfying in that way...

  2. I was telling someone debating between PCP and KFB this...

    "On PCP you get a good burn, but KFB is more intellectual churn"

    This is exactly what I want from participants. Looking into the black depths of your mind and living to tell the tale. After that you can only be stronger, in the important ways.

    And put your transgressions into the light of the "average American" who wouldn't even register that there was anything wrong with what you described at the party.

    You're all right Shivani!

  3. Hey Shivani, I've been thinking about you! I think it's good that you're willing to explore this stuff (comfort eating, body issues); it's something that has been on my mind lately and I think a lot of people struggle with it, me included. I hope it will be helpful to yourself AND I think it will be to other people that you are doing this. Keep up the good fight!

  4. Shivani, I also have fatty knees!!! :) Shall we make a Fatty Knees Club? Imagine the amount of friends we could have at the FKC.
    But seriously, on those dark moments of knee loathing, remember how hot the rest of your body looks and the long way we still have to transform it further.

    As horrible as they are, those moments of anxiety, social pressure and awkwardness are revealing. Given some distance, time and mindfulness, they will show you that you are doing fine, that you are only getting better, even if sometimes you feel so wrong.

    Come and visit me! We will have a fruit and dance therapy together.

  5. Ah Shivani, this is an inspiring post. There's a post I've been considering writing for PCP, but it'll be a painful one to write as the issues in it are things that I've rarely talked about with people. Your raw honesty in this post was helpful in confirming that I need to start working on it.

    You're a beautiful woman and hope one day soon that I'll make it up to NYC to meet Elena and perhaps get lucky enough to meet you and Emily, as well.

  6. Very helpful and honest post. Thank you!