I know so many people running in the Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend I feel like half of Kamloops is missing. I'm not going to pretend to understand why people sign up for these things? There must be a great feeling once you get past the pounding in your chest. The inability to breathe and general exhaustion that accompanies a run.
The one major advantage runners have, as far as I can tell, is the need to eat a bunch of carbs in preparation for a run. Now that's something I can get involved with. In fact, any time I am indulging in a particularly good sushi feed, or pasta dinner I always imagine fondly, that I am carb loading for a race I will never enter.
Running isn't my "thing". However, there is a small, really confused part of me, probably on a carb high, wanting, desperately to enjoy running. I've resisted it for so long and there are probably reasons less obvious than being slow, fat or unmotivated that I could try and uncover... but for the most part, I have just avoided it in favour of exercise in any other form. ANYTHING but running.
The other night I was out walking with my pup and I suddenly felt the inexplicable urge to run. Weird.
I set the goal of one block, knowing it was manageable and not that far. I say not that far, but without the desire to do it, it would feel like running a marathon without the carb loading, the medal, or any glory at the end.
Fast approaching 9pm, with limited visibility, I couldn't see the end of the block. To the casual observer I may have looked like a slow escaped prisoner trying to get to the nearest all you can eat buffet, but in my head I was a city fox. Stealthy. Graceful.
Not at all the large perplexed looking woman with the even more confused dog in tow, running in the dark for the hell of it.
I knew I could run further - so I walked down to the next street and as soon as my foot hit the curb I started running again. Another block.
I challenged myself and I did it. AND I didn't hate it AND I was able to control my breathing without feeling like dying. I wasn't self conscious about my body jiggling along. I was doing what I needed to do at that very moment. Even the ol' pup enjoyed it.
I wondered why so many of my friends liked running?
I can't speak for them, but when I am running down the block, and my throat is dry and I'm out of breath and I can hear my heart beating, I know I am alive.
I don't care if I look the part. or if I am quick. I don't care about anything when I am running, because I am so busy keeping one foot in front of the other being grateful, nothing else matters.
For my friends running tomorrow - whatever your reason for being there, you inspire me to keep trying! Your determination and passion for moving, gives me the itch to pick up the pace sometimes. I may never be a runner, and that's ok - but when I get the urge to run a few blocks, I'm going to be slow as treacle but I'll be smiling all the way to imaginary buffet.
There have been times when I have reached the end of the day, and without having to count up the calories, I have known how utterly terrible my choices have been.
I mean, sometimes… sometimes… you accidentally eat a doughnut.
And by sometimes, I mean always. And by doughnut, I mean box of doughnuts.
And as I sit there, with my sugar glazed lips, biting into that moist dough, I am looking at the remaining box thinking "stop looking so delicious would ya!"
Trouble is, for a person like me, a lonely doughnut isn’t enough. Not when you have an insatiable appetite for refined carbs and sugar. It only makes sense to wash it down with a bottle of wine, a bag of chips and the last stash of Halloween candy in the freezer. Just kidding, there is never any leftover Halloween candy in my house. And so the cycle begins again.
One doughnut to blame for a day of bad choices – might as well, right.. I mean.. it couldn’t hurt? Which leads into two days. Which leads into three and before you know it, that small moment of weakness became a week of bad choices and in my case, if I’m lucky, only about a 7lbs gain.
Best of all…..I can’t even remember what the doughnuts tasted like.
You make one bad choice and it's full on FAILURE. Failure before you succeeded. Failure to allow yourself to succeed. And you convince yourself that you can eat all the doughnuts and start again tomorrow until you make the next mistake.
Failure is that comfortable place we hang out in when we’re not ready to really work hard and get what we want.
It’s so much easier to admit defeat and blame your old ways and your lazy, miserable doughnut loving self, than to empower the "doughnut in moderation" version of yourself that is just desperate to succeed, but so scared to fail. Again. And again…
That was how my 2014 panned out. Despite some great efforts and successes throughout the year – my heart was elsewhere and although my intentions were good – my ability to make it happen....didn’t work out. There were many doughnut days.
