When you don’t have to choose your Lenten sacrifice

I know everyone, or at least a lot of my most loyal remnant who have managed to stick around to read my sporadic ramblings here on this sorely-neglected blog, are probably sick of my whining about my running injury, but I need some catharsis today. Feel free to click away from here if you’re over me and my hamstring, but there is a bigger point to all this brooding.

So a few weeks ago I was finally given the green light to ease back into running. I was told to use pain as my guide, to go slowly, to not run on consecutive days, to stick to flat routes, and to be patient with myself. I followed most of this advice fairly well. Perhaps I grew a little enthusiastic during a couple of runs and ran at a faster clip than was prudent, but it wasn’t like I was sprinting or anything. What’s more is I had absolutely no pain while running. I assumed this was a very good sign.

Well, you know what they say about the word “assume” – it makes an #@! out of you (“u”) and me.

One Monday morning I woke up after taking a complete day off of any exercise on Sunday (I always incorporate one day of full rest into my week now), and my left hamstring/thigh/bum area, or what one runner who suffered a similar injury aptly referred to as her “thutt,” was aching a bit. I thought it was a little strange, especially since I had been a lazy bum the day before, but I wasn’t overly concerned. Maybe I was just stiff from inactivity? I continued to religiously perform my rehab exercises and to not push myself too long or too hard. I’d told my running pals I hoped to be back running with them in the mornings in March.

Yet, here we are in the first week of March, and I’m faced with the grim reality that I won’t be returning to my morning runs yet. My “thutt” is nagging at me and telling me it’s not ready for running, or maybe it was the spinning class I took. I don’t know. That’s what is so weird about this injury. I can’t figure out a correlation between what I do (or don’t do) and the pain. I mean, running a half marathon hurt it, but that’s to be expected, especially since my hamstring was actually fraying at that point. Now that I’m on the mend, I can’t tell what’s aggravating it because it doesn’t usually hurt when I’m active. It’s later when I notice the pangs. It once again hurts to just sit, so I have to bring ice to the carpool lane. Yesterday I had to sprint after a defiant toddler, and I felt a sharp twinge in the area.

I am sad, angry, and frustrated, but I’m not entirely surprised. When I first received my icky MRI results, I voraciously (obsessively) read everything I could about high hamstring tendinopathy. My husband also consulted an orthopedic surgeon friend of his, and I’ll never forget what he said. “This is a frustrating and very difficult injury to overcome. I worked with one athlete who went to physical therapy five days a week. He healed after three months but then immediately re-injured the hamstring upon returning to his sport.” Fabulous. Like I have time for daily physical therapy sessions. I’m not an Olympic athlete. I just want to run for fitness and compete in a few races a year. Is that too much to ask?

I read myriad forum posts with titles like “hopeless hamstring tendinopathy” and “high hamstring tendinopathy – does it ever heal?” These created further warm and fuzzy feelings in me. Not. I read about a woman who had been fighting the injury for six years, and I selfishly prayed I would be spared the same kind of perpetual anguish. To be fair, I also discovered some hopeful stories. There were runners who had overcome the injury, but all of their paths to healing were different. Some actually ran through the injury just at a slower pace. Others quit running completely for months. Some received all sorts of injections and massages. Some simply focused on eccentric exercises. But they got better.

When I had my follow-up MRI, I was thrilled because my body had healed tremendously. The partial tear looked great and so did all of the other injuries my first MRI had revealed. I had some minor residual tendinopathy, but nothing major. Woo-hoo! I was so confident I’d be back to running at my former level in no time. I even looked up upcoming races and decided training for a 10K in May would be perfect. Pride can be blinding. So, yes, I am understandably confused how the “minor” findings could lead me to feel like this. One running step forward and two big, hobbling steps back.

Ah, but it’s just running. I recall reading someone “tsk, tsking” an injured runner on a forum reminding her that she didn’t have cancer. True. We need to focus on our blessings and follow Hungry Runner Girl’s wise advice and to stay positive and hopeful. She also writes about how one of the most difficult things about being injured is feeling like you’re not in control. This totally resonates with me.

She writes,

I think one of the hardest parts about being injured is the lack of control that comes along with an injury. One thing that I love about running is that I can control it (especially when there are so many things in my life that I have no control over). When I run I can control my speed, distance, effort level etc. etc. etc. I go into a workout knowing what I am going to do and then I do it. No questions asked.

