YMCA: Update Thus Far

You can read part one here, and part two here. And a musing on my Yoga class here.

All my life I’ve been on the weight loss roller coaster. I’m not going to delve into why or what it may or may not mean, or the psychological reason or implications- because I don’t care anymore. I can’t do anything about any of it- all I have control of is what I do today. And today, instead of starving myself, bingeing, or eating cardboard fake food, I go to the gym.

I am not dieting. I refuse to ever diet again. If I want an ice cream, I am going to have an ice cream. And an amazing thing has happened- I don’t really care about ice cream anymore. I can take it or leave it. It’s not forbidden fruit, so the temptation is gone. Food is not my enemy anymore. That makes a big difference in how I see myself and my body.

I’ve always been a really good cook, and every time I “dieted” I felt like I had to give up a part of who I am. I don’t do that anymore either. I just try and cook healthier, using more natural ingredients. I laid down a few ground rules for my family. Food has to actually BE food. If we are at the market and the kids are clamoring for something, they have to read the label. If they can’t pronounce the ingredients, or do not recognize them as something eatible, we don’t get it. It makes it easy, and even Abby can tell the difference between “Milk, cream, eggs, sugar…” and “Hydrogenated anything, sodium casseinate, monosodium diphosphate…” It’s so simple, there are seldom any arguments or tantrums- even with Bean, who had to give up a couple of his favorite foods.

My gym time is written into the schedule each week, and if something comes up that conflicts, I try and reschedule. This has done something interesting to how I see myself. Suddenly, taking care of me is important- not just something I fit in after everyone else is taken care of. It’s a subtle but powerful shift in my perceptions.

I like looking better- I am not without vanity- but what I like even more is how strong I feel. My body doesn’t hurt anymore, and I can do things I thought were lost to me. The energy and reserves I have are substantial, and it’s amazing how quickly your body adapts and changes. My heart is more efficient, my body fat is lower, my lean muscle mass is much higher, and I even plowed through a weight-loss plateau without feeling like giving up (for more than a second).

So. I am doing this. If you want to, so can you. Small changes make a very big difference, and our bodies are actively waiting for us to give them what they need. It’s really cool how quickly and amazingly they respond, when we let them lose to do what they were meant to do.

*putting soap-box away now*

15 thoughts on “YMCA: Update Thus Far

  1. I find this terribly empowering, and if I weren’t in the midst of being pukey and moving, I think I’d try to ride on your momentum and start getting myself healthier. So, uh, please still have momentum for me to ride come N0vember.. Thanks

  2. I like your simple approach to eating. I might give that a try. I also like how you’ve decided you’re important and other things fit around your planned activities. It’s nice to hear that it works and that it’s probably not as hard as I think! Keep it up!

  3. Long time fan, but rarely comment. This was just what I needed today! Thank you for the inspiration to get back on and start exercising again!

  4. I think that’s one of the biggest light bulb moments a person can have; take care of yourself first. It gives you so much more energy and self-worth. So does your policy about food needing to be food. (I realized this recently after reading a book about cheese.) Real food tastes better and works better with your body than chemicals.

  5. I totally agree about food needing to be FOOD! I also love to cook and consider myself somewhat of a foodie, and to me the thought of eating some square plastic coated plastic tasting something that is supposed to replace cheese is disgusting. So is anything labelled “Light” or “Fat Free”. I also think it is so much healthier and just knowing where things come from and how they are made (I try to make most things we eat) makes a world of difference. I am so happy that your kids are going along with it as well – a good knowledge of what we are consuming is really so important to kids and they will benefit from having that awareness of what they eat and where it comes from (real food vs chemical/processed food). Good for you – love the inspiration in this post!

  6. That’s awesome Tracy.

    BTW, I meant to tell you a funny story about that Tool song I sent you. I used to listen to it in the car a lot when my kids were little, and once when it was playing my youngest asked, “What is a shadow-uh”?

  7. Yay for feeling better and for taking care of yourself! But on a side note, guar gum can be a very useful ingredient for those avoiding gluten. I even have some in my pantry.

  8. Good job!
    Now… what I actually have to comment on is the awesome visual I get when people talk about “putting away the soapbox.” I see, not the crate that this phrase originated from, but instead a box of powdered soap – like the Mr. Bubbles bubble bath fiz – you know, the same size box as what dishwasher detergent comes in. And I see someone lovingly and carefully taking this small box and tucking it away in it’s spot in a cupboard. I love this image so much and I don’t know why. It might be that people are usually putting the soapbox away after an impassioned speech about something they care greatly about. The soapbox in my mind is precious – containing all those cares & concerns.
    I’m odd. It’s all good 😛

  9. Read all the time but rarely comment. Just wanted you to know that this sounds awesome. I recently got out of my gym habit because of work taking priority, and this was a good reminder that I am important, and not just because my pants don’t all fit.

  10. I agree–looking better may be a motivation that helps keep us going, but the real reason to work out is that a strong body shows you that you are a strong person. Good for you!

  11. Ah, I love being behind the boulder, pushing it up the hill, feeling strong. (Your metaphor, not mine, remember?) But these days I’m not pushing it, but watching it roll back down the long, long hill I’ve come, as, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, a skirt I put on was too tight. Too tight! AAARRGH! Somehow I have to go run and catch that boulder and start pushing it again, so, at the very least, my clothes can fit.

    Have you scheduled yourself a race yet? You gotta do it. It’s huge amounts of fun, and is a time when you can just open yourself up and really see what your body can do. I love them, and they are the only things that keep me motivated. Like, the fact that I have a run-swim-run race in 2 months makes me think that I’ve got to go catch that boulder pretty fast and get working again!

    Seriously, though, think about some kind of event. They are empowering in a way you’d never have thought, and are a way of taking your fitness to another level, when you’re ready.

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