Body Work

Thing1’s impending graduation has prompted a bit of cleaning inside and, since snow no longer covers the mess we call a yard, the outside too.

I used to have gardening problem, but recovering from a broken foot made digging uneven ground a tough hobby for a few years. I’m back to digging this year, huffing and puffing and trying to remind myself I ran a 12k a few short years ago. It also reminds me that my coveted, brawny gardening physique, and not a bikini body that won’t get used in Vermont anyway, is what  I should have been more disciplined about chasing on the treadmill all winter.

Fortunately, a shovel and a patch of dirt still make a cheap gym.

Silly Little Love Thong

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It was when I was standing in the toothpaste and tampon aisle that I realized that the powers that be will try to sell us on anything.

Why else would the feminine hygiene market be trying to market us on a mini pads for a thong? I don’t know about the rest of my gender, the last thing I’m thinking of during that time of the month, is how I can find a way to wear the most uncomfortable undergarment possible.

I looked down at my own body and admitted there were a lot of days during the month I wouldn’t even consider wearing a thong, and most of those all of those days end with a ‘Y’. And as I snorted in disgust, I almost whispered those dirty words that everyone has uttered at some point in his or her adult life. “I hate my body.”  

But I didn’t. I stopped myself.  And, as I retreated to the safety of the toothpaste side of that aisle, I knew what they really trying to sell me.

I haven’t said those words more than once in the last six months. I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve lost so much weight that I love the way my body looks. The reality is, that even when I get to my goal weight, I’ll have so much loose skin from childbearing, breast-feeding, and carrying too much weight for too many years that wearing a thong even in private might give my husband reasonable grounds for divorce if his eyes weren’t so bad . 

I eschewed the phrase during my first 7 mile run. For some people 7 miles isn’t very far, but for me it was a milestone. I was huffing and puffing the whole way, and when I realized the last part of my race would be uphill, I felt the words rising.  I hate my body.

My feet became dead weights, and I slowed. It was as if my were body rebelling against the arrows I had just slung.

“What have I done?” It was asking me. “What have I done except carry you the last 40-odd years while giving you two healthy children – all without complaint? You have neglected me. You have gorged and let me grow weak, and I have served you anyway”

I came to a complete stop and looked down.   It was right. If my body doesn’t perform to my expectations it’s because I haven’t treated it with respect.

That’s been changing over the last few months with better nutrition and exercise. But the change is not only physical. When I selected goal weight, it was not based on a jean size, it was based on a healthy BMI for my age. And I’ve come to realize that if I don’t love my body –  at every size – how can I expect it to love me enough to carry me into old age and do the things that a body is supposed to do?

So maybe if they make a thong that’s comfortable for me and my body, I’d go for it. But what was for sale on that shelf in the toothpaste and tampon aisle, I’m no longer willing to buy.

Off the Couch

 

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I’ve coveted a lot this summer:  a smaller pair of jeans, a stronger body, a more active lifestyle, and that really cool running tank to wear for my first 5K in three years. I checked most of the things off my wish list by getting fit enough to finish the afore-mentioned 5K.  However, while getting able to complete those 3.1 miles did indeed let me squeeze into a smaller jean size and a more active lifestyle, it didn’t shrink my body small enough to access the work of fitness high fashion.

As I was reminded during my search for the perfect tank top, an XL at the discount store is not an XL in fitness (or designer) wear.  I could have worn one of my old t-shirts, but the race was a family tradition that was being revived.  I wanted something special.

I traipsed through online and offline offerings, rarely finding anything above an L or XL that didn’t fit or look more like and M.  I was losing hope.  I’d sweated all summer.  Surely something in either of my sizes – old or new – wasn’t too much to ask.  There’s every other option for active women, right down to a plunging, push-up sports-bra (still scratching my head trying to find the competitive advantage of THAT feature), but there was little for larger women who want to get off the couch (as we’re always told to do) and into activity.

So this year I did what I once did when I was too broke for store bought.  I made my own.  I’ve been finding my own groove this year.  It’s off the couch, and dancing to that beat has done a lot more than just make me smaller.  It’s made me stronger and happier and even more productive.  So I made a shirt to celebrate this new life off the couch.  It’s a change you should be able to celebrate at any size.

I’m putting my designs where my mouth is CafePress.com.  You can find T-shirts and a few other items in sizes to fit most from 0-5X.