Yesterday I took a trip to my happy place, Vail Mountain, with my good friend Grace—who is more like my sister. We decided to take a ski lesson. I highly recommend taking one if you can, there’s always room to improve your skiing/riding.
I was excited for the lesson because I’ve never learned from a pro how to ski in a lot of powder. It’s been more self-taught, just going out and getting down the mountain. It was snowing on our drive up and never stopped all day. Vail is reporting 7” in the last 24 hours, but in spots on the mountain it was up to my knees. It was incredible and so pretty!
At this point, you might be wondering why my blog is called “Control” since I’m talking about skiing on a powder day. Well let me tell you, to me, everything about skiing is counterintuitive. I really have to trust the equipment, try to move my body in a way that feels like I might fly down the mountain or fall, and breathe.
Mike was our fabulous instructor. He started the lesson reminding us that you want to push your shins into the tongue of your ski boot. I am not great about doing this because it seems like if I leaned forward into my boot, I would either fall over or go too fast. However, this isn’t the case. The way the ski is shaped and how the binding fits on the ski, allows you to be more balanced when you are leaning in. If you fight this technique, like I often do, you will find your quads on fire and have less control as you go down the mountain.
My life was very chaotic from middle school to graduating from college. I felt totally out of control. Nothing I did seemed to soothe the tumultuous life I was living in. However, I discovered over the years that calorie counting, exercising, and having rigid rules around food made me feel so powerful and in control. I started with small and inconsistent behaviors and it felt so good. I felt like I had a secret that allowed me to be so powerful that the craziness of my life could no longer control me. I didn’t know that I was creating an eating disorder, I just knew it felt exhilarating to finally feel in control.
This is like my skiing. I taught myself ways to get down the mountain that weren’t the most efficient or safe but, for the most part, I felt in control even though I wasn’t. I got down the mountain exhausted and still had fun. It was a rush! The same can be said for my eating disorder. I taught myself ways to get through life coping with an eating disorder. I was exhausted but thought I was in control enough. It was a rush! The reality of both situations is that I was out of control.
When I ski, I have to do the opposite of what my head tells my body to do. It’s usually out of fear I go back to bad habits when I ski. The terrain gets steeper, the powder gets higher, moguls, or ice patches send me back into old habits. In order to recover from my eating disorder, I also had to do the opposite of what my head told me to do. Follow my meal plan, take a rest from movement, not engage in a behavior, sit through the discomfort, etc. Life might be scary, like the ski terrain, but I have to do the opposite of the eating disorder!
What I learned yesterday in my lesson was the if I trust the equipment, my body, and breathe, I’m in more control and less exhausted as I ski. The same for my recovery. If I trust my team, my body, my meal plan, and breathe, I will be in more control of my life, less exhausted, and able to be free!