07 January, 2014

Getting Healthy

I went to a trainer for a follow-up appointment today, and it turns out in the last six weeks I’ve gained weight and my % of fat weight has gone up.

Before I go any further, let me say that my motivation here is a desire to get HEALTHY! Read – HEALTHY – not skinny or perfect or to reach a certain weight – but to be more HEALTHY.

It’s one of the greatest myths out there that skinny = healthy. That is just not true. You can be a size 0 and have a weak internal system and be ready for a heart attack and you can be a size 12 and be in top physical condition.

This is not about a size or an arbitrary number on a scale – it’s about health – which you cannot judge by looking at someone.

The meeting was so disappointing because for the first time in my life I am exercising regularly, which means trying to work out three times a week. At my first appointment my trainer gave me a way to work out using my heart rate and I’ve been trying to follow that, whether on the spinning bike or the treadmill. Now I’m being told to workout 5 days a week, 45 minutes, and add it stretches and strength training.

Believe me I am not the exercising, active kind of girl. Not naturally at least.

I have been overweight since I was 12. I was overweight in middle school and got teased mercilessly for it. I stayed that same weight until my late 20’s when my weight started to go up.

Still, I feel beautiful.

I’ve become okay in my own skin. I wear what I think flatters my body but have never felt this need to become a size 4 just to be accepted. I have floated between a size 10-14 and that’s okay with me. I am comfortable in my skin. I think I am beautiful, I am a sexual being and I don’t see anything wrong with my wide thighs, my tummy or my size 12 body. I would gladly become healthy and stay a size 12!

I don’t think a number should define our beauty. I think it should be where YOU are okay with yourself, not what the media, or shame, or unrealistic expectations tell you to be.

beautiful, healthy, encouragement

You should feel good in your body and reach whatever form of appearance is good to you. If you can be healthy and weight 215 and love your curves – do it! Flaunt it and love your form. If you can be healthy at 125, and want that form, groovy! But don’t pursue the unrealistic ideal that the media or movies or other women tell you to be.

For me this is a desire to be HEALTHY, to be able to do what I want: ride a bike race, hike for a few hours, run without thinking I’m going to die. While I pursue that it will mean I lose my tummy, I tone my limbs, and I change how I eat.

This is scary for me. I know in order to break the mental weight in my head I am going to have to face demons and deal with some buried pain. I’ve become okay with my weight because I thought I had to look like this. I bought into the lies of middle school.

Part of my self-sabotaging any previous attempts to get healthy has been this fear that I don’t know who I am if I’m not overweight and unhealthy.

So, we are becoming healthy! My husband and I are going to track what we eat, make adjustments, work out, and move more! I’m not setting a target weight. I want to be healthy. So I am going to let the trainer tell me what’s a healthy % of fat and when I’ve reached that goal. 

Mostly I want to be able to look in the mirror and like who I see staring back at me.

I am choosing to be open about this process – in all it’s joys and pains - in hopes that by putting it out there, along with the attempt to leave shame behind and encourage women to love each other (and themselves) more, someone else might realize they can make a change and become healthy too.

It takes work, intentionality and a shift in priorities and lifestyle, but for the chance to be healthier and live better and longer, I think the tradeoffs are worth it!

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© Amanda Lunday