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Self reflection, Change for the better.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It has been SO LONG since I have written on here! I was keeping track of working out on SP but just not feeling the blogging. This is a blog entry I have wanted to write for a while now and tonight, just having finished a workout, enjoying a glass of wine, and having the house to myself it seems like the right time. (Forgive grammar and comma splices, plz)

I have reached an amazing realization and it is something that would not have happened (at all, or maybe as soon) without SparkPeople. I was always pretty thin growing up and could eat whatever I wanted. Getting older, college, grad school, thought I could do the same thing and not be worried. As many people have found, that causes weight gain. Half-hearted attempts to workout/diet never worked. I always opted for easy, quick fix, deprivation type gimmicks.
I grew more dissatisfied with my weight and body. Continued to try things like Atkins, and pills in order to lose weight. I just wanted LESS, NOW!!! So badly. It didn't work. I complained and cried and went clothes shopping less, stopped wearing swim suits, or shopping for them only wearing hand me downs from friends. I threw up and cried and wailed when I ate too much (which was often). My amazing boyfriend listened and didn't comment.
Those commercials would come on to tv: Are you overweight? Do you have excess fat? Do you want to lose weight now? Yes! I would think desperately! Yes, I do! I NEED to lose weight! Tell me how! I would get anxious and watch with rapt attention to the insane claims that I could eat whatever I wanted and take a pill and look awesome with a six pack. And it never worked.
Then my boyfriend proposed and I bought a scale. And I cried some more. A tv show came on and SparkPeople was featured. I went to the page, made an account. In my mind I thought it was another "lose weight now! Quick!" sort of thing which was why I was drawn to it. Of course, I was wrong. But I stayed and looked around. That moment was the beginning of my real journey.

I set a slightly unrealistic weight goal (weigh what I did in high school? Why not?!? never got there) and began. I bought fitness dvds and took an old ski machine off a relative and actually WORKED OUT. I began to SWEAT and get SORE and be TIRED and, yeah, cry a little more. I worked out 3 times a week for 30 minutes and hated each second of it. I ate better. I began to lose weight. I fought for every single pound I lost that first year. After my wedding, I kept at it.

Contrary to what this might look like so far it is not a travel log of my weight loss journey. This is a celebration of my arrival. I have NEVER achieved my goal weight of 125. I have dipped my toes into the 130 area a few times but never managed to stay. I now weigh between 135-138 depending on where things are in my training and life. So what is this all about? The fact that I AM OK WITH MY BODY! Not just OK, I ENJOY MY BODY! How many people can say that?

Three years into using SP and I am running half marathons and still working out. I am not always awesome at working out. These last few weeks have been tough and getting all my minutes has been tough. I haven't wanted to do it all the time (most of the time) but I have managed. Lately, I have been eating like the college students I teach. It happens. This is what I would term a rough spot in my health lifestyle. And guess what? I am ok with that. I am still happy with my body! It is not the way I like it right now but I know it looks good. I also know that I can get back on track and to looking "awesome" in the matter or a couple of weeks, because I know how.

Here is the big point: I was watching tv the other day and saw one of those weight loss pill commercials. Are you fat? (No.) Are you dissatisfied with your body? (No.) Do you need to lose 5 or more pounds? (No.) I watched the commercial and realized it had no affect on me. The anxiety, desperation, extreme/insane hope I used to feel is gone. I felt bad knowing that other people out there might feel that way watching this, that they might feel as I once did. Then, it slowly dawned on me, that I didn't feel that way anymore. For YEARS now I have worked hard to sculpt and train this body and this is the reward: contentment. I am happy with my body. Let's explore that in a totally self-indulgent manner.

I know how to keep my body in shape. Even if I fall off the wagon for periods of time (hello, holidays! Stress eating! Injury!) I KNOW for a FACT I can catch the wagon and get back on with a little effort.

I am keeping steady at a weight range without a whole lot of effort (besides a healthy lifestyle). I stopped using my scale because it made me crazy. I went to the doctor's office and found out I weighed less than I thought I did which was fun! I went home and had some cookies to balance things out! ;)

Working out has become a part of my LIFE. Keeping my body in shape is something I know I must work for, not something that comes from a bottle. I try for 4 days a week minimum and 5-6 when in training for a race. This is normal for me and now I look to workout when I travel.

I am constantly amazed at what my body can do! It can run so far! It can build muscle! It can move fast and dance and lunge and kickbox and so many other things! I enjoy trying new things for my body. I like trying new workouts (yoga, bootcamp, ballet, bellydancing, sculpting) and seeing where this amazing body can take me.

I no longer despair. Instead I think of what I want to work on, what I want to improve, because I know I can and I know how.

My body is not my enemy anymore. It is amazing, and strong (so strong, I never knew), and tough, and interesting! It fits into clothes I like to wear. No, not size 4. Never a size 4, my body would be unnatural at a size 4. It looks awesome in a size 8, sometimes a 6, sometimes a 10. That is all ok, because it looks good.

I no longer fight my body. We work together. We are comfortable together. Sure, I still suck it in in the mirror and have days I don't feel like a super model but I know this will pass and I know I am healthy and that my body is good.

Being freed from fighting my body has helped my mind as well. This is a bit of chicken or the egg but I have a calmness in my life. My life is not exactly what I imagined it to be but I am finding I am fulfilled. I began doing volunteer work and have discovered amazing things about who I can be as a person. I relate to my husband differently than before we were married. He no longer has to listen to me cry about my weight, instead he listens to me get antsy when I can't work out (when I was recovering from an injury was a tough time for the poor guy!). He gets to listen to me brag about needing 8 pound weights now, cause 5 just isn't enough (and 10 was a little too lofty). I am healthier and get sick less (knock on wood). My "winter blues" were very much diminished with a winter running routine.

This all goes up and down, of course. Sometimes I hate working out, but I do it anyway. Sometimes I feel awesome about running and sometimes I hate every step, but I keep doing it. Sometimes I get sore and don't want to try again, but I do. Sometimes, instead of working out, I sit on the couch and eat leftover halloween candy. It happens. There is always later, or tomorrow to make up for it because it just isn't a big deal. I know how to handle these situations and it has calmed me in a way I have not been in my life.

This is getting super long so I will wrap it up with this final thought: I am a different person than I ever was and than I ever expected to be.
My family sees it, my friends see it and I see it. My body and I are working together now more than ever before.

It is not my enemy. It is my friend. Even that pooch at the bottom of my belly.

I am PROUD of my BODY!!!

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