Healthy Summer :: Why it's never "Just 5 pounds"

 Healthy Summer: Fitness over 40. Why it's never "just" 5 pounds. Via The Entertaining House. (Image Zullily)

Healthy Summer: Fitness over 40. Why it's never "just" 5 pounds.
Via The Entertaining House. (Image Zullily)

Whether you have 5 or 50 or 150 pounds do lose it can all seem daunting. I've fought the battle of the bulge for most of my life and this might be news to some. Every BODY is different. Every body's metabolism is different. I know this to be true of myself and of my children. I have friends who can eat to their heart's content and then there's me. I have to watch every bite I put in my mouth. And when I don't I pay dearly. I know what works for me and what doesn't and while part of me says (excuse my French) Fuck it all, just let me eat and be happy - I don't really care, the truth of the matter is I do. I care very much. I care when my clothes get tight or don't fit right. I care when I feel bloated and uncomfortable and I care when I don't look the way I expect myself to look. 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy. 

I try (very hard) not to compare myself to others but it's almost impossible. It has something to do with human nature. It's what has us wishing that we had her hair or her eyes or her flat stomach or her legs. And it is normal. But it can be a blow to our own self esteems. I live in a part of the country where it seems to me most women my age are 5'10 and weight 126 pounds and they have their personal trainers and their botox and their teeth bleached. And I cannot compare. And I mustn't compare. We mustn't compare. But it's almost impossible not to. And no one places these expectations and demands on us. No one is as critical about us as we are and it is awful and we must stop. Somehow. 

Social Media isn't (always) transparent.

And then there's social media where perfect women in their 20s and 30s are being shown in their bikinis and beautiful outfits in all these carefully curated scenes of happiness and happy living. And I can't compare. Not only can I physically not compare, but I can't on many other levels. I am a single mother and I have 3 children. And truthfully my life is  the reality of so many. My life is what will happen to 50% of those 20 and 30 year olds. Their bodies will change on them. The will give birth to children. They will have marriages that will see struggles on personal and financial levels. They will have children to be responsible for. They will have to put the needs of their children ahead of their own.

And so the lovely images of trim young couples kissing on the dock while clad in Kate Spade and Jack Rogers kind of makes me ill. Social media is all about self promotion - I get that, I'm heavily ensconced in it. It pays some of my bills too. But I would rather be open and honest and share my struggles over selling a dream that may or may not come true. Hell, I still believe in Happily Ever After. Hell, I still want my Prince to ride in on Horseback and sweep me off my feet, and when that happens I will share it. But I will also share my real life struggles. And that's what is lacking in social media today, especially among the younger set. 

Being healthy is my goal and has been for the past 5 years. It has nothing to do with the scale and it has everything to do with my comfort in my own skin and my level of fitness. My comfort level in my own skin varies day by day and unfortunately depends on the scale. The damned scale that I should really toss but I can't. Believe it or not it helps me stay on track and helps to keep me focused. I've been known to bring it on vacation with me. It's amazing how a mere 5 pounds can put us in a great mood or in a horrible one. It's so silly, really. It is just a number after all... Or is it? 

"Just 5 Pounds." 

I met a dear friend out last week after work. I hadn't seen him in nearly a year which had been particularly hard on him. He walked into the bar where I was already seated with my rose, and I scarcely recognized him. He looked fantastic after a 35 pound weight loss. After catching up on life I asked him how he did it and congratulated him. Here I'm saying that health isn't about weight and image, but damn he looked good and I felt the need to tell him and I needed some inspiration of my own. I told him of my own path and my own determination and the 7 pounds I had lost in just over a month simply by avoiding bad carbohydrates and refined sugars. I expressed frustration that I was at a standstill and that I wanted to lose 7 more, a number that really seems so insignificant, but a number that has been ingrained in my mind.

No matter how much you lose, he told me, it's more than just a number. What he said next struck such a chord that I want to share it with you all. Whether it is 2 or 5 or 35 pounds ALL weight loss is significant. He told me to go to the gym the next day and lift 7 pounds in weights and when I do I should pay attention to just how heavy those 7 pounds are. I should lift a 2 pound weight and feel how heavy that is. The point he was trying to make is that no weight loss is insignificant and we should all stay motivated and focused. Of his 35 pounds he told me that he filled a back pack with 35 pounds one day and felt just how heavy it was. If you're still unsure, feeling down about hitting a plateau or not progressing at the speed which you'd like do me a favor. Google, "What does 1 pound of fat look like?" Then imagine your own progress - but don't reach for the chocolate chip cookies!!!!