I think injuries are frustrating because you really just have to let go of any and all control and just let your body do its thing on its own time. You may think you are healed and that you are ready to run and then wake up the next day hurting again (not that this is happening to me right now but it has many times with past injuries). You have no control over how long it is until you are back in the game, what races you are going to miss out on or how long it will take to build your endurance back up.

What I am trying to learn during this time —> to let go of the things that are out of my control and just go with the flow.

I need to just not worry about it because: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

I love that: If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

It’s not the end. My “thutt” doesn’t have final say. So take that.

I know I have control issues. A desire to be in control has led me to deny myself of food (I can’t control my circumstances, but I can control what I eat or don’t eat and the number on the scale), to get all OCD about my mothering, to fear a new, unexpected pregnancy and then to get angry when that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, to sweat the small stuff, and to let life’s little but constant messes and curve balls cause me to just about unravel.

I also know that because of these very control issues of mine I have been given some pretty uncontrollable circumstances: Pregnancy bedrest after premature labor during one pregnancy and premature dilation in three out of four pregnancies. Miscarriages. A mom with a debilitating sickness that can’t really be cured. Addiction in my family while growing up. Feisty, spicy children who posses unrelenting tenacity. A husband whom I adore and love but who hasn’t converted to my faith like I thought he would and like he once thought he would. And now a recalcitrant running injury that is keeping me off the road and demanding that I rest, wait, be patient, be hopeful, trust the medical establishment, and relinquish control.

People sometimes ask me about natural labor and why I actually chose to do it four times. Because I am a martyr at heart and fall for any excuse for self-flagellation, and hair shirts aren’t really in style anymore. I jest. Seriously, there are many reasons, but one major impetus for me was that I wanted to be in control. I was more afraid of not being in control than of feeling the pain. I didn’t want an epidural to numb me or pitocin to speed things up. I wanted to know when to push. I wanted to feel everything, not because I am fiercely tough, impervious to pain, or a glutton for punishment, but simply because I was afraid that giving up some of the pain meant I’d have to give up some of the control, too. (I also happen to be in love with endorphins, which makes the not running thing even more difficult.) I refused to have IVs, to be tied down to a hospital bed. I wanted to be in charge. But despite having beautiful births with little medical intervention, I was never in charge. I did my part, sure. I listened to my body, accepted the pain, and worked hard, but the babies came on their own terms. Life is like those precious babies: Full of surprises, something we try to control, plan, and apply our own timetable to. But that’s not the way labor – or life – works.

So here I am on the verge of another Lenten season with my sore “thutt.” I am making my Lenten resolutions with the girls, and I plan to do more than just give up things this year. After all, I am having to continue to give up running – and control – whether I want to or not. Yes, it’s just running. But there’s a bigger lesson here. All the anxiety I have suffered, my control freak ways, all the doubts and the intense hunger for affirmation – all of these hinge upon me fearing more than trusting.

I don’t really have to choose one of my Lenten sacrifices this year. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the lesson here doesn’t lie in the choosing but in the accepting instead.

 

If you love your body and yourself and have never been on a diet or a juice cleanse, then this post probably isn’t for you

February is winding down, so that means that a whole bunch of people are either pumping their fists in triumph for making progress on their New Year’s Resolutions or slumping in despair. Now I’m well aware plenty of people make resolutions that don’t have anything to do with their weight or how healthy they’re eating, but I’m going to focus on all those people who set goals related to the scale or their diet.

Unfortunately, this chart is a fairly accurate representation of many individual’s gym habits:

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I went on a walk recently with a very fit friend who is in on the wellness committee at her place of work. The committee scheduled an Insanity sweat session during work hours, and she decided to pop in to squeeze in a workout as well as to show her support. Several women commented on how they were on day 20 or whatever of being insane (i.e., doing the Insanity workout) and were getting closer to completing the program. While this was admirable, my friend and I both wondered if “being insane” for a defined amount of time translated into making of real, lasting lifestyle changes. So many people decide to do a 30 Day Shred If you love your body and yourself and have never been on a diet or a juice cleanse, then this post probably isnt for you or a three-day juice cleanse as a means to an end – the end being weight loss, improved fitness, and/or better nutrition. But what happens when the 30 days are over or when you’ve cleared your inner plumbing for three days and it’s time to return to eating solid food again? Have you really changed your relationship with food and/or your body? Or are you going to revert to your old ways because no one can sustain on juice day after day or do the same workout without growing bored or hitting a plateau.

