To Clear Away the Cobwebs

27 Jun

I’ve been running, rather jogging.  Nothing amazing, maybe a mile and a half to two miles a day, at best.  But it’s helping me cope.  It clears away the emotional cobwebs that tend to build up in my mind.  And you know it has to bad in order to get me to run.  Because I HATE it. I would much rather do some other form of activity.  But jogging through the neighborhood is free, get’s me out of the house, and far enough away that I can’t hear Noah crying.  Which thankfully there has been a lot less of recently.

I think we are starting to see the light of day.  I knew things would get easier at that three-month mark with Noah, and it’s clear that Noah is much improved.  Not out of the woods yet, but still a far cry from non-stop screaming for five hours straight every night.  That was just a beating.

Noah’s issues combined with us in the middle of limbo land with which grad program Peter will choose has been enough to cause me to stress eat.  Yep.  I gained weight.  I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight by ten days postpartum, and then at two weeks we started having colic issues with Noah and I coped by comfort eating.  I know, it’s my old friend.  The former me, who weighed 60 pounds more, with all those bad habits likes to remind me in me weakest moments how yummy or rather, soothing food can be. You know, that thought, oh, I deserve this cookie because my son is crying so much.  I  had 18 million of those thoughts.

I could potentially be one of the only women I know who actually can gain weight while breastfeeding.  Well, two weeks ago, I put my big girl pants on and started jogging, in 102 degree Texas heat no less.  I feel like a beast afterwards, so sweaty and nasty.  But, it’s starting to pay off… I’m five pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight….again.  Sigh.

I am the type of person who, in order to maintain my weight-loss, which I have for almost 7 years, I have to step on the scale every day. I know when I don’t want to do that, step on the scale, that there’s a reason, because I haven’t been exercising regularly and I haven’t been mindful of what I’m fueling my body with.  So for a while, during the most stressful days with Noah, and money and life, I stopped stepping on the scale, because I knew…I was gaining weight, and I didn’t want the reminder.  It is truly my only preventative for undisciplined habits.

1998, near my heaviest.

That said, I’m still in a battle to love myself and I really mean LOVE me, whether or not I’m 10 pounds over my ideal weight or 3 pounds, or even at my ideal weight.  And I think when you have accomplished a dramatic weight-loss you never truly feel like, okay, we’re good, we can relax now.  You never really can get that fat girl picture out of your head, even when you have hit your goal weight or size.  At least for me, that’s the truth, at my weakest moments, I still feel like the girl who was wearing a size 22 jean.  Yeah, it’s true, I was once wearing a size 22.  Even now, there is still a struggle to think, I would be happier/prettier/more satisfied with my body if I was in a size 4 jean.  A size 8/10 pant is my normal size when I’m exercising daily and eating well (notice I didn’t say dieting).  I feel pretty content with myself at that stage.

Will I ever be thin? Hear me out, you know what I mean by “thin,” because for some of us, the idea of wearing a size 8 or 10 is thin.  Thin meaning waif-ish. NO. I won’t ever be a waif, that’s just not my body type. (I know when I was a size 22 I would just ROLL my eyes at women who were in a size 12 complaining about needing to lose weight – IN FRONT OF ME.) I’m not sure if I will ever slip on a pair of size 4 pants – I don’t know if I have EVER worn a size 4.  I’ve always been thick, or curvy is a nicer description, I guess. Whatever.  It’s semantics anyway.  I doubt that a number on a scale, or a size on a tag will ever make me feel like I’ve arrived. And here’s why, because that was not why I started my weight-loss journey.  I get annoyed with myself when I start to think that way.  It’s not healthy, emotionally speaking, for me to get too involved with a number as a goal.

