This post is not about loving myself and my body at whatever size and shape it happens to be at the moment.
The rest of that statement is: so what am I going to do about it?
I'll tell you what.
I've decided to train for a marathon (okay, half-marathon, but that is a huge commitment for me and my decidedly non-athletic self.)
I am not going to put the numbers out there because I am petite, so what is very over-weight for me is quite a normal range for taller people. You would say: fat? That's not really fat!
But I assure you, I am 40 lbs. overweight.
Until 2 years ago, I could wear all of the same clothes I wore in middle school. (Not that I did, of course.) I was the same height and the same weight within 7 - 10 lbs. between the ages of 13 and 27, and I was never skinny. In fact, I was always curvy and soft, not quite thick and voluptuous, but definitely not a stick figure.
My point is, that I don't have an unreasonable ideal weight in mind dictated to me by the media and the fashion industry that will always be out of reach and unattainable. My idea of what I should weigh and how I should look in my clothes comes from what I have always weighed in my adult life and how I have always looked in my clothes.
I own a scale, but I always went by how my clothes fit me. If things looked or felt a little snug, I would step on the scale and see that I had gained 5 lbs or so, and cut back on something, eat salads for a few days and return to my normal weight.
I was hit or miss with exercise. I liked to because I felt better overall, but I never was in a routine of doing it for weight-loss or weight control. I like pilates and yoga because I used to dance and the moves keep me flexible, they are also great for relaxation and de-stressing and easing muscle tension after a hard day.
I've always known about the benefits of training with light weights, but I got more serious about it around the age of 25 , because, like I said, I have always been soft and once I started on the downhill slope towards thirty, I thought it would be a good idea to get a head start on making sure the soft parts didn't start to sag.
When I was little my mother was hardcore about the health food. I mean no cow's milk, no sugar (not even hard candy and definitely no candy bars). She baked her own bread ( from wheat flour not white, of course) and made her own yogurt. I ate carob and not chocolate...I could go on...
But my point is, that while I have not always eaten health food every day of my adult life, making healthy choices was enough a part of me that I didn't crave or rely on fast food, or junk food. I don't sit in front of the tv eating chips and ice cream. (Ahem, didn't used to...)
Several things changed exactly 2 years ago, and I will not go into detail in this post, but in May of '05 I gained 10 lbs., and was unable to shake them. I was terribly upset. Ten became 15 and 15 became 20. Fortunately, I gain weight pretty evenly, so while some of my clothes didn't fit like I wanted, most things did.
Basically, I could wear everything but my slinkiest dresses and my skinniest jeans.
Twenty-five lbs. Oh no! Now my cute little blouses won't button without puckering! And my cute little tanks are beginning to ride up at the back and show cleavage at the front. Not the look I'm going for! Gasp! My strapless sundresses won't zip. Anything with a zipper won't zip!
I've got to join a gym.
I do, for the classes, and the moral support even though I own a treadmill, an elliptical, and an adequate collection of free weights.
I lose 7 lbs and gain 10 and lose 5 and gain 3 and lose 8....
You get the picture, so for months I'm hovering around 25 - 30 lbs overweight and I'm not making progress. I know why. It isn't a mystery, but it is still very frustrating.
Then a few months ago, the bottom really fell out for me (break-up, unemployment, and family illness combined). And I just couldn't find it within myself to take care of myself by eating healthy and working out. It was all I could do to make it through the day and fall into bed exhausted at the end of it...
So...then came the extra 10 lbs.
I am now officially very overweight.
It isn't that pesky 10 lbs I wish would go away so that I can wear my favorite party dress. It is blouses that won't button at all anymore and pullover shirts that get stuck at my shoulders and skirts that threaten to rip at the seams. And flabby arms and visible cellulite on my thighs - yuck!
This is the first summer I have not worn shorts at all. Thank goodness for capris - otherwise I would have been trapped wearing long pants all season.
I can't wear 85% of the clothes in my closet. Not just because I am self-conscious about my body and how I look in them, but because the majority actually don't fit. I cannot get into them.
I am so fed up.
A week ago, I was on msn.com and I saw an article entitled 3 Ways to Walk it Off from Prevention magazine. It's a really good article because it gives an actual step by step breakdown of how many minutes to walk at varying speeds to get results. One workout is only 20 minutes, and the other two are 45 and 60.
I won't go into it here, but part of my initial weight gain was due to health problems that sapped my energy. I am recovering, but I can't push myself like I could have when I was, say 20 and fit. I can't just hop on my elliptical machine and go for an hour, or get on my treadmill and run like I'd like to.
But I have to do something because I don't feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I'm living in a fat suit. I have fat rolls. Belly rolls, back rolls, jiggly arms - ew! My waist has become absolutely non-existent and my breasts are out of control. I feel like they belong to someone else and they are constantly in my way! It is awful. I am so unhappy and choosing what to wear everyday is such a chore.
So, how did I go from no exercise to deciding to participate in a marathon?
Well, it's been a tickle in the back of my brain for years, but I never took the time to really plan for one. I can't run. I have terrible form. I don't own a good sports bra or running shoes. I will hear about a charity event about 3 -4 weeks before it starts and think: hey! That would have been a good cause to support, but there's no way I could be ready for it. I'm so out of shape, I'd cramp up or pass out on the course and require assistance. No thanks! That's not helping anyone!
There was a link to this page in the article I read. It has information about walker-friendly marathons and more step-by-step advice about how to train for entry in a marathon. I read it and thought: this I can do!
I used the feature: My Walking Calendar to create a 12 week program for myself. If I stick with it, I should be ready to walk 13.1 miles without feeling like I will fall out and die.
I start tomorrow. Now that I have written about it, I have to follow through!
I will keep you posted on my success.