Posts Tagged ‘body’

I have a story

April 3, 2012

I was thinking the other day that I haven’t updated where I am in the whole working out process. If I were you, I’d think that I’d fallen off the wagon and given up for good! (Believe me, I’ve considered it!) The fact that I don’t blog about my workouts would lead you to believe that I’m just hoping you forgot that I used to! Thankfully that isn’t the case. My life, my health and mental well-being depend on working out. (darn-it-all)

You see, I floundered around for a few months after my trainer, Nick, died. Then my brother died of a heart attack. Then my other brother was hospitalized with heart problems eventuating with open-heart surgery. Started me thinking about my own heart health.

Christmas was right around the corner and I continued half-heartedly working out…until I had surgery requiring six weeks off. I loved the excuse to not work out! But, I lost much of the progress I’d made.

I was discouraged with my lack of discipline and with my body, but my husband wasn’t going to let me slip into an emotional abyss! He knows all the signs. We’ve been married nearly 30 years! He found me a new trainer pronto and I started back up in January. It’s amazing how a good workout can change one’s mindset! (It’s supposed to change your body too, but mine is particularly stubborn!)

I made the huge transition from private training to a much more public venue – Lifetime Fitness. I had to hoist my big-girl panties and just decide I wanted it bad enough to deal with the possibility of being watched. I can’t let myself look in the mirror at the gym as it’s too rudely honest. My imagination sees me as 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger! I’ll keep my eyes averted and let my imagination run with it!

I just go where my trainer takes me and do what my trainer says to do and give it my all and hope that a middle aged, not-stick-thin mother of two, two-time breast cancer survivor can somehow inspire someone to hang in there just like me! I know I’m probably a sight to see!

So, here I am, three months along in the process with my new trainer. He’s excellent, by the way. I know I’d see more progress if I could get all my cardio in each week, but I have these pesky little nuisances called injuries to deal with! (And what is up with that?! I turn 50 and start falling apart?!)

A shoulder that snaps and clicks loudly and with searing pain. (It’s improving finally, in case you’re wondering.)  A foot that has such bad bunions that just walking without a limp is a feat. (pun) Can you hear the violins playing as I waaaaaaaaah?! And yes, the doc wants me to have surgery . . . not if I can help it for as long as I can manage!

I told my trainer the other day, if this is as good as it gets, being half a century old and needing a 50,000 mile overhaul, by golly, I’m keeping at it! The only alternative is quitting and that won’t help me one bit! In three months’ time, I’ve lost only 3 pounds! I can guarantee that if I didn’t work out, I’d gain a lot more than three! He’s still young. He just grins a confused grin. Someday perhaps he’ll listen with enlightened understanding. =)

The deal is this. Every time I go to the gym I need a reality check. I need to remind myself that I work out because I feel better emotionally; I feel stronger physically and I usually sleep better.I work out to become healthier, not because it will make me something I am not – young and svelte!  It’s always good to remind myself of this lest I get discouraged!

You’d think that by the time any person turned 50, they’d know themselves well enough to not be pestered by the same trivialities that pestered them their whole life? Well, apparently not. The temptation is still there to judge myself harshly and compete with and compare to others and come out the loser. At least I’ve learned not to give in to it. The temptation is always there, but I throw it aside.

Something I have come to grips with is that these things will still dog me, but my value isn’t based on my appearance. Maybe to some people, but not anyone who loves me.

I have a story. There’s history hidden beneath this skin! I have purpose. I have people in my life who love me and count on me. They’d miss me if I were gone. They’re just glad to have me around, and don’t care if I’m buff or tan or young or svelte.

If someone only sees me and makes a value judgement based on what they see, they’ve missed the biggest and best part of who I am! Besides, I don’t really think all that many people are even looking! They’re all too worried that someone is looking at them!

What’s your story?

if I were thin

January 27, 2010

I wrote this on 7/13/06 as an exercise from a book on writing that I’d been working through.  It was  about 13 months after I’d had a double radical mastectomy. I’d already dealt with chemotherapy, 7 months of dizziness that rendered me immobile, and pneumonia. I’d gained weight from medications, lack of exercise, and was beyond discouraged, thinking I’d never feel good or look good again.

The sad thing is, I’ve felt this way about being thin most of my life, before ever dealing with cancer. Poor body image and a poor self-concept combined with a society enamored with skinny, toned bodies and a media that pumps a plethora of pictures onto televisions, computers, billboards, magazines, books, and every available space, only exacerbating the problem.  (If they could figure out a way to project their pictures to the underside of our eyelids, it’d be just as effective.) So, at the most weakened and vulnerable time in my life, not only feeling fat, but now minus the body parts that helped me feel feminine, this is what came out of my heart. I’m guessing some of you can relate.

If I Were Thin

If I were thin I wouldn’t feel self-conscious all the time.

If I were thin my body might not hurt so bad.

If I were thin I’d feel pretty.

If I were thin I wouldn’t fear judgment or scorn from the thin.

If I were thin I’d enjoy putting clothes on.

If i were thin I’d love to shop.

If I were thin I’d feel acceptable.

If I were thin I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize for my appearance (or maybe even my existence).

If I were thin I might be more adventurous.

If I were thin, I’d probably find there’s more to life than being thin.

Thankfully I know there is more to life than being thin. But it’s tremendously difficult to maintain that mindset in our society so enamored with the outward appearance and so totally unconcerned with the inner, eternal person.

As I’ve been working out to become healthy and strong so I can feel good and enjoy life with my husband and kids, and grandchildren when they come, I’m realizing how much time, money and energy it takes just to make taking care of one’s body a priority. Unless a person is happily blessed with a great metabolism and a naturally thin form, they will spend the rest of their lives either killing themselves to get/keep in shape or they will give up and face self-condemnation  and/or the perceived or real condemnation from others. It pretty much sucks. Yep.

But, being me, the cancer survivor times two, I’m not going to put up a white flag and surrender. I’m not going to roll over and play fat – uh, dead. I’m going to try to be realistic, and to enjoy what is! I’m alive, I’m getting healthier and stronger and every day is a gift, whether or not I measure up to the unrealistic standards set by the Twiggys and the super models of the world!

My body is my ‘earth-suit’ to borrow the concept from C.S. Lewis. It houses my person, my spirit. It is my body-house I live in, but it isn’t the real me. So, just like the home I live in, I keep it in good repair, and I want to be comfortable in it, I’ll try to keep my body-house in good repair because I want to be comfortable in my own skin, even if there is a bit more of it than on someone else!

Life isn’t ultimately about the body, it’s about who lives inside.