My Body, The Betrayer

The past three mornings, including this one, have been so, so difficult. I am tired of shedding tears over this but they won’t stop and every time I find a place to be calm, a new knife slices me open. I feel raw and ragged. My eyes are sore and puffy. This is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It’s been two weeks since the competition and my weight hasn’t budged. Actually, it may have gone up.

The kicker, the thing that pisses me off royally, is that I’ve done everything right. I’ve not cheated. If I had, I would be upset but at myself because I would know I am responsible for my results. But no, I have no time to dick around with this. I’m focused and motivated and want it so badly I can’t even tell you. I’m committed like never before. I do the cooking. I’m prepared. I follow the plan. I measure every portion. And my body is betraying me, just like it always has. We are not on the same team.

The scale silently mocks me.

What happened was this: last week I “felt” skinnier. I thought I’d weigh myself. After all I did that competition and barely ate. I HAD to have lost weight, right? WRONG!

“It was a shock to your body,” says the nutritionist. “It’s water weight from inflammation,” she claims.

I am talked off the edge and decide to give it a week eating on plan exactly and then I will weigh myself after my body has recovered and recalibrated.

Then on this Thursday, somehow my trainer and I come up with the brilliant idea to measure my body fat, because I’m certain it has to have changed with all the activity I’m doing, my new diet.

Hugely bad idea. First, the scale. Yes, I’m in my clothes and shoes and I’ve eaten breakfast, but the scale says I’m up almost 6 pounds!!!!! Then the body fat machine. It may not be a perfect way to measure it but it is the same method used originally so at least the results should be consistent. I’m down a puny, measly 3%. I’m still obese, still over 40% adipose. Disgusting.

I proceed to have a tearful breakdown in the gym. Yes, I keep doing my work-out but I lose it. I will NEVER have a body I love, much less even like. This just isn’t possible for me. It is harder for me than anyone else in the world. For sure if anyone else was doing everything I’m doing they’d have lost 20 pounds by now, probably more. Everyone says that being active should help with the weight loss, that it is an advantage. It doesn’t seem to be making the process any faster.

The absolute worst was when the trainer placed a 10 pound plate on my back while doing a plank. You just never know what will trigger you. For me, this weight pulled down on my core and all I could think of was that I have 9 of these plates pulling me down all the time. It not only weighs heavily on my frame, it weighs heavily on my soul.

I can’t tell you how very discouraged I was, and am, but “weight,” there’s more upset-ness!

I emailed my nutritionist straight away. “I’m up in weight! This is not okay,” I write.

“Breathe,” she tells me. “I have a plan,” she says. “Weigh yourself at home, naked, first thing in the morning like you normally do and we will go from there.”

Again, I table the disappointment for a few hours. Since it is Thursday, I’m supposed to go to Rado’s class in the evening but it just doesn’t feel right. I call Ivan to see if we can have a private lesson. With all this emotional stuff I know I need to really dance it out. I find a tiny island of internal calm as the hours pass so when I arrive to my lesson I am able to focus.

Last time we danced, the Rumba once again haunted me. I find it incredibly hard to portray that dance in particular especially because of my size and body image. But all day long I was thinking, thinking, and deciding ahead of time that I’m going to dance it how I feel it inside, not based on how I look on the outside. It seems like I can much more easily portray a Samba, a Cha Cha, Jive. How is it that Ivan knows when I’m “being me” in these dances but that I can’t seem to “be me” doing the Rumba?

So I meditated on being centered from within while doing the Rumba. I recalled this time that doing one of those personal growth and mastery seminars I declared in public “I am sexy,” because I was challenged to, because even then it was an issue for me, and I have a little memory lapse of what happened but after I said it, meaning it, but all of a sudden the entire room stood up and clapped and cheered for me, and people came up to me after the fact and said, “Whoah. If you weren’t married….”

I thought about where that came from, this evidence that “it” is in there somewhere inside me, and I purposefully decided to do my best to show up from that place on my lesson.

I mean, Ivan is stinking cute! I am pretty lucky to get to dance with him. I guess I should show that, show that I’m happy and enjoying the experience, in the context of the dance, instead of being all wah-boo-poor-fat-ugly-me. So I touched his chest like I meant it and we began messing around moving before dancing. I swiveled my hips and touched my neck and it was awesome.

In some ways, I’ve come quite far. The studio was full of people on lessons and I didn’t give one whit. I am there to work. I can easily claim my space, especially with Ivan at my side, and dance, even if people are staring at me. I was involved in what I was doing and it worked. First, one of the other instructors was all like, “Oh la la!” as she left for the evening. It was apparent she had been watching and my sexy moves had been sexy enough to prompt her to say something. Secondly, and most importantly, Ivan was all like, “I like it today.”

