Saturday, September 03, 2011

Return: Feeling Good in my Skin

There were two times/seasons in life that I remember clearly feeling good about my body:

The first time was when I was an acting student in New York City. Living in NYC means not having a car and walking all over the place! The average New Yorker walks about five miles a day, so even when I wasn't hitting the gym, I was already getting a lot of exercise. Acting school included four days a week of dance class--ballet two days a week, and modern dance/yoga two days a week. Occasionally, I would work out at the gym, too. I remember going to buy a new pair of jeans and realizing that I had gone down a size. I felt pretty excited about that!

The second season of life was when I was a vegan (who ate meat/dairy once in a while). That period of life lasted about a year. My stepfather had been diagnosed with cancer, and the literature we read seemed to indicate that a vegan diet gives your body the best chance at fighting the disease. So in a move of solidarity, my mom and I committed to a vegan diet along with John. It was amazing: when I quit putting animal fat into my body, I lost a ton of 20ish pounds. It came off quickly, and I felt great! When I look back at photos of that time in my life, I love the way I trim!

I guess I'm reflecting back on these two times in my life because I'm not very comfortable in my skin today. I've gained about 20 pounds since I got married, and I'm probably about 30 pounds heavier than I was in my vegan days. It's a bummer, and I really don't know what to do about it.

What strikes me as I look back on those two seasons of life is that I was living lifestyles of consistency. In NYC, I was exercising regularly and eating 3 meals a day with virtually no snacking in between. In my vegan days, I was committed to eating a certain way and stuck with it! It's not rocket science, I know. I'm just trying to find the willpower inside to commit to a new routine, and I also want to figure out what that new routine will be. Finding a routine that works with my lifestyle of suburban wife/mom is my challenge. I'm hoping I can find within myself the ability to rise to it. Sometimes, I think I can, but other times I feel so weak.


J at said...

Such a difficult subject, yeah? I had coffee today with some friends I hadn't seen in a LONG time. Him, I saw at my brother's wedding 18 years ago, when I was probably the thinnest ever in my adult life (25 lbs ago), and the other I haven't seen since high school (20 lbs ago). Sigh. It was some small comfort that he was MUCH bigger than he was then, and she was about the same size as me. But yeah, it's hard. And you know what? There's a part of me that wonders sometimes if it's healthier for us to be a bit heavier as we get older. Not huge, but not the weight we were at 20 either. Our bones may need the extra protection, perhaps.

Anyway, yeah, so many of us living in the suburbs are trying to find this balance. The walking everywhere life of San Francisco / New York/ Europe is SO good for our health, but so impractical for any kind of life when you can't get where you need to go easily.

You understand the mysteries of eating disorders, as do I, though thankfully neither of us have suffered from them. But one thing I do know is that it's important to find a peace inside you with your life, and your body, and accept it for what it will do. Of course, we need to eat right and exercise along the way. But along the path through the 30s and 40s, our metabolisms change, and it's harder and harder to get that figure back from our 20s. It may never happen. Which, I'm sorry to say, I haven't completely internalized yet.

The Busters said...

Such a good post. I have also lately not felt so comfortable in my skin. For me, It definitely has to do with a lack of exercise. I feel like I stay busy chasing Ezra all day but it isn't the same as going to a gym and getting on a treadmill and really sweating. That endorphin rush just feels so good and is so wonderful for self esteem. I need to get back in that routine as well but you are right that finding the will power is so hard. I hope that both us can find it within ourselves to feel healthy again!!