I started this post a while back, before Christmas, when I was beginning to analyze the correlation to my heavier times and having the “winter blues”. I wanted to have a nice sit-down with myself and really talk about how and why my body isn’t changing and why I’m unable to do the things I used to or look the way I think I do. All of this occurred before these ladies started discussing things like being plus-size vs working hard at fitness. It’s ironic, in a very real ten-thousand-spoons sort of way, a touch serendipitous, and more than a bit refreshing to realize while I was here having a smack-down, drag-out discussion with myself, the internet was discussing it, too.
I’ve struggled with body image issues since I was old enough to realize I should. In sixth grade my best friend went on her first diet. I soon followed eating frozen grapes and doing Jane Fonda “No Pain No Gain” type workouts. I idolized Mary Lou Retton and her Saturday morning fitness show.
While other girls went different directions with their eating and exercise, I stayed focused. I dieted, read nutrition books, even planned on being a dietitian to the point I got my undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science. But knowing about what to do and doing it are two very different things.
Never having a small frame, I was always the largest girl in gymnastics, the heaviest runner, the round girl that lifts weights. I described myself as “thick” because much of it was muscle. I grew muscles quickly, big guns, strong calves. I still have this ability when I utilize it.
What I do not have, is a petite self, a body that can weigh less than about 140 without looking ill, or lovely pale skin and eyes that offset each other in a perfect symmetric circle. Starving myself, working out, every diet in the world will not change that fact.
And yet, I tried.
And then I stopped trying.
Somewhere along the way I gave up. I still work out. I still eat fairly healthy. But I stopped giving it my best. In my head, I was still working out like a younger version of me, but the truth is, I’ve been in denial for a very long time. Pictures. Mirrors. My own image that stares back is colored with a vision that isn’t real.
I want to be real.
For as long as I remember, I’ve been on a path to perfecting my health. A path where I obsess too much, count too little, workout with mediocracy and end up in the same place, a circle of self loathing and denial.
The buck stops here, sister.
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, and again, and again, I will train for my 5K, I will go to the gym, I will maintain what I’ve worked for but I will do so much more. It’s not a resolution so much as it is a promise to myself: Before I turn 35, I will, abso-fucking-lutely will, be in the best shape of my life.
I know what to do. Now it’s time to start doing it.
I promise to bore the hell out of you with details along the way. And maybe even a before photo or two. If there’s enough whisky in me first.
*These series of images have nothing to do with this post to you, but serve as a reminder to me about the day my children went to the park and let me chase them up the hill and down. I never want to miss out on these opportunities. Ever.