One of the easiest things to admit to myself was that I was fat. One of the hardest things to admit was that I wasn’t so happy with being fat. I had friends to tell me how beautiful I was, inside and out. I had strangers comment on my hair, my pretty face, or even my boobs. Inside I longed to be one of those skinny girls you see in movies and television.
Mind you, my desire to be thin wasn’t ever quite enough to give up ice cream, rice, spaghetti, cheese cake, Nutella, Candy Cane Kisses, pizza, In & Out, and who knows how many other things I refused to give up. I was okay with my size for a number of reasons, but mostly I didn’t want to be buggered with watching what I ate and exercising.
It’s not fat-shaming, and I know there are some folks who are going to say that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think everyone needs to be thin. I don’t think I want to be thin so that I can get a man to like me. I don’t judge people based on their size and I certainly don’t ascertain their worth based on the size of their pants. I don’t look at my larger friends and think how unfortunate their lives must be. I don’t see them and think to myself “If only they were skinnier, they would be SO much happier.” But for me, it’s different. I’ve always wanted to be smaller, and instead I just found myself getting bigger over the years.
There’s a moment of clarity, though. When the doctor tells you that you have two choices… resolve to have diabetes and heart problems or eat better and exercise… you start making the touch decisions. I’ve spent years trying diets. I was always the “fat sister” who was smart. I exercised in gyms, and I tried running. Oh running! I’ve never been much of a runner. Even when I was young and healthy and not facing life-shortening conditions I hated running. I made myself feel insanely guilty for eating out, telling myself I had failed so what is the point! When I wanted some candy I’d stop myself from having any for weeks, sometimes months, until I broke. I never had a single piece of chocolate, I ate entire bags of chocolate. I made up for the months of deprivation and seeming starvation from the food I loved.
I’m not sure why this year, 2013, was the magic year. Why being 34 was my magic number. But I stopped telling myself that I had to be the best at everything. I can’t run a mile straight… SO WHAT?! I can’t really run much at all… so what. I’m still horrifically lazy, and I still enjoy sitting on my ass more than I do getting up to leave the house, let alone exercise. One of the best things I ever purchased was that $100 treadmill from craigslist.
I exercise 4-6 days a week depending on how I feel or how busy I am. Lately I’ve been inundated with procrastination-itis and then having to actually DO the school work I set out to avoid until the very last minute. I walked mostly, that first month. Sometimes for 45 minutes, other times for 2 hours. I bought myself some running shoes. And running socks! And both have made a world of difference in the pleasure I derive from running. I started trying a couple yoga moves to help stretch my long since atrophied muscles (okay not really, but damn am I not flexible for shit!).
I snack on Jelly Belly jelly beans throughout the day when I want something sweet. I reward myself with 5-10 Hershey Kisses if I’m feeling really generous. I have In & Out and pizza when I want. The difference is that I don’t keep eating these things. I don’t have In & Out every other day when I’m having a crap day. I don’t have 3 slices of pizza and instead draw it out and have it for a single meal over the course of a few days. I drink a lot less coffee and a lot more tea. I drink water with Mio added (because it doesn’t have aspartame or sugar, but adds some flavor).
Most of all, I don’t feel guilty when I eat what I want. I make better choices. Not the best choices, but I make better ones. I eat less in a sitting because I’m fat not because I always ate horrible food, but because I ate enough food for two people with every meal. If I skip a day because I’m sore, or tired, or really just want to veg out playing WoW for 4 hours… I still don’t feel guilty. It’s a funny little philosophy, treating each day like it’s a new one, but that’s really what I’ve done. If I make terrible food choices today, tomorrow is another opportunity for me to make better ones!
I’ve noticed that I choose less sugar-filled products. I notice that while my brain said I want the ice cream in the freezer, I don’t actually want the ice cream. I see it, every day, but for the last 5 days I chose not to eat it. Today I had roughly 8 spoonful’s of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake and that was it. I didn’t need to finish it off. I didn’t even want to eat more than what I had. I keep the sweets around, just in case, but I find I don’t choose them as often as I once did. It’s not because I’ve reached some milestone in life changes and I just choose not to eat it. It’s because I just don’t crave it like I did. I don’t need the sugar for energy anymore.
I still get up from the chair sometimes, and the soreness is a reminder that I’m old, fat, and trying to stop being fat, and I’m tempted to hobble to the kitchen to make another cup of tea. Because in the past I always overdid it. I always exercised more than my body could handle. Today, I resolve in being sore every day, but knowing I can walk, and move, and sit, and the soreness sort of just disappears after a few steps.
Today I completed Week 2, Day 1 of Couch 2 5k. Without a break. I started and finished with no pauses. I ran every single one of those 90 second run segments (there were 6, btw, and for a fat ass that’s a lot of fuckin’ running!) and I wanted to quit and stop. I started off thinking I could do it and by the end I wanted to cry and quit. But I didn’t and I finished it. Sunday might be different though. But I’ll worry about Sunday when I get there.
I wake up every morning and I look in the mirror. My stomach sticks out just a little bit less than it did a month ago. My shirts fit the same, but my pants are a little bit more loose. I can hold a plank for 10 seconds without collapsing in a heap on the floor afterward. Each of these milestones I accomplish I celebrate, because a month ago, if you told me I could run a total of 9 minutes in a 28 minute workout, I’d have attempted to have you committed.
Tomorrow is another day. I might not walk, or run. I might have more chocolate tomorrow than I had today. I might have a second cup of coffee, or have a Wendy’s Frosty after eating a burger. It’s okay. cause today… today I ran 9 fuckin’ minutes out of a 28 minute workout and fuck yeah, that’s worth celebrating!
Edit: Edited to add that if you wanted, you should join us on Sunday at 3pm Eastern for a Twitterland Running session! Check out the details on Jibbi’s post. It was fun, and we’re using hashtag #Twit25k