As I was thinking about this week – what workouts I have done and how many more I have to go, I counted the total. By Sunday, I will have worked out ten times in 7 days.
This is by far the hardest I have pushed my body ever. I may not be as fast as I was in the past, but I do feel proud of my strength and the shape I am in right now. I haven’t gotten on a scale in months, but I know my body has changed this summer. This past week, I wore a dress I couldn’t fit into last summer, and last week I wore a jeans skirt that wouldn’t even consider buttoning this past sprint. Conversely, a lovely yellow dress (that I adore!) no longer fits me in the armpits. The armpits! Whereas it zips and looks good from the front, it digs into my armpits so uncomfortably that I couldn’t wear it this week. (I am hoping that’s due to some muscle development!)
So while I contemplated my fitness level, my weight, my clothes and my workouts, I also wondered what you readers must think when you read that I am running 25-30 miles/week and doing crossfit 3-5x. On paper, you’d probably think that by working harder than ever, I should be thinner than ever. But I am not. This isn’t a complaint: I eat what I want when I want it. This is the balance I choose and though it may counteract some of my exercise, I am ok with that right now. I feel in control, and I don’t take that for granted.
Recently my friend Melanie posted about her weight loss journey. I met Melanie when she was already Skinny Melanie and am so proud of her for talking about this topic. Her weight loss story is so inspiring! But, it’s not easy to introduce people to someone from your past that you hope to never meet again. She called this person “Fat Melanie” and I can relate, because I think I have only posted pictures of “Fat Meggie” once or twice on this blog. I’d prefer people meet me as I am now because I am ashamed of Fat Meggie. Though Fat Meggie and Current Meggie have a lot in common and share similar values, beliefs and characteristic traits – Current Meggie is much happier than FM. But as my friend Laura reminded me, many of the most important people in my life not only knew FM really well, they loved her. They met me as FM and befriended me as FM. They love me now as they did then and so I shouldn’t worry too much about hiding FM. She’s part of who I am and she’s a big part of why I work out 10x a week.
I have struggled with weight my entire life. I remember Nicki Chuili telling me in 5th grade that I should have SlimFast in my Mickey Mouse lunch box. I remember a kid at Lakeside Pool telling me I was too fat to chicken fight in the water. I knew how to read the Weight Watchers scale in junior high. I know exactly what I weighed when I lost those 12 lbs on some diet pill my doctor prescribed when I was in 10th grade. I weighed 129lbs and felt fat. But it wasn’t until college that I actually became fat. I remember when I came home from my freshmen year in college and did Tae Bo every day with my friend Stephanie so we would go back our sophomore year skinnier. And we did, but it didn’t last with me. I “blossomed” once again my sophomore year. Got even heavier my junior year. Though I YoYoed up and down in weight, from age 19-28, I was consistently overweight. I avoided scales like the plague but I do remember getting on one once, when I felt I had lost a couple pounds so wasn’t as scared. It read 173. I doubt that was my peak.
Despite being overweight, I wasn’t always unhappy. Though I deprived myself the opportunity to share clothes in college with my girlfriends and felt embarrassed to go shopping with them, most days I was comfortable with who I was. I was the smart, funny girl with the pretty face. I wasn’t hideous. I wasn’t thin. But I had great friends, great family, a wonderful boyfriend/husband. I was just fine. But for as long as I can remember, I admit that every star I ever wished upon and every birthday candle I blew out, I wished I could get control over my weight.
After college, I thinned out a bit. Though I wasn’t small, I didn’t look as puffy as I did in school. When I got engaged, I thought the motivation of a wedding dress would kick me into gear. But though I felt beautiful on November 4, 2006, I weighed 166 lbs that day.
It wasn’t until 2009 – when I trained for my first marathon – that the wish came true. I saw the pounds fall away as I ran more and more miles. Though I didn’t diet, I did pay more attention to what I was eating and within 6+ months, I had lost 35 pounds. And though I still shy away from the scale, I can tell you the thinnest I have ever seen myself as an adult was 132 (and that wasn’t this year) Numbers don’t mean a lot to me right now. I have muscles I didn’t have in the below picture and I rely on my clothes to tell me if I have picked up a few lbs. And though I know I could stand to lose a few more, I look at these pictures and am proud of what I have accomplished. I can’t get smug – this battle has gone on for 32 years and will go on for the rest of my life. I work at it every day. Every single day. But right now, I feel in control.
JD also has a weight loss story. He never tells it but what’s an extrovert wife good for if not a good story?
My husband has never struggled with his weight. He doesn’t have childhood memories about diets and snarky comments from asshole kids. But when he stopped playing college baseball and replaced that time being a typical college kid, he gained weight. I can honestly say that I never considered him overweight. He was just a good looking guy who was funny and smart. I loved that he was bigger than me and never for a second thought he should lose weight. Though he doesn’t remember how much he weighed in college, he tells me his peak was the year after we graduated when he saw 230 pounds. JD started losing weight earlier than me. He started running half marathons and then marathons a few years after school. He shed a good 20+ pounds before our wedding and kept losing. And I don’t mean to make it sound easy. Though he didn’t have a historical weight problem, he lost 70-75lbs through hard work. Lots and lots of miles and the will power to eat healthy 90% of the time. He got pretty obsessive about it a few years ago and was at his “race weight” of 155. But now, like me, he has found a balance. He doesn’t weigh himself every morning anymore and is building muscle through Crossfit. I don’t know what he weighs right now, but I do know that he has never looked better. He still watches what he eats – so much so that he will eat a Hershey’s kiss in bites (one bite one day, the other half saved for the following day), but he lets himself enjoy a good meal and a great beer more often than before.
We are both different people than our heavier selves. When we first moved to Indy, we used to eat Hamburger Helper 3x a week, and never consider working out. Now we arrange our lives around our running and crossfit schedules. We may smell like Icy Hot at night, but we are in control. And that gripping fear that I will ever lose control is what motivates me to run and push myself at crossfit. I still have a fat mentality – I see double chins on myself in pictures that others don’t see. I scrutinize my outfits to make sure they flatter my good parts and hide the not-so-mini parts. I get anxiety over missing a workout. I check out more women than I do men because I compare my body to theirs and beat myself up often about my faults. My image issues and my food issues are probably similar to those of Fat Meggie’s – but I have found a way to control it. And I am not as ashamed of FM like I used to be. She helped me learn a lot about who I am, who I want to be and what I have to do to get there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got 5 miles to run tonight.