exercise

(some)BODY

When I think of my body, the best I can do is not think aesthetically but functionally. If I keep myself concerned with the things my body can do, I never have to worry if it is pretty or beautiful or good. The problem with this is that there are some things my body cannot do. There have been many things people have said about bodies like mine. There are so many more things I have said about my own body.

Running is one of those things that I don’t expect my body to do. All, I can focus on is excess flesh just moving and how grotesque a sight that is for onlookers. Gravity becoming the immortal enemy of my physicality. If I am still enough, then I can maneuver around slowly enough for things to stay in place. It is all one big optical illusion of Spanx and slimwear and clothing in a size too big. It is weird to see the thoughts, I have displayed on a screen, but this is the reality where I reside.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, I had a case of insomnia. It wasn’t even that my mind was running. I literally just could not sleep. At 3:30am, I decided to go to the gym. Most times, I just walk on a treadmill, but in delirium, I decided to run. I ran for 5 minutes straight. I remained on the treadmill for 35 minutes and upon completion, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. I hoped this would tire me out, but it only invigorated me. I did squats got in my car and departed, for a 4am drive through the city. By the time I arrived at work, I was tired enough to hide behind my desk for a 20-minute nap…..but I didn’t.

Today, I took a half day. I went to the gym and consciously decided, I was going to run. I began running for 7 minutes. At the end of 32 minutes, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. 16-minute miles are nothing to brag about. In comparison to even the average runner (maybe walker), I am slow. BUT my body ran. It ran and it felt wonderful and it hurt. It is unfamiliar and fascinating.

I don’t really have goals or expectations for my body. I have worked towards a lifestyle that serves my body best. I have made some progress. I am hoping I can remain consistent. Today was just a day, where I just finished running, breathless and sweaty and smiled.

“Damn, I got some body.”

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People Over Things; God Over All

I drive home after purchasing running shorts from Old Navy. These shorts are a reward. I have been running for five weeks, three times a week. On Friday and Saturday, I saw roots from my labor. My average mile dropped significantly from the first time. My body adjusted. A desire to run was being birthed. I commemorated all of this with a pair of grey and pink running shorts, with a pocket.

I waited for the light to change. Like a movie, I predicted what was going to happen next. Seconds later it did. Two vehicles collided. I drove up. Parked my car.

“Ma’am, what emergency services do you require: police, fire, or medical?” 

“Police and medical”, my voice shaking, as I hold myself together.

Standing beside my car, I could see the driver’s blood and hair on the passenger’s window. The impact had flung him from his seat to the other side of the vehicle. I could see the windshield out of its frame. I could see the oil and coolant and antifreeze pouring from the car. I could see a female bystander applying pressure to the head of this man. I could see those napkins becoming soaked with blood as red and fresh as a bing cherry. As, I hung up the phone, I walked towards the scene.

“Ma’am, do you need some clean cloth?”

I walk back to the scene from my car with my shorts in hand, I pull the tag off.

“I know it’s weird, but these shorts are clean and sweat absorbent. They can help” 

My personal reward became cloth. As it always was. As it was always supposed to be. This man, bloodied and shocked, apologizes to me.

“I’m so sorry about your shorts. I will wash them and return them to you.”

“No. No. That [my shorts] is a thing. You are a person. You win.”

The title, of this post, comes from a mantra I have repeated for almost a year: “People over things; God over all”. As, that man apologized (and later his wife), I recognized my mantra is not shared with everyone.

Those shorts were probably created in a sweatshop with an exploited labor force. Their true value is $1.50. I purchased them for $15 and used a gift card. This man was spoken out by God. Birthed into a home with a mother and a father. He has a wife. He probably has a job. He is loved. He is desired. He is wanted. His value is incalculable. My shorts are not even worthy to be compared to his life. They are rubbish.

It’s not that I am against things. I love things. I love the flare of a dress as I twirl. I love long drives to unknown destinations. I love a good happy hour. However, I hope to never love these things more than people, whether they be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family. And, if ever I do, I pray in God’s love for me, He would strip me off them until I remember it is all about Him and all about people.

