I woke up the day after Halloween feeling like crap because I drank too much wine and ate too much chocolate the night before. Which gives me insomnia. Which means I don’t feel like exercising. Which makes me feel like crap. Which I did.
I looked in the bathroom mirror. I wasn’t happy with what I saw. Two years ago, after sticking to clean eating and training for two half marathons, I was feeling fly. Now, I am feeling discouraged by my gradual weight gain. More wine, less running = more fat, less muscle. I cried a little, wishing I could stop being disappointed with my reflection.
And then the mom in me kicked in. Snap out of it! I told myself. You are 48 years old. You have an amazing man who thinks you’re beautiful, and makes you feel beautiful. You are healthy. You can still run 3 miles even after slacking off for weeks. When will you grow up and love this body all the way?
I grabbed my phone and took this picture. This is who I am right now, today, I thought. This is good enough.
This is not a before picture. This is me. And it took a lot of deep breaths for me to actually post this without cropping it and putting some flattering filters on it. If I look like this forever, I will be fine with it. I hope in 20 years I look back at this picture and think damn, I was young, and I looked good! And I want to post another picture in 20 years and feel good about it, too.
Lest we slip into diet drama discussions, let me make one thing clear: I know how to eat healthy and exercise. I’m good at it. I started weight watchers when I was 11. I’ve been running regularly since I was 16. I’ve gained and lost significant amounts of weight several times in my life, but not because I’m miserable or uneducated about HOW to lose weight and keep it off. Knowing how and NOT doing it are two different things.
I’m generally very happy. I’m generally very healthy. I lack discipline sometimes, but not knowledge. I am not more or less happy when I’m heavier or when I’m thinner. I’m always the same me, in the same skin.
I don’t know how much I’ve gained lately, because I left the scale at my ex-husband’s house two years ago. I had been weighing myself off and on at the YMCA, whenever I went, which was sporadically. Sometimes I got up and went to the Y just to weigh myself, and left without working out. Which is dumb, but true. The number on the scale always dictated how I felt about myself for the day. Eventually, I stopped going to the Y.
Last week, during a killer walk/run up steep hills, I told Rebekah, my perky running partner, that I was ready to get back into good shape again. I joined the Y again, I said, and should do a weigh in, and some before and after pictures, to document my success over the next six months. Because I know I will be successful at losing weight and gaining muscle again. I always am when I decide to do it, and it encourages my readers who are working on the same things.
But Rebekah said no.
She asked me, in her direct way, if we could do this differently here at Chubby Mommy Running Club. She reminded me that I wanted this blog to be about the journey, not the outcome, and that I always say this isn’t a diet blog. People will see results in the pictures and videos you post over time, she said, and that can be encouraging, but it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the process, the fun, the pain, the realness of us, and the people like us who want to join in the community.
And you know what? She’s right. So I’m not going to weigh myself this time. I’m just gonna keep going forward, like I always do. And I’m going to enjoy my aunt’s chocolate pie tomorrow and try not to complain about my sugar hangover on Friday. Try, not cry.
Today, when I saw this post on Vine from Jen Dent, one of my favorite Viners, I asked her if I could share it. It’s good to be naked with ourselves, to accept where we are, to love who we are right now, and to say no to defining how we feel based on what we see on the scale.
The title of Jen’s vine is:
“Not willing to let a stupid number alter my day. #ThrowItAway #beingagirlcansuck”
Thank you, Jen. For today and tomorrow I’m going to say no to all those messages out there that tell me to be careful about Thanksgiving, watch the numbers, don’t get too far off track, be good, not bad.
We are good no matter what we eat. We are real. We are vulnerable. We are awesome, right now, today, no matter what the numbers say.