I had a friend recently ask me if I’ve ever done a juice cleanse. She was feeling icky after the holiday binge fest and was just curious about my thoughts. I told her juice cleanses or any kind of detox program just wasn’t for me. I know people who benefit from them, but to me there’s an easier, healthier and not to mention less expensive way. Many cleanses cost close to 200 bucks for a three-day supply. If you’ve noshed on too many candy conversation hearts leading up to Valentine’s Day, then just eat more spinach or other fresh, healthy food for a week or so. If you want to get fit, find an exercise you love and stick with it, but don’t be afraid to mix things up either. Don’t do anything that will make you hangry (hunger-induced anger). Know that dieting or even extreme exercising has the potential to lower your metabolic rate and can lead to weight gain and an increased set point weight in the long run.

Eat healthy, but no need to become an obsessive organic or strict Paleo. Make exercise a part of your daily life – not just a month-long duty.

There’s no instant gratification when it comes to real, lasting weight loss or health changes. Quick fixes don’t last. If you feel like you’ve been “good” all week on your diet, it might be tempting to reward yourself with cookie. As long as you’re perpetually on a diet, you can always reward yourself, right? But how about rewarding yourself now by choosing to make healthy choices? Don’t think you should put the fork down because you’re getting full; just choose to do it because you know that this is not the last supper for you. You will eat again. If you’re reading this on a glowing rectangle, then the risk of famine is pretty slim.

Don’t fall in to the trap of bartering with yourself either. If I eat only salad today or if I successfully complete a juice cleanse, then I can bake cookies and eat spoonfuls of the gooey dough tomorrow. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with eating some junk now and then, especially if you eat healthy the majority of the time.

Your “reward” for eating a salad is a more balanced diet, hopefully better health, more energy, and even deliciousness, too. A salad can be tasty. I am in love with this dressing right now. I toss a salad of baby kale or spinach (or a blend of both), add some chickpeas for protein, and a little extra feta and then add the dressing. Yum!

So many of us fall into the trap of extreme deprivation because we want to meet goals that have more to do with being skinny than being healthy. I knew a lovely, young woman who worked very hard to be a fit bride. Well, the morning after her wedding, she filled her plate with cake for breakfast. “It feels so good to eat again!” she announced gleefully. Her father, a man who exercised and ate well all of the time, sighed and whispered to me that he wished that she would just take care of herself because that’s what she deserved. She was so beautiful at any size; it wasn’t about the cake. In fact, you can have your cake and eat it too, even if you’re a bride-to-be. It’s better to eat cake occasionally than swear it off completely for several months only to binge again when you meet some self-imposed goal (be thinner on your wedding day; look good at your reunion; drop the baby weight quickly; slim down before your beach vacation).

Why not start a weight training program or eat a few less sweets because you want to live a long, happy life with your beloved not because you just want to look good on your wedding day and then revert to unhealthy eating habits as soon as you say, “I do!”?

I hate to see so many people suffering right now, berating themselves for failing to meet their Holy Grail of weight loss goals yet another year. It’s only February, people. There’s plenty of time to make changes, but it will take time. It will take patience with yourself. It will take do-overs. Decide this very moment to take baby steps in the right direction toward health and wholeness – not because this will make you a better person or more lovable but because you love yourself enough to care for your body. There’s no need to go all hangry on me, to deny yourself of the pleasures of eating real, delicious food. I used to restrict my calories or make myself throw-up as a penance to make up for my unworthiness. My anorexia, bulimia, and obsession with food ultimately hinged upon a lack of self-love.

We need to make changes and goals of out of love, not out of fear. We can’t decide to diet because we think that if we stay at our miserable weight, no one will love us or we won’t be successful or a good person. Your weight does not make you good or bad. We can’t decide to exercise as way of atonement to make up for what we ate or who we are. Who we are is not what we do or how much we weigh or how we look.

Learn to eat as a non-dieter. Five carrot sticks for a snack is for a dieter. Ten carrot sticks dipped in a healthy serving of hummus is the snack of  a non-dieter. Exercise as someone who loves her body rather than someone who is just trying to change her shape. Your shape will change if you continue to exercise, but if you treat fitness like boot camp and just want to push through a few hard weeks of sweating and grunting, you won’t learn to love the way being active makes you feel.

