Thursday, June 11, 2015
My 10-year-old daughter was prancing around the other night, wearing the sweatband I brought home from the Color Run.
Around her waist.
Yup. Her tiny, elfin little waist is about as big around as my head. (No, it's bigger. Those things stretch.) But still... you get the idea.
Our family's naturally fit... at least we start out that way. My kids are string beans, long and super-skinny.
So was I, at least for a while.
In high school I was thin without ever thinking about it. I ate normal teenage stuff, sometimes in hideous quantity. I was an art and band geek--not into sports. But I stayed thin. Not athletic, but thin. In college, a sprawling campus ensured that I walked miles a day. I still wasn't athletic (unless you count dancing on Friday nights), but my diet of takeout pizza and beer didn't catch up with me.
Hate me yet?
So here's what happened to the "effortlessly skinny" girl once she hit the "real" world. I entered a vortex of stress/overeating with my first job, and didn't look back for 10 years. I was fat at my own wedding. I'm fat in all my vacation photos. I have had glimmers of being in good shape on and off (when I turned 30... after my first child was born)... but mostly, I've hovered around 50 pounds overweight. Most of it, according to the photographic evidence, hovers around my middle, my bloated-looking upper arms, and my chubby double chin.
Doesn't sound like much to you? Think about going from a size 4 to a size 10 in one year. Yup. And it's only gone up from there. I weigh (at my heaviest) over 200 pounds.
Having never developed a mindful relationship with food or fitness... I was just clueless about the weight gain. And I was so focused on work (and relieving the stress of work, which meant happy hour and nachos several nights a week), I never slowed down enough--focused on myself enough--to check the unhealthy lifestyle that was spinning out of control.
I'm grateful for good genes. To have had a childhood free from bullying about weight. To know that I have inherited (likely) longevity and lack of chronic disease (unless I screw it up). To pass on to my kids a sort of predisposition toward fitness. They're more athletic than I ever was.
But good genes aren't a free pass. In addition to their good genes, I'm hoping to pass on to my kids a lot of healthy habits. Most importantly, mindfulness of how we treat our bodies and how we deal with emotions like stress.