Under the Quilt

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Body Image and Awareness

Like most females, I've always had a skewed sense of my body. When I was in junior high, I remember weighing 99 pounds for the longest time. I was at or close to my current height at that time, 5 feet 9 inches. Basically, I was a bean pole. Then puberty really kicked in, I got hips, boobs, the whole shabang. I don't remember obsessing about my weight in high school (thank God) or ever worrying about not eating something because it would make me gain weight. Although I ate my fair share of junk food, I also ate lots of fruit and veggies. And I was always active. I don't remember stepping on a scale at anytime during my high school years (although I must have more than once) except for my sophomore year in gym class. It was part of the Presidential Fitness Testing thingie. I weighed 141 pounds. In my eyes, I felt big. In reality, I was fit and in pretty good shape.

After graduating high school, I know I began to put on a few extra pounds although at the time I didn't really notice. I wasn't concerned. Got married. Got pregnant. Couldn't tell you how much I weighed at the beginning, middle, or end of the pregnancy. No clue at all. All I do remember is the one prenatal appointment when the nurse weighed me and then went back to make sure she had the correct file. I had gained 15 pounds in one month.

After that pregnancy I was extremely motivated to get back in shape. I bought a few Cher exercise videos and danced my butt off (literally). Even though Cher's outfits made me sick to my stomach, and I was constantly thinking 'how can someone sweat in all that glitter and sheer fabric'), it did the trick. Also, I took baby Nate for walks everywhere. We walked to the grocery store and park every day. We walked through the mall. And it worked. I didn't weigh myself at all through that process. I couldn't even tell you what size pants I fit back into. All I knew is that I felt really healthy and that was important to me.

I started taking a water aerobics class and loved it! No more sweating and boobs bouncing around during workouts! And I always felt exhilarated at the end of each session. And no sweat! I had finally found some type of exercise that I actually enjoyed. I continued taking the class through my pregnancy with Jesse. The last class I attended was 3 or 4 days before she was born. Since I knew I wouldn't be going in the water for at least the first 6 weeks after she was born, I asked the gym to waver my fees during that time. "It's not in our policies to do that." So I got pissed and cancelled my membership. Not a smart idea, but I was going to show them! Well, guess what? Yep, it was not the smartest decision I ever made as far as my health is concerned. Although I probably hadn't gained as much weight with that pregnancy, it took a lot, lot longer for it to come back off. Years. Not only that, but I gained and gained throughout the next few years until I finally realized I was huge and completely out of shape. Sedentary and eating too much junk and huge proportions. Not good on the waistline at all. I still didn't know how much I weighed, but I knew I felt horrible. I couldn't believe what I looked like in pictures even though I looked at myself in the mirror every day. How is that possible? I finally decided I was NOT going up another pant size and, by the way, the size I was wearing (18) dug into my waist and were extremely painful. Ugh. I finally decided I'd had enough.

I broke down and bought a scale. Time to face reality. The result? 231. Ouch! Time to put my plan into action. I started eating better. Every morning I'd wake up at O'Dark thirty and go for a very brisk 45 minute walk. During the daycare kids naptime, I did my 60 minute pilates DVD. I started to be able to breathe in my clothes again. It took me about a year and a half to drop down to a size 12 in pants and 175 lbs. Even though I don't want to obsess about actual numbers, stepping on the scale every week or so keeps me in check. I continue to take my water aerobics class, which I love. And I try to go for walks and bike rides in the neighborhood as often as I can. I really need to start doing my pilates during naptime again. It's a great time to do it since no one else is in the house to tease me about farting during this one pose (I did it ONCE and Jesse will never let me live it down). The pilates really helps strengthen my back and keeps the waistline from bulging which has always been a sore spot with me. (note: pooch still left from stretched out tummy skin)

I love watching The Biggest Loser as it is great motivation to keep myself in shape. It really is inspiring how drastically some of those people change their lives. Nowhere near what I accomplished. Hard work and perseverance. It'll take you far (someone slap me, I'm starting to sound like a motivational speaker).

I've found a handful of blogs written by people who've had weight loss surgery. It is really quite amazing as they log their progress, some with photos to document. Some people would say they took the easy way out. I say it's most likely out of desperation that they have chosen to alter their insides in order to get their life back. I mean really, who's going to go into something like that nonchalantly? Along with their actual weight in pounds/kilograms, they often talk about their BMI (body mass index). Out of curiosity I calculated mine. OK, I know I'm still no where near thin, but I was kind of shocked to see how much weight I'd need to lose to be in the middle of the target healthy range for my height. 25-30 pounds. Really? I'll tell you one thing. I'd rather add lots and lots more exercise to my daily routine than give up my chocolate. No one's taking my chocolate away! (really, I don't eat very much but I do love it)

Remember how running in a race was on my list of "wants"? Maybe that can be my motivation to get my butt into action. Also, I don't care about getting any trophies or medals. I just want to finish without dieing, passing out, or losing bladder control. That last one might be kind of hard. Also I think it would be an awesome feeling to be running amongst all those other racers. We shall see. Maybe I'll start logging my progress to keep me motivated. Hmmmm......


  • At 9:18 AM , Blogger His suzy said...

    One of my friends from college joined a running group and ended up running a marathon a year or so ago. If there's something like that in your area, maybe that would help with getting going on something like that.

  • At 10:45 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

    i think the running sounds cool. i know it hurts some people's knees, but if it doesn't have that effect on you, go for it!

    i was a little irked with our waiter last night...he brought dessert even though we hadn't asked for it. i was already full, but of course i had to try it...and you know the rest of the story. i still feel full.

  • At 10:15 AM , Blogger Caro said...

    I hear you on the losing bladder control. If I ran a race, it would have to be a no coffee morning. Gulp!

    It sounds like you're doing great. Keep up the good work.

  • At 12:02 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    I don't weigh myself very often, either. I can tell by the way my clothes fit if I'm gaining weight.

    I think the race would be a great idea! Maybe a 5k? It can be very inspiring, running with all those people cheering.


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