Monday, March 19, 2012

The Skinny of It

I am not proud to admit this, but, I often consider the possibility of plastic surgery.  I do.  Not on my face -- I am not very keen on the duck-lipped-trout-mouth look.  But I consider it on the rest of my body.  Recently someone said to me, "You must just love your new body!"  I laughed and told her that I liked it okay clothed, but not at all naked.  Then I said, "but I'm clothed a lot more often than I'm naked anyway, so I suppose that's okay."

But is it really?  I have told you over and over again to love your body, to love yourself, to love where you are at today, to see your body as a wonderful vessel that carries you through life.  But, secretly, I often hate what I see in the mirror.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly hate it considerably less than I used to.  But when I get out of the shower and stare at myself, hate still hangs in the air.

There are days that I would love to be able to waltz into the office a plastic surgeon, hand him my neatly typed list of flaws, and say "Fix me."  On that list he would see: stretch marks from navel to knees, cankles, saggy boobs, excess skin on stomach.  And maybe a few more -- it would depend greatly on my mood when the list was created.

I often joke about my flaws, mostly because it makes them much easier to endure.  "I think I will just staple my boobs to my earlobes," I might say.  Someone told me once that I had a great memory, and without thinking I said, "An elephant never forgets."  After seeing a KIA commercial during the Superbowl, I told my husband, "I think I'll wear that outfit and then I can have a cute little skin ponytail hanging out that front hole."  And just today in Crossfit, when we were practicing hand stands, one of my friends tucked my shirt in for me when I was upside down so that I wouldn't flash the world.  "It's like the maid-of-honor charging the bride," she said.  "More like sister-of-honor tucking the fat," I responded.
KIA girl.
I am mean to myself, and I know it.  Really mean.  If I had a friend treat me the way I treat myself, she wouldn't be my friend for very long.  But I can't seem to make myself stop.  Maybe it's because I'm practically a professional at cutting myself down, or maybe it's because my flaws bother me a lot more than I care to admit.  I want you to love yourself, I really do.  I want you to believe all those things about loving yourself for where you are at today, and more than anything, I want to lead you by example.  But I also want to be honest with you.

I want you to know that sometimes I care about my weight more than I thought I did.  After coming back from Las Vegas I was terrified to get on the scale.  Terrified.  I was certain that those big meals and sugary frozen drinks would haunt me by way of pounds.  I say weight doesn't matter, but in the back of my mind, it only doesn't matter when I'm not gaining.  It shouldn't matter.  I should only care about getting stronger, faster, and more confident.  And I do care about those things.  I love seeing my performance improve in CrossFit and Yoga.  But, sometimes I also care about that stupid scale.  I advised a family member to throw her scale out the window because that number doesn't matter, but I felt a little like a hypocrite because I care about it too.  I freaked out when the scale went up three pounds recently during a menstrual cycle (I don't actually menstruate because of my PCOS, but I still have bloating and cramping).  I was able to talk myself off the ledge by reminding myself I was just retaining water because being a woman sucks sometimes. 

I hate it.  I don't want to care about the scale, I don't want to hate my flaws.  But I also don't want to gain weight.  And I don't want my stomach to look like a wrinkly deflated balloon and feel like a bowl of mashed potatoes.  I recently got upset because a friend from my gym had decided to quit CrossFit because she had gained weight.  She was very small framed and quite thin.  "You have to gain muscle to lose fat," I explained to her.  "I don't care, I just want to lose pounds," she said.  I was so irritated that I couldn't get through to her.  But it is easy for me to feel that way because I started out big.  It wouldn't have made sense for my body to gain much weight first.  I began my journey with virtually no muscle mass, and huge amounts of fat.

Don't get me wrong, I am proud of what I have accomplished thusfar.  I am proud that I have lost 94 lbs.  I am proud that my infamous pink pants are now merely a skirt with flair.
June 2011
September 2011
March 2012
But still, this week I was on the verge of a panic attack at the thought of trying on bathing suits.  I was almost in tears when I tried on 'skinny jeans' for the first time (I had always been certain they would look terrible on me).  Lord knows I wouldn't have bought them without the assurance of my ultra stylish future sister-in-law.  But then I was terrified to actually wear them out.  I did it, but I was terrified.
No longer a skinny jeans virgin.
I am proud that I look totally different than I did on last year's trip to Vegas.  And I'm proud that this year's trip didn't revolve totally around going to Serendipity 3; I was actually more concerned about finding a gym in which I could do a CrossFit WOD.  In fact, this year, I was even able to stick with my Lenten sacrifices of soda and sweets -- without cheating.
Vegas: August 2010

Vegas: March 2011
Vegas: March 2012
But is that enough?  It depends on how you look at it.  Losing weight, by itself, isn't going to make me happy.  Losing pounds isn't going to miraculously start making me treat myself kindly.  Buying a size 10 instead of a size 20 isn't going to create world peace.  I have to do all of that -- well, maybe not the world peace part.  I have to start making me be nice to myself, I have to start making myself be happy with my body, or it will never be enough.
Recently I was talking to someone about my weight loss and they asked me, "So when is enough enough?"  I responded that my ultimate goal is 150 pounds, but that might not be totally obtainable.  I explained that my doctor said a healthy weight for my height and frame is between 150 and 160.  I also said that I would be totally find staying at 165, especially due to the amount of muscle I now have on my body (after all Body Composition is MUCH more important than Body Mass Index <BMI>), but that I would really really like to get to 157, because it would be super cool to be able to say that I have shed 100 pounds.  And that would be enough.  Honestly.  I have been at a place where there was no such thing as too thin, but that's an exceptionally miserable place to be.  I know that skinny does not equal beautiful.  Strong is beautiful.  Muscle definition is sexy.  Healthy is gorgeous.  And most importantly, confidence makes you a knock-out.
So will I ever actually get plastic surgery?  I honestly don't know.  I keep hoping that the skin on my stomach will eventually realize that it's not going to fill back up with fat and then shrink; and that my boobs will magically perk back up.  The stretch marks I can live with (they are, after all, my blue ribbons from God for earning the title 'Mommy').  And, more than likely I would have been stuck with the cankles anyway.
Be healthy.  Love yourself for where you are at today -- and I will try my best to do the same.  Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

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