Wait, What about my Weight?

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

Mel asks the question:
What did you think of your body ten years ago?  And how do you think about your body from ten years ago now?

10 years ago I had just started at my previous job. I was just out of college (I finished my degree late), in a new city, and newly married. My body then was flabby, I weighed more than I would have liked. I honestly didn’t think much about my body. Why should I? It was healthy, working, and I had zero interest in exercising or losing weight. I had enough on my plate at the time.

Looking back now, my body was ok. I wasn’t obese but I wasn’t as skinny as I once was either. There are few things I miss about that old body, most notably the lack of stretch marks and the presence of a belly button (due to the pregnancies I have a belly ‘dent’). I wish I appreciated what I had and worked with my body to get healthy. I can tell you that I was very unhealthy. I ate a lot, I didn’t exercise… I didn’t gain a huge amount of weight but I was very unhealthy. Interestingly I weigh the same now as I did then.

Which brings me to how I see myself today and my weight. Last year when I started training for my first triathlon I was overweight and depressed. I honestly just wanted to concentrate on my training. I was skeptical that I would keep up with it, I wasn’t sure if it was for me. Turns out I loved it and incorporated it into my lifestyle pretty easily. However, the  nutrition part? I just couldn’t be bothered. Counselors will tell drug addicts to tackle one addiction at a time: quit drugs, don’t worry about smoking. That’s how I approached the training and nutrition part of my life. I’ll tackle the addiction to lazy first and deal with nutrition later.

This year, right around the time I finished the Mountain Goat race I started to tackle that second addiction: food. My reasoning was that if I was going to put all kinds of time and energy into training, I was going to LOOK like I put a lot of time and energy into training. I wanted to get faster at my swim and run, I knew losing weight would help. I started tracking my calories, cutting out sweets, paying attention to portions. It worked. I slowly lost 24 pounds. My goal weight was 35lbs below where I started. I have reassessed that goal. I look at my body and I see well toned legs, arms, back, and shoulders. My middle is still a source of frustration but I plan on adding core exercises to my routine to work on that. My point is, losing the other 11 pounds to hit that number on the scale? Probably not a good idea. I could hit that number, but at what cost? I’m pretty sure I would start to see muscle loss. The ‘fat’ I have around my middle is not all fat. Some of it is the loose skin from the pregnancies. Some of it, is muscle. My point is, I don’t think I have 11 pounds of unwanted fat on my body.

My new goal is to continue watching what I eat without the pressure of hitting a number on a scale. Yes, I want to firm up my midsection. I will do that, then, then I’m good. To me, being strong and healthy is worth more than a number on a scale. I want to hit the pace of 9 minute miles when running, I want to get to 18mph avg pace for my bike, I want to get to a 1:30/100 yard pace when I swim. I CAN get there, if I eat to fuel my body.

I do tend to emotionally eat, I mean I am human after all. However, if that happens it really is OK (I mean as long as I don’t go on a crazy 3 week Dun*kin Do*nuts binge). I’ll just rally and keep going. The good part about my changes in my diet is it involves a variety of foods. I don’t have to eat a certain kind of shake, cereal, or bar. I eat what I always have with minor changes in ingredients or size. I don’t deprive myself of anything really (Except donuts. I hate that I love them so, but I need to just stay away from them for now).

In short I LOVE my body now. I love what I am doing with my body. I love that I can play with my kids. I can be ‘that mom’ at the party playing with the kids or swimming with the kids and not hiding at a table eating crap. I love that my kids see me as active, that K wants to sign up for another race. I love that P is losing weight by tracking his calories and exercising. I like what exercising and proper diet choices have done for us as a family.

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