I realise how hard it is to admit you fucked up.
I realise how hard it is to take action again.
I realise how embarrassing can be to admit you tried and failed.
But I also know how awesome it is to succeed. So keep going anyway.
Tonight I found myself looking for an excuse to get an ice cream. I didn't need one or even really want one - but the convenience of being in the city and opportunity to take my dog out for a walk lended itself to the possibility of a peanut buster parfait. I walked out the house with the full intention of buying something.. sundae? maybe a blizzard? By the time I had got to the end of the road I was debating the size - should I get something big or small. I asked myself if I really wanted the ice cream? I said "Yes" DUH!!
But I stopped myself from walking down a block and turned the corner. I asked myself again if the best version of myself wanted that ice cream? I broke the cycle of failure in that moment by saying no.
I'll admit - I wasn't as strong yesterday when I was eating the top of a defrosted cake that my friend had given me - but I never claimed to be perfect....and as the summer draws to an end and we're in "back to school" mentality, the doughnut days of summer are over and we can choose to be successful once again.
From an early age kids are fascinated with mirrors. Put a mirror in front of a baby and watch their joy and curiosity in discovering their own reflection. I've always been fascinated with mirrors and the power they hold over us.
This weekend I realised I have a lot of mirrors in my place. Yep. I think it could be a thing.
I remember one of my boarding school bedrooms that had a mirror as you walked out the door. Every time, without fail, I would do the old point, wink and click.
As an adult, I dream of a wall of mirrors so I can watch myself dance. As a matter of self improvement, you understand. Mirrors are a part of my life. You see it all. The good - the not so good. It's all on show and I like to watch.
Mirrors have given me the opportunity to practice my smile for the camera. They've been witness to tears. They have been there to document my weight loss. They have watched me grab rolls of fat in moments of self loathing.
Find me a woman who hasn’t once complained and scoffed at herself in the mirror over her imperfections.– Throwing criticism around casually - picking herself apart. Letting the mirror have the power over her feelings. Sometimes that has applied to me....
But, for the most part, when I'm looking in the mirror I’m usually imagining the Kool Aid Man bursting through my wall. OHHH YEAH!
Call me big headed if you will, but that's not the case. I choose to feel beautiful. It's as simple as that.
And we keep looking in them because we want to see our beauty, our strength and our flaws.
We look into them because we need to see what's reflected in the world around us.
And sometimes we don't like what we see.
Imagine if you used the energy you spent hating yourself in the mirror, and simply loved yourself.
What could change in those moments – over days, weeks, months, years?
Would it be possible to start feeling beautiful, where you once felt disgusting? Undesirable?
In my mirror I see a woman who has suffered. Loved. Struggled. Succeeded.
I see a woman who knows what she wants and who is prepared to get it.
I see kindness. I see determination. I see bravery and loyalty. The smile on my face and the light in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I see the physical imperfections too... but I choose not to dwell on them.
No mirror will ever know the full picture anyway... because it's not only about what you see, it's about what you feel. And I wake up every morning and FEEL beautiful.
Not because I am the most exquisite creature on earth (although let me know if you disagree!) but because I choose it that way.
What's your relationship with the mirror?
I hope you can look yourself in the eyes and surrender to the person inside telling you you're not enough in some way. You are always enough. I hope you can look at that person looking back at you and love them with all your heart. And if you don't....
I hope you're lucky enough to meet a person who will be a mirror in your life. Someone who will help you see what you can’t from your own perspective.
I hope that you will find someone who will give you the answers the mirror never does, or at least, wants to explore the questions with you.
And some people come into our lives, with their own brilliant perspectives.
They make us question if we need all our mirrors, but they still hang them up for us anyway.
You must not waste time holding someone else accountable for your happiness.
The responsibility to feel better, be better, DO better, lies solely with you.
And in the moments of doubt, when you feel unworthy, don’t pass the blame.
It is YOU who is responsible for your life.
Some people give up because they're temporarily weak.
