Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Ideal Body: Lessons for a Healthy Life

We've had our WiiFit for over two years. My mom gave us the balance board (we had the Wii already) because it wasn't ideal for her. At that point I was knee deep in PPD and needed exercise, but wasn't able to get out and do so. I used it for awhile, but it was often set aside for a run/walk outside when I got up to being able to. I like the fresh air!

These days, it's my husband who uses it regularly. Almost daily in fact, and given that he works in an office all day, when you combine his workouts (and all the strength training in it) along with his short walk to and from work, he's been losing weight right along with me.

We're both much healthier than we used to be!

I'm about 10 pounds from my 'goal' weight. I use goal loosely because as I started losing significant weight and watched my shape change I could see how much work there still was to do to arrive at a strong body with a healthy amount of body fat.

Strong is the key word here. I'm not strong, not really at all. Baby girl isn't a baby anymore and she's over 13kg. That's a lot to carry around and it's hard on my body. So I have stopped doing that. I'll note that she gets my hubby to do so, and she still doesn't want to walk very far most of the time. So when it's just her and I, most days she goes into the stroller and I walk briskly. Great for cardio and my legs, not so much for my neglected upper body. As of today I can only do two pushups. It's sad and something I am changing.

When I lost weight the first time after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was enrolled at a gym and working with a personal trainer. I really couldn't afford it, but this was a very serious situation and I was determined to not be one who gave into to the disease and let it control my life any more than it already had. I was too young (23)! And that's not a criticism on others who suffer horribly from it, but at that point I hadn't been dealing with the symptoms for too long and I had a chance to overcome fibro. I took it. Along with stress management, it worked!

I don't have the luxury of a gym these days. But boy do I miss the equipment. Even back home I had some light dumbbells I could use. I've tried using things like soup cans here, but it's not enough and hard for my hands to hold. In the discount store (TK Maxx here, TJ Maxx in the US, Winners in Canada), I saw the perfect solution! Soft neoprene weights with a 'handle' that you slipped your hand into while holding the weight. They were easy to grip, conformed to my hand and I couldn't drop them. I saw them twice but couldn't buy them at the time. I went back with money in hand and sure enough they no longer had them. Damn! I'm still on the hunt for an inexpensive pair (the ones I saw were 3lbs each and only cast £7).

I yearn for that strong body because it was resistent to injury and I was sick less. Very clearly my immune system prefers me to be fit and strong. Funny that...

While working out on the WiiFit, there's a part in the yoga and strength training sections (I can only do the ones that don't require my hands on the board as it hurts too much), the 'trainer' tells you to picture your ideal body.

Easier said than done! What's ideal anyway? How do you even gauge that when you are first starting out? I think for most women who are overweight, picturing some skinny person with a flat stomach who clearly hasn't had children or dealt with stretch marks and cellulite is rather self-defeating. After all, they aren't you! So how do you begin to imagine yourself smaller?

I think it's a fairly accepted fact that when you are overweight and then lose a significant amount, your brain can have a hard time adapting and actually seeing yourself as being smaller, trimmer. Our clothes shrink and we know we're smaller but we can't convince ourselves of it.

I weighed myself two days ago. 26 pounds lost since July 2011 and I've finally moved from the 'overweight' category according to BMI, into 'Normal'. I know it's all relative, but considering I started out in the 'obese' category, this is no small feat! It was my first goal in all of this and one I'm very proud of.

But I'm still struggling to see myself in my new slimmer body as actually being as trim as it is. I've dropped 3 sizes and yet, clothes still don't fit me as well as I would like. I had a baby. I know at some point I just have to suck up the fact that my body will never be the same, but at the same time, I know with a bit of work those last ten pounds will result in a stronger body. And that is the most important thing here, right?

* * * * *

I just paused a couple minutes in writing this post. Subtle topic change now:

My nearly three year old grabbed my hand and made me get up to dance with her. The show she was watching had music on and she wanted to dance! With me!

Baby girl loves it when Ryan does the Wii. So much so that she actually directs his workouts most mornings by pointing at the screen to the ones she wants him to do. Sure, it can be annoying somedays and she really is a little slave driver, but we are so excited that she sees exercise as something fun and there is no way in hell we're going to discourage it!

This brief interlude in writing served two purposes: one, I paused, got up and made sure to move a little so that my perpetual sitting doesn't aggravate my fibro; and so much more importantly, two, baby girl reminded me that regardless of how I look, how I choose to treat my body (and mind) matters! Our example has a profound affect on her actions, especially right now when she imitates everything. If my husband and I can teach her to be respectful and loving to her body, to treat food with respect, and to value exercise and being healthy, I think we've accomplished something so very important.

The wonderful side-affect too is that we will continue to be healthier and more active, not just for her, but for ourselves too.

Now those are family values I can get behind!

* * * * *
Before Pic:


*Slight disclaimer: Sort of hard to really compare, since the before pic isn't me standing and it's cropped from a photo back at Christmas 2010. It's the best I have. And that denim skirt I'm wearing in my current pic is awesome to my body. So stretchy and it sucks me in. Not the perfect comparison, but I think you get the idea. A second note: that grey sweater looks like a bag on me now! I've finally committed it to the donate pile that's growing...

1 comment:

  1. I think you look great :) And love this post.

    Honestly, I don't know what the ideal body would be for myself either. A few sizes smaller, sure, but other than that... eh. It's hard to visualize something like that.

    I like the point about how it takes awhile for our minds to catch up. I totally feel that right now. I'm 2 (almost 3) sizes smaller than March, and yet I don't feel like I've lost any weight. I know I have but there is a certain disconnect.


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