In fact, surprisingly, after the lesson Ivan and I had a conversation in which he asked me if I wanted to go and just do the Scholarship at Millennium in Florida. Financially and time-wise I’m not able to swing-it but it was an interesting development. The idea was that he noticed a big difference in my dancing that day, so much so that he thought I was ready, and should get some experience, to dance with “the big dogs” and see how I’d fare against competitors at large competitions. I agreed that it would be a good experience as I prepare for next year but commented that I wouldn’t really expect any results at this time. He actually seemed to think that getting some results was entirely possible – we’re talking making it to a semi-final or something, not winning, but that would be quite an accomplishment for me. He was feeling that I am starting to come into my confidence, that we did well at People’s Choice, that the judges began to notice me, and that we should build on this. For us, it isn’t about the placements as much as it is how we feel about how we are dancing. If we feel strong and good and get placed last, so be it. Of course, we’d like to score well, but I think it is so much healthier to think of it from our angle and better to have no expectations about things over which I have no control. In any case we will be at Desert Classic and Galaxy and I’m also contemplating Ohio, just to go to a huge competition and have that experience and to see how I stack up against some tougher competition.

So the one silver lining in this week of pain has been that I’m noticeably dancing with more soul, more groundedness, more confidence.

But back to the pain-fest. The next morning I weighed myself as instructed and the scale said I was 2 pounds up. I met with my nutritionist, very, very upset and we talked about a game plan. She talked me off the ledge, once again. She is going to “tweak” my current plan this coming week and create an entire new one the following week. We are going to be more specific with timing my nutrients. I will be taking some supplements. We are going to track my activity and calorie burns and their timing to be more efficient.

“Your body isn’t getting what it needs,” she says. “Your body doesn’t trust you, after years of not getting the nutrition it needs,” she explains.

“I don’t trust my body.” I reply.

And it is true. I don’t trust it at all. I am incredibly angry with it. It refuses to bend to my will. I feel I have no say in what it does. I feel I have no power over it. I hate it.

But what can I do about it, right now in this moment? Again, I feel powerless. Absolutely nothing. I am stuck with it, and it is stuck with me. So I do the only thing I can, agree to the new “tweaked” plan which will be forthcoming in my inbox, and stick to it with 100% adherence. And even then, my body will do what it will. I will still be a XXL. I will still have flabby bat wing arms. I will still weigh more than most grown men.

I feel somewhat better after the talk with the nutritionist and she even offers to work-out with me on Wednesday morning before we meet again to learn some routines for weight training I can do on my own on the days I don’t see my trainer. At least I have some action steps to take which gives the illusion that I’m actually doing something about this situation which feels so entirely hopeless.

Again, I calm my emotions enough to get through yesterday, eat my breakfast this morning, and open my “tweaked” plan. Once again I’m bleeding from a razor slash. The fresh wounds still weeping are assaulted anew as the first thing I see as open the attachment is butter. I check the calorie count and begin to panic, breathing in halts and gasps as I see it is UP from 2000 to 2500. DIdn’t she hear me?! I want to LOSE weight, not gain it! Are you freaking kidding me. I don’t want to do this. Every fiber of my being is against this.

“It is for a week or two at the very most,” she says. “It is a metabolic reset,” she explains. “There is good science behind it.”

Fuck science. I don’t care. I just want to starve myself until the next competition. Too much time has been wasted already. Half the year is gone and I’m down a measly 15 pounds since I began with the trainer and nutritionist. Unacceptable. And now I’m supposed to stay stagnant or even risk gaining more weight for the next week or two to reset? And I am desperate to show an improvement in my body, to be smaller and lighter at my next competition, and I feel like that is impossible and not going to happen if I follow this. I’m working so hard. I am so sad and frustrated and angry that I’m not steadily going downward. I don’t know what to do. It is stressing me out and goes against everything I know/believe about how to make a body smaller. I am asea. This doesn’t look anything like I want it to, nothing like what I expected, and I don’t want to do it.

I really, really, really, really don’t want to do it. I don’t want to eat fucking butter. I don’t want to fucking eat 2500 calories.

I would rather crawl into a hole and waste away.

what am I going to do? Somehow I have to talk myself into this when every cell in my body is screaming, “NO!!!!.”  Why isn’t it working for me? Why is my body so goddamned stupid.

I am a total mess.

But I have a lesson with Inna in 2 hours so I better get myself together.


10 thoughts on “My Body, The Betrayer

  1. sweetbabymeg says:

    My gym did a fat loss diet program and it included eating tons of protien. To the point where most of the participants were literally gagging at the thought of eating. But your nutritionist is right, there is science behind it. The average person that did the Fat loss program lost 10 pounds in 30 days by sticking to it. Sometimes for us curvy gals it is difficult to train our brains that eating more is better – or even these changes we are doing is better. We have convinced ourselves that not eating is the way to go ( at least I have, lol) It just doesn’t make sense, but somehow it works. You will get there! Don’t give up!

