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.
Aaaand, this post is EXACTLY why I will be with you, every step of the way, cheering you on from the virtual cheap seats - I *heart* you!
By Liz@thisfullhouse on 2009 12 31
Great post. Quite a motivation. I agree about self image and seeing yourself as you really are. At the moment, I’d rather not look in the mirror. Maybe that’s something I too can change this year. Thanks for getting me thinking.
By Luschka on 2009 12 31
*Applause* and *Cheering* !!
By amy2boys on 2009 12 31
This is beautiful, Leslie. You know that we are similar in this, and I hope you know that I’ll be here cheering you along. xoxo
By Angella on 2009 12 31
Argh. For a long time I DIDN’T have body issues. At least, not until I started having kids. Although I may not be RUNNING the 5k with you, I will be TRAINING like I will be. So good luck, and I will certainly be around to cheer you on.
By Lynette on 2009 12 31
You go girl! Just a word from an “older” mama. Uh once you hit 35 your metabolism starts to go down and then when you’re 40 like me it is practically gone so just DO IT.
By Jamie on 2009 12 31
You can do it. I hope to get on track with my body image too.
By ElfTea on 2009 12 31
Great post Les… and one I can really identify with, as you know. I’m so sick of “planning” on living a healthier life, and fooling myself in the process that I’m actually doing something about it. (I’m good at planning, it’s just the executing that’s an issue.)
By Paige on 2009 12 31
You know we are behind you 110% - encouraging you- loving you for the beautiful woman that you are RIGHT NOW, but supporting you in YOUR ultimate goal for yourself. Your enthusiasm is contagious and your dedication to being healthier is inspiring. Love ya.
By Michelle M on 2009 12 31
Yay, I hope you really enjoy the journey to better health! I found this blog after also being involved in the great Internet fitness debate. Happy to have found it!
By leigh on 2010 01 03