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“The Toils We Put Ourselves Through!”

Posted May 27 2009 10:49pm
Three days. That’s all the time I took off from exercise, but it feels like it’s been three weeks. 60 may be the new 40, but for me, 45 is the new 80!

Combine the last five days’ tension, excitement and lack of sleep with a literal pain in ass (damn sciatica), the elliptical, arc trainer and a 19-month-old and you get one achy Grammy Lynn (emphasis on grandma).

Anyhoo….I’m not blogging today to bitch about my old body. OK, maybe a little. But really what I want to share is a follow-up email I received from a reader, Julie, who wrote a comment several months ago in a blog in which I wrote how my arm surgeon wants to fuse both of my wrists. Her question was how much weight did I lose before certain body parts stopped hurting so much. She was contemplating ankle fusion surgery and she wondered if losing weight would help ease her pain.

This follow-up email amazes me for so many reasons. First, let me share it with you:

“I've gotten myself from 311 to 256 and can tell a great difference in how the rest of me feels. Just not that ankle – stubborn joint! I'll be having joint fusion surgery in late July, and am already beginning the ‘how to maintain and/or keep losing while recuperating’ planning that will carry me into the fall.

“The decision to go ahead with the surgery was interesting. I was always afraid that I would have to choose the surgery because I was unable to lose weight. Being successful with weight loss freed me to make a decision that was based on wanting a pain free day, rather than being resigned to the option because of my failure. Same outcome – very different mindsets.

“Now, I recognize I have miles to go with a goal weight in the 180s (my 5'11" frame puts me at or near healthy BMI there). Funny, as a three-sport athlete in high school I weighed 176, and thought of myself as fat, overweight, obese, incredibly yucky. Now I know that weight was within a healthy BMI for my height and frame size. The toils we put ourselves through!”

Wow! That covers a whole lotta changed-mind/changed-attitude territory. Julie not only decided to do what she felt was best for her body based on what is best for her body and NOT what she felt was a weakness or lack, but she’s got a plan to stay at or keep losing while recuperating. Confidence will buy you a lot of open-mind real estate, my friends.

I love, too, how she can look back at her past body and realize that what she saw in the mirror and how her head interpreted that image was not what was real. She was a healthy body weight in high school, strong and agile, and yet what she saw was fat.

Julie is right. “The toils we put ourselves through!”

In her blog today, Lyn over at Escape From Obesity talked about beauty and the disease of obesity. She said, “There IS beauty in every body. But, to me, the most beautiful thing is a body... any body, even as imperfect as mine... that is as healthy as it *can* be. That's something we are all capable of: building strength and grace and health, day by day, step by step.”

That, to me, is what Julie has done – discovered her own past beauty and recognized her own strength at her weight now.

I really believe the best decisions we make about all aspects of our lives originate in how we perceive our entire selves. The more positively we view our bodies and the more we trust our innate wisdom, the better decisions we will make. Ankle fusion, wrist fusion, whatever it is we need to “fix” will be easier and recovery less difficult if we go in with a plan that is rooted in love of self and not in fear of or condemnation of self.

It’s emails like Julie’s and reading blogs like Lyn’s and Lori’s and Mara’s and Shauna’s and Debby’s and 45’s and Shelley’s and Miz’s and Vickie’s and Cranky’s and Charlie’s and everyone else’s that reconfirms for me every day that this weight-loss/weight-maintenance/fitness experience I live in day by day is more common than not, more good than bad.

Yeah, my body hurts a bit tonight. It’s getting older, doesn’t recover as quickly. But it doesn’t mean I throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is more right than wrong going on. I just have to look for it is all.

Sitting on the deck on this quasi sunny day, I’m surrounded by my beautiful garden and potted plants. The tomatoes have grown a foot! So has the basil and cilantro. The oregano is threatening to take over the daisies and mums, and the Asiatic lilies are just about to bloom. The dogs are happy, there’s a purple finch at the feeder, and my neighbor isn’t making obnoxious sounds with his power tools. There is food in the cupboards, clean clothes in the drawers and the porch is vacuumed (yes, vacuumed…gotta love Astroturf).

So I’m a little stiff? At least I can still move, right?

And when I can’t, I can trust that I’ll have a plan.

You know I couldn't leave you without a new favorite photo of my favorite granddaughter and favorite grandson. Claire loves touching her daddy's playoff beard. Go Pens! And Luca, well, some day he'll grow into his nook.
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