I’ll stop my sermonizing now. I don’t have all the answers. I do have plenty of days where I still struggle to love my body and to eat the right foods and to not turn running into yet another way to see how I measure up against the world. But I’m working on it. Every day I am working on it and trying to remember that my past missteps do not rob me of the hope of future success, happiness, and peace.

We are all cracked temples. We’re desperately afraid of showing our brokenness. We turn to food, our appearance, and our weight and other things too like success or drugs and alcohol as scapegoats for all that we fear and despise about ourselves. Or we use them excuses to be miserable. I drink alcohol because my life sucks. I fill myself with food because I feel so empty. The worse we feel about ourselves or our lives, the more reason (we think) we have to despair and continue down a path of self-destruction.

We feel like failures when we don’t do very well with our resolutions. Alternatively, we feel like sovereign rulers when we do meet our goals. Our body image, our weight, and food become a black hole and suck the life out of us. But once we accept that we aren’t perfect and never will be and that our worth doesn’t hinge upon perfection, we can move forward. A juice cleanse isn’t a form of detox. You may sit on the toilet more than usual. You may drop a few pounds. But it’s not going to get rid of what’s really bothering you at your core. A 30-day workout plan isn’t going to transform you. It may give your more muscles and give you a temporary high, but it’s not going to reshape that aching heart of yours. Start on the inside first. Accept yourself and your brokenness because it’s only in those fractures that the light within us can be revealed.

All the New Year’s resolution headlines seem to revolve around making a better you. Maybe you could benefit from eating more produce and less fried food. Maybe life would be better if you had more energy because you started exercising and sleeping more. But you don’t need to be better. You’re fine just the way you are and until you start believing it, it’s going to be very tough to make long-lasting, real changes.

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Scale Sickness

As my regular readers know, I’ve gotten back into running after a long hiatus. It’s been about year now since I’ve been running regularly again, and it feels great. I feel strong, and I see a marked improvement in my levels of anxiety on the mornings I roll out of my bed for an early run. I’m also in great health as my medical numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels indicate. But there’s one area I’ve felt a little bummed about. I weigh 10 pounds more now than I did when I wasn’t running. I’d never lost the last seven pounds from baby number four and since running again as well as getting back in to a more regular strength training routine, I’ve gained an additional three pounds. Some of the weight gain can be attributed to increased muscle mass. I’m still able to fit into my old jeans. If I’d put on 10 pounds of fat, this wouldn’t be possible. I know I am blessed with an athletic yet somewhat curvy figure and probably should just shut up about the weight gain; yet, I also don’t want to fall in to the trap of gaining a few pounds every year so that one day I wake up and find myself at an unhealthy weight.

I get frustrated some days because I feel like I don’t look like a runner. I run almost every day. I’ll have completed three half marathons before the year is over, but I look at my soft upper body and I get frustrated. Why don’t I look leaner? There are days (weeks, sometimes) when I could have skipped eating the brownie or drinking the extra glass of wine, but there are plenty of days when I eat a clean, wholesome diet. Get your five fruits and veggies a day? I typically get that in one breakfast smoothie. I feel good about my diet and my running, but then I step on the scale. And this is when I really feel like I don’t look like a runner – whatever that means anyway – because the number isn’t going down. Sometimes it goes up.

For months the number really hasn’t budged. Shortly after my first half marathon, I gained about three pounds, but now it stays put whether I eat that cookie or not. Intellectually, I know that I am close to my set point weight – that is a healthy weight my body keeps returning to even if it’s not my “happy weight.” I weigh about two pounds more than when I got married (ironically, that was also a time I ran more. Perhaps my body needs this extra weight when I’m covering greater distances.). I got married after about two years of recovery from my eating disorder. I was told my body would naturally gravitate to a healthy weight for me if I listened to my internal hunger cues and exercised in a balanced manner. I did seem to arrive at a fairly stable weight. But in between pregnancies, something surprising happened. I dropped below what I thought had been my set point weight. I dropped to about ten pounds less than the weight I’d been when I had gotten married and had maintained that weight for several years when I wasn’t pregnant. Maybe it was all the nursing. I don’t know. But I wasn’t doing anything unhealthy or extreme and although I’ve always been active, I exercised far less then than I do now.

