After puberty, I was never skinny. I always had thick thighs, heavy calves, big boobs. I never had six-pack abs, even at my thinnest. But I was healthy, I was lean, I was strong. In those days, I was in Taekwondo classes, working out one or two straight hours, two days a week. And by the time I was in high school, I would work out hard, until I was sweaty, achy, exhilarated. There was joy in the strength of my limbs, in the way I could move, in how I could push through limits and keep going. And I didn't realize it at the time, but my God I had sexy arms.
In the almost ten years since I quit Taekwondo, I have to admit to a slow decline. Without organized classes, without the accountability of classmates, I don't do much. Once I got out of college, I no longer had to walk around campus every day, so that was a passive workout gone as well. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars I'm not worse off than I am, seeing as I've spent a decade mooching around and failing to resist chocolate.
I am trying to find the balance, now. I don't like the number on the scale, don't like how my stomach looks, don't like wearing a size 34Frightful bra (HATE.) But I still love my body for what it can do. I'm not lean, but I'm still strong enough. Learning how to push limits so long ago has served me well, and I can still bend and twist into impractical shapes at yoga class without too much trouble. I have a fat poochy tummy, but underneath there's enough strength to make it through a Pilates asskicking without quite falling over dead.
Lately I have been really frustrated. I walk the dog almost a mile and a half most weekday mornings, usually in 30 minutes or so. I make conscious efforts to eat better and healthier foods. After years of clinging loyally to 2% milk, I have switched to 1%. And yet, the numbers on the scale keep creeping up, the waistbands on my jeans keep getting tighter. WTF, body? What do you want from me? More than I'm giving it, apparently. Or less, in the case of dinner. Or maybe, just maybe, it just wants me to learn to respect it for what it is, what it can accomplish, rather that what it looks like. Perhaps it simply wants the same treatment I demand for myself from the world.
I'm working on it. I will try to remember to keep working on it.
Reading: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
Playing: streaming U2's new album, No Line on the Horizon