Note: I’m participating in BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo for October. Goal is to post every day this month. I’ve missed two days, but I’m getting back on track!
There are two areas in my life where I have very little confidence. This is surprising to many people, because I don’t come off as a person who suffers (much) from a lack of confidence. I’ve been pretty audacious throughout my life. I thoroughly believe that in most cases, the odds don’t apply to me.
That is, until I consider two things. One of them is health. (The other is for another post.)
I have never been athletic. Never. I’ve always been thin. Always.
And for most of my life, that’s been enough for me. Normal weight. Normal BMI.
But that’s not the case anymore.
Now, I’m not obese. Not overweight. But I hate the way I look. And I feel really bad about it.
I know that not-overweight people who complain about their weight is likely very irritating to people who struggle with being overweight or obese. It’s like when someone compares classism and poor white folks to racism and black folks. We can talk about them, but they aren’t the same things. The world is biased and bigoted towards people who are obese or overweight, and I’m neither of those things. I recognize my thin-privilege.
Yet, I struggle with body image. I feel unattractive. I feel unhealthy. And I feel powerless to overcome it. And then I feel bad about feeling bad.
That’s one of the pernicious things about fat shaming, right? Everyone starts to feel fat. And then we try really hard not to be fat. And then we demonize those who are fat. Because we are scared to become them. And it’s incredibly unhelpful.
But I feel trapped by fat-shaming myself. (Which is weird, because according to some studies, black women do not tend to have negative effects from fat-shaming.) I compare 33 year old me to 21 year old me and I don’t like it. Right now, I weigh more than I ever have non-pregnant. In my first pregnancy, I didn’t even get to this number. But websites say this is my “happy” weight, and it’s pretty much right in the middle of what doctors consider an ideal weight for a woman my height. But I’m not at all happy about it.
Everything is tight. When I get in my car at the end of the day, I take a deep breath, suck in my belly, and unbutton and unzip my pants for the ride home. My pants leave impressions in my thighs where the seams are. What is most humiliating is when people ask me, “When are you due?” Part of the issue is that I’m bigger than the clothes I bought a year ago. Buying bigger clothes would go a long way to being more comfortable.
But a part of me thinks I can get back. Although…
I have very little motivation to work out. Honestly, because I don’t really believe things could be different. Again, I’ve always been thin (and I guess I still am), but I’ve never been athletic. I always hated when I was younger and folks would ask me if I ran track because of my long legs. But I remember trying to run track in high school…and I ended up being a manager. I don’t know what working out can do because I never needed to do it.
I was running a little while ago, but with the new job, I haven’t tied up my running shoes in more than two months. I also bought T25 right before I started working, thinking I could fit it in. But leaving for work at 6:45 and not getting home until 7 meant exhaustion. And no working out. And indigestion and mood cycling and teariness.
But I’m going to try again. Funny thing is, one thing I do know about exercise is that when I do it, I feel better. I feel better about myself. After two days, when I look in the mirror I just KNOW I’m seeing changes, even though I really know nothing has really changed. But more importantly: my mind changes – I see my body as useful and functional to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit, and I don’t want to muck it up with junk and then I feel grateful for it.
I’ve never kept with a fitness regime. But like blogging every day — I want to try. The job and the family and the husband and the blog can’t work if I’m not okay. And exercise is important. My mind knows that. I’m sick of being so smart in other areas and really dumb in this one. So, I’m giving it another try. And another one after that one. And again.
If only because, when I look in the mirror, I like myself. It’s worth a try if only for that.
Crunches. Let’s go.