Inner Limits

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I’ve realized something about myself recently– something that has implications for my ability to heal. I’m sharing it with you all, in case it can help spark a similar realization for anyone else out there.

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As many of you know, when I was in high school I had an eating disorder. I was very rigid; every day I ate a specific number of calories, and every day I burned a specific number of calories. If I wanted to eat more than my designated limit, I had to exercise even more.

Through obsessive calorie counting, and running an average of 5 miles a day throughout most of high school, I managed to keep my weight a good 10-20 pounds below my body’s natural set-point.

Sometimes, now, I forget what a big deal that really was. After all, it was something that was ultimately within my control, unlike the years of inexplicable chronic pain that came afterwards.

However, it recently dawned on me that my eating disorder past was affecting me more than I’d realized, in unconscious ways.

Right now I’m dealing with the very complicated and frustrating process of trying to stabilize my hypermobile SI joints.

I was finishing my exercises the other day, and after a good 2.5 hours of going to the gym, using the pool and then coming home and doing even more exercises– and then stretching– I was feeling exasperated. Why, after all of this time, am I not better?

Fuck it, I thought. Why don’t I just keep going? Sure, I just spent two and a half hours exercising, but there’s more I could do. I could do more exercises. I could do more stretches. I could get on my computer, and research more.

Then it hit me. A tiny voice, from 16-year-old Christy, telling me I was afraid to do more. I didn’t want to invest too much; didn’t want to give myself over completely to anything that involved fixing or changing my body. Because that’s what I did with my eating disorder. It was an around-the-clock process to keep my weight that low, and I ended up losing all other perspective.

Now I had regained perspective, but unconsciously, I was terrified of losing it again. In fact, I was keeping my fist tightly clenched around it, restricting the time I spent trying to fix my physical problems in a way that wasn’t all that different from the way I had once restricted my calories. In both cases, I was using an artificial number to place external limits on something that scared me.

Of course, as soon as I realized this, I was automatically able to write it off as a fear that wasn’t worth holding on to. 31-year-old Christy knows that just because she spends more time trying to fix her SI joints, it doesn’t mean she is going to go back to a rigid way of thinking and denying her body what it needs. If anything, it means the opposite.

So I’m going to listen to myself. I’m not going to force myself to do anything, one way or another. If I want to only do my exercises for one day, and then stop, that’s what I’ll do. Another day, if I feel like exercising, and then doing some research, and then going to the chiropractor, that’s what I’ll do.

It’s not about the numbers; it’s about the process. It’s not about imposing limits; it’s about flow.

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3 thoughts on “Inner Limits

  1. Hi there. I am a physio with 34 years behind me, and the international manipulative exam. May I say that hyper mobile joints do not tolerate being stretched? Even the reactive muscles that crave stretching are stabilizers and are needing outside help. Usually a pelvic brace for two months or so. A leather belt type of thing, not elastic. eating disorders (and antibiotics) can change your abilty to digest proteins, big molecules, and therefore you’d have less for repairs and making nice firm ligaments. This may be how you got hyper mobile; it is a very common scenario. I would like to throw out there that a naturopathic doctor could re-work your digestive system for hydrochloric acid to bile to enzymes to probiotics and allow you to heal again, due to protein building blocks getting into you. Those exhausted guarding muscles like massage, but not stretch usually. And a trial with a belt would show you if your body liked it or not. Some things just need to be held snug until they mend so they don;t tear themselves open again.

    1. Hi Heather– thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate all your advice –it’s definitely food for thought! I’m really hoping the stretches I do are okay… I try to keep my weight as evenly balanced as possible, and not to contort my body too much. But it is definitely something to keep in mind, and I will ask my PT what she thinks. Thanks again!

      1. I hope it is helpful. Thr thoracic spine and rib cage need to be mobilized in all possible dimensions as well, because the body will squeeze extra range of motion of the sacroiliac joint to compensate. The ribs should be mobilized in the front as well, up-and-down and to the sides, as well as all of the joints of the manubrium. The ribs should be mobilized in the front as well, up-and-down and to the sides, as well as all of the joints of the manubrium. They throw a large motor wait around and influence the pelvis significantly. The manubrium can really create a lot of twist down the spine, which cranks the pelvis open. If the leg lengths are uneven, then you have probably missed something; true leg length discrepancy’s are incredibly rare. If the pelvis insists on being loose in spite of this, then the leather belt will show what it can do within a week. If it helps, you need to wear it for three months. I am very familiar with pelvises so feel free to ask for more pointers if this is useful for you. Cheers.

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