  2. Pam says:


    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while, and this post made me want to (need to) comment. It sucks. I can’t say anything that will make it not suck, but you picked your team for a reason. They’re there because what you were doing – starving yourself – wasn’t working. Trust them and give it a try. Believe in that instinct that led you to them!

    People out there are rooting for you!

  3. I feel for you. I have really had a hard time over the years losing no matter what I do. I have heard that sometimes eating more is the answer and you have tried the other way, so why not give it a good try . I never thought about what your nutrionist said about your body not trusting you after years of not getting enough nutriants, wow.
    I will be sending positive thoughts your way. Don’t you give up, you will get there and you will get that body you dream of !! I am on that journey as well. 255 pounds, twice what I should weight and sometimes feeling I will never get there. I will, and so will you as long as we never give up. Thank you for sharing your story and your strugglles. I am very inspired with your hard work !!
    You have your dancing and as long as you keep dancing and dreaming your will see your dreams come true !!
    I wish you only the best and look forward to seeing you get to those goals one day soon !!

  4. Rachel says:

    I feel for you. I am also struggling with the weight, and the body image issues that go with it. You are working so much harder than I am, so I don’t have much room to complain. Sometimes I wonder if there is some psychological aspect that aim not addressing, but I really think that my problem is that I like to eat unhealthy food a lot more than I like to exercise. I’m rooting for you, because you deserve to feel good about everything you have accomplished, and will accomplish. You really inspire me to keep trying, so much so that I have added Salsa to the Argentine Tango, and I am considering some other dances, as well. I wish it could be easier for us both! It has to get better!

  5. bgballroom says:

    Wow – Stef, the first section of this post is like wading through chest deep mud! Your writing is very evocative. Very.

    Then when you started to talk about your lesson with Ivan, I thought you would be wanting to just go through the motions and have a little respite from the mud pit and maybe a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. But instead you found yourself a brilliant, shining, magnificent diamond! What a gift to know how to reach down deep when you are in the midst of agony and find the will and life force to bring out the outrageously beautiful dancer we all know you are. I love it when I watch a couple dance and feel a little twinge that I am intruding on a very private moment. It sounds like you had a little of that action going on! Ooh la la indeed.

    Eat the butter. Pretend it is medicine and hate it if you have to but keep at it for at least a month. Chele sounds like she knows what she is doing.

  6. Dieting is different for everyone. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for others. My husband, for example, struggles to lose weight. Then there is me; I can lose weight easily just by cutting out certain foods.

    Questions for you: do you east dairy? How much water are you drinking every day? How much processed foods are you consuming in a day(ex. Bread, cereal, lean cuisines, etc).

    My husband wants me to tell you, “focus on the process. The results will come”. He is right – Rome was not built in a day. It took me years to build my body and make it the machine it is today. Give yourself time; you will achieve your goal. There is no doubt.

    Keep your head up girl. We are all on your side and are very proud of what you are getting to achieve! 😉

  7. alcpaws says:

    Don’t give up Steph. Your nutritionist is right. I abused my body for years with diet pills, starvation and bad food.
    Last year I started dancing (I’m int Bronze now) I learned to love my body again and realized I do have control over it in so many beautiful ways!
    At some point I realized I needed fuel to support my dancing and started to feed my body. Nothing happened for a few months but I love to dance so I ate and then one day my body learned to trust me. It believed I wasn’t going to starve it and out of the clear blue I just started to lose weight.
    My body and I have a healthy relationship now. I promise to consume the right amount of fuel to support my daily activities and it in turn is letting go of its adipose reserve. We trust each other.
    Don’t give up Steph and love your body it’s the only one you will ever have.

  8. Paragon2Pieces says:

    Hope things are looking up since you wrote this post. Sending good vibes your way.

  9. caraannewilliams says:

    This captured so much of what I’ve been feeling this week. The frustration, the anger, the self-hate, the desperation. It’s so courageous of you to share this with us.

    I don’t want to go against your nutritionist, who is clearly a medical professional, but I second legalballerina in asking about the dairy and such. If there is water weight from “inflammation” what’s causing the inflammation. Dairy or gluten or sugar or too much protein are common culprits, but (disclaimer) I took the _Eat to Live_ approach to dieting. That inflammation may be something to talk about with the nutritionist.

    And finally, 15 pounds is a huge accomplishment. Try to be proud of how far you’ve come.

  10. Paragon2Pieces says:

    Hi Stef, was just wondering how things were going so I’m stopping by to say hello. I’ve been thinking about you because I’ve been seeing lots of posts about Desert Classic in my FB feed. Hope things are looking up and that you’re feeling back on track. Don’t give up. We want you to succeed!

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