In 2007, working out 2 hours a day with a trainer

I started my weight-loss journey, back in 2004, for health reasons.  I knew I was racking up unseen medical bills later in life if I didn’t start to do something about my health right then.  It was a desire to climb stairs and not feel winded, to run a mile without a blink.  It was a desire to know that in my 50’s I could hike and go out and enjoy life, without being in pain.  It was a desire to be free from baggage – the kind on the inside too.  Sometimes the only way to get to the root of an emotional issue is to start to peel away the physical habits of one.  For me, emotional healing came through physical health.  I worked through a lot of my junk in the gym.  And that is why I need to be running daily lately.  The comfort eating comes along for me when life is difficult and stressful.  The best way for me to cope with stress is exercise (I know this is revolutionary, isn’t it).  It keeps me riding the waves of life, rather than being overwhelmed by it all. Plus, I feel more vibrant inside and out when I’m staying healthy.  Exercise is the filter for my negative thoughts.  I sweat ’em all out, so to speak and then I don’t feel the urge to comfort eat.

Back to the point, I get in a rut as soon as I start to focus more on a number and less on my health, I lose my momentum and my love of who I am, but yet, stepping on the scale every day is what keeps me more focused on my health.  The scale isn’t about a right number, it’s about staying on target for being healthy.

What I know is this, the point is, for me, I’m happiest with myself not when I can put on a pair of size 8 pants from Old Navy, but I’m happiest with myself when I can run a mile and know that I have 2 more in front of me and not continually think about how bad I want to stop.  I’m happiest with myself when I can push my body harder and faster than before and not feel defeated.  I’m happiest with myself when the idea of hiking up the side of an honest to goodness mountain doesn’t scare me, but rather, excites me.

With every intention to encourage self-love, here is what I like about myself (no matter what size I am):  I like my hands, I think my fingers are long and pretty.  I like my feet,  they match my hands.  I like my jaw line, my neck and collar-bone.  I like the overall shape of my body.  I like my hair. I like my mouth and I like my cheek bones.  I like my small shoulders. I like my hip to waist ratio. I like my eyelashes. I like my freckles.

I like my brain.

So what do you like about yourself? It’s harder than you think, but it is good to do it.

6 Responses to “To Clear Away the Cobwebs”

  1. Rebecca Holland June 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Wow, wonderful Joy! Been there, am there currently, as I struggle through these post-partum pounds. Which will come off eventually. Love you Joy!

  2. Misty June 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    this is so what i needed! i actually said the words “i rock” when describing myself to someone today. i was saying how i can run up the nance addition & be ok doing it, actually enjoy doing it. i couldn’t say that when i weighed less (by starving) in high school. so for a 34 year old me, to be in the best shape i have ever been in (not the smallest, but absolutely the healthiest & most fit), yeah I freaking Rock! Thanks Joy. Love & Hugs & all that mushy stuff.

  3. Michelle June 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Love the post. This is what I started doing last year, after I gained weight from having PPD rise up its ugly head. 2010 was the year of taking care of me. 2011? Well, not so much. I expected to be pregnant by now and since that hasn’t worked out as planned, I have had to re-think and re-shift the way I think. 2010 can’t be the only time I think and act healthy. I have got to find a way to make it a part of my life. So I am on week 3 of slowly adding jogging back into my routine, choosing my food carefully and just moving more in general. Get off the couch, I tell myself! Which is funny because when I was younger, I was never a couch person. Sigh….depression, how you change my neurons.

    That being said, here are the things I like about my body: I like my legs. I like my eyes and eyelashes. I like that my arms have been made strong by picking up a toddler and by doing double hip squeezes :) . I like my hair. I like the way my breasts are perfect pillows for said toddler when she is tired. I like my smile.

  4. serah June 28, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Great post and an encouragement to someone who is in the same place you were 7 years ago. I have got to get it together so I can be in this for the long haul! Matt always tells me I am much more balanced when I exercise which should definitely be enough motivation for me to do it but I still struggle b/c I don’t feel very good at it.

    I like that my nieces and nephews find me comfortable to cuddle with (except I do remember one of them referring to me as squishy), my hair and my lips and my teeth, although they could be whiter… you’re right, it’s hard to do.

  5. April June 29, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    Thank you, Joy. Needed some encouragement right now. I just need to get hat ball rolling-and I DONT mean myself. Although, I probably would look similar to a ball if I rolled. Thank you. Thank you.


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