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Three Lessons I Learned in Fat Camp

Well, you’ve been lied to. I’ve never been to such an institution (I did, as a side note, spend a lot of time on my couch watching Huge last fall with Jordan). But I did attend a public high school as a sixteen-year old girl and a Pac-10 (12?) university in a city where the temperature rarely drops below 90 degrees, both of which have some assumed similarities.

Do I know anyone who loves their body the way they should? No. Don’t act like you do. When I think briefly of my relatives (excluding my 3-year old niece), I can’t think of a one with a truly, 100% healthy body image. They’ve all got hang-ups.  As a 25-year old woman, when I think of my girlfriends who have “ideal” bodies — and trust me, I’ve got some stunning lady friends 😉 — I can only come up with maybe one or two that seem absolutely happy about their bod.

I’ve certainly had my own chaotic journey. In seventh grade, I cried because my *~boyfriend~* weighed ten pounds less than me. Me hovering a good five inches above him counted for nil. For much of high school, I believed that eating grapes and crackers for lunch was enough to keep me ready for all honors/AP classes, three hours of field hockey practice, and another hour or two of ballet before heading home for a few several hours of homework. In college, everyone has their vice. Mine was coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee. Before class, before a date, before writing a paper, before turning in that paper. But besides coffee, I’m pretty sure my nutrition consisted of dorm-microwaved macaroni and cheese (yes, it’s possible) and breakfast items off the senior citizen’s menu at the 50’s diner I waitressed at.

Seven years later, I’m starting to think I have a grip on how to take care of myself; whether I choose to or not is the issue.

So, instead of Three Lessons I Learned in Fat Camp, here’s “Three Lessons I’ve Learned from Years of Driving Myself Mentally, Physically, and Emotionally into the Ground”.

Working out is supposed to be fun. There are many things in life that there is no time for: boring clothes, catty drama, beets, and unenjoyable exercise top my list (though some of those lessons came faster than others). Not to say that getting fit isn’t a lot of work. I know I’ve got my work cut out for me. But if I can’t find joy in it, “it” being the process AND the end result, than it is not worthwhile.

 Bodies need fuel. Your body needs food. Good, nutritious, delicious food. If you do not feed your body, you will screw yourself right in the metabolism. My friend Debra repeats the mantra, “Energy in, energy out. Calories in, calories out.” She also is about twenty years my senior and could kick my ass. Point made.

Use energy to create more energy. Getting motivated is tough. I am always tired. I have a full-time job, an infant, and a blood disorder. Things get a little cranky around here. I have valid excuses for not moving at all, much less moving quickly. You have valid reasons, too. I am not discrediting them. I am saying that when you are active, your body has more energy. Exercise radiates throughout your whole personal life. When I was an athlete (a long, long time ago, when the music used to make me smile), I also had energy to be involved in committees, clubs, and rigorous academia. When we get older, one of the first habits we sacrifice “for the greater good” is exercise. And so we get tired. And we read mommy blogs and facebook on the couch while drinking Coke and watching Teen Mom. Or maybe that’s just me.

So those are my top three, and you’ve heard them a gazillion times before. But for me, now is the real deal. Since surviving hell in delivering Carter, healthy living has been pushed to the forefront of my mind. It resides in priority over obtaining my Master’s, sleeping in, and saving money this summer. Clearly pretty damn important.

I need to be healthy for my family. I need to be around. So, there have been tentative visits to the local farmer’s market. There have been organic baby food and grass-fed local meat purchases. But it’s time to take my commitment to the next level.

As a side note, you should know something. Like everyone else, I am poor. (I hope this doesn’t ruin our friendship.) At any rate, I can’t afford a gym membership at the moment. I can’t afford to sign up for kickboxing/zumba/yoga/bootcamp. Or, maybe I could. But I would have to give up things like haircuts that don’t suck, Carter’s organic formula, and my measly social life. Not going to happen. So, here’s my plan: Getting Fit on the Cheap.

I’m going to start my first blog feature. It’s going to track my progress doing the cheapest exercise ever: running. I’m starting this slowly. I’m going to start this week, tomorrow, and it’s going to suck, because this week is busy enough as is. Not to mention Jordan is going to LA on a soccer-crazed birthday trip, so it’s me and the littlest B-Cakes flying solo. But, really, what better Mother’s Day gift can I give to myself than good health? Anyways, look for the updates, and for the love, keep me on track. No pun intended.

Clipart courtesy clkr.com 

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2 thoughts on “Three Lessons I Learned in Fat Camp”

  1. I’m so glad you posted this! One of my biggest issues with the female population is that we’re programmed to hate our bodies. The portions we may actually feel good about we are forced to belittle and speak negatively about in the face of a compliment so as not to make the compliment giver feel insecure about her own corresponding body part. ugggh!!
    A couple of things helped me to develop a pretty healthy body image.
    1. getting married. I always thought being naked in front of someone would make me feel worse about my body but the tact that my husband genuinely loves it made me love it too. I got an instant confidence boost about the things I’d decided were unworthy.
    2. my parents. Though my mom was a little weight obsessed and often dieted, both of my parents gave me an abundance of meaningful compliments and never commented when I dressed crazy or gained a little weight. It’s not that they didn’t care, they put me in dance in my chubby years and encouraged me to exercise but it was usually always about health and not image. My mom’s image about herself often made me sad and probably encouraged me to look at others and myself with more love than criticism.
    3. Eating Healthy. About a year after I got married, I learned a lot about nutrition. I definitely still eat bacon burgers and chocolate ice cream with milk but I mostly fill my body with good stuff which makes me feel good and keeps my body at an average looking body image. and I choose to be satisfied. I could definitely be skinnier but I don’t want to be as skinny as I possibly can. As for pregnancy…I tried to eat healthy for myself and my babe and my body gave birth to the most wonderful little girl and I refuse to hate it because of that fact.

    1. I totally agree with everything you said, especially that marriage improves your body image. Even on my worst body days, Jordan thinks I’m beautiful. It’s kind of nice to have him in my back pocket.

      Also, you keep saying you were chunky, and I know exactly which phase you are speaking of and what fifth grade school picture you are imagining (and the jumper you were wearing in it), and I just wanted to say that I never ever thought you were chubby. Most days I was too busy wanting to be short like you, have eyelashes the length of a football field like you, wear my hair in shiny ringlets like you, and have small enough feet that I could still wear kids shoes like you did. Oh, and be a bridesmaid like you had been.

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