On October 8, 2016 I crossed the finish line of the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, then stopped running. I did not run again until almost one month later. I took that time as an opportunity to slow down and reflect. I thought about the past six months of training, about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months. I also took a step back and thought about my overall health.
For almost a year I was a bit obsessed with fitness and looking back now, it was probably an unhealthy obsession. This time to reflect has made me dig deep and think about what health means to me. One thing I learned about myself is I can accomplish amazing things if I set my mind to it, so that was pretty cool. But what I am figuring out is how to weigh the risk and reward.
I was so fixated on body image as a measure of my health. I would constantly look at my abs and think they weren’t good enough. I rarely had dessert and almost never drank alcohol, even at BBQs and parties. I had to exercise every day, and if I didn’t I was very cranky and sometimes mean. I think something that opened my eyes was I kept trying to buy smaller and smaller clothes. At one point I bought a pair of LUCKY jeans which were two sizes smaller than my average size. I got them over my thighs (which is usually my largest area) and bought them immediately, feeling so proud of my accomplishment of fitting into this pair of pants. Then, the first time I wore them I was so uncomfortable! The band was cutting into my hips! It suddenly dawned on me, no matter how hard I exercise, and deprive myself, these pants, or any size smaller for that matter, will never fit. These are bones, They are not going to shrink! I am 5’9’’ tall and have had two children. This is my physiology. So, why am I killing myself? My family does not care if I am a size 8 or a size 12. They love me no matter what. My kids won’t remember if I have tight abs, but they will remember if I am cranky around them. My friend’s won’t care how I look in a bathing suit, but they will care if I keep saying no to desserts they lovingly bake in their kitchen for my enjoyment. My pants will never love me, but my family does and I need to love myself.
Now, this is not to say that I still don’t LOVE fitness, and setting goals, and challenging my limits! I will continue to do so, but maybe I will be a little kinder to myself, indulge a little, and live a lot more. Keep my honest guys 🙂