(For the purpose of this post, “koolaid” refers to an idea or doctrine pushed by a particular establishment. It is a sarcastic reference to the koolaid cults use to administer group suicide.)
When I was in my 20s, I squandered my youth getting fat. Somewhere between nearly drowning in underage drinking and a self-destructive disposition, I put on 50 pounds. When my doctor snapped me out of it, I used a gym, personal trainer and all, to drop the weight. And I did, successfully, in just 6 months.
While successful, this weight loss took a heavy psychological toll. It was fueled mainly by that same self-loathing that got me there in the first place.
I did what they said. I restricted calories. I worked out 5+ days of week, half cardio, half weights. I gave my personal trainer thousands of dollars.
I drank the koolaid.
In the near decade since then, I have managed to keep said weight off for the most part, aside from that gained with each of my two pregnancies. When I got pregnant with my daughter, I was suddenly repulsed by the gym and refused to go. Maybe it was because the koolaid is not safe to drink while you are pregnant.
After my first child, I instead belly danced and picked up running. I recovered from that baby weight just fine and rapidly after starting thyroid medication.
From that point, running became my fitness fixation. I started making my own running koolaid and doling it out to my running mates.
Yet I have not been recovering from my second pregnancy nearly as well. Despite absolutely killing myself for months, the surplus pounds stubbornly cling to my body. Enough so that I was willing to indulge a gym again with my husband and our roommate.
No surprise, the koolaid still pours freely. And I have a lot of trouble with it.
Only eat like this. Only work out like that. Only our gym has the supplements you need. Only look like this. If you listen, it is like a religion. Or a cult.
For me, it tugs on all that self-loathing and self-abuse I used to attain my goal the first time. Sure, I lost the weight, but I ended up with eating habits that bordered on an eating disorder and a sense of self that invested way too much worth into bullshit, superficial numbers.
The gym makes me feel bad about myself, and of course it does because that’s how it makes money.
I am trying my best to rise above the bullshit, to use the gym for my purpose without drinking that koolaid, without feeling how it always used to make me. I don’t know how successful I am being, but I need the childcare to get my workouts in.