This body went to the gym today for the first time since early April. Today was once again Day 1.
This body has lost much, if not all, of the strength and endurance I had worked to gain throughout this past winter. As a result this body weighed in heavier today than Day 1 back in October, which shouldn't surprise me since I'm also wearing a size larger than I was at that point.
This body is what a 227 pound size 18 looks like on my 5 foot 7.5 inch 41 year-old skeleton. This body has weighed less as an adult. It has also weighed more as an adult. Since having kids (because that's a game changer people) it has worn every size from 12 to 24, though I'm most comfortable in it when it can comfortably wear a size 14 and the scale consistently hovers in the 175-185 range.
This body had to participate in an annual wellness screening for our insurance this spring and didn't score too well in a few of the areas. It has a great resting heart rate, maintains a healthy level of blood pressure, and does a good job of regulating it's blood sugar levels. It carries too much fat, having consistently measured at an overweight to obese level for pretty much its whole adult life, and tends to have an elevated cholesterol level regardless of what I feed it or how much I do or do not move it on a regular basis.
This body has allowed me to do some pretty amazing things. It carried and birthed our 2 amazing daughters. It's peddled hundreds of miles all over the state of Iowa. It has helped me make a living as a fitness professional helping others care for their own bodies. It has allowed me to practice and teach thousands of hours of yoga. It has hiked me many, many miles through the beauty of nature. It has helped me build things and garden and create crafty things. It has many, many times helped me dance the night away. It has loved, and been loved, by the most dear people. It has been both the recipient, and the giver, of an uncountable number of hugs. It has done everything I've ever asked it to do, taken lots of abuse in the process, and despite the aches and pains that are a result of all that doing, it willingly continues to carry me into whatever next adventure my little brain decides should be tackled next.
So why, why when I know all the amazing things my body has allowed me to experience and knowing all that it is capable of if I take the time to care for it properly, why can't I just regularly keep up with the work that I know I need to do to be comfortable in my own skin? Why do I have to get to a point of being so uncomfortable and frustrated with what my body is NOT able to do before I start to pick up the pieces to start to work back to a more comfortable place? Why, when I support so whole-heartedly the work being done by so many good people (like here, and here, and here and here and here) to promote body acceptance and health at all ages and sizes, why can't I myself make my health and love for my own body a top priority? How can I teach my daughters about healthy self care and having a self-loving inner dialogue when I can't consistently practice what I hope to teach?
I realize the answers to these questions are not simple or 1 dimensional. They are not just about exercising more and eating less. They are influenced by my genes; by my mental and emotional health; by the roller coaster of exercise and dietary habits I've observed through my 41 years of life; by the fact my body is changing with age in ways that require me to re-learn how to best care for it; by the activities cycle a modern mid-western family experiences during the stage of life we're currently living; by all the internal dialogue that is a constant stream of noise that runs through my head about what I should or should not be doing "at my age", or how people may or may not perceive me, or how much of a failure I am at practicing a healthy, active lifestyle when both my education and experience in the wellness field affords me an advantage not many who struggle with finding comfort in their own bodies have.
I find it GREATLY frustrating that after so many years of doing work, physically and emotionally, to live and promote health focused lifestyles, I still find myself on days like today uncomfortably huffing and puffing through a very basic workout while fighting back tears of mental frustration and disappointment. It is hard for me not to be angry with myself. It would be really easy to pass the blame on the stresses of life and the influences of my environment for my current state of discomfort with my health and fitness level. I will admit that sometimes I take the easy way out and use those excuses as justification for my less than healthy habits, but when it comes down to it, deep down I know it is in large part due to personal choices and how those choices can support or sabotage my body's own natural genetic tendencies. My body naturally wants to be a little on the fluffy side. It's naturally a little lazy. It tends to be a little depressed and hormonally out of whack. But this body also likes to feel challenged. It's strong and it actually likes sweat. It feels the most free, the most naturally content, when it's moving.
As frustrated and disappointed in myself as I am today, I still have hope. And passion. And I'm super stubborn. (Or so I have been told.) I know that I can choose differently with my health in mind. I have the physical ability. I have the moral support. I have the access and the knowledge. And at 41, I have the perspective to know this work is not about the number on the scale or the size on my swimsuit. It's about being the healthiest, most comfortable I can be in this 1 body that I have been given to experience all that life has to offer...for as long as I am a living soul on this planet.
This body did Day 1 at the gym again today and is going to get reacquainted with my favorite yoga mat again tomorrow. Regardless of how frustrated I am today, change can't happen without a Day 1.