Yesterday morning I walked through a rainstorm to the gym we just joined—a Planet Fitness decorated in garish purple-and-mustard, and plastered with heartening signs proclaiming it a “No-Judgement Zone.” I owned a StairMaster in my twenties, but my forties-self clearly needs some shaping-up because that thing was kicking my butt after six minutes. So I thought I’d try out a treadmill.
My discovery about the treadmill: it gives you an odd form of “sea legs”… When I got off it half an hour later, I felt like I was weirdly gliding across the gym. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t glide. I’m not that graceful. But I felt glidey till I was halfway home.
I’m on a mission. I already said it: I need some shaping up. I’ve been big-time frowning at the bathroom scale lately, because the dang thing insists I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, pregnancies included.
Have you ever seen a picture of yourself that made you realize your self-image doesn’t exactly match up to reality? Sometimes it’s not entirely a good thing (“Really?! When did those crows’ feet show up?”) but it’s not always bad either (“Hot damn, I DO look like my mom!”)… Either way, it becomes a moment of self-image-adjustment, when you see something about yourself that wasn’t previously part of your own mental picture.
That’s a paragraph I wrote a few years ago, when the stresses and demands of running a restaurant had me dangerously underweight. The problem may be opposite, but I feel the same now. The mirror-me just isn’t a match to the me-in-my-head.
A side note about cultural conditioning here… Even though my doctor and my mother were on my case about my health when I was underweight, I didn’t feel nearly as socially self-conscious then as I do now. I didn’t cringe at photos or make frustrated faces at the mirror, even though I knew I was unhealthy. I was wearing size-zero jeans, but the StairMaster still would have kicked my butt. (Not that I had any butt left.) Still, I wasn’t nearly as motivated to “reverse the reality” as I am now, at the other end of the scale. How unbalanced is that?!
On the topic of balance, I’m reminding myself today about the areas of my life where my health is on the right track. I’m Sober. I’ve (finally!) quit smoking. My mental health is staying pretty steady.
And yes, now I’ve joined a gym. “Weight gain” is one of the side-effects of the mental-health med that got me stabilized this winter, so I’m up against my own biochemistry here. I’ve been low-carb dieting to very little effect; these added-on pounds are proving terribly tenacious.
But then… I’m pretty tenacious myself. Bring on the treadmill! I’m game to glide. And today I didn’t even have to glide in the rain.