Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the (sort of) new me

I have a new hobby. Exercising. Okay, I know it is not really a hobby, more like a necessity, but I am secretly starting to like it. Every night at bedtime I dread that I am going to get up when everyone else is still snoozing to go sweat. But then I go and do my thing and, shock of my life, I feel great afterward! Ick, am I becoming that girl? The one who looks forward to exercising? The one who can expound upon the virtues of sweating and a good sports bra? Surely not.
I have never been a person who feels entirely comfortable in my body. As a 5 year old, I knew that I could not wear a bikini. In the third grade I despaired that my jeans were so tight on my waist. During back to school shopping in the 8th grade, I cried in the dressing room. I remember the exact moment my freshman year during German class that I discovered I had cellulite. My whole life has been one long battle between my mind and my body. Looking back, I cannot believe that I thought I was fat. I have no idea why I had such a screwed up body image. In pictures, I am not the skinniest 4th grader, but I am certainly no where near the biggest in my class. In dance class I was so self conscious of being in a leotard I would always wear a tee shirt over it. Even when I was at my skinniest as a senior in high school, I still felt like the fat girl in the group. I know I am not alone with my screwed up body image. Probably most woman I know don't truly see what they are when they look in the mirror. I know I don't.
Having a baby helped me to realize that my body can be pretty darn useful. With all the birthing and nursing, it is pretty amazing what the female body was made to do. However, all those good times come at a price. My newly useful body is also a hot mess. I was no model pre-baby, but holy cow. I had no idea what carrying a child would do to me. I won't get into the details. No one needs to know what is going on under the clothes, but it ain't good. I only gained 18lbs with the lady baby, but I am a firm believer that half of that went to my inner thighs. Why did no one tell me that could happen? The other half was in a lovely tire around my middle. Oh 18lbs, you are now gone, but certainly not forgotten. Though the scale tells me you have disappeared, the mirror tells me otherwise.
The need to do something about all the extra me that I am carrying around led me to this new thing I am trying called exercise. I have also gotten to know exercise's good friend, healthy eating. I am on weight watchers and suffering through a mere 24 points a day. Thank god for those activity points I get from working out. Twice a week I do pilates with a class and at least twice a week I run/walk with some neighborhood friends. And, gasp, I find myself enjoying it! I always thought I could not run, that my body would not let me do it. I am by no means yet "a runner" but I am slowly teaching myself how to be one. I am hoping that unlike every other exercise regimen that I have attempted in my life, I will continue to work on this one and continue to improve instead of abandoning it the minute it gets too hard or boring. I started slow--walking a block then running a block. I am still the slowest in our group, but I am doing it. And I am giving myself room to be mediocre so that I can eventually be really great. I don't want to quit, just because I am the snail in the group or because I need to walk more than everyone else. In pilates, I forgive myself for shaking when I do hard moves, or having to vary mine a little because I am still the new kid in class. I continually tell myself that just by getting up and going, I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was three months ago. I used to say the only reason I would run would be if someone was chasing me with a gun. The old Thea is chasing me, with a bazooka loaded with lbs.
So now I have put it out there, and others will read it. I now have to try and keep my new "healthy lifestyle" going. I have set myself up to refuse to give up for fear of everyone knowing that I have abandoned healthy T. I am starting to like her more anyway, even if she does talk about how great her morning workout was and how important fiber is, and how many points are in pizza. I have to give a little shoutout to my wonderful husband who gets up extra early to do the baby wrangling while I am out finding my skinnier self. He is okay with no starch at dinner and extra veggies and chicken 4 nights a week. He even understands that I don't want him to get shaped up with me, becuase I want to be skinnier than him again! (He is the annoying type who can get on a treadmill and run a few miles after months of sloth, and will lose 10 pounds in just a few short weeks of working out. Workout Thea hates workout Tony.)
When I look at my sweet girl I pray for her to love herself despite her faults, and I throw in a little extra prayer for a nice flat stomach for her as well. No reason not to give her her a little help, what with all the genetics she has working against her.

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