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Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's time I made a confession to you all. I have no clue how to be "skinny" or "normal" or "fit" or "athletic".

Okay, that's not entirely true. I fully believe that what I'm doing now would easily classify to people as fit and athletic. Normal I will never be. *big grin* It's the skinny part I'm having problems with.

The other day I was surfing around some blogs and forums on another site (GASP! ;) ) and someone posted a thread wherein people were supposed to post former pictures of themselves at a "happy" weight, one which would inspire them to "get back into that shape again." I've heard a lot of people mention when they post things like this that at the time they weren't happy with their bodies and thought they were fat when they really weren't, but that looking back they realize that they'd give just about anything to be back there again knowing what they know now.

This forum post made me a little sad.
I can't relate.
I have no pictures for you of a happy, healthy, bouncy teenage me.
I have no former pictures of myself that inspire me to "get back to what I looked like then" or anything of the sort.
The best I can do is a happy 4-5 year old girl at her Aunt's wedding...as my world began to crumble around me. Even then I was starting to get a little "chubby," but that's the best I've got.

I was so proud to be the flower girl!

Ooh! Check that hair!! *lmao*

I totally got yelled at, by the way, for concentrating too much on the flowers and not looking up as I was walking. But, dude, it was SO important that the flowers were spaced properly! (I was totally OCD even back then! *lol*)

And here I am ignoring everything else and eating what looks like ice cream. Don't friggin' bother me when I'm eating my ice cream, yo!

Problem is, I can't share these in that forum. I can't say, "Yes! I want to get back to this!" What was I then? Like 90 pounds? 100? I have no friggin' clue, honestly. And I didn't rightly care either. And it doesn't matter, because I'm not going back to that. I was FIVE. FIVE! I can't live my adult life trying to get back to where I was when I was five!

But I don't have any other pictures of "happy weights" from my childhood.

I remember wearing a size 16 when I was in the 6th grade.
I remember heading toward a 22-24 when I was in high school. (Which, let's face it, with today's vanity sizing would easily be a 26-28.)
And when I got knocked up at 18 I really just stopped paying attention to weights and sizes altogether. I was done for.

(Ironically, I lost 45 pounds in the first two trimesters of pregnancy with my first child. *lmao* The docs thought there was something seriously wrong with me, and while my amniotic fluid levels were low, my baby and myself were happy and healthy and just fine. Only thing was he curbed my teenage eating habits. I no longer craved sweets. I wanted salad and vegetables and apples and other fruits! I was eating a ton, but losing weight because of the calorie difference -- hello! LIGHTBULB! *lmao*)

I closed the forum page and got a little sad about not being able to "play" or participate.
I have nothing to look back on to move me forward.
I have no wishes to go back in time and realize how good I had it then.

And then a slow smile crossed my face.

Damn good, actually!

I do not WANT to look back!
I want to look forward!
My Hubs always says we drive in the direction in which we're looking.
So I'm going to look straight ahead and DRIVE myself forward!

Because, the secret is, I get to build the body I want.
And when I get there, I won't have to compare myself now to myself then, because there will be no comparison. There will only be the body I didn't care about (back then) as I struggled to make it through life, and the body I fought for (then and NOW!) even through the struggles I faced.

I will admit to having asked my husband a time or two, "What's it like to be skinny?"
He looks at me strangely, but I've really always wondered.
I mean, for people like him who have had it all their lives without trying, they don't understand how to explain their lives to me...because they don't know any different.
And the only thing that got me on a path toward finding that for myself was the realization that when I get there, I will understand how precious it is to have a body that will do EXACTLY what you want it to do.

I'm not talking complicated things like being some Olympic or professional athlete.
Those people work their @sses of for that as well.

I'm talking about the simple things.
Sitting down.
Getting up.
Putting on a pair of jeans while standing up.
Tying your shoes.
Crossing your legs.
Jogging across the road before the don't walk light stops blinking and you get smooshed.
Sitting "criss-cross applesauce".
Sitting for long periods of time without experiencing horrible bloating and swelling.
Walking around without people staring at your stomach (unless you're baring it in a midriff because you're just so ripped and you want people to be jealous).

