Once Upon a Fat Girl

Friday, June 16, 2006

Progress...slow and steady

When I can stay focused in the here-and-now, I'm really happy. I've made some huge strides:

1. I can do 60 minutes of cardio exercise in a row.
2. I've lost eight inches off my body
3. I've lost 13 or so pounds
4. My size 26 pants are big enough that I can slip them off without unfastening them
5. I haven't binged in almost seven weeks
6. I feel lighter and healthier already
7. I've had small weight losses every week since May 1
8. My shoes are fitting better (!)
9. I'm looking forward to more rigorous exercise when my weight comes down

But then I start thinking...damn I have SO much weight to lose. So fucking much. Still have more than my entire goal weight to lose. And I get this little panicky/anxiety tickle at the back of my brain that says...no, it's never going to happen. Never. I'm always going to be fat and disgusting.

I'm trying hard to train myself to stop thinking of my body as disgusting. Or even too heavy. I read somewhere that people who start exercising with "losing weight" as the goal rarely are successful. They give up too quickly. Exercise becomes just another diet. But those who just want to feel better...who just want to be able to move more freely and breathe more easily...well, they find that weight loss is a side effect.

A side effect. Not the main course.

But my God, it's really hard to give up the "diet" mentality. It's really hard to kill twenty-five years of belief that eating cottage cheese and celery sticks will make everything all better. That fat girls aren't allowed to move their bodies for the pure joy of it--if we exercise it has to be painful, grueling, gut-busting hell. Fat girls can't take belly dance class or do yoga. We can't take a walk in the park, or go for a swim, or shoot some hoops. We can't do any of that, unless we are 'trying to lose weight.' It can't just be fun. And, we all know, 'trying to lose weight' ain't fun. So even roller skating and riding a bike become work.

What if my 'natural weight', the side effect of all this natural eating and fun exercise, isn't 150? What if it's 180? Or 200? Can I live with that? Will I start posting entries about how I have to cut out a couple hundred calories, stop eating Newman's Own Lighten Up Italian (and squeeze lemon on my salad instead), and increase my work outs, so that I can fit my body into what my society says is a perfect size?

Remembering that exercise and activity and movement is supposed to be fun has been a revelation. Going to the Y with the kids has really opened my eyes. Being a fat girl doesn't mean that I'm morally obligated to sit on my ass 16 hours a day. Fat girls can sweat and push their physical limits and revel in what their bodies can do, just like everyone else.

I've noticed something else. The very moment I look at a clock and calculate how many hours I have to go until lunch or dinner, I'm sunk. The urge to binge starts building up. I get that horrible not-full-enough feeling. It becomes impossible for me to tell if I'm really hungry, or just on a freak-out about the three hours to go until lunch.

I need a mantra. Something to calm me in those moments. Just calm my mind enough so that I can be aware of what my body is telling me (mouth hunger or stomach hunger?)

Here's what I'm thinking: "You can eat if you're really hungry. No one is taking your food away. Relax."

I'm taking the kids out to lunch with my dad today. And then we're going to the Y to swim. Adrienne asked if we're just going to swim, or workout. I asked what she wanted to do, and she said, "I want to work out a little. Maybe thirty minutes." I'm thinking maybe we can use the indoor track. She was bored by the treadmill (can't blame her.)

She had her cholesterol tested maybe a year ago, and it was 199. High. Much higher than mine. And her cardiovascular strength is not good. I have to stop feeling like I'm damaging her by encouraging her to want to be fit. I think I'll tell her today that if she eats when she's hungry and stops when she's full, and gets some exercise, her body will find it's natural weight.

She might be young and unjaded enough for the idea to make an impact.


Blogger Jen said...

Shaunta, look at that list of 9 things again. That my friend is a great mantra. Print that out, post it somewhere and read it often. Fantastic!

12:12 AM  

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