Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mirror, Mirror...

The start for this post has been sitting in my drafts for weeks... I keep meaning to get to it, but keep finding other things that I need to do.  Between work, being a mom/wife, and an online class that I am taking this term I have so little time to myself... oh... and also trying to get some exercise.

I want to talk a little bit about body image. The idea of "body image" seems to be all over the place right now. Between the super-fit mom, Dove's 10-year "Real Beauty" campaign, all of this stuff about Lena Dunham and Gabourey Sidibe, the Aerie "Real You" ad campaign... the list goes on and on.  Or, maybe it's not all over any more than normal... but I just started following the Huffington Post and I see it everywhere.  =)

I have always had struggles with my weight and have never really felt physically attractive (because, really, that's what it comes down to when you're young).  I wish that I could have a heart to heart with that 16 year old me who was gorgeous (I look back at photos now and realize how cute I was. lol).

I came to a realization and made a decision about a month ago... and the two may seem somewhat contradictory.  I realized that I was comfortable in my own skin.  I was not as fit/thin as I would have liked to be, but I wasn't unhappy.  My body has done some pretty remarkable things, and I was a healthy, smart, caring, awesome wife/mother/daughter/woman.  I am a good person.

At roughly the same time that I came to this realization, I decided to lose weight.  See?  Seems contradictory doesn't it?  But, here's the thing, I didn't make the decision because I wanted to wear a different size or look good in a swim suit, I made the decision because I wanted to challenge myself to get down to pre-pregnancy weight before having another kid... and then see if I could make healthier decisions with my second pregnancy.  (I have lost all of the "baby" weight from my last pregnancy... it's the "brownie" and "milkshake" weight that is still sticking around).  I'm not doing it for image, I'm doing it for physical health and to reach a physical goal.  I've reach several academic/life goals over the years, but the physical aspect of my life has always been lacking.  P.S.  Just because you're tall, doesn't mean that you are any good at basketball/volleyball!  =)

Right around the same time eMeals came out with a low-calorie meal plan, and I started going to the gym a couple of times a week and started (for the 3rd time) a Couch to 5k workout (ideally I would like to be able to run a 5k this spring--I was never a runner in school and would love to be able to say that I can do it!).  I have always had success when coupling low-cal options and food journaling with cardio.

Like I said, I started this whole thing about a month ago (it was NOT a New Year's Resolution... I started right after Christmas.  Resolutions never work).  So far I have lost somewhere between 10-15 lbs. (and can fit into most of my pre-prego pants!  Score!).  The other day I decided to plug my height/weight into a BMI calculator and see where I stand... and I was pretty damn shocked to say the least.

According to the powers-that-be via the BMI, I am obese.

Now, I know that I have a little extra padding and some junk in my trunk.  But "obese" is NEVER a word that I would have used to describe myself.  Contestants on The Biggest Loser maybe, but it was not a word that I associated with myself.  I am a tall woman.  I carry weight differently.  And, honestly, I was really, really taken aback by this label.

If I would have gotten this "news" as a 16 year old girl, I probably would have cried for days and felt just rotten about myself.  Is this really the message that we want to send?  That just because you hit at a certain point on a chart that there is something to be ashamed of/concerned about?  What about the fact that I don't smoke, have never used any "substances", drink only occasionally, and have never had any issues with blood pressure or anything else concerning to my doctors?  Except for a little roundness, I am a healthy person.

But, apparently, an obese healthy person.

Something needs to change in the way that we express "health" from a weight/body mass point of view.  Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in women (the cause of which has several other factors unrelated to weight... such as family history and smoking), however cancer is trailing behind by less than 2% according to the CDC... and that bitch of a disease doesn't care about a few extra pounds. 

We need to start defining "health" differently.  For the sake of ourselves and those coming after us.

OK... now I just feel like I'm rambling.  I hope that I got my point across... but, at least I got my thoughts out... finally.  =)

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