Lately I’ve been doing a lot of walking. No where near what a healthy fit person should – mind you – but a lot more than I have in a LONG-ASS time. I’ve discovered that I quite enjoy them. And I’ve been tracking them. Using my apps (fitbit / s-health) and my fitbit tracker(s). [Currently wearing a lovely Fitbit Alta in teal thank you very much!] In fact, I’ve been ONLY walking and not hitting the gym, so I temporarily put my 24-hour membership on “freeze” to save some money. Why pay the $37 if I’m never going through those sweaty doors?
It wasn’t always this way…
I grew up being pretty active and kind of a tomboy. I danced a lot. I liked to be out and about as I hit my 20’s – again never “super athletic” but a healthy mix of homebody and exerciser. I paid attention to my body and weight and kept myself fit and healthy. I looked pretty damned good actually and felt great about it. However, getting pregnant with my son forced me to gain more weight than I ever had. My doctors and I were stumped; no matter what I did (even a diabetic diet) couldn’t stop me from gaining weight. I weighed 210 when I had my son in 1997; I’d gained 60 lbs in spite of everything we tried. I lost 30 lbs the first week after having him; no joke. And I started to work on losing the rest.
Post divorce back in 1999 I just – well – I kind of stopped. I didn’t have a guy anymore to try and keep fit for (or lose the babyfat). I went back to work. But…I know now that I was truly heartbroken and grieving over the loss of my marriage; the loss of the future I’d planned. The loss of the idea / option of having a second baby. The loss of my husband who left me for other women and the crushed ego that came with that. I buried myself in taking care of my lovely son and the work of keeping a roof over our heads in really terrible economic times post 911. I didn’t want to date at all. And subconsciously I’m sure I surrounded myself protectively in a layer of fat that helped to keep men away. I think a lot of women do that when they do not want attention from men.
Right around the time I was going to turn 40, I sort of realized that I was moving further and further away from “young”. I took stock and realized just how much I’d let myself go physically. It is important for me (although I’m not 100% sure why) to note here that I didn’t COMPLETELY let myself go for all of those years. I still wore makeup; although minimally. I still styled my hair, etc. But I was fat (fatter than I am now). I didn’t monitor myself in any way with the food intake. And I was only getting fatter it seemed. (I think I topped out close to 225 at that point). I also had an 11 year old boy that I wanted to set a good example for. I didn’t want to be the stereotype of the “dumped fat ex-wife” or “single mom” – and I DID look like that woman. What a blow to my ego (again). But it helped to spur me to work super hard to get into shape. Oddly enough losing my job in 2008 and then being unemployed for 18 months actually gave me the time to put a lot of focus into this project. While looking for work and struggling to get a job; the exercise provided me with a healthy outlet for my stress and allowed me to still feel good about myself while dealing with the humiliation and heartbreak of not being able to get a job. Finally in 2010 I started with my current company and I haven’t looked back. For the next year I continued to stay on target and lose. (The loss total at that time was probably 65 lbs)
In early 2011 my son was 14 years old and we just were going through a really tumultuous time. Actually I’d say from 2011 to when he graduated high school in 2015 – it was pretty stressful and tumultuous. I started to play an online game in order to keep my brain occupied and out of his face. Boy was that addictive. I chose that over exercising. Cut to now and I’d regained 40-45 lbs of what I’d lost over the last few years. Not only that – I’d regained the weight in different areas (hello big ass and back!) as well as familiar ones (hello barrel belly). Believe me when I tell you that I know we rationalize how these things happen to us.
Let’s get back to the walking shall we..?
It isn’t one thing that has helped me to change the current state of my motivation. It’s many things that are helping me to do it. I am fat. No I’m not being hard on myself. I am fat. I’m about 5′ 4 1/2″. I’m 50lbs overweight. I have a “barrel of love” that I can currently hold with some success in with my stomach muscles. It will not last. It will fall. And as we all know belly fat is really bad medically. Truly bad. I don’t want to just sit around and willingly cause that kind of risk to myself. I don’t see myself as any kind of super-athlete. I really do not have that kind of super strict discipline or drive. I love food too much. I love my internet/media, reading, and tv watching too much. BUT I don’t want my old age to come up and clobber me on the head and I be too weak to do anything about it. How well I remember my grandmother not being able to open a soda can for herself because she never exercised a day in her life?
I’m not trying to be “fancy” here. I know I simply let myself fall to the background and didn’t take care of myself. I know I buried my anxiety in food and video games and hiding from dealing with it. But I share these parts of my story with anyone that may read – because I’m a person. I’m human. Lots of us are. And despite what you see broadcast on tv in ads and this growing perceived acceptance of “fuller figured” women, etc. being heavy like that is NOT a sign of being happy. We don’t feel okay with it overall. Sure, we can try to be happy in the skin we’re in and try to “rock it” – but it isn’t what we really want. I don’t care how they want to market it; I will never believe that fat people are happy people. Ever. But I’m not here to judge what others do. I’m here about me. I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want to be unhealthy. I don’t want to have to ask anyone to open a soda can for me.
These walks have felt GREAT. I am lucky to currently live in a fairly remote town and have a very picturesque neighborhood. I have a lot of options in terms of different “loops” (I call them that, don’t ask me why!) to take with these walks. I have been inspired to use my Galaxy S7 phone’s great camera to take photos. I want to see what lovely silly flower I can capture next and post! (The posting oddly enough has also helped to keep me inspired.) My walks are getting longer. They are getting more frequent. I rarely talk myself out of them – although if I’m honest there are the days where I flip/flop. I will literally stand still in the middle of my bedroom contemplating changing out of my work clothes in to jammies – or walking clothes. I mean, really, I am tired, and I do want to get caught up on the recent episodes of “Arrow”, “Flash”, or “Agents of Shield”, or “Supernatural” after work. But also..? They can surely wait 45 minutes while I walk. In those moments, I actually raise my voice slightly at myself and say things like, “come on Jenn – just get your workout pants on. Just get them on and go”. And I do. I LISTEN TO MYSELF!
My hope is that someone – at least one person – will read this and be inspired to simply move a bit more. Find a way to put yourself a little head of others. Find something that you feel good about. And USE that to help keep you inspired. I am. Walk with me. Post with me.
Tell your inner voice that for some reason wants to hide to shut the fuck up.