Finding Me

Don’t give me excuses. I’ve given myself plenty, and I know their danger.

 

Over the past two and a half years I have gained a lot of weight. Some people refer to this gain as Contentment. Which is partially true. And partially a crock of shit.

We as a culture can be a little too forgiving when it comes to the supportive indulgence and the enabling of unhealthy habits. For me, it started out with second helpings. It continued into third helpings, late night snacks, poor food choices, unbalanced meals, and a sedentary lifestyle.

For two months, earlier this winter, I was pregnant. During that time, I lamented my inability to feel comfortable in my changing body. I lamented at how I now couldn’t make the major physical changes I wanted to until after the baby was born. And I thought of the tales of other women, crying out, “Ugh, pregnancy Ruined my body!” and I ruminated and whined or perhaps cried and apologized to myself that I didn’t need the pregnancy to ruin my body, because I had already done so. My body was unrecognizable to me. The pudge, the folds, the enormity, the lack of definition – any vestiges of trimness disappearing regularly from across my body.

I am in the process of finding My Body. It is not exactly about weight loss, seeing as I can’t break 140 lbs more than one day in a row. But it is a part of the goal. The quest, as a whole, is more so Finding Myself underneath the padding.

After years of encouragement to do what boils down to overeating, by people who could perhaps take better care of themselves, I had grown bigger and less defined. And I compared myself to my younger, svelter friends, who managed a perpetual petiteness, even during their prenatal period. And I hated myself more. And I apologized to myself and our baby, that I had taken such lousy care of myself for so long.

I missed my body. The one I knew to be me. The one in which I felt safe and healthy.

I questioned myself out of health with the words of people who try to be inclusive by excluding the possibility that I was already happy in my body when I was smaller.

Being inclusive and respectful and supportive of bigger women should not mean any sort of negative judgment towards anyone who is not and has no wish to be plus size.

In people’s attempts to cull the warning signs I gave myself, the attempts to keep me happy “in my own body,” these others convinced me that my own idea of my own body didn’t matter.

So I ate more.

And I never exercised.

And I snacked.

And I sat about.

And I forgot myself. I forgot how to feel right. Knowing that I should always love my body. No matter the size.

But Loving requires Caring For. And I did not do that.

So I grew and grew and fell swiftly outside the acceptable zone of the BMI chart. But I was told those charts don’t measure the right things. Don’t worry! But I did. Because I still didn’t feel like myself.

So when we lost the pregnancy and nothing made any sense I clung to the only things that I could. And I threw myself into creating a better me, a healthy me, because there was nothing left to hold me back, and no one and no thing could get in my way.

We checked and cut our portion sizes. We started planning and balancing our meals again.

And I started exercising almost daily. Nothing major, but the one thing that had always worked before and that could be done in any weather (walks and runs are excluded from the options during an Upstate New York winter). My Pilates mat workout routine has not altered in twelve years, because it has always worked so well for my body.

[Ana Caban’s Beginner Mat Workout, for anyone who is interested in giving it a try.]

It is the only exercise I really get. And I am feeling a difference. Even just with 30m a day, 5-6 days a week.

I also searched Pinterest for inspirational posters, recipes, exercise programs, and the Pinboards answered my call. A favourite pseudo quote that I found states: “I really regret that workout! -said no one, ever.” I got a lot of arguments when I copied that simple statement onto Facebook. But I hold to it. I regret much more the discomfort of being in a body I stopped caring for. I regret much more the lethargy that became a daily part of my life. I regret that I lost my ability to feel confident enough to exist at my preferred weight and size.

The difference is slow, but it is coming. My newer, bigger clothing is getting looser. My older, smaller clothing is slowly, slowly making its way back into my drawers and to the front of my closet. The pounds may not be coming off that swiftly, but they are coming off. And some are even converting into tighter leaner muscles.

I feel it everyday – the changes, the improvements, the returning to the body I belong in.

For the longest time I tried to live as one who cherished her body no matter the size. But I now realize that you have to Cherish YOUR body. Take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself go just to disprove misconstrued societal norms. Be You. Find Yourself. Be comfortable in Your body whether you feel the best at size 22 or size 4. Just make sure you feel Your Best.

I love my body, so I am taking better care of it. I love the actual physical sensation and feeling of finding my body again. I love placing my hands on my hips and feeling the shape that belongs there.

Along with my ‘skinny jeans’ and my Skinny jeans, there are other items I am longing to more than just squeeze back into. Jeans. Tops. Dresses. Bras and panties, for goodness sakes! Other items, too. For instance, I made a gorgeous historic period dress three years ago and it stopped fitting properly about two years ago. I can’t wait to try it on and see if I am any closer to being able to wear it again. Comfortably. By which I mean not hurting myself when I try to get it on or off. You can read about my process of making the gown on my SCA blog, The C is for Creative.

I have a goal. TO BE HEALTHY. If you are healthy at 147 lbs and pushing steadily past size 8, go You! I was not. I was very much not healthy. And I did not recognize myself. I could not feel right in my body. So I am trying to fix that. By being true to Myself.

[Body shaming can go all ways: all bodies are real bodies. Take care of the one you have that belongs to you.]

 

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