Old Habits

 

Back on The Wagon horizontal Web

I’m enough of a yo-yo artiste that I know bad habits don’t die, they just wait for winter to regroup.  Case in point, the last few weeks I’ve been treating my body like a bit of an amusement park, and I can’t be too shocked when I feel like I’m looking into a funhouse mirror.  

Still, when, in honor of spring and impending swimsuit season (which, for me, is a misnomer as I rarely wear a swimsuit anywhere), I stepped on the scale this morning, I realized it’s time to get back on the wagon.   

Silly Little Love Thong

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It was when I was standing in the toothpaste and tampon aisle that I realized that the powers that be will try to sell us on anything.

Why else would the feminine hygiene market be trying to market us on a mini pads for a thong? I don’t know about the rest of my gender, the last thing I’m thinking of during that time of the month, is how I can find a way to wear the most uncomfortable undergarment possible.

I looked down at my own body and admitted there were a lot of days during the month I wouldn’t even consider wearing a thong, and most of those all of those days end with a ‘Y’. And as I snorted in disgust, I almost whispered those dirty words that everyone has uttered at some point in his or her adult life. “I hate my body.”  

But I didn’t. I stopped myself.  And, as I retreated to the safety of the toothpaste side of that aisle, I knew what they really trying to sell me.

I haven’t said those words more than once in the last six months. I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve lost so much weight that I love the way my body looks. The reality is, that even when I get to my goal weight, I’ll have so much loose skin from childbearing, breast-feeding, and carrying too much weight for too many years that wearing a thong even in private might give my husband reasonable grounds for divorce if his eyes weren’t so bad . 

I eschewed the phrase during my first 7 mile run. For some people 7 miles isn’t very far, but for me it was a milestone. I was huffing and puffing the whole way, and when I realized the last part of my race would be uphill, I felt the words rising.  I hate my body.

My feet became dead weights, and I slowed. It was as if my were body rebelling against the arrows I had just slung.

“What have I done?” It was asking me. “What have I done except carry you the last 40-odd years while giving you two healthy children – all without complaint? You have neglected me. You have gorged and let me grow weak, and I have served you anyway”

I came to a complete stop and looked down.   It was right. If my body doesn’t perform to my expectations it’s because I haven’t treated it with respect.

That’s been changing over the last few months with better nutrition and exercise. But the change is not only physical. When I selected goal weight, it was not based on a jean size, it was based on a healthy BMI for my age. And I’ve come to realize that if I don’t love my body –  at every size – how can I expect it to love me enough to carry me into old age and do the things that a body is supposed to do?

So maybe if they make a thong that’s comfortable for me and my body, I’d go for it. But what was for sale on that shelf in the toothpaste and tampon aisle, I’m no longer willing to buy.

Tales from the Scale

Scale

Forgive me scale for I have really sinned.  It’s been at least a week since my last confession.

Before I step on, however, I just want to say that even though my sins are too numerous to list within the next hour – the last week has been a nutritional blur – I have stuck to my fitness plan like a champion (the running part that is).  With that in mind, I hope you’ll agree with me that you shouldn’t raise the numbers too high and that maybe you can give me a pass for listing maple syrup as a serving of vegetables (it comes from a plant, after all).

I’m ready to do some penance, and I really appreciate you keeping the pounds even.  I promise I’ll lay off the crisps and pies for the next few weeks, but I just have to say that while the running rules, dieting sucks.

Cause or Effect

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A few months ago I got on the Pill.  Not the one that keeps little surprises from happening in a marriage but the one that was supposed to help keep my demons away.  After a few weeks of trading the demons I’d known all my life and gotten used to (even if I don’t really like them) for a terrifying set of new demons I didn’t know, I went off the pill.

The move wasn’t just bravado, although there was some involved.  A summer return to a regular fitness routine power a good part of my swagger, and for the last few months I’ve been on a more even keel.  My demons have been relegated to the periphery.  

They never stay there, however.  When I tire, they get stronger, as they did Sunday.  From their darkness, they beckoned me to stay home from my run and retreat to my fantasy world – just for a short while.  There were seven miles ahead of me, and the temptation was strong.  Ultimately, I got out of bed, deciding this was the perfect time to test the effect of endorphins on depression.  

It always takes me a mile or two to get warmed up and start enjoying the exercise.  It’s the point where the world melts away.  Stories are written on those runs.  Problems are solved.  At the three mile mark, however, my demons were right beside me, and every muscle was exhausted. 

At the fourth mile, Boogie Wonderland came on the mp3 player.  My stories were interrupted by images of seven-year-old Thing2 be-bopping in his rainbow wig and cape, and my pace quickened.  As the air cut around me, I could feel the wind unfurling my own cape.  For the rest of the run, every step took me into the stories I’m writing and away from the darkness. 

Looking back, I’m still not sure if the endorphins were the causes or the effects.