Victims of my incessant running-related tweets and occasional blog post centred around running will know that this activity is a focal point of my life lately. When in optimal health (which is rare thanks to my oft disease-ridden offspring), I try to run 4-5 times a week, averaging 20-25 kilometres. At the moment, I'm also doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, because I want to beat my body into merciless submission for the hell of it.
Almost a year ago I started running because I was weary of feeling like a thin person stuck in a chubby body. I'm aware that I wasn't "fat" in the traditional sense of the word, but I wasn't toned at all and extra weight does not sit right no my frame at all. You know those women who are 190 lbs but you'd swear they are about 140? That's not me - in fact, quite the reverse. Even before I had P and was a UK 12/US 8, people implied that I was larger than I was. My post-pregnancy 150-155lbs (this is all a complete estimation as I shun scales)must have made me look 180.
I may be exaggerating slightly, though it is true that my excess weight never distributes evenly. It instead chooses to linger around my upper thighs, stomach, face and boobs in a most obtrusive, obvious way. Even now I'm trying and failing to get rid of the flab on my inner thighs and it is stubbornly refusing to shift. Whenever I hear reference to "kissing thighs" I think of the amount of dreadful rubbing the tops of my thighs have done for years now, thus preferring to call them "fucking thighs" for more than one reason.
So yes, the primary impetus behind me running was to lose weight. I would give lip service to the notion that I wanted to be healthier, which is of course a beneficial byproduct of exercise, but I would be lying if I said this was the main reason. I want to have and pass on a healthy body image to P, and losing weight is the only way I would be able to do this with any level of sincerity. I know this makes my good friend Molly very sad indeed, as she's completely on board with the body acceptance movement championed by Kate Harding. It does make me a bit sad and sorry for myself too, as I know that there is no feasible way I would ever be happy with myself not being thin. Admittedly, when I was under 120 lbs (which was until my early 20s), I hated myself then too, but for other reasons. How delightfully femme moderne of me.
Weight fixation is far too much of a presence in my life, which is why I'm bringing this up. I stare at my face in the mirror constantly, curious as to how someone getting this much exercise can have a visage which still resembles the moon. I push my work chair in as close to my desk as I can possibly sit in order to not have to view my thighs and stomach. I nearly had a panic attack at the hair salon the other day viewing my appearance in the full length mirror because I could only see my boobs as massive pillows of fat steadfastly obscuring the weight I have lost. I occasionally find myself lurking dangerously close to exercise-like-hell-and-eat-nothing-but-one-matzo-cracker-per-day territory, and I hate that feeling. I know it would negate all of this positive body image stuff that I'm hoping P will glean from me subconciously, but the voice tells me that at least I would be thin and again be told regularly, "...but there's not an ounce of fat on you!"
That's my mental state of being, which I acknowledge is less than stable. However, despite these conservative, hardline views on my on weight, I never feel that way regarding the weight of others. Just this week a Twitter/blogging friend who shall remain nameless mentioned a weight loss goal of hers - x lost kilos in a certain amount of time. When I first read of it, I felt the sadness that Molly must feel when I'm being all Debbie Downer. This woman is gorgeous, and I would never call her anything but slender and fit looking. However, she obviously feels the need to change, and of course, who am I to question this given my own issues with the same subject? It's a shame that so many of us feel this way, and even more tragic that a lot of women are like me and will probably never be properly happy with what they look like regardless of the effort put forth.
It's always easier to make suggestions or provide encouragement to others and not be able to heed your own advice. I've never been able to work out why that is. Intellectually, I am aware of my hypocrisy, but somehow that's not enough to see things from that perspective as it pertains to me.
So, for as long as I continue to inter on this net, I will shake my head at my screen when you talk about needing to lose weight, because no doubt, you are beautiful as you are and all that trite rubbish people spout. I will believe that to be true about you, genuinely and without pause. Just don't ask me to love my fucking thighs.