Today, after leaving the grocery, my eleven year old looked up at me after looking at my drivers license photo from a few years ago…”Wow Mama, you don’t look like that anymore. You look better. But it doesn’t matter what you look like does it? It’s what’s on the inside that counts right?”
But I stopped myself.
Because I realize it DOES matter what you look like on the outside.
Not that it makes you more popular, smarter, prettier, sexier or any of those things…but because it is a sign of HEALTH.
Plain and simple. If you are severly overweight like I was (and still am, according to most studies)…then you are not living up to your full potential.
Does it make you an awful person? No.
Does it mean you are a stupid, slovenly, glutton? Gee, I sure hope not.
But it does mean that you are not giving yourself the same opportunities as those people that are much healthier than yourself. You are not squeezing as much out of this one shot at life that we all get. There are not many do-overs in life, but I believe in them.
I am one.
I made simple changes in February that still exist with me today. I weighed 256 pounds on Jan. 1 2012. The most I have ever weighed in my life. I had thought it was just how it was. I was forever fat. Overweight was my new skin and it was my destiny. Because I had seen myself overweight and obese even when I was fit; because for some reason, there are some of us that refuse to see ourselves as the wonderful gifts we are. We consider ourselves unworthy of the same validation that the rest of the pack receives. We are content to be the bigger one, the fatter one, the one with great personality and the better “insides”.
Not sure where that comes from, but for us select few that have to beat ourselves up in order to get up…its a harder race to run. Its a longer way to fall too.
But I was determined. I was tired of being the largest, most exhausted, most defeated and saddest version of myself.
I deserved better. I needed to be my own friend. My own best friend. The one that tells me I can do things. Even when my brain wanted me to eat. Wanted me to surrender to my size 22 jeans and retreat into the covers for a movie and a sandwich. Shame on me for wasting so much time.
A better life was waiting beyond the potato chip bag.
There is a world out there that belongs to all of us. The good, the bad and the overweight. But it is harder to claim when you feel like crap. It is harder to make lemonade out of lemons that you are dealt if you are already out of sugar because you couldn’t help yourself.
In a nutshell, my answer to my daughter was this:
“Honey, it all matters. Inside and out. We have a responsibility to this life we were given to treat ourselves well. That means being the best we can be. Overeating and being unhealthy is treating your body bad. Just like someone that puts drugs or bad things in their body. Its a temple. Our only one. We make mistakes now and then but we are worthy and we owe it to ourselves to care about the inside AND the outside. Because its ALL us. Its all included, we don’t just live on the inside. We live in our entire bodies, we need them to function as good as they can. So YES outside counts. Its the physical proof that you are treating yourself well and that you love all of you. “
When I was severely obese, I did not get to enjoy the experience of my feet hitting the earth in rhythmic beats with AC/DC blaring Hells Bells as I made my way up a hill. I politely declined offers to hike, shop, to DO anything because of fear of my size and my stamina.
Now…I love sweating. I love the way it cools my skin when I am just about done for after 2 miles of woodland romping. I love the way the mulch and crushed leaves collect on my socks and make their way down into my shoes. I love that I am giving it all I can. That I am totally empty of all stress when I am done. That there is nothing left to give. I have exhausted my worry. Depleted my depression and arrived at a greater understanding of my capabilities.
I am 49 and stronger than I have ever been.
I am a mother of three humans that can probably outrun them. (for a bit anyway)
I am happy.