Clarity

So, my boobs are falling. I really want to write a blog post, but all I can think is…

My boobs are falling. My boobs are falling. My boobs are falling.

But that’s mostly because they are, and I’m pretty damn sad about it.

My surgery was only a year ago, but the weight I’ve gained since then combined with the fact that my boobs are naturally heavy have led to this. It’s not the end of the world, and they’re still much lighter, higher and tighter than they were before. But I thought for sure I would have at least 5 solid years of perkiness.  That wasn’t too much to ask, right?

Apparently…yes. Yes, it was.

Okay so now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (ha!), let’s talk about something else.

I’m on a quest to figure out my brain. It’s slowly happening; I can feel it.  Getting older is the single best remedy for insecurity.  The older you get, the more your skin sags and the more your fat accumulates in the wrong places. But the older you get, the less emphasis you put on those things. That’s not to say you don’t care.  You do. But you start to understand that the other bits of you matter way more than how you look.

But I’m still only 32, so although I’m making huge strides in the confidence and positive body-image department, I still have issues. Just today I changed my opinion of my body and my weight loss goals about six times. Tomorrow will likely look the same.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that I no longer worry that J is comparing me to other women. That was something I struggled with for years and years.  Pretty much all of my adult life. I was so consumed by the idea that he couldn’t possibly find me attractive, and I just assumed that I would never measure up to any other woman in his eyes. But these days, that doesn’t even factor into my body image.  I understand now that he never did that, just as I wouldn’t compare him to other men. It’s unnecessary because my attraction to him encompasses much more than his physical looks.  And he feels the same about me.

Getting older has given me that gift. And the ironic thing is that the more I understand that, the better our relationship has gotten. And the better our relationship has gotten, the more often he shows his attraction to me.  I always had this vision of him getting all googly-eyed over me, and it’s happened. But it couldn’t happen before because I would ignore or rebuff him at every turn. I basically called him a liar anytime he complimented me. So of course he stopped doing it routinely. Why wouldn’t he?  But now that I’m more secure in myself, I can appreciate his comments and gestures. I can giggle like we’re teenagers again when he smacks my butt. Because I do understand now that regardless of how I see myself, he really does think I’m the most beautiful woman on the planet.  And although my boobs are getting less perky by the day, he loves them just the same.

But while all of that is great, I still feel this desire to refine my body.  I spent some time struggling with that fact, because a desire to do work on my body seemed to equate with me not loving myself enough.  But I’ve found some clarity this week.  I’m in the middle of training for the most badass thing I can think of doing, yet my motivation ebbs and flows each week.  I know in my heart that I have the ability to run this marathon, yet I don’t always feel like getting out and training.

I’m just fickle.  Aren’t we all?

So although my motivation to achieve my 2011 arms seems to be inversely proportionate to the severity of my chocolate cravings at any given time, it doesn’t mean that my overall goals have changed.  So I need to stop thinking I have to reevaluate my situation every damn minute. I don’t.  It’s just that I may make more progress some weeks than others.  But on the whole, I have a vision for myself and my life and I’m working toward that. An off week or not being able to make every change at once doesn’t mean much at all. Hell, I had an off decade and look at the person I am today.  What’s a week? Or a month? Or even a few not-so-great years?

This distance running thing may not be our cup of tea forever – I can’t imagine running farther than 3 miles post-marathon – but I finally feel like the beast I was struggling to be.  I lost her during 2012 and 2013, but she’s back again. And dammit, I enjoy this feeling so very much.  Yes, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since May, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about feeling in control. It’s about pushing myself on days when I want to lounge on the couch. It’s not going for the bag of chips when I’m not really hungry – just snacky.  It’s that moment just before bed when we realize that we’ve forgotten to lift weights – and we stop and do them.  And we do them whole-heartedly.

So now that I’m feeling like a total beast, it’s important to me that I look the part. I am beautiful just the way I am, but I still want to keep going. I’ve been reminded in these past few months that cardio is great, but it is not the key to achieving the body I see in my head.  In 2011, I wasn’t really doing all that much cardio. But I was seeing a trainer twice weekly and lifting very heavy weights.  And my food was in check.  But as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I wasn’t exactly healthy back then either. I was eating for weight loss but exercising for muscle gain.  Not a good combo.

But things are different now. I can’t imagine existing for any length of time on 1200 calories.  That worked back then, but I’ve learned too much now to try it again. I was able to change my body quite a bit in the past 5 months, but now I know for sure that the weights are key for me.  And I have got to be more consistent with my diet.

That doesn’t mean I will be. Consistency is so very difficult for me.  But if I want to achieve my goals, I can’t just add more cardio to make up for eating the shit. Because I’ve learned in the past few months that the more I run, the more I want to eat. And I don’t always make good choices. Cardio is important for sure, but there comes a point where you’re just spinning your wheels.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, hell, I don’t know.  I’ve just been trying to determine if I need to focus on weight loss in the remaining time until my marathon.  And I think I need to switch things in my brain.  I need to give my body permission to just subtly change from here until then, but I do think change is possible. The recent commitment to weights should make a huge difference if we just keep it up.  I think I needed these weeks of intense cardio to prove that it just isn’t enough.  It’s everything together. And I’m stubborn enough that it took this damn long to get it, but I do now.  Finally!  The weights aren’t just a nice addition – they are actually only second to my food intake. Aha moment.

So in closing, I reserve the right to feel completely motivated today and the opposite tomorrow. But the hope is that it will even out and I’ll start to see more definition in my body.  I need to understand that there’s no reason to feel guilty if I eat like a cow for a week after our insanely long training runs.  But I own those calories. It might take me longer to get those amazing arms if I have an extra glass of wine or a second helping of homemade fries with my cheeseburger.  But I don’t have to take a step back and reassess anymore. My end goals are the same. I just care more some days than others. That’s what it boils down to, and it’s totally and completely normal.

And while this might seem trivial and pointless to some, it’s been a huge issue for me since I started gaining back weight.  There is no perfect version of myself that I need to achieve – it’s about making progress and the process of living the way I know I should.  It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being in control.  And I finally feel like I am.

For now, I can’t both run 18 miles during the weekend and then restrict my calories during the week. Those two are incompatible. Marathon training is my focus right now along with building muscle. The rest is going to have to come after.  And that’s okay.  I’m still moving forward – it’s just in a different way.

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