Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Digging Deep (Again)

What I'm realizing, as I start this process of 'getting healthier' once again, is something I've come to understand about myself as I've gotten older. I'm your classic 'all or nothing' girl. I either do something all the time, every day, or I drop it out of my life completely. It's almost like I have to have a force greater than myself, something pushing me, to make me change my comfortable life pattern.

Two years ago I started writing a weekly parenting column for the local paper. It was thrilling to get the gig, and the first few weeks I coasted on stuff I'd written in the past. Then suddenly I ran out of 'old stuff' and every week I was forced to come up with something new and fresh. I had signed up for this thing, I had to make it work. It wasn't always easy. Sometimes I had to dig deep.

But no matter what, no matter how many sick kids I might have draped over the couch, no matter how many days I'd been away for a holiday weekend with the in-laws in New Hampshire, I had to sit down at that computer on Monday and come up with a column.

The benefit of the whole thing is, it makes me more in tune with what's going on in my life. I know I'll need a topic to write about when Monday rolls around. I've written about little things that happen to our family, pondering their implications and long term effects. These are musings I would have never captured, had it not been for that Monday deadline. I look forward to having this archive of our family, in the years to come.

So as I head into my second week of not doing so great at being committed to my fitness plan, I think about this personality trait and how it's holding me back, and how I can tweak it to make it push me forward.

I've lost twenty five pounds once in my life. Two years after my second child was born we started talking about having a third. I had gained a bit of weight, having had two pregnancies back to back, and really didn't want to head into a third pregnancy until I was back to my 'fighting weight'. My mom had five babies in a row, put on over ten pounds with each pregnancy, and then carried that extra sixty pounds around through all of my childhood. I didn't want to repeat her history.

It didn't hurt my weight loss goals that my ten year high school reunion was six months away. It was a goal on the calendar, to be back to 'myself' by June.

I was committed. I rode the rag tag exercise bike we got at the goodwill every single day. I watched what I ate and drank a ton of water. I did sit ups every day. Every day. Even with a couple of toddlers crawling all over me, I did daily sit ups.

And slowly the weight came off. I felt strong and capable. I fit into my 'skinny jean shorts', which for a person of my height, is a size 10-12. I cherish pictures of that time in my life because I remember how pleased I was with myself, for setting a goal and making it happen.

I didn't let anything stand in my way. Not even the fact that, with an archeologist husband who often traveled for a week at a time, digging in far off fields, I was a single mom, 24/7, to two needy little people. Not even the fact that I was living with a pretty crummy foot, that hurt a lot and kept me from being as active as I wanted to be. A simple trip to the grocery store would make it ache the rest of the day. But I didn't let that stop me.

So now I need to go back and find that drive so I can channel it once again. In my mind I see Easter as a good goal. We always head to the in laws for Easter, and take lots of family pictures. I'd love to love my reflection in those pictures.

When I see pictures of myself right now, I see a full face. It's much rounder than it is when I'm at my ideal weight. When I'm at my strongest, I have a definite jaw line. I want my jaw line back. And it's mine to get back. That's the crazy part of this equation.

In six months I can look totally different in pictures. It's all within my power. I have the ability to make the choices that will make my goals happen.

I have no intention of modeling bikinis. I just want to put on a pair of shorts this June, that are a size 12, and have them fit me comfortably. So I can go out and take a hike with my kids and feel strong and fit again.

And look good, look like myself, in pictures again. (insert smiley face here...)

There's a whole post brewing about how I look in pictures. I'll write that another day. Today is about making a promise to myself to do what I CAN do, what I'm capable of doing, to reach my goals. I've found that inner push before. I know it's in there. I last saw it fifteen years ago, when my house and my children were much smaller. But I am going to make friends with it again. Today.

I'm off to the gym right now. I would love to stay home, on this, one of my rare days of no work, and putter. There is thick dust on my bookcases that I could truly justify staying home to wipe down. There is a file cabinet next to me, full of writing ideas I want to tackle. But my priority has to be setting up new patterns of living. Making fitness a priority.

Off I go....

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