Remember when I posted about the 90 Day Fitness Challenge I started on October 15th? Those 90 days have come and gone. A few people have asked me recently how it went and I realized I went completely silent about it on my blog.
(It’s not because I gave up.)
Although I’m not pretending that wouldn’t be very me to do. I am very good at sticking with things, but I am also very good at getting excited about new projects and dropping them before you can say Apple-Pie-Should-Never-Be-Served-With-Cheddar-Cheese. (Which it shouldn’t.)
I think it’s because things suddenly got very personal. I write about a lot of stuff here–about my husband, my books, my friends, my home, heck, even my boobs, but body stuff… Well, you know how it is.
When I started the 90 Day Challenge these were my goals:
- Lose weight
- Build some mean muscles
- Get good at Obsidian
- Blog often about health and fitness
I worked my booty off. Even with a persistent setbacks (they will always be there), most of which had to do with my feet, I worked out a ton. I tried my absolute hardest to eat well. I bought a scale to help me measure my foods and calculate calories. I wore my DASH wristband to remind me of my goal.
Wow. Can I be totally candid here? I am shaking just a tiny bit while I write this. I know from your comments that you people are good people–supportive, loving, friendly, so I’m going to keep telling you about all this–but bear with me. This is not my usual topic. Or tone.
Yes. The Green Lemon just got all serious on you.
Let me give you a little bit of history.
When I was younger I lived and breathed ballet. I wanted to be a professional ballerina more than I have ever wanted anything in my life. When I turned 12 I was accepted into a professional company’s school and I danced like my life depended on it. I also stopped eating. I weighed 90 lbs. and didn’t think it was good enough. I learned how to count calories and just how few I could live off of before my starvation mode kicked in and I had to down bowl after bowl of Lucky Charms. Teachers praised my weight loss, but I knew something was wrong because I was so tired all the time that I couldn’t make friends. Somehow (divine intervention?) I managed to catch myself right before going over the edge. I stopped counting potato chips. I kept dancing, but I worked hard to keep a positive body image.
Really hard. To the point that it became one of my defining features.
That lasted a long time.
Then came the anxiety. When I was in college I started having all sorts of issues ranging from anxiety attacks to depression. During that time I gained some weight (now that I look back I feel it is most likely due to new medications I started taking) but took it off with Weight Watchers.
A short while after I got married something went awry. Amidst some other health problems I gained 20 lbs. with no apparent changes to my diet. I completely panicked. If I’m honest I’d say I probably tried about 20 different diets–one for each extra pound. At one point I was eating only vegetable juice and salads and still gaining weight. That was a bad, bad time in my life. I felt like I was going crazy. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t do anything, but obsess about my weight.
After getting some medical issues resolved the weight slowly started to come off. But the experience left some permanent damage. I went from confident about my body to obsessed with weight. My sweet, sweet husband was completely bewildered. I’d lost my body confidence–something that was as me as could be–and it didn’t seem to be coming back.
So then I started the DASH fitness challenge.
A few weeks into the challenge one of the teachers offered a relaxation and guided imagery class to help everyone who was doing the challenge. I’m not new to that sort of thing–I love meditating and doing yoga–so I knew I wanted to take part. The teacher led us through some mental relaxation then she had us visualize ourselves looking in a mirror. She had us picture unzipping ourselves from our extra weight, and stepping out of it like a pair of pajamas, then looking at ourselves in the mirror.
I saw myself right away. And I was gorgeous.
I was slim, and strong, I even had long hair and clear skin, but what I really noticed was that I seemed to be glowing. The person I was looking at was so calm, and so loving and so peaceful. It was like she had been patiently waiting there for me all along. She knew what I’d been dealing with, she knew about all the changes in my life, and the health issues, and the emotional issues, and she didn’t judge me for one second. She didn’t care about my jean size, or whether or not I looked good in a bikini. She just was.
Then the teacher asked us to realize what emotional reasons were keeping us from losing weight. My answer came immediately–there was a definite reason I had struggled to get rid of the extra weight–and it wasn’t because I love snicker shakes. That reason is too personal for me to tell you here, but can i tell you that it was real?
When I got home that night I looked in the mirror. I felt good. I felt calm.
The next day I looked in the mirror again and what I saw made my heart jump. I had just seen a flash of the woman I’d seen during the visualization class. Only this was real. But that couldn’t be right. My BMI was still higher than the chart said it should be. There was no way I could be okay with 5 extra pounds holding me back.
A few days later I saw the girl in the mirror again, but this time she stuck.
I had one of the most shocking realizations of my life. I already looked like the girl in my meditation. I looked great. I looked fit. I was wearing skinny jeans and had noticeable triceps. I had a curve from my ribs to my hips. I wasn’t quite there, but I was pretty darn close.
I yelled for David and demanded that he take a good look at me. I asked him if I’d changed drastically in the past 48 hours. I made him swear he was telling me the truth that I’d looked this way for a long time, and hadn’t he been trying to tell me that for ages? I pulled off my shirt to make sure I was really seeing my torso correctly.
It felt like I’d taken off a pair of dark sunglasses. My head had been so trapped for so long that I hadn’t realized all of the progress I’d made over the past year. I couldn’t even really see myself.
And then I felt free. Free, free, free.
It felt so good.
Two weeks ago I started working at DASH. That place is the kind of environment I want to be in.
And I do regularly dance around in front of the mirror in my skinny jeans when I’m home alone. It doesn’t mean all my body woes are gone. It doesn’t mean they all magically disappeared. It doesn’t mean I’m a size 6, or even a size 8. But man, I made some progress.
And that is good enough for me.