 

Minor Losses; Major Gains

Round 2 of Whole 30 for the year. My weigh-in date March 8. After another month of dieting and exercising, 2 pounds. I lost 2 pounds in 30 days. OVER IT! I near walked out of the YMCA. Then, I remembered, I still have 30 minutes worth of cardio and 30 of calisthenics to complete. This week, I have taken it light. Meaning, I haven’t returned to the gym since Monday. I am still Whole 30 appropriate and weirdly, I have eaten less (unintentionally) this week, than ever. Often times when I don’t get the results I want, in the time I want, I become sullen. I am not going to do that though. I am going to celebrate all the good this week offered.

So, I lost 2 pounds in a month. This week was the first time people noticed that I had lost weight. Which is super-duper encouraging. I, also, made it through an entire abdominal workout without looking like a beached whale trying to fling itself back into the ocean. Because no joke, the first time I did an abdominal workout, I looked and sounded like I was dying. My grunting workout noise is awful. When, I put on my pants, I actually see a nice curve between my waist and hips. I feel more confident about wearing a two piece to the beach this year. I have cured my Dunlaps Disease (when my stomach, dun lapped over my pants). My hormones are beginning to regulate (due more so to diet). I make better food choices. I have eaten Chick-fil-A 3 times this year. Which is a massive deal, especially since it is my favorite. I ran. I felt confident enough to audition for a run way show (didn’t get the casting…oh well). I have worked harder than ever before to take care of my body, not just eating well and exercising, but caring about my hair and face, and getting enough sleep.

Finally, last night, I went to community night at Lindyfest and danced from about 9 PM to midnight. Which is huge for two reasons. (1) Because last year, I had just got into partner dancing, and didn’t feel confident enough to go to Lindyfest. (2) For anyone who knows, the Lindy Hop it is probably one of the most athletic partner dances. While, I took a bit of breaks, I did dance for the majority of the time. Something, which would have been impossible last year when I began partner dancing.

So yeah, I lost two pounds in a month, by I have, by far, gained so much more.

La Compra de Pantalones (Pants Shopping)

When you are a size 18, shopping for pants is one of the evil reminders that we live in a fallen and sinful world. It is as if pant makers do not know that my larger waist might include large hips, which might include an average bottom, that leads into bigger thighs, that descend into some toned calves. No, either pant makers assume everything is large and getting bigger or that you are an ice cream cone getting smaller at the bottom. For this reason, I have bought nothing but skirts and dresses. I have perhaps, 15 dresses and 20ish skirts that I wear in rotation. With them, as long as they fit my waist I am solid. I have maxis. I have midis. I have minis. I love them all, because apart from shaving, the little frustrations of pants are dissolved. Also, they offer a great breeze.

However, I need pants. I love pants. I love not having to shave. I may wear skirts frequently, but it only because I refused to buy pants. I remember going outlet shopping with my family as a teenager and be so unable to find clothing for myself. I remember breaking down into tears in dressing rooms, unable to fit into pants and looking into the stark lights of the mirror as it reflected my body. As, we returned home and my siblings celebrated their findings, I just went to my room to be alone. It contemplate my fatness.

Walking in to Old Navy on Friday, I did not expect to find anything. I was hoping for maybe a pair of boyfriend jeans at the most. They offer more room for me to move around and don’t create the rubber donut of fat around my waist. The last time, I tried on bottoms I was an 18/20. So, I grabbed a couple of size 18 pants (a couple 18 longs) and shuffled to the dressing room. I tried them on. I turned and looked at them. Something doesn’t look right about these pants…They fit, super easily, really easily, but they were not flattering. I walked out an asked the attendant her opinion. Excuse me miss, what are your thoughts on these pants? The attendant crinkled her face as she looks me up and down. I am prepared for the worst. I think you might need to go down a size. What? I grab a 16, try it on and she it right. Everything fit much better.

I ended up purchasing 5 bottoms, one of them being a skirt because well, I love skirts, but it was a positive experience. This is one of the minor reasons that desire to continue working out, because a fearful experience is now normal.

I don’t know how many pounds I have lost, and won’t know until March 8, but I am glad to have completed two months worth of exercise and eating better.

Yay for a positive post.

My Body

I identify with my mind, more than my body. My body is never who I imagine it to be. When, I close my eyes, I see myself as this strong and feminine woman. My hair has naturally wavy curls. I’m a size 10. I have lean legs and the ratio between my bust and bottom are similar, with the midsection being smaller than what it is. I open my eyes. My hair is in disarray especially today, when even the strongest of headbands, cannot tame this disastrous mane. I am a size 18. I have horse calves and the ratio between my bottom, bust, and waist are pretty much the same. None of that matters today though.

