Body Language, Part II.

June 24, 2011 at 11:53 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away) | 15 Comments

About a year ago, I wrote that even though I had lost all this weight, I still saw the Fat Me in the mirror.

And it was Mel’s post today that made me realize.

It’s changed.

I have been at this weight now, give or take 5lbs, for more than a year. My eyes have adjusted to see ME, the way I look right now, in the mirror.

Looking back at my old pictures, I am often struck by the softness of my body, in my face.

Because right now, I’m leaner than I ever was as a teenager and adult.

My secret?

I eat small meals over the course of a day, heavy on protein, complex carbohydrates and veggies, light on processed sugar and simple carbohydrates.

I drink alcohol in moderation.

And I run. And run and run and run and run.

It used to be that I’d get on a scale, and hold my breath, and worry about the number I saw. I’d always breathe a sigh of relief when I was in the “good” range. If I was heavier than that range, I’d beat myself up and tell myself that I had to stop eating so damn much! until I got back down into the good number.

And this spring, after we had our failed cycle, I read a book that really changed the way I look at my body.

Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives.

The author has a chapter on body image, and how disheartening it is to be chained to a number on the scale. How sports can help a woman feel better about her body, even if she doesn’t lose any weight while doing so. How a woman should really try and focus on being fit and healthy, instead of being focused on weight.

And honestly, I NEEDED to read this chapter. Because after our failed cycle? I decided that, to be happy, I had to lose another 10lbs. I wanted to get to a number which I thought would make me feel GOOD.

To get there? Would have been a LOT of work. I would have had to forego eating things which give me pleasure. I would have had to skip those impromptu trips to the ice cream stand with J and O. I would have had to get better at running on an empty stomach, reduce my already scaled-back portion sizes. Cutting even more sugar. Not using half and half in my coffee in the morning.

And it struck me, after reading that chapter: What the HELL is POINT of losing more weight?

Because I want to enjoy my life as it is. I WANT to enjoy the small cup of ice cream I get when we go out on a summer night. I want to have a beer or a Mike’s Hard Lemonade one night and not regret it. I want to indulge, once in a while, in a milkshake and fries from McDonald’s.

Yeah, I have thighs that touch, and will never have a flat belly, and it’s covered in faded stretch marks, and I need a bra that lifts my sagging breasts, and I have cellulite and spider veins on the back of my thighs.

But I am fit. And strong. I run more than 25 miles a week. I can carry my 30 lb son up and down the stairs. I can hike, and bike, and climb mountains, and race, and do cartwheels, and jump rope.

And since our negative 7 weeks ago, I have lost a couple of pounds, yes. But mostly I’ve gained muscle. I’ve lost the softness, the roundness of the winter.

And yes, I still get on a scale to check where I am, except now when I see a higher number I know that I should make sure I’m drinking enough water – I could be dehydrated.

Even better, some of my best and fastest runs have been when I see that number, because I know I ate enough the day before to have enough energy for my runs.

So really, it’s just a change in perspective.

One of the things I’m really trying to do with my life right now is focus on what I HAVE in the here and now.

I may be infertile, and might never be pregnant again.

But I am fit and healthy, that that counts for a LOT.

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15 Comments »

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  1. What a fantastic and empowering post. I have recently started to run (very recently, just up to 6 and 1s), and you have been an inspiration!

  2. This was a great post to read. I’ve always thought that being mentally healthy was as important as being physically healthy. The people who are very thin and look “healthy”, but obsess over every little thing they eat – not healthy. You sound like you have a very balanced view of your health right now.

    I’ve been lifting weights every day for the past month or so, and doing cardio things a few times a week. It’s amazing how rewarding it’s been! I’ve lost no weight at all, but I just don’t stress over my weight the way I used to. And I enjoy seeing myself grow stronger.

  3. De-lurking to say this was JUST what I needed to read today. I am starting to run again (just added your rec to my Kindle!) and you made me realize how great I feel while running and how I often end up ruining that by worrying about the scale. Thank you!

  4. It DOES count for a lot. Can’t enjoy anything if you’re dead!

  5. You are such a freaking ROCK STAR!!! Love reading you and getting such a good feeling after doing so..

  6. I just bought six months at a nearby yoga studio because I need to reconnect with my body, with its strength and its wisdom. I really hope to start going again soon. I used to struggle with weight and then I spent a year in Spain, and lost a ton of weight and was miserable and then I realized, it just clicked for me, that being skinny did not mean being happy. And I was able to let fall away a lot my food and body issues. I was very, very lucky. Now I focus on feeling strong and comfortable in my body, but I’m not affording it enough time. I need to make it a priority again, and I need to reintroduce myself to this new, post-pregnancy body that can seem so foreign to me. I hope the yoga, and starting to run again, help.

    Thanks for this post. I needed it today.

  7. You inspire me!!! That’s exactly what I’m looking for. I like stopping what I’m doing and feeling such gratitude for the body i’ve been given. Enjoy!

  8. This is a great post, and definitely something I needed to read. I also need to read that book.

    Thank you for making me think. 🙂

  9. Yes, that counts for SO much. You have come a long way, not just physically, but having the right perspective.

    I have 24# to lose after losing the 40 I’ve lost and I’ve been at this new weight for at least the last 3 months. I can maintain at this weight and that is a good thing and when I am ready to take the remaining pounds, I will, but for now, I’ll take my pounds and inches lost with pride.

  10. This is awesome. Fit, strong, healthy … that’s what our bodies are for. Not for some perfection that is defined by someone else. Thanks for reminding me what I’m striving for.

  11. Just requested that book from the library 🙂 Feeling good about yourself does SO much more for overall happiness than being stick thin. I, too, am in the best place mentally when I’m exercising regularly and eating healthily, but not completely eradicating the indulgences. Keep up the great work!

  12. This post struck such a chord with me – I completely get the warped body image and the negative self-talk blues and being so in your own head you enjoying the good in the moment seems out of the question. I ordered the book and started it today over lunch; completely fantastic! Thank you!

  13. You are fit and healthy…. and strong, and loving, honest, genuine, hard worker, an awesome mom!

  14. Great post, and so true! It’s all about health, this whole weight thing should be aimed at having a healthy body, not a thin one or a light one per se. Although being thinner or lighter may also be healthier in certain circumstances, it’s not the end-goal in and of itself. And it sounds like you’re one hell of a fit healthy girl right now. Win for Serenity!

    Bea

  15. […] Serenity had a great post about weight loss and body image. Her post is in response to Mel’s about the same thing. […]


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