YOU are Not a Waste of Time

I have been a slug for the past couple of weeks. My usual active and healthy lifestyle has been neglected, and I have a million and one excuses. The constant below-freezing temperatures and snow on the ground makes it almost unbearable to go outside. When I do slug my way over to the gym, the upstairs indoor track is packed with overzealous, apparently first time runners who sprint, wear themselves out, then stop almost immediately in front of the experienced, constant-paced runners (a.k.a., like myself) or there are walkers that take up more than one lane on the three lane track. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve envisioned flipping one of those little bastards over the railing, onto the gym equipment below. I am constantly irritated over things I normally am not, like the way my husband drinks out of a glass. I can’t sleep, so I am tired all the time, which turns my “irritability issue” into more of a “rage issue”. I picture slamming on my brakes, so the jerk riding my ass in the Prius smashes into my backend, causing his ugly, fucking face to crunch into the steering wheel, breaking his nose, and spraying blood all over the windshield. My taste buds are even out of whack – I salt EVERYTHING. At night, chips, crackers, bread, cookies – all of the things normally eaten sparingly, I can’t get enough of and I usually end up blowing my half-way conservative diet sky high. I should be the poster child for seasonal depression.

On a positive note, I am pretty attuned to wake-up calls. I recently received a couple proverbial smacks across the face; one yesterday and one this morning, during my before-work rituals. I was swollen. And not one of these, puffy-’cause-I-slept-like-shit swollen. I was swelled up like a freaking tick. I guess my binge on a half a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa, with extra garlic salt, was a bad choice right before bed? Not just my eyes, but my whole damn face was puffy and my fingers were so swelled up like sausages that I could hardly put on my wedding ring. What the fuck?

There is a television in my work office that remains on throughout the day; from the morning news to the Alaskan State Troopers in the afternoon. I don’t have a direct view of the TV, and I am usually too distracted to care what’s on at any given time, but my ears always perk up when Rachel Ray comes on. I swear whatever she is cooking is the reason behind my hunger pangs right before lunchtime! Anyway, half listening to her through my cubicle wall yesterday, Rachel (look at me on a first name basis, ha!) had on a guest that talked about how she was happier being fat. Again, I didn’t catch the whole episode and may be way off, but it sounded like this woman was explaining her story in absolutes, bouncing back from one extreme to another.   She was unhappy being overweight after having her children, she was unhappy being on a diet barely eating healthy food, she was unhappy wasting time working out to lose the weight. Muffled by the cubicle wall, it sounded as if she said she finally realized that she was happier eating and drinking what she wanted, and not wasting time trying to maintain a healthy weight. I ask you again: What. The. Fuck?

Are we, as Americans, getting to the point where we are so lazy that we are completely giving up on all sense of how to take care of ourselves?? On top of that, it is now acceptable to justify this on public television?! I want to make something very clear: I don’t think “healthy” equals “skinny”. I think that everyone has their own shape and size and we shouldn’t measure our health or self-worth in dress sizes and pounds displayed on the scale. BUT, I do think that it is our responsibility to take care of what our poor Mamas carried in their wombs for nine long months. Bravo to this girl for finally accepting her body shape/size and conquering the number one impeding issue that most women today have: a horrible self-esteem. BUT, completely giving up and allowing herself to balloon up because she didn’t want to waste time on working out or taking care of herself?! That is the epitome of LAZY in my book, and quite honestly, it all seems very selfish to me. Is it fair to her five children that their Mama can’t chase them around the park, because she gets winded too easily because of her obesity? What about the health issues in general that being overweight causes? Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, reproductive issues, cancer?! Is that worth it? Who pays for that in the end? This woman? Her kids?!

Please, please, please… I don’t want to come off sounding condescending or mean. We have all struggled with our body image and/or weight at some point in our lives. For the longest time, I was so embarrassed and insecure about the fact that I had stretch marks covering the better part of my body. Swim suit season was a freaking nightmare. This awkwardness was only helped along by the media’s view of what a “woman” was: a size 0, airbrushed, big breasted, blonde bombshell.   Even more so by the guys that I would date, who not only objectified other women but also me. I was miserable, for a very long time, trying to be someone that I wasn’t. Then, I met my husband: a wonderfully supportive man who showed me that I was beautiful, including what I thought were flaws in my skin. It took a long time to finally get comfortable, but I have slowly gained a new outlook. I have carried/birthed three magnificent children, would do it all over again in a heartbeat, and have the TIGER STRIPES to show it. I will always have a little extra in my “haunches” and the big booty is in my genetics. Deal with it. I do. I have accepted my body for what it is.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up though. What I am trying to get across is that it doesn’t have to be one extreme or another. I have learned that I don’t care what the scale says, but more so how I feel. I listen to my body, and I eat what makes me feel good. I know that red velvet cupcake the co-worker brought in will taste delicious, but I know how sluggish I will feel after my body crashes after the sugar makes its way through my system. I know that soda is cold and refreshing, but will bloat my stomach until I am utterly uncomfortable, and that glass of water is just as cold and refreshing. I want to be strong. I want to be able to pick my three year old up over my head, play hours upon hours of backyard baseball with my son, and run 5Ks with my 17-year old. I like the way my body feels after an awesome strength-training day; sore but a reminder that there are muscles there. I like the way I feel after a long run. It clears my head and gives me time to come up with some great blog ideas, lol. I do not like, however, the way it hurts after not running for a couple of weeks. Overall, my strongest driving factor is hearing my kids, with pride in their voices, explaining to friends and family their Mama’s ability to outrun so-and-so, etc.    

So, it is time to get back on the fitness track, and the pun was intended this time. I will fire up my phone’s Lose It app to track my eating, because more times than not, I have a huge problem with portion control, and stick way more calories than anticipated in my mouth. I will set a schedule, complete with run days, strength training days, and off days. Will I follow it to a ‘T’? Probably not. Life happens. But at least I have a starting point, and the longer I stick with it, the better I will feel. And never, ever, will I feel like I am wasting time, or giving up, on myself or my kids.

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