During my pregnancies, I typically avoided the scale. My midwife would just tell me how I was doing weight-wise. She was laid-back about weight gain and also very sensitive to my history and just encouraged her patients to eat well for themselves and their growing babies. Since I was so sick during two out of four pregnancies, she ended up being more concerned with me gaining enough weight than ballooning out of control. After I’d have a baby, I’d step on the scale just to gauge where I was at. I might weigh myself once a week, twice a week at the most. If I’d gained a pound or so, it didn’t really affect me. Overall, I felt good about my weight, how I looked, and most importantly, how I felt. My body image was healthy. This is around the time I thought I might want to write  a book to help women who struggled with eating disorders, body image, or food issues. Perhaps I was more qualified to write a book on body image then than I am now, but I’ve realized just recently that I still have some work ahead of me in terms of making peace with my body, food, and the scale.

Back in my eating disordered days, I weighed myself several times each day. The number on the scale determined my mood and how much I was going to enjoy my day.  A low number was like a narcotic hit of delight; it made me feel strong and it almost guaranteed a happier day. I felt like I was a better person somehow. A higher number brought me way, way down. Because weight gain was necessary for me to reclaim my health and because the number on the scale had so much power over me, experts during my recovery process initially told me to stop weighing myself. I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to be thin, so I got rid of my scale. It was scary not knowing the number at first, but it was liberating, too. I could focus on health and eating more mindfully. I was not worried about how my day might turn out if I discovered I had gained a few pounds.

Later on when I reached a more healthful place, a new counselor told me it was okay and possibly even beneficial to occasionally weigh myself providing it did not morph back into a barometer of my self-worth. Eventually, I started stepping back on the scale without trepidation, and I thought I was cured from both a clinical eating disorder and scale sickness. The number would register, and it did not weigh me down (pun intended) with misguided feelings even if I’d gained some weight. I honestly felt I could keep tabs on my weight like any reasonable, health-conscious person could.

But, more recently, the scale has had far too much control over my emotions.

Not too long ago, I logged in a seven mile run in intense humidity. I came home all pumped about how I felt and how I was able to sprint the last mile or so. I was also convinced that all my hard effort surely would have some payoff. Then I stepped on the scale. And with surprising alacrity, I was asking myself, “What’s wrong with me?” (Because I hadn’t lost anything since the last time I weighed myself and had actually gained a pound.) Then I started to cry. It was still early, so none of my kids were up, but I looked at myself in the mirror, sweaty and tear-streaked, and I was angry. What kind of example was I setting? What if my girls saw me come in after a long, healthy run and step on the scale and then start to cry?  Nothing was wrong with me except that I was giving a little number – and my weight is not a big number that puts my health at risk – far too much power in my life. My exercise is paying off – intrinsically. I don’t need the “reward” of weighing less to keep me lacing up running shoes. It’s just like my kids don’t need library reading programs to get them inserting their noses into books. The reading – the losing yourself in the story – is the best reward of all. A temporary tattoo or cheap pencil is nice, but it’s not what motivates my kids to read. The enjoyment of a good book is enough. So is the enjoyment of exercise and the health benefits that cannot be measured on the scale.

After my pep talk, I had to make a difficult decision. I had to decide to not give that number on the scale power over my life or how I saw myself as a person. In order to do that, I needed to banish the scale from my life once more. Maybe I’ll never make a date with it again. I had a doctor’s appointment recently since deciding I was done with the scale for awhile.  I told the nurse I did not want to know my weight. She told me to close my eyes once I stepped on the scale. I did. My palms were sweaty. I was anxious, wondering what number the scale had registered. Was it a good day? Yes, it was but not because I weighed a “good” amount. Ultimately, I was at peace with not knowing how much I weighed. Later the doctor made a reference to how little I was. It surprised me. It often does. But it made me realize that that funny mirror in my head is still not completely shattered. It still twists and distorts the way I see myself. I’d put too much stock in how much I weigh. How could people see me as little if I weighed such and such?

And perhaps more important questions to ponder are: Why does being seen as little make me feel better about myself? Does my size have to do with the kind of person I am? I see all my friends – some who are smaller than I am and others who are not – as being beautiful, powerful, amazing women? Why do I cut myself short? Where does my treasure lie? In the number on the scale? In my clothing size? In the circumference of my wrists and ankles?

