Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Girl Wins! A Recap of the Past Year

After nearly a year of this blog being open (but rarely updated) I thought I’d pop in with a bit of encouragement from to expound upon some similarities and differences in my life since taking on the difficult task of getting in shape.

I gave up on triathlons because, gosh darn, you need to get good at this stuff one event at a time!

I ran my first 10k in February.

I am still a little bit heavy.

I still knock over stemware on the other side of the restaurant when I put a little shimmy into my ten square foot ass.

The difference is that I feel awesome about all of those stunning little personal performances and I’m still running.

Other people tell heartfelt teary stories about how changing their waist size magically solved their life. I weigh exactly the same amount as I did last August give or take five pounds, aside from slightly shapelier thighs my measurements have not moved an inch up or down in any area. Despite this I still value my progress more than anything else I’ve done in the past year, no amount of weight lost could’ve possibly changed my life as much as improving my level of physical fitness has. While my journey to become fit may not be seen as being as socially worthy as other women’s attempts to get thin it means much more to me than a number on a scale. I wake up in the morning without the debilitating aches I had previously suffered from bone fractures I incurred as a teenager, my orthopedist has not heard a complaint from me in six months but confirms that my cracked and battered bones are thicker, stronger, and more likely to survive well into old age. I have reduced my blood pressure from 118/76 to 102/60, protecting my heart and reducing my chances of a disease that killed both of my grandfathers.

In the beginning it was hard, I made fantastic excuses like “I just have to make it to the bank on time”, “the laundry needs doing”, “my oatmeal isn’t exactly the way I like it”, and “the sun didn’t rise properly today”, anything was good enough as long as I didn’t have to lift a finger or sweat in any way.

I was overtravelled, overfed, militantly lazy, and a ticking medical time bomb. I loved cake (okay I still love cake…) and daytime television. My natural enemy was the treadmill. To this day I am totally amazed that I didn’t drop to the pavement in cardiac arrest during the first attempt I made at jogging. By the grace of God I continued to huff, puff, and sweat painfully around my neighborhood for everyone to gawk at. The only difference is that these days I consider them lucky to see me gracefully hauling my girth up their street with none of the former flailing and choking sounds. I, at the very least, feel like I look fantastic. This is clearly impossible as I look just the same as I did before. The difference is that I feel better while doing it, I don’t doubt that I’ll make my full run or worry that I’ll suddenly drop into a dead heap from failing to pump blood mouse through my heart valves. I feel like I have a greater purpose than cheese puffs and Good Morning America. I am an athlete, and I deserve to show the world that being a big girl doesn’t mean your weak or lack essential willpower.

As an athlete I have, for all intensive purposes, changed my ways. I run three miles a day, six days a week, and have taken up American Tribal Style bellydance as a creative outlet for my newfound bodily respect. I plan to begin taking ballet for the first time in my life in the coming weeks. Getting in shape has given me opportunity to feel as beautiful as I really am without serious musculoskeletal pain. It has given me assurance and confidence. I can use the stairs if the elevators are full under the strong assurance that I will make it to the top without embarrassing myself by stopping on the second flight and sitting for ten minutes. No, I am strong, I am capable, and for the first time in my life I am completely certain that I am awesome.

Mostly I can finally feel alright laughing at myself for all of the ridiculous lose-fat-fast diet attempts I made when there was nothing wrong with me. I have curves and they're just as sexy and fit as other women's straight lines. Being big doesn't make me ugly and it doesn't make me fat. It just makes me who am, and I really like the driven person that I've become.

I plan to continue running well into the future, competing in events as I see feet. I have a new goal to work towards which is much more worthy than seeing every episode of Seinfeld. Look for me at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in 2010.