The Body Monologues: I Want To Be Healthy Enough to Feel Good Mentally

The Body Monologues: I Want To Be Healthy Enough to Feel Good Mentally

I may not always be the sanest person necessarily, but I am somewhat of a realist when it comes to my body, my life and the expectations in which I place upon myself. