16 March 2012

Choose Your Hard

I used to be an athlete.
I wasn't even just an athlete, before college I was a three-sport athlete.
(Disclaimer: I was never very good at any of them, but I did play basketball, volleyball, and swim on a team.)
In college, I played Ultimate Frisbee nearly every day, year round.
(That one I was good at!)
My jeans didn't used to fit, but it wasn't because I was carrying a few extra pounds. It was because my quads were so muscular that if I wanted the pants to fit in the waist (thus not falling down), they had to be crazy tight on my legs.

For years I liked my body.

In the past 2-3 years or so I've seen that change.

When the injury to my knee sidelined my yoga practice, my bicycle riding, and any running at all, I began to battle my old friend depression.

I've never been a horribly depressed person, but when I'm feeling poorly about my lifestyle, I tend to slip into a mentality of "I can't do anything about xxx, so I guess I just have to deal with it." Which usually involved not working on it -- fast food was easier, ice cream tasted better than popsicles, a movie sounded more fun than a bike ride. At the same time of the injury, things at work were horrible - more than I care to relive, but suffice to say I felt awful about my employment situation, my personal life, and now my body.

I gave up.

3 weeks ago when I went to the doctor and those big digital numbers on the scale flashed (essentially) "10 pounds over ideal" (from other doctors' recommendations for my build), I knew I didn't want to be headed down this road any longer.

10 pounds becomes 20.
20 becomes 40.

I didn't like who I was becoming, one extra scoop of ice cream at a time.

So ... I made some changes.
Starting here.
I found this page, joined a few groups, and vowed to make a difference in who I was becoming, physically. I vowed to get off the train headed to a destination I didn't like. Even if I just stayed in the station of "Fine" it would be better than the train to "physically unhealthy".

Yesterday, Ella called out as she ran down a hill, "Race ya!"

I took off in a sprint.
I only sprinted about 200 yards or so, but when I stopped and turned to talk to her, I yelled, "What's the matter? Tired!?"

She jogged to catch up and as we walked further along the park trail, I realized I wasn't short of breath.

I felt like dancing right there in the middle of the park.

You see, the hubby and I have been walking 4.5 miles at least 3 times a week, and we've been pushing hard. We get it done in 70 minutes, which is a pretty good clip. (If my math is right, that's about 4 mph.) I'm always exhausted when we get back and I felt like I wasn't making much progress on my overall fitness.

But yesterday, I found my "inner athlete" again.

I remembered what it's like to feel the air ease in and out of my lungs.
I remembered why I've been working so hard to eat right, exercise, and strengthen this stupid knee again.

Because I want to be able to race my daughter.
I want to climb the rock ledges with her at the creek.
I want to chase down a frisbee.
I want to tread water for 15 minutes while she builds up the courage to jump off the board.

Today I stepped on the scale at the doctor's office and I'm 1/2 way to my goal. 4.5 of those 10 pounds are gone.

Today I start measuring inches because I know the muscle I'm developing will weigh more than the fat I'm shedding and the scale will begin to "lie" to me.

Today I can't wait to get home and go for a walk or a run or a bike ride.

Because today I know the hard work of this journey is completely worth it.

I will never have back the body of my 18 year-old self. But I will have the 35 year-old version of that soul. The one that loved to "play." The one that loved the feeling of working up a good sweat. The one that looked in the mirror and didn't see every piece she didn't like, but focused on what she did enjoy.

On my Spark Page, my tagline is:
Being fit is hard.
Being overweight is hard.
Choose your hard.

Today I have once again chosen my hard.
I choose fit.

And it feels great!

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