Today's prompt is to free-write about a current stress or anxiety. Something that is always in my mind, but had really been popping up a lot lately is body image/diet/exercise. I've been overweight for years. Not extremely overweight, but heavier than is healthy. I remember being self conscious about it since middle school. However, I've recently revisited old photos from that time, and the reality was that I was really not that heavy, even though I'd been telling myself the story that I'd always been a really chubby kid. I do remember a boy in 3rd grade making fun of me and comparing my last name to the word "weight" (it was "Waite"). And I had a number of very skinny friends. But I was never all that heavy until high school. Regardless, I've been off and on diets and exercise programs for years. My mom and I would often do diets together. She has also always struggled with her weight, as did my grandparents (her parents). So I learned that its in my genes. I also learned that IBS runs in the family, that I'm particularly sensitive to greasy foods. I had always been nice to have the support and have a family that understands these problems...but now that I've been reading so much of the TMS literature, I'm questioning how much of this is really true. A few years back, I started exercising with a friend in grad school, and we joined a fitness bootcamp and went 3-4 days a week for a couple of years. She also inspired me to start running long distance. During those years, I lost ~40 pounds and was feeling great and really proud of myself. It was also a great stress release and such a positive force to have in my life while going through the hell that is grad school. Lately, now that we've moved away, its been pretty hard to keep up with the exercise, and I've been on a huge sugar kick lately, and the weight slowly adds back on. Not only is it discouraging, I think it also contributes to my TMS symptoms. Something I've been thinking about lately is how much my eating habits cause me psychological pain. And I think I've found a connection. I've been paying closer attention now, and it seems that often when I have a moment of "I don't care, I'm going to eat whatever I want", I start to get pains. It also made me wonder how much of my IBS is due to the extreme disappointment and self judgement I get when I eat something I know is bad for me. Just this evening, I had a short mindless eating binge, and I'm thinking that the pains I have in my arms now might be connected. I really think I'm on to something here, but it doesn't change that fact that eating healthy and exercising are still extremely hard to keep up with. Because my natural inclination these past months is to curl up on the couch and watch a great TV show. I'm hoping this will be less with the weather improving, but its hard. But clearly it is an area I need to work on as far as self-judgement goes!