I have always been captivated by fit and limber bodies.
Those closest to me don’t understand my obsession with my body. To outsiders, I just look like I’m having a mid-life crisis; 44 and desperate to hang onto my youth, that I’m terrified of aging – or just so bloody wrapped up in my appearance, I can think of little else.
I was not an athletic child, but after the #HoffmanProcess helped to free me of my psychological shackles, my healthy mind was finally quiet enough to hear my unhappy body begging for movement, strength, good food and fresh air.
From 22 – 32, I mainly was pregnant, nursing and sleep deprived. But, there were a few other issues that lit a fire under me for physical health and wellness:
1) A history not to be ignored. My dad had his first double bypass surgery at 29 and died at 42 from a massive heart attack. He – for all intents and purposes – was a fit physical specimen on the outside and a ticking time bomb on the inside.
2) I was pre-disposed to auto-immune conditions. At 21 I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease (or Hyperthyroidism) and at 26, Discoid Lupus. Luckily, I received exceptional specialist care and my conditions both went into remission around the time I turned 30.
3) By the time I was 38, I was pre-diabetic. My waist measurement (at my belly button line) was 38″ and I was winded climbing flights of stairs. My fasting blood work was high and so was my blood pressure.
4) I lived in fight or flight mode. I’d dealt with general anxiety since I was a child, as well as Trichtillomania, an impulse control disorder (when I’m stressed or exhausted, I pull out my hair) and had toed the line with post-partum depression after the birth of my 3rd and 4th kids.
5) I was sore – all the time. Aching knees. Sore low back. My right hip was forever locked up – so tender I’d have to get up out of bed because it hurt to lay on it past 6:30 in the morning. My knuckles and fingers would swell and it hurt to make a fist. I wasn’t even 42, yet.
6) My hormones were starting to get out of whack. Heavy, unpredictable periods, sore breasts, PMS. I was having a messy, heavy period every 21 – 26 days and – according to my doctor – was “far too young for that, madam.”
7) My weight was starting to creep. Do the math: even just 5 measly pounds every year between 40 and menopause – could have meant an extra 50 pounds on my already ample frame.
I longed for ‘more.’ More everything.
More movement, more suppleness, more fresh air.
More touch. More energy.
More days spent running.
More long walks.
More strength to live the life I wanted to live = more fitness to accommodate my desires.
Although I am vain, and I admit it, looking back, I’ve also always been motivated by images of strength and fitness. My favourite movie scenes ever.
1) Rocky IV – when Rocky heads to Russia and does all of his training outside in the snow, hanging upside down from the rafters and shoulder presses the oxcart. I was 15 when I was wooed by the idea of pushing a body to its capacity.
2) GI Jane – I can remember seeing Demi Moore shave her hair off and lift her body weight with pull ups and one arm pushups and burning with envy. She OWNED her physical prowess. She was ripped and edgy.
But, it wasn’t just movies that made an impact on me. I always admired the hard work of female body builders like Cory Everson and Rachel McLish. As a teenage girl, everyone I knew thought that much muscle on a woman was wrong. I loved it.
And even now, I admire the talent and skill of cross fit athletes like Libby Dibiase and track star turned athlete Erin Stern (not shown). I enjoy watching those women from a distance and admire their body’s ability to be so strong and move so well.
I’m 44.5 years old.
My body still aches occasionally.
I have stretch marks deep and wide where my belly made room for babies and a majorly dimply ass (which is either hereditary or a sign of toxic overload in my body depending on which articles you read).
I will never look like Demi Moore, or be a lean as Linda Hamilton, or lift an oxcart like Stallone or be a crossfit champion like Libby.
Hell, most days, I struggle to get in my 10,000 steps.
I sit at a desk 5 days a week.
Burpees make me want to cry.
I injured my shoulders 8 weeks ago, and am not recovering as quickly as I’d hoped.
But, I want to say Yes to my body.
I love my fit life. Eating clean. Choosing good food and nourishing my body and the feeling I get when I finish a workout.
My waist is smaller.
I don’t take any prescribed medications,
I sleep like a baby.
My blood pressure is optimal.
I am relaxed, happy and content.
I still have a dimply ass, but I am no longer considered pre-diabetic.
I enjoy chasing that dream.
Sometimes when I am sprinting, I am Erin Stern.
Sometimes when I’m doing Mountain Climbers, I am GI Jane.
When I am swinging a kettlebell, I feel exquisitely powerful long before I feel exhausted.
Being active and getting strong makes my life better.
I am grateful every time I work out for the gift of my body, today.
And regardless of the number on my cake, I will continue to admire and be inspired by those whose lives model one I’m interested in living.
I want to lift.
I want to run.
I want to stretch.
I want to love my body for all the ways it lets me live this amazing life.