Some people give up because they don’t want to do the work they need to. Sometimes people just give up because they’re sad and they won’t ask the people that love them the most to help. Some people give up because it’s easy.
Fellow sufferers make unhappiness easier to bear because they attract it.
I understand. Misery loves company.
Some people will openly admit that they want things in your life to fail.
That they have been fantasizing about the very thought of you failing.
Some people will convince you of a love more genuine.
Those are not the people you want in your life.
Those are the people that are prepared to revel in your failure.
The people that get joy from watching the world crumble around you.
The people whose negativity breeds sabotage.
Some people will go to great lengths to deceive you. Yes, even you.
They will scheme to take things away you worked so hard for. They will lie and manipulate. They will cheat. They will blame. They will cast doubt on things that were good, and true, and pure. They will make you doubt everything including yourself.
And they will do it cleverly and in a way that seems so logical and rational.
And you will be pushed to the edge of despair. The loneliest place you’ve ever been. Wondering, why? And how?
Sometimes people change so much it is hard to recognize them.
Yet, even through the doubt and the fear – you’re still standing. Breathless at times, but standing. Trying desperately to recognize them. Loving them from afar because it’s all you know how to do, because letting go would be letting go of everything you believe in.
When you have received the fullness of love, it is hard to imagine a place without it. So you keep loving - because it is the only thing you know how to do.
And when all is said and done. When the party is over and the music has died down and we reach the end of our days, it is worth remembering;
There is no greater value in life than that of fully giving and receiving love. The legacy of love continues. Love continues, even in unhappiness.
My love continues and I am grateful for it because it's with me in all that I do. It’s a generous love with nothing held back. It’s complicated and intricate and exclusive. It's not dishonest. It's not unjustified. It's not crazy. It's not irrational. It's not shameful. It's not hopeless and it doesn't make me weak. It's unfaltering and it's broken. And it's with you. From afar.
I don’t often appear outwardly nervous and yet today, when I was “representing” Fit By Design at the Gran Fondo in a physical capacity, I felt outside of my comfort zone. You see - 'fat girls' are just not 'fit girls' in the eyes of the many.
By "many", I of course mean those small minded people (not you!, you're awesome) who figure I just practice eating all day so I can win big at the pie eating contest. One day I'm bringing home that $100 grand prize I tells ya.
Sometimes I forget that I have to go out into the public where people will judge me and make assumptions about me; whereas, in the safety of the Warrior Women tribe I am surrounded by such positivity that I can’t help but feel encouraged and not under the kind of scrutiny of the public eye.
This is not the first time these feelings have come up and it probably won’t be the last time… so as I waited to “perform” with fellow Zumba instructor, Andrea, I wondered if I would always feel this kind of fat/fit anxiety?
I saw several people with phones, taking pictures, and I reluctantly admit to myself, probably making videos. GAH!
All the while I am dancing and smiling, but secretly worrying that one day I will see a video of me shared on Facebook where people are laughing and mocking me. It’s an interesting thought that I choose not to dwell on too much.
Just because something could happen – doesn't mean it will.
Just because someone takes a video of me, or takes my photo – doesn't mean that it is going to start a fat bashing revolution on Facebook – and ultimately, if it did, it might be good advertising for our Zumba classes! (See you Monday nights at 6:45pm, River City Gymnastics, Kamloops)
Just because I am not the stereotypical sized Zumba Instructor, it doesn't mean I can’t and don’t give it all I can (and feel strong and sexy and awesome!) Because when the music is playing (albeit a bit too quiet today) I am going to try my hardest to channel all my energy into you getting us both a great workout –and this is one form of exercise that is burning off my fat like nobody’s business!
The most important thing is not to do with my size, or my ability to instruct. It is to do with that big leap outside of my comfort zone I call...." Fuck it. I’m doing it anyway."
We all need a little of that once in a while.
Here's my question to you:
What are you going to say "Fuck it! I'm doing it anyway" to?
I would love to hear your thoughts!! and maybe even see you at Zumba :)
Mother, creative strategist and health & happiness advocate. These are my personal ramblings..