It might come as no surprise that sometimes - a lot of times, actually - I get frustrated with my body, its shape and that dang higher-than-I-want number it produces when I step on the scale.
I've outlined my internal battle to be at peace with my weight a few times (probably most profoundly and bluntly in this post from July 2008). It's surely an ongoing mental struggle for me, one that most times I think I'm winning by finally coming to terms with the healthy, happy body I have now. (Yes, I actually believe that I have a happy, healthy body now. Really.)
But sometimes, and always when I least expect it, that feeling creeps up again and pulls me kicking and screaming into those shadows of self-doubt and insecurity. These days I'm only momentarily in that place, thankfully, but I'm most decidedly there.
Like earlier this week, when as I was adjusting my spin bike before class, I glanced down and noticed the tiniest pair of cycling shoes on the ground. I did a double-take. They were the smallest pair of shoes I'd ever seen. Do they let kids in this class, I thought. Yes, they were that small.
Soon, a stick-thin, but fit woman came over to claim the shoes and mount the bike. Keep in mind that I noted in my last post that I worked hard and pushed myself in that spin class, and I know that I couldn't do that if I wasn't "in shape," but I couldn't help but sneaking a peek at the woman next to me from time to time.
Next to her, I felt like a giant on the bike, like I was one of those huge circus bears riding a miniature bicycle in a side-show stunt.
Confession time: I tend to look down at my legs or glance at my arms as I'm spinning. I like to watch my muscles work and notice the increased definition I see from class to class. Usually, it helps motivate me and feel good. And I also tend to look at the people around me - look at their muscles, body shape. And, of course, compare.
With Tiny Toes beside me, I felt just plain big - like I was bubbling over my Spandex bike shorts and jiggling and shaking as I rode. If my shorts are a size small, what size does this woman wear, I wondered.
There was not an ounce of fat on her, and her "pointy" knees and muscles seemed to be in all the right places. To top it off, she didn't seem to sweat a drop.
As contradictory as this may seem, I actually don't aspire to be like her. She was too small, too thin - and I suspect, has just as many issues with body image as I do. Maybe more. (I'm really just basing that statement on the fact that her body type was exactly like others I know who are over-the-top obsessed with what they eat and how much they work out. It literally controls their lives.)
I've worked hard to not let a focus on weight control my life - the trade-off, I suppose, is that I don't have the body I want. I know if I just really focused and cut back on some of the things I eat and just generally paid better attention, I'd get closer to having the body I want. (Or would I? A topic for another time, perhaps.)
Even more important to me than the number on the scale or the size of my clothes, is that I maintain a balance in life - balancing the enjoyment of life (which includes things like eating out and having drinks with friends) - and having a happy, healthy body.
This morning, I came across a Tweet that caught my eye. "Everyone has a story," it said, "here's mine." It linked to this blog post, written by a woman who battled the ups and downs of weight before finally grabbing hold and focusing on what's important.
I think I can learn a lot from her - not the least of which is to take a look at how far I've come from the lifestyle (and pant size) I had in the past. Like her, I've decided to post some of the photos from my college years (when I was probably my heaviest) alongside some of my more recent pics.
I debated sharing these, as I'd like to hide that "old" me somewhere in the past and "untag" her from the Facebook pages these appear on - that chubby girl who never went to prom, always went solo to college date functions and, let's be honest, was the fat friend in the group.
But instead of hiding her and totally forgetting about her, I'll embrace her and learn from her. Still, make no mistake, I'm solidly leaving her in the past.
Pictures below from 1994-1997 time frame...
And a few pics from the past year....
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