For as long as I can remember, I've been exceptionally aware of my body and the space it took up. I think my earliest body-conscious memory is from age seven or eight, sitting on my front porch swing. When neighbors walked by, it felt like it took forever for them to get out of sight -- and in turn for me to get out of their sight. I just didn't like being exposed, because I thought I looked bad.
And forget about puberty and everything that brought with it. Another clear memory: walking across my high school campus and being aware of my thighs, and how it felt like they were in a race for their lives, fighting each other to get to some invisible finish line.
step one: food (part one)
A few years ago, I finally did something about my eating habits. No more mindlessly consuming whatever food I wanted to eat in the moment. Instead, I spent a couple of years resenting my new (reasonable) limits -- using Weight Watchers -- and actually losing weight. Lots of it. I went from a high of 160 in high school to 107 by 2008.
It was a few years of resentment, yeah, but also of truly realizing how much was too much (and how I'd spent a lifetime of eating too mcuh), and of discovering a little tiny body under my extra weight. I enjoyed it. I sashayed.
And then life happened, and maybe I started not paying as much attention to what I was eating; and have I mentioned how I never really ever got into a committed fitness routine?
I'm back up to 122. Certainly not as high as my highest, but I also haven't been living my happiest days. And the biggest problem: the fact that I've let go of my control over food.
steps two and three: food & do
My big accomplishment in losing weight the first time around was understand and respecting that I needed to eat less food. Where I fell a little short was the types of food I was eating.
That resentment? I think it had to do with the fact that five Ritz crackers cost two points in Weight Watchers. And then the cheese to go with them? Three points. That's five points! Of my 18 daily points!
Something I've already improved in the past month of bringing positive changes back into my life is those food choices. How about I bypass the Ritz and cheese altogether and use my five points to eat half a bell pepper, a Roma tomato, 3 ounces of spinach, 2 ounces of hummus and 2 slices of whole wheat bread?
Not only will I be satisfied after that meal, but I'll have also gotten a good dose of my grain and vegetable servings for the day.
So that's huge. You know what's huger? I want ... have an actual desire ... to exercise. I want to do things. I want to accomplish things. With my body.
I'm pretty excited about this part. Something clicked. I stripped away the limits I've imposed on myself; I started understanding just how much I can do if I want to; I started imagining my body as an athletic body.
It's a long, exhausting road ahead. I'm looking forward to being out of breath.