Thursday, 27 November 2014

Couch to 5k ... and back again

I used a couch to 5k running app once. Seriously, I used it once. I was so determined up that I was going to DO THIS THING, get in shape and if not in actual shape (because, well, round is a shape too, right?) then at least get healthy enough that my old ass could chase my kids around for years to come. So at five a.m. I fell out of my bed and into my shoes and stumbled out into the world. I probably looked like an extra from "The Walking Dead' and after a half-hour 'run' my body sure as hell felt like the real zombie deal.  I also felt pretty proud of myself for doing it. So the next morning I jumped out of bed at dawn again....and nearly fell right back over. You see, I didn't realize that mere act of running would be enough to reduce my hip joints to powder. I felt like I was eighty years old and nine months pregnant. So much for the couch to 5k.

I have an elliptical machine in the bedroom, that we picked up second-hand after my son was born. My husband said that if he agreed to buy and move the damn thing, I had to promise to use it. I use it all the time - it's handles are a great place to hang hoodies and damp towels. I'm not sure my kids  even know what it is actually for.

I joined Weightwatchers Online too. I lost ten pounds in eight weeks, which isn't bad. I did even better on the way back, gaining twelve pounds in six weeks. Darn you, summer, and your enticingly refreshing cocktails. I still have my subscription, so I sign in every so often when I feel like I need taking down a peg.

The thing is, I'm only about twenty pounds over my pre-kid weight and thirty pounds from a size five. So why this obsession with my body? I'm not generally a high-maintenance gal; haircuts happen when I get around to it, and when I don't - which is often - my hair returns to its ur-state (seriously, when old home-town friends greet me with "Wow, you haven't changed since high school!' they aren't complimenting my dewy complexion.) Clothes get replaced when they wear out. My makeup routine is five minutes long and never varies. Maybe it's because I am surrounded women who are as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside (not that I'd ever give them up, because these are some seriously fantastic kick-ass ladies.) Maybe it's that I never want to weigh more than my husband, who has no trouble keeping his boyish figure. Maybe fashion advertising featuring 000 twelve year olds is getting to me. I don't know. I do know that no matter how much I pep-talk myself, or tell myself that it's the inside that counts, or make excuses for myself - I don't have time to exercise, I'll do it when the kids are older, it's not as easy when you aren't twenty-five anymore - I don't ever really believe me. I can insist all day long that don't care what the number is on the tag of my favourite jeans, as long as I can be more active with my kids - and that is true, but it is just the top layer of it. The  deeper truth is I want to be slim and attractive, no matter how shallow and vapid that is. The truth is that even though I love my where my life has taken me now, and would never want to go back to being that self-absorbed twenty year old, I'd sure like to still have her body, and somehow feel that I've failed because I don't. The truth is that it is just hard sometimes to get older.

And all this gets mixed up with wanting to do right by my kids, with wanting to teach them a healthy life-style and healthy habits. I want to be able to run, play, and hike with them, but I also want to impress upon them (my daughter especially) that who you are is not just what the mirror shows you. To give them enough confidence in who they are to armour themselves against the onslaught of ... well, everything ... that puberty brings. And I'm afraid I can't do that unless I myself have that kind of confidence, which I paradoxically can't seem to achieve without buying into the very beauty myth that I want my kids to walk away from. So I guess as soon as my hand heals I need to hop on that damn elliptical and shed a few pounds.

At least I still have my dewy complexion.

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