Today, I ran a mile. Did you hear me? I RAN a mile. Never in my adult life have a run a mile.

God knowing my exhaustion was gracious enough to allow class to be cancelled. Giving me a 3 hour reprieve from the chaos of work and school. I immediately knew, the gym was going to be my venture. I have come to love cardio. I like mindlessly getting on a machine and reading or watching television or zoning out. It is easiest for me to be silent when my body is occupied. While, on the elliptical, I read through 1 Kings into 2 Kings, and paused to reflect and pray. 35 minutes quickly ended. I cleaned my machine and began to leave, when clearly I left the inclination to run a mile.

I believe this was the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I hate running. Yesterday, I said Amen, when someone else said they hated running at church. I hate everything about it. I love dancing and skipping and walking, but running can just die. I mean, I loathe it. So, I knew it wasn’t me telling me to run. However, I was obedient. I walked onto the treadmill and began to run. It was amazing, until I reach .2 miles. I slowed my pace, and then increased again. My chest burned. I slowed then increased. .95 miles remaining. I amped it up to 6 mph hour and just ran. Then, it was over. In 15 minutes, I had run a mile.

Today, I appreciate my delicate body, not so much for what it is, but more so for what it does for me.

Fat to Full-Figured in Fifty

I am smart. I love knowledge. I love in a manner in which its application reigns. What is the purpose of a theory if its application is never used. Even on days when, I say dumb things, I never lose confidence that I am smart. I am comedic. I don’t know if has come in my twenties or has always been there, but I love laughter and making people laugh. To share joy is beautiful. Joy is beautiful. Even on the days, when, it is hard to smile, I never doubt I am funny. I am loving. There is a well running deep within my soul from which I pull my love for others, and the Almighty Himself supplies the water to love people. This well runs so deep that my service to others is my mission field. Even, on days when it is hard to be around people, I love them.

All these beliefs lie inside of me. They are a part of my person. However, as I look at my eternal, I question much. Am I beautiful? Am I pretty? Am I attractive? Do I repulse men? I don’t know. My answer wavers. On good days such as today, I am sure that I am lovely, but there are times, when I can’t look in the mirror. There are times, when I take a photo and immediately I want to hide it or delete it. I don’t always feel good about my appearance. In fact, most days I don’t. However, I refuse to be a woman who whines rather than wins. So, I am doing something about it.

February 7, 2015 I will be attending a casting to be a runway model at Full-Figured Fashion Week (FFFW). I’ve been following FFFW for about three years. I love it. I remember being sixteen and sitting across from my mother at Copeland’s and telling her about my desire to model. It was lovingly shot down and for good reason at the time. I am older now, and I want to do it. At least I want to try. I don’t want to be a coward, and hide. I don’t want to hate my body anymore. I want to embrace it and love it and steward it.

I have 50 days until, I the 7th of February. Until then, I will be busting my ass to get my body from fat to full to figured. I am going to document this journey on my tumblr.

Right now, I am 265 pounds. I am 5’10”. I was on a diet of fast food for months. I have now cut out fast food with the exception of the occasional salad from Chick’fil’A. I am trying to go on walks daily and on Friday, I will begin a two week free pass at a gym where, I will lift weights. See, I know what I need to to, but I have been to scared to do it.

See, I am not doing this so men think I am attractive. I think the personality characteristics I have are enough for men to like me. I am not doing this to be popular or to have people tell me I’m pretty. I’m not even doing this to be in FFFW. I am doing this to attack a lie. I am doing this for me. It’s not a just a weight loss thing. It is a taking care of my hair. Going to the doctor. Getting my car fixed. Receiving a massage. The same way I love and nurture my spirit, soul, and mind is what I must do to my body.

I am not building an idol to me; I am keeping the temple in order.

To those who oppose me: COME AT ME.

To those who are with me: PRAY FOR ME.

Because either way, I am doing this.

Today, I took this picture, and just felt lovely.

 

This is Why I’m Fat

It was the first time, I had stepped on a scale in 7 months. The last thing I remembered was weighing 240 pounds. While, obese I was content. I was close to 200 pounds. I could drop 40 pounds pretty easy. 265 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. Then, I looked in the mirror and saw it. I saw every single pound of it. My flaws became so apparent. My skin looked aged and old. There were new stretch marks, I had never noticed before. The hairs on my chin overtook my face. My clothes became tighter. Hindsight allowed me to see all the outfits I had worn recently and how I looked like a balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade. I noticed my stomach bulging over my jeans. I suffocated. I feel helpless.

