Tuesday, March 29, 2011
How Bitchy Teenagers Can Make Me Do Something (other than want to hit them)
Most of you may know that I've spent the last year really trying to lose weight and get back into shape. I've tried hard not to talk about it much at all, but that doesn't always work. But as someone who struggles constantly with body issues, too much introspection about my body doesn't lead to good things.
I had to do something. While my weight was still within the normal range, I was starting to really be affected by it. I felt fat and ugly. Depression and self-loathing were starting to creep in around the edges of my psyche. It didn't matter that other people didn't see me the way I did. In fact, anyone telling me I looked fine (or even great) only made me feel like I was being patronized. Yes, I knew my weight was still in the normal range and that I'd never be as thin as I was in high school. But knowing something rationally and believing it in your heart are two different things. I could rationalize that cookie, but it didn't stop me from hating myself for eating it.
If alarm bells are going off in your head, then pat yourself on the back. Yes, these are warning signs. Counselor Shelley keeps a close eye on me -- while I've never crossed that line, I've come close at different points in my life. I've always managed to keep what I believed from overtaking what I knew.
Of course, now I have AC to worry about. I know that it's not good for her to listen to me obsess about my weight. It's not healthy for girls to get that message, and they're getting it enough from popular culture without a parent giving it credence in the home.
So I set a reasonable goal weight (I'll never see 105 again, so why set myself up for failure?). I took a long look at our family meals and started cooking healthier. I cleaned all the junk food out of the pantry. And I started taking a class called BodyFlow.
BodyFlow is a mix of tai chi, pilates, and yoga. It's all about stretching and building core strength. We work on our breathing. We mediate at the end of every class. It's good for the body and the mind.
And between diet and exercise, I hit my goal weight last fall. I gained some back over Christmas, but I've lost that now, AND I've passed my goal and hit a number on the scale I haven't seen since Clinton was in office. I feel stronger, more flexible, and if the light is just right, you might see a little bit of ab definition.
I've told you all of this so that you'll understand the epiphany I had recently. I was waiting for our BodyFlow class to start, and this very skinny, very young, very cheerleader-type girl attending class for the first time proceeded to talk at the top of her lungs about how she was going to take the class, but she didn't know how a class designed for "old chubby" people would be advanced enough for her. Classes at gyms were designed for "old chubby" people who just weren't in good shape and she doubted she'd get anything from it. And she went on and on for a good five minutes. (Can we cue every neurosis I've ever had?)
I cleaned her clock. Showed her how it was done. She was panting and struggling through the whole class and shot me death looks in the mirror as I hit an extended Warrior One that she couldn't top no matter how hard she tried. And she tried, trust me. Not to brag, but my lunges were deeper and I could hold them longer. My extensions were better. I felt like Queen of the World every time she caught my eye in the mirror and shot me another dirty look.
It was the best class I've ever had. And knowing she hated every second I held something longer than she did... well, that challenged me to work even harder, just to piss her off. (So I'm shallow. Sue me.)
For the first time, I felt strong and flexible. Yeah, I kinda knew I was getting there because my instructor has been talking to me about getting certified to teach BodyFlow, but I didn't believe I was strong or flexible enough. But, thanks to Little Miss Skinny, I believe it now. And for the first time in a very, very long time, I was proud of my body. Not for what it looked like, but for what it could do. And for someone who's spent a good portion of her life hating her body for one reason or another, it was a powerful moment.
I've been watching RuPaul's Drag Race on TV, and he ends every show with, "If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love anybody else?" I may not love my body yet, but I'm developing an affection for it. That's progress, right?
And to Little Miss Skinny: I totally hope to see you in class tonight. This "old chubby" chick will kick your butt again. And if you think my extended Warrior One is good, just wait until you see my Standing Bridge...