It's time I stopped being scared of what's to come.
It's time I started working toward the body I want so I can finally know what it feels like.
You never know until you try, right?!

This week I can honestly say -

Even though TOM hit about 2 days ago and the bloating has been out of control.
And I fear the scale tomorrow because of it.
I'm noticing positive changes in my body.

First of all, this is the first time in probably my entire life that I recognized the bloat from TOM and my pants being tight and all that other jazz as TOM and nothing more. I didn't automatically jump to "UGH! I must be getting fat again!" There's no friggin' way I could be getting more fat with what I've been doing lately. (Did you know skinny people notice this just about ...uhm...every single month?! *lol*)

Second of all, I'm losing a couple rolls. Very, very slowly, my side rolls are deflating. It's a beautiful, magical thing...especially when your husband comes up behind you and puts his arms around your midsection and you get to feel just a TINY bit closer to him - literally.

Third of all, once again, my fat is starting to become alien to me. My mental fit girl has returned. Oft times I look in the mirror at my belly and think, "Oh, you're still there? I hadn't noticed." Not because I thought I was skinny, but because I was behaving as if it wasn't holding me back. I can decide to let these glimpses in the mirror make me sad, or I can decide that it's my mental fit girl busting out and not allowing my body to make excuses for my ability.

Last night I swam 400 yards without stopping.
And followed that with 200 yards.
And finished up with some shorter laps to end with a grand total of 900 yards for the night.
And I could've done more if not for that d-bag little boy in the pool who thought it was HILARIOUS to flop up and down on a kickboard in order to make waves and churn the water while squeeling, "WAVE POOL!!!" (I swear to God that someone must've been looking out for that kid by holding me back from drowning him...or at least smacking him upside the head a time or two.)

And while I opted out of my workout DVD (in the hopes that I might be able to run tonight if I gave my legs a break last night), I ate relatively well and stretched and gave myself a little rest and went to bed feeling mighty proud of myself.

So I'm going to try to stop being sad for the little girl that didn't know what it was like to be skinny.
It's a waste of my time and energy.
That energy and time would be much better served in the gym, building that body for her and for me, so we can finally know what it's like to work for something hard and long enough and finally accomplish it. So we can cross our legs and skip and do mountain climbers without a smacking belly sound. So we can dance without feeling self-conscious for our body jiggle and only for our lack of rhythm, technique, or general skill.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CANNIE50
    One of my pet peeves is when people say "I just want to get back to what/where I was." Life only moves forward, there is no reverse. Good for you for realizing that forward motion is the only option. I can tell you what it is like to be skinny, or at least what it was like for me to be skinny. It was easier to carry my body around, and easier to fit into clothes which made getting dressed simpler, and, quite frankly, more fun. However, as tiny as I was, once upon a time, I had lots of problems and I struggled with body image and relationships and betrayals and depression and being skinny was not the panacea it is made out to be. I am much stronger now that I am older and substantially heavier, than I was when I was young and thin. If I was given a magical choice - strong or thin? - I would choose strong. You are strong and getting stronger and that is better than starving yourself to some unrealistic ideal that does not naturally suit your body.
    3216 days ago
    This is probably my favorite of your many awesome blogs.
    One way or another we are all moving forward, and every day we make choices that help define who we are. I have old pictures, but I don't want to be that person. I am interested in living in the now, and determining who I want to be in the future
    3216 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7009225
    You are, as always, awesome! I love that you ask your husband what it is like to be skinny...AND your realization that he can't explain it to you because he doesn't know any differently. It still sometimes amazes me that even "weight loss" professionals don't get the full extent of the struggles truly overweight people have, like fitting into booths or crossing our legs to tie our shoes. Think of all that compassion we will have as we lose weight that others don't have for us. Sigh. Let's get moving! What a great week you have had!
    3217 days ago
    Your attitude is inspiring!
    3219 days ago
  • NEWSGIRL2177
    Your third point, about your mental fit girl, was the most powerful thing I've read in a while. Awesome blog.
    3219 days ago
    Love that blog. Thank you for sharing. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3219 days ago
    Esther, I've been lurking around your blog for some time now... my heart aching for you, my head nidding in agreement, celebrating you strength, sass and determination...

