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JENNSWIMS
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It Isn't Starting Over, My Body Remembers

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I think it is a fair assessment that in many ways things got pretty crappy for me in 2012, both in terms of weight loss (gain!!!) and the rest of my life.

Things are so much better today, better in so many ways, except for the stinkin' meanie-head scale and my size "fat" pants. I lost a lot of ground there, but in other ways I am so much better than I was 6-8 months ago. I have my head on straight FINALLY, I even left a job that was killing me, a job that had become such a part of my life that it didn't even seem weird to never have a whole weekend off.

NEWS FLASH: You know changing jobs is the right move when you don't even care that you took an enormous pay cut. That you care more that you are happy and therefore become willing to take a pay cut and in exchange for having work-life balance. At first I didn't believe it could possibly be true, but I, L'Occitane tramp extraordinaire, will happily sacrifice the random trips to L'Occitane for overpriced but absolutely fantabulous body products if it means I have a life outside of working like a rabid dog. What? I get to work 3 12 hour shifts instead of 24 hour plus shifts at the drop of a hat? OK, sign me up!

Emotionally, I'm in a better place than I was this time last year, or even when I was actively dropping weight like a professional boxer wearing one of those shiny silver sweatsuits. I'm happy, I love walking in the door when I get home, I love my life. I have these frequent moments where I find myself thinking "I didn't know I could be this happy." So much good in my life that I am thankful for every single day.

Sometimes I look out my dirty windows at my backyard and wonder if I'm on candid camera and my life is so good because it's really a gameshow and everyone is watching and wondering when I will figure it out.

It's easy to think that I'm back at square one, having returned to my ginormous starting weight of 2011. I'm not. My body remembers.
NEWS FLASH 2: My body is much more willing to get with the program when my brain is in fulminant cheerleader life-loving mode.

I did my first spinning class in a year last week and I didn't feel like I was going to fall off, go into respiratory or cardiac arrest and wake to some stranger threatening to perform mouth to mouth with breath that reeks of gatorade and protein powder. There may have been some moments where I had some choice words floating in my brain about the evil instructor and her "turn the knob to the right again" ways, but I did just fine on the teeny tiny painfully hard spin bike seat.

I'm rock climbing at my heaviest weight EVER, previous to this I hadn't rock climbed since the glory days of the 150s when I was in my teens. I even have my own climbing harness. Yes, friends, they make them in plus size (I'm currently a size 24), and there is no reason not to give it a whirl if your city offers indoor rock climbing.

Last time I wasn't spinning at this weight, I was forty pounds lighter than I am today before I even dared do such a thing. I wasn't kayaking at this weight, I had never even been in a kayak before July of last year when I was pretty, uh, portly to say the least.

I'm swimming half a mile at a time these days. I know I can make it back to the mile and half workouts I was doing in fairly short order, maybe a month or two. Do I still have moments where I dread being seen in a Speedo, of course, even though I'm surrounded by strangers who probably don't give two rats asses about what I look like, Speedo or otherwise.

So what I'm saying is that I'm not starting over. My body remembers. I'm still bendy when I go to yoga, and while my newly enlarged gut gets in the way sometimes, I'm way better than the last time when I hadn't even tried yoga.

My butt seems inordinately large to me right now, but I'm not focused on hating each dimply pucker and wiggly chunk of cellulite these days like I have been in years past. It will get smaller. How can it not?

My body remembers the good stuff. The spinning, the swimming, the yoga... my body remembers it all and it totally digs getting back to it. My achey joints and aching lumbar spine have given way to feeling pretty bouncy again. I'm not going to be running any day soon, and I won't be leading kickboxing class, but I'm feeling rather energetic, methinks.

My brain is in the game. The same brain that thinks eating like a starving rhino to self-medicate for stress is shockingly ok with making the transition to counting each calorie and step with a lot less struggle than the first time. The ugly voices that I silenced the first time around are still quiet, that lesson stuck quite well. Instead of the horrible words about how ugly and worthless I am, I hear a quiet voice of great comfort saying, "you've been down this path before, you know the way without a map, it will be easier this time."

It will be easier this time. It won't be easy, but my brain and my body have already done a lot of the heavy lifting, and now it is a matter of tracking every morsel and gram of everything I taste and moving as much as my crazy schedule will allow. Which, not surprisingly, isn't nearly as hard when you don't work 60 and 70 hour weeks.

This, I believe, is what people refer to as "progress".
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