In the midst of all the emotional/mental drama that I direct toward my body, I have to share something cool.
I have always been pretty fit, no matter what my weight. It usually surprises people – sometimes it even surprises me! And I don’t have to do much to maintain that – I think it’s a holdover from all the dancing I did in my childhood and teen years that my body seems to build and retain muscle pretty easily.
But about 3 weeks ago I went hiking with a friend of mine (in Runyon Canyon, if you’re familiar with Los Angeles). We took the steep part up and the slightly-less-steep part down, because coming down the steep part means you REALLY have to watch your step: it’s not paved the way the slightly-less-steep part is, so you’re more likely to break your neck if you’re not a mountain goat. And when we got to the top, I had to STOP AND REST. We weren’t climbing aggressively, or moving fast. We were moving steadily, but not particularly quickly, and my friend wasn’t even out of breath – but I was.
That was my “tipping point,” if you will. I can handle being fat, but out of shape? I’ve never REALLY been out of shape. I’ve certainly been more in shape at some times than at other times, but never, NEVER really OUT of shape.
So I decided to start walking/running in the park again (depending on whether the running hurt my knees or not). The first day I did it (2 weeks ago)? I walked it pretty fast – about 1.5 or 2 miles (I don’t know the exact length of the loop) – and I was OUT OF BREATH. Just a little bit, but still. Holy Mother of God. I went back Wednesday and then Friday, and then last week M, W, F.
This brings me to the thing that I LOVE about my body. I build muscle really fast. I build endurance really fast. Even under the fat, I really have an athelete’s body: a body that without much encouragement at all will rapidly become strong and powerful. (When I danced, my strongest area – no pun intended – was leaps and jumps because I had some rockin’ quads and calves. I could usually get almost as much height, and even more “hang time” than the guys could, and that’s saying a LOT.) I LOVE that about my body.
So. By last Friday (the end of the 2nd week) I was running about half the time and NOT out of breath. And this weekend, when I was trying on bridesmaid dresses, I saw the muscle definition of my quads already coming back around my knees (even through the fat, LOL). I figure that Mother Nature didn’t give me the ability to lose weight easily, and I’m grateful for that, because I really would have been a dancer, and that means that it’s highly likely I would still be sick and eating disordered. Instead I have to learn to accept and love myself exactly the way that I am, which is really a tremendous gift.
But that part of me that craves instant gratification? Is really, really glad that I build muscle so fast. It gives me some marker of progress toward being healthier just a week or two out of the gate.
I might stay fat, but I can still be strong and powerful. Woot! 😀