My cognitive weight loss plan oriented itself around these thoughts: “no wonder guys aren’t attracted to me”, “I am so huge”, “there is no way I can do missions being this size”, “I hate myself”. It’s so easy to begin disliking oneself. I pulled out a notebook and began scripting how I was going to lose this weight, do’s and don’ts, meal plans for the week, how much water I needed to drink, and a fitness regimen. I didn’t fall asleep until 2AM. Nonetheless, even with the best laid plans, I felt helpless. I feel like I am going to fail and continue getting fatter until one day, I surrender the idea of ever being seen as beautiful by men or women.

I woke up the next morning dead set on eating healthy. I wasn’t going to go for seconds. I was not going to eat carbohydrates. I am giving up soda. I will not east fast food. I am exercising. I am going to do this right. I will lose this weight. I failed today. I began today with a workout and ended it with a bunch of dumplings. Which makes me feel like even more of a loser.

However, I am learning not to trust so much in my strength and place a little less confidence in myself. I can’t lose weight of my own power and my own will. I am not strong enough for it. Food is a stronghold and an idol. I have never not known what it was like to be anything but fat. As a child I was fat. Teen fat. Adult fat. My weight has followed me so closely. Too closely. I eat not to feel full, but to simply feel something. As each word comes out, I recognize this food issue is more tied to a lack of trust in the Father to have my needs met.

I guess I need not start with a meal plan, but a prayer.

Verse of the Day

God,

Too heavily do I lean on my own understanding. What do I even know O Lord? Have I fashioned this form? Have I orchestrated one molecule in my body? Nothing. No. And No. But rather than humbling myself to You and asking for guidance, I take it upon myself to fix a problem. I can fix nothing, for I am the one who destroys. Only You bring life, Jesus. Only You can restore what these human hands breaks. And Jesus, I am breaking myself. With each meal, I am attacking the vehicle You allow for my soul and spirit to be mobilized in. Father, forgive me. I am not worthy of Your grace. I am not worthy of Your mercy. I am not worthy of this body.

Lord, I cannot do this on my own. Countless times, I have tried and failed to lose weight. And with each failure, I deny that You fashioned me as beautiful. I doubt that You look down on me and call me good. I need Your Holy Spirit to quicken me. Please stir my desires toward loving You fully. Direct me towards worship Jesus. Lord, I don’t worship You enough. I don’t love You enough. I don’t acknowledge how vast and wonderful You are enough. As my spirit worships You, allow my body to fall in line and follow suit. I desire to be with You. I desire for You to be my everything. You are my Living Water and Daily Bread.

Holy Spirit grant me discernment on how to do this. I don’t want a weight loss plan. I want a lifestyle revolution. I want my body to be one, You are able to send anywhere at a moments notice. Make me more aware of when I am hungry. As I go through sugar withdrawals teach me self-control. I know what You think of me, but please remind me of Your thoughts towards me. Enrich my time with You. Father direct me towards a gym membership where I am encouraged by those around me. Teach me what to do and what classes to take and how to love my body and steward it as an act of worship to You. Lord, help me be faithful to carry this to completion.

God please raise up some people to walk with me through this and keep me accountable in this journey. Lord, thank you for the way You have already placed me with someone who is setting the pace before me.

God, I love You. This is not a blog, but a permanent prayer. You are magnificent and wondrous and marvelous. I can not tell you that enough. You have been so gracious to me. I am not worthy of the manner You have blessed my life. I am lowly and You are high and lifted up. You sit on Your rightful throne above and rule and reign over all creation. Whether we choose to acknowledge You or not. Yet You see and understand every single word I write. You know the weight and the depth of each letter. You know the inner workings of my heart so well. You know where my greatest need for You lies. You know my sorrow and my joys. You know my fears and my future. You know how I will look. The way You know me scares me. It is scary to be known so intimately by God. You know the mysteries that remain in me that haven’t even been revealed to me. To You be all glory and dominion. What am I that You are mindful of me? That You turn Your ear towards the laments of a wayward child. Lord, I love You.

Be with me tender sacred Spirit.

Amen