January 07, 2014

A Body Under Construction

Fitness.  Yeah, sorry, I warned ya! ;-)

Fitness.  It's everywhere.  It's a dirty word for some and a lifestyle for others.  I've read blogs and posts from women my size and otherwise defending their right to be who they are and they size they are.  Many are defensive at the mention that they perhaps are not doing enough or do not have the "proper" body type.  This raises questions with me...it causes me to think:  "she who protests the loudest....".  We often protest the idea that we could be wrong or actually not doing enough.  I do this as much as anyone else.  I don't like for someone to put it to me that I actually *can* do more, be more, go farther, work harder.  I remember before I was enlisted I didn't believe what the recruiters and doctors told me.  I was only about 10 lbs over my "ideal weight" back then, but to them...I was fat.  A whopping 145 lbs at 5'3".   About 3 months ago I realized I was 100 lbs over that.

Kuwait. circa 2003

When she was in college, my sister joined the power lifting team.  She wasn't huge or manly or anything like that, but she was really strong.  As am I.  Even weak like my body is now, I am still fairly strong.  I like knowing that I can lift just about anything I need to, or move something that a man would typically have to move.  These days, because I've let myself go for so long, I can't do those things without serious pain or pinched nerves.  During my own college days I took a weight lifting course too.  My sister liked it, I figured I'd try it out.  I was about 20 then...I fell in love.  Even after I joined up I found that the physical exercise was not as difficult as I expected.  I found out not only can I lift weights, I can run too.  I ran so well and enjoyed it so much I got into long distance running.  Anything over 3 miles is considered high miles, I would run between 4 and 9 on any given day, without "motivation".  Even after I got out I was running a couple miles a day here and there just as a hobby.  I truly loved it.  When I finally stopped, it was because I couldn't take the pain anymore.  There were days I couldn't walk or my legs would give out from under me because my sciatic nerve would lock up.   I was diagnosed a year and a half ago with full blown osteoarthritis in both knees because I ran so much and so hard in that little period of time.  It has seriously limited what I can and can't do exercise-wise.

Me. circa 2006

Last month I had enough.  I had enough trying to convince myself that I didn't "look that big", or that the wheezing at night was normal.  Three panic attacks and a diagnosis of costochondritis later, I realized that the next time....it might actually be a heart attack.  Not to mention, I'm vain.  Like, really vain.  I HATE not looking good.  I can't stand the idea that I have gotten so lazy that I can't look in a full length mirror.  This isn't self "fat shaming", nor is it a rejection of "loving the body I'm in".  This is reality.  I have terrifyingly high cholesterol, I mean high, even at a good weight.  Prior to the Corps the only time I ever had to work at my weight was after I'd given birth.  I managed to lose the first 30 lbs on my own, the rest fell off while I trained to join up.  I joined at 142, by the end of bootcamp...I was 123.  Once I was out of the corps I continued my little personal program and kept most of the weight at bay, I wasn't in the 120's or 140's anymore...but I was quite happy with how I looked then.  I had curves but everything was balanced out.

  When you live with someone who enjoys a particular body type, you tend to gravitate to what they like.  I know each of the 3 reasons I let myself go so easily.  The first was my mate, Ex.  He has always preferred women of larger size and never made it a secret.  I had a lot of amends to make, becoming the woman he wanted was one of the ways I did it.  The second reason was things began to hurt and break down, my knees, my back....bursitis decided to set into my hips....it hurt.  A lot.  I made the conscious decision one day that I would rather be overweight than have my liver or kidneys destroyed by pain pills.  The final reason was I just didn't care anymore.  I gave up on myself.  Why worry about me, I was a work horse, not meant for pretty but meant for work and sarcasm.  I didn't feel special, beautiful, or worth the effort to "kill it" in the gym.  The options to all of these were never a thought....to me, if you aren't worth being more, then why try?  Ironically, it has taken being left and changing career paths that caused a change in my outlook on life to get me back on track.  I know in my mind and heart that I am more than capable of returning to what I consider my former glory.  I have pushed myself to those limits that most are afraid of.  I know exactly what my body can take before it literally breaks, it's a lot.  Far more than we give credit.

Honey and me, October 2013

Maybe I can't do squats or lunges, but I can do yoga.  Maybe I can't run on pavement but I can kill an elliptical or a glider.  I'm not afraid to lift weights because I know women don't get big, we get shapely with weights.  We don't produce enough testosterone to get big.  Maybe I can't kick the coca-cola habit...but I can cut them out to certain days of the week and make them smaller.  And the one thing that helps me, not so little Liz, stay on track...is my man.  Yes he does the sweet thing of telling me I'm pretty like I am, BUT.  He does not tell me I don't need to lose weight, he does not bull shit me, and he never tells me or indicates to me that I shouldn't improve myself.  Does he want to see me back at 123?  No.  Not even close.  But does he want a pretty, curvy, confident woman next to him?  A resounding Yes.  He met me 30+ lbs ago, and he liked that woman he met just as much as he likes me now.

Am I aiming to lose 100 lbs?  Not necessarily.  I am aiming for 50-60, after that...we'll see how it goes.  The first steps are in place.  The mindset is being worked on every single day and I have some great cheerleaders in my corner.  The hard part is understanding that it won't be fast, it took 10 + years to put it all on...it will take a long while to get it all off.  But it *will* come off.  Being patient and keeping that positive mind are very very hard when you have set backs.  I'm patient, but my patience isn't perfect and I have a huge issue with understanding that I am not the woman I was at 26.  My metabolism is different, I'm fighting joint problems, and I have much more to remove than I did then.  I pushed myself all the month of December and I did see results by New Years.  That made me feel amazing and has given me incentive to do just as well or better for January.  One month at a time.

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