Ok, guys, this is going to be a bit out of the norm for me, in a way. Not out of the norm because I will obviously still be talking about myself, not out of the norm because I will be discussing what is going through my gourd, not out of the norm because, sure, it has to do with working out, fitness, running, and…yup….foooooood.
What is out of the norm will be obvious in a minute.
I want to make something clear. I have a relatively positive body image. We all have those days, of not feeling like we look the way we would like. And for me, what qualifies as a “lesser body image day” has definitely changed. When I was younger, I absolutely was a chunky kid. I have mentioned it before–I was active, but my hand was just about always moving some piece of food towards my mouth. Not much has changed, but I make smarter choices, and I am also no longer a growing kid. I have experienced 2 big time balloonings of weight since I was diagnosed. We are not really sure what caused them, but both times (in high school and then in undergraduate) I went from about 115 or so (I was 5’4″ and then 5’5″) to 143 (oddly, this was always the weight where it stopped). Oh, and this would happen over a few weeks.
Imagine your puffiest, most “bloaty” PMS day. Multiply that times 20, and make it so that it doesn’t go away. I felt like the Michellin man. I vividly remember just wishing that I could take a syringe and jam it into my abdomen and just let the area ouuuuuut. Seriously, it was all I wanted. The first time that the weight gain/bloat came on, in combination with wanting to stay off any future steroids and wanting to improve my general health, acted as the impetus for the overhaul of my diet and lifestyle and when I started working out with a personal trainer. I got to the point that I looked amazing, but my weight kept dropping as I went into a flare. I got down to 110, but I fought it back up.
By the time that I went to college, I was a super healthy, fit, 117, and I loved my body.
My wieit stayed there my first year, until the very end of the semester, when my body freaked and I went back up to 143. Over the course of a month. It jumped about 10 lbs the first week, and then accumulated from there.
It took me 2 years to get back to about 125, and then (this was when I met Alex) 3rd year hit, and I went into a flare and lost 20 lbs over the course 5-6 months. After that, I flatlined/maintained for a bit, but then my weight kept going down. In short, I was restricting, but I was still so scared of my body, and I had no point of reference for what was “normal” to be eating. When I went to Jamaica, right after graduation, I was super skinny. I hate all of the pictures while I was there. I supplemented my diet (there were certain things I just couldn’t take a chance on eating) as best I could, but when I came home, I got a wake up call.
So. I fought back. I put myself on an intensive regiment of eating, and strength training, and I got myself back up 8 lbs before his brother’s wedding.
Since then, my weight has fluctuated, but mostly down. Part of the reason that I love running, that I love training for races, is that I know how to train my body, and I gain weight more easily–and it is good, strong weight. I looked pretty darn good for our wedding, and then for the marathon. I could feel my weight slipping a bit around the holidays, so I worked hard at it. And then this winter hit, with all of its stress and cold and work and injury. And I lost the ground I had gained.
And then I stopped working at the restaurant, and chose to take care of myself, and use this time to my advantage. And, chile, you can tell. When Mom was up here a few weeks ago, I was changing (she had last seen me in Mexico), and I walked out and said, “Hey, Mom, what do you think?” And her jaw dropped. Not because I was “so skinny!” as people love to tell me. But because I looked and do look strong. I’m filling out again. I’m muscling up. I’m not doing as much strength training as I was, but with yoga, my body split days, and running, we are covered.
I love seeing the muscles in my legs as I walk by the street level windows around town.
I love wearing my yoga pants and my sleeveless tanks. I love that when I put on pants, there is a booty (booty booty booty rockin everywhe-yah). That I’ve got some cleave again. When I was in ninth grade, I had DOUBLE D’S, guys. I was about 120 at the time. People talked to my chest. I got hit on by 40 year olds all the freaking time. When my weight dropped (after it ballooned), I got to a more comfortable size, and I’m glad to see it returning, from the other directions. I love that my back is getting back its definition, that I”m having fewer “skinny arm” days. I used to LOVE my arms and shoulders, and I have missed them.
And how have I done this? By taking care of myself. I know what works for me, so I amplified it. Being out of the restaurant helped with that. While I was there, I was definitely eating a lot, and nibbling on everything, but my body was under so much stress, that I was basically breaking even. Now, though, greater variety in my diet, my yoga practice, better sleep, better nutrient timing, my running, and just really being happy again are working their magic.
Saturday, I ran 14 miles (thanks, #flatsfriday!). Later that day (after a few good refuels and some rest) I was walking back from Whole Foods, I walked by a store window, and thought to myself DAMN GIRL. Hot Freaking Damn.
I’m not going to show you all pictures and show off, that is not my style. This is not a post asking for compliments or to show off or anything like that. I just wanted to share with you all part of my struggle, and where I am out. That we all have a past, we all have a present, we all have a future. Am I at my “final,” where I want to be? Nope. Still working on it. I have a body, I work hard on it, but I also am training for a marathon. With a chronic illness. I have to be preemptive. More than ever, I have to fight (for my right to party). For my health and happiness, now and in the future. And so do you.
So go out, strut by a shop window and let yourself have a superficial moment.
Tell yourself DAMN GIRL/BOY/PIGEON. You are rocking it. Today, I was walking around in the most ridiculous outfit imaginable. And I was owning it. Not because I was skinny. Because I was strong. Because I was happy. Because, right now, I am right where I want to be. I got my brain to the right place, my emotions in the right direction, and now my body? It is following. Mind and body–you need them both. It doesn’t matter how hard you work out, you will never truly get that health that we all seek after, until you respect yourself.
Treat yourself to the life that you deserve. And that is LIFE. Not survival. You are so worth it.
Speaking of taking care of ourselves, have you entered my Chicago-Inspired Office Survival Kit Giveaway? I’m giving away a prize back of tasty treats inspired by the Windy City and meant to help you get through the day! I am designing it to work for our Gluten Free friends, and because I am creating it and sending it myself, if there are dietary issues, we can work it out! So enter, and help me celebrate my new job!