June 20, 2012

Skinny Little Fat Girl

Whenever the subject of weight comes up I tend to do one of two things. I either (wisely) keep my mouth shut, knowing my gripes will not be appreciated, or I (stupidly) jump on the "I'm so fat" bandwagon and then have to justify saying so when everyone around me declares me to be skinny. We live in an age of obesity, an age of fast food, automated jobs and online social lives. Most of us, if honest, would probably admit to not being happy with the shape our bodies are in. So why, if I declare that I am unhappy with my extra weight and complete lack of muscle tone, am I scolded for being ridiculous? I'm told I should be happy that I am so skinny and not "fat" like other people.

I know, right now you are shaking your heads at me. Poor little Slacker Mom. She's upset because people think she's skinny. What a pity. Someone shove a bite of cake in her mouth so she'll shut up. But please stick with me because I'm sure I speak for others as well.

I am not a great athlete, never have been, despite my half-hearted attempts. I played volleyball in middle school without bothering to learn an overhand serve. In high school, I was a cheerleader with no flexibility or gymnastic skills, and I ran track with barely enough stamina to finish the 800m. As an adult, I played softball but lacked enough muscle strength to really hit or throw. My point is, I may have been a bit more active than the average bear but I've never been a model of physical peak. Even so, I was shocked at how quickly being pregnant affected my physical fitness. I got winded going up a small flight of stairs. Walking wasn't a problem but I did get tired quicker. And the weight I put on. For a girl who graduated at 124lbs, putting on 33lbs was traumatic. I gained exactly that much with each pregnancy--only I didn't manage to lose it all in between.

I've learned to not get stuck on my weight number. But honestly? I cried when I first hit 130lbs (yes, I'm that shallow). Since then, I've come to a healthy acceptance of the number, whatever it may be. I figure, if I'm in shape and feel good about my body then it doesn't matter what I weigh. (Again, please don't read these numbers and groan. There is a point to my sharing all this.) The problem I have is, I am NOT in shape and I DON'T feel good about my weight. So I ask people about losing weight and I get the kind of answers that irritate me. "You don't need to lose weight; you're skinny. Look at me!" Let me tell you something. If I know I am not healthy, if I know that I am not taking proper care of this body that God has given me, then it doesn't matter if I am 5lbs overweight, 50lbs overweight or even 150lbs overweight--I need to change things. According to my BMI, I am overweight. According to how I feel when I am naked, I am a big blob of rising bread dough. It's time to change things.

I have been granted with an exceptional metabolism. If the average person ate like I did, she would be 500lbs and diabetic. For just over the last year, I have survived on a diet that mainly consists of Dr. Pepper, fast food and peanut M&Ms. Yes, I do cook on occasion and sometimes even healthy meals. Breakfast is a rare occurrence for me, so is milk. I used to go months without a single drink of water, but luckily the heat in TX prevents that from happening. I don't eat vegetables that have any nutritious value. I have dessert at 11 o'clock at night while sitting in bed. I am rarely truly hungry. I eat when I am bored, I eat when I am stressed, I eat because my body is so programmed to snack at midnight that it just feels like the thing to do. My day consists of chores in the house and parking myself in front of the computer. Because I live like this, my kids aren't much better. Now tell me I don't need to do something.

So, I am proposing a life change. I don't believe in "diets" that give you a temporary weight loss; eventually you have to go off that diet and figure out how to function without it. I do believe in changing your life style, however. I know what good proportions look like. I know how to sneak in healthy foods (which work for me and MC but the kids can detect that subtle change in taste and texture and won't touch anything. I've tried before.) I know my body well enough to know that as soon as I start walking and running, it will change shape.

What's stopping me from whipping myself and my family into shape? Only myself. I will have to get creative and put in a little more time than most to come up with meals that my family will eat. As it is, there are only 3 meals that all 5 of us will actually eat and none of them will be up for health food of the year. Exercising will mean waking up early so I can get a walk/run in before MC has to leave for work. It will mean relying on God more than food to get me through the day. It will mean keeping out of sight of some of my favorite things because I am not good at stopping before I cross the line into gluttony. Will I screw up? Spectacularly, I imagine. But I also know that I'm capable of these changes. I've done it before, I can do it again. This time, I know I don't have any big life changes ahead of me to derail me--that helps.

I am posting this here on my blog so I have some kind of accountability. If you are one of these people who think that because I am not 100lb overweight then I am fine the way I am, you are asked to respectfully hold your opinion. If, however, you understand my desire to be be healthy both physically and mentally, than I would love your support and encouragement. I am doing this without a gym, without putting any money into it. There will be no dietary supplements or personal trainers. Just me and God.

I'll keep you posted.

*Day 1--148lbs and sedentary.

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