I feel like a fraud admitting any of this. I get paid to give speeches to encourage women to free themselves from an obsession with weight or appearance, and here I am fighting the demons I thought I’d defeated long ago. My husband has said I still – despite my hard work toward healing and my dedication to encouraging other women to reclaim the beauty of creation – don’t always have a realistic or particularly kind perception of myself. I’m trying to change all that. I am trying to see myself as others see me and as I see others.  Please forgive me for writing a book on being “weightless” when I’m not quite there yet. I thought I was, but I’ve had some recent setbacks. I could lie and hide all of this, but then I’d probably feel like an even bigger fraud and a hypocrite. The good news is not weighing myself is helping me to let go and to love myself.

I do get angry with myself sometimes because I wonder why the scale can’t just be a helpful tool in my life for monitoring my health.  After all, I read all the time that people who maintain healthy weights for the long haul regularly step on the scale. They keep tabs on how much they weigh. If the scale inches upward, they stop eating dessert or skip seconds. In fact, one of the women I run with frequents the scale for this very reason, but the number for her provides information. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not an indictment of her character. When she’s gained a few pounds, she says she passes by the all-you-can-eat buffet. She doesn’t start to cry. When she loses a few pounds, she chalks it up to the extra miles she’s logged in. She doesn’t pump her fist in the air and feel like an invincible and awesome rockstar. She does not suffer from scale sickness. I do.

Will I ever be able to step on the scale, see my weight, and have it register only a number without conjuring up any emotion? Maybe. I truly thought I was at a healthy place a few years ago when I was weighing myself regularly again, but I wonder if that’s because I was simply happier with the number I saw then than the number I started seeing more recently.

A daily glass of red wine is purported to be good for your health, but an alcoholic isn’t going to be able to take even one sip without some terrible risks. Many people use regular weigh-ins to maintain a healthy weight but if you’ve suffered from an eating disorder or if you’ve ever allowed the number on the scale to determine how you feel about yourself (even when the number is in a healthy range) like I have, then maybe we ought avoid the scale for awhile and not fixate on a number but instead focus on eating mindfully and pushing our bodies physically without punishing them. I also can’t fool myself to thinking that just because I once could step on the scale and not unravel that it meant I did not suffer from scale sickness. I remember writing a story about a recovered alcoholic who told me it took years to admit he had a problem because he could sometimes go to a party and have a drink or two and not let it turn him into a monster or have an impact on his life. But he knew he was just rationalizing and in denial that he had a problem because he would inevitably end up drinking too much, do something stupid, and his screwups just gave him an excuse to drink more. It’s not a perfect parallel. After all, part of my sickness has to do with food, and I can’t shun food from life. I need it live and have to figure out how to eat in a balanced manner. But the scale is not just some flat square I can step upon; it’s a slippery slope that can trip me and leave me wheeling for control, sad, angry, and with the temptation to do something stupid or unhealthy.

There may come a time in the future when I can step on the scale, see a number – even a, gasp,  higher number – and not let it provoke any sort of feeling in me whatsoever. But I’m not at that point now. I know that for now, and I need to accept my limitations and be aware of my tendency to get all obsessive-compulsive about external measures such as my weight.

I am more than a number. (You are, too.)

My body is strong. Yet, I’d started to obsess about the number on the scale to the point that I was blind to my strength. My moods were becoming mercurial and at the whim of the scale. A number I’d arbitrarily decided was too high (even though in reality I weighed just two pounds more than I did 11 years ago when I got married and also ran marathons) tempted me to ignore the rumblings of my stomach, and to deny a strong body that just ran almost ten miles of the fuel it desperately needed. I will not fall into that trap of self-denial again. I will not allow the number on the scale to jeer at me. I will keep running. I will keep doing push-ups, not because the exercise makes me look like a chiseled goddess or makes the number on the scale decrease, but because it makes me feel good physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. I will fuel my body with green smoothies, quinoa, lean meat, cheese, Greek yogurt, good wine, and the occasional delicious treat or cocktail (my husband makes the best mixed drinks).

I will respect my body and love it for what it can do – how it moves, how it covers long distances, how it carries heavy toddlers and nurses little ones, how it has blessed me with four natural childbirths, how it takes me where I need to go, and how it allows me to fulfill my vocation as a wife and a mother. I won’t worry about whether I look like a runner or whether I resemble my thinner self because I know that I am runner simply because I run. I am healthy because my doctor, my pace, my husband, and my more reasonable inner voice say so.

I will accept that I am still very much a work in progress. I am healing, but I am not whole yet. I still suffer from scale sickness, and so I’ll stop weighing myself and start loving myself, extra ten pounds and all.

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