    Today I just want to say, AWESOME, awesome, awsesome blog!!!!!
    I am so happy for you! As you've said, I think you are in a better position that anyone who has a photo (like me) to look back to. It boggles my mind that I thought that woman was 'fat'... that I couldn't love her the way she deserved to be loved. Had I been able to do that... I wonder... would I be here now?

    THANK YOU for a moment to really celebrate... YOU, and me!

    (and I LOVE your background picture)

    {{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}|

    3219 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/12/2012 5:03:48 PM
    You are making it happen and I'm so glad that the mental fit girl has returned... she's gotta help on those long pool days. Maybe she saved that little kid from kickboard upside the head.... they're mostly foam so it wouldn't have hurt him that bad...

    I need to get back to the pool. I'm always jealous after I read about your swims
    3219 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4429274
    What a powerful blog. I love that your eyes are fully focused on your best future self!
    3219 days ago
    Great Blog!!!! You are very wise at a very young age. Congratulations!
    I started thinking about health, weight, and sobriety in my late 40's. I don't recommend it! But, we get it when we get it.
    I treasure who I was and all that I've been through in life, because it makes me who I am now.

    In my recovery I remember "not to regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it". The door is cracked open lest I forget how far I have come. I don't have regret or remorse. They are wasted emotions. My gratitude is overwhelming and daily.

    It sounds like you are extremely self aware and action oriented. Congratulations on all you have accomplished..........not just with your weight and health, but with your beautiful family and husband.

    3219 days ago
    What is skinny, very foreign to me since I have never been skinny. I was reading your blog and looking at the pictures; tears were started to fill my eyes because I too was that flower girl at 5, I was a size 18-20 for my high school graduation, etc ! No looking back always look forward, we may have stumbled along the way - fast forward to TODAY we seriously kick booty. Thank you for sharing this, you are an inspiration to me more than you'll ever know. emoticon
    3219 days ago

    Loved this blog and loved the pictures!!!! :)

    That's right you are kicking ass! Swimming is seriously hard business! That is awesome that you are able to go so far (and also that you didn't drown the lil dude. Hard to spark from prison).

    You are a woman who is coming into her own. This one is just beginning. She's an ass kicker. An athlete. A fighter. She's not gonna stop when it gets hard, she's gonna push that much harder.

    You rocketh.

    3219 days ago
  • _SASX_
    E, this is one of the reasons you are my superhero. I know I don't tell you that enough, but girl, look at this post! So many realizations!

    And you're right, it's impossible for me to find a happier place in my past. Always the fat one-that was me. Still feel that way sometimes. But it's that 'fit girl' in our heads that helps drive us forward, eh? That challenge of making our bodies what we want it to be, rather than letting our young selves eat whatever we want, knowing we'll have tomorrow to fix it. Well, it's tomorrow, and yes, we are fixing it. In fact, we're not just fixing it, we're suping it up, pimpin' our bods, making the BETTER than they have ever been before. Look out world, here comes E. You are the amazing shrinking woman and I couldn't be prouder of all that you have accomplished to date, and know, just KNOW that you ain't even close to being finished yet! I can't wait to see what you do next!

    3219 days ago
    "I do not WANT to look back!
    I want to look forward! "

    This is a wonderfully powerful statement, keep pushing forward!
    3219 days ago
  • BECKYB73
    G-D, Es, you're in my head!!! I've FINALLY reconnected with the part of me that was OK and comfortable in my skin...and remembering those days and times has put some additional wind in my sails and helped me be more confident in my action planning.

    Well played, well played INDEED!
    3219 days ago
    Wow. Thank you. The only time I remember being "skinny" (and I do use quotes, because in reality I was probably just normal) was when I was 11 or 12. - right before my big ol hips bloomed or rather exploded. When I see pictures now, the first thing I notice is that I was normal. I wasn't active as a kid- or really even now, so I don't know that feeling of being fit. It's hard to visualize when you don't have a point of reference. I have always been frustrated with that concept. Thank you for this post.
    3219 days ago
  • SUGIRL06
    You know, I never think back to "before" and "wish" or "regret" because its just not worth my energy. That is just how I am, I am always looking forward. I hate it when people post pictures of themselves from years before and wish they were there again. Stop wishing and start doing! Start moving forward. Looking back is not going to get you anywhere! And your body has probably changed since then so you're just setting yourself up for disappointment if it doesn't come out exactly the same (hello lady hips!). I am with you on this one!

    And I get what you mean on feeling skinny. For me, it pops up during workouts when I can't bend a certain way because of my stomach or silly things like that. I know its not extreme for me but I still get that feeling like "I wonder what its like to be able to do this like a thinner/fitter person?"

    I've been debating on doing a "looking back" blog because its nice to know people's histories. Did they always struggle with weight? Were they once fit? How were they raised? Things like that. So if I post old pictures, know that I don't wish to be there again;)
    3219 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7133412
    Great blog. I loved it! Looking forward is the important part. The picture I would have to go back to is in high school when I lost a little bit of weight. I wasn't healthy OR happy though. I'm much stronger and able than I was at that time.

    Love your positive attitude here. emoticon cheers to looking to the future.
    3219 days ago
    I was a skinny child and I still can't explain what that means. BUT I also don't want to "return" to that person that I was. I didn't EARN that skinny. This time, I will be earning it!!!!

    Awesome post, girl!!!
    3219 days ago
    I like looking forward too. I do t want to go back either. The future is ahead and we get to choose how we look and how we spend our time. Seems much more productive to me!
    3219 days ago
    Great blog! You have a great attitude, and have been kicking butt girl! I have no doubt that you are going to get where you want to be! :)
    3219 days ago
  • no profile photo CD10795864
    What a wonderful blog!

    I too have nothing to look back on--I was sneaking food as early as I could walk and it went downhill from there. Gain and lose, gain and lose, until in my 50's I said enough, I won't attempt anything until I believed in myself enough to keep to it.

    If I look back to anything, I look back to May 2009 when I was 212 pounds and could not keep my guitar in my lap without it sliding off and launching itself. Take a look at my page to see how a classical guitar is held.

    From there my real journey started.

    Am I upset it had to start when I was in my 60"s?


    Have a good day!

    3219 days ago
  • MAGPIE17
    It's funny, E....I wouldn't want to be the person I was in high school either. I'm in better shape now than I was then. I had terrible eating habits (there was a year that I worked part time at a pizza place - I ate pizza for dinner four nights a week when I was working, AND I had a slice every day for lunch...facepalm.) and I never exercised. With age comes wisdom - and I was a bit of a dumbass when it came to healthy living!
    3219 days ago
    Great blog, so glad I read it first thing this morning! I don't want the body I had as a teenager or an adult either--I might have been thinner, but I was in no way, shape or form fit. Let's keep looking ahead and working towards being the best us we can be, both now and in the future!
    3219 days ago
    Simply fabulous and uplifting for my morning!
    3219 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3219 days ago
    I relate to the kid pics. My weight gain started when my parents got divorced at 8 and there's a pic of me at 12 that I show off my amazing gams but I thought I was so fat. I was a 7/8 in juniors...and I looked hot. I'd kill for those legs. But again, I was 12. (Never mind I was already 5' 8" by then) I've always had the "pooch" so that why I have no desire for a flat stomach. I don't feel like I'm "missing out" or have a body to get back into. I just want to be a toned, saggy version of my former self instead of looking like Violet about to be juiced by the oompa loompas.

    Here's to looking forward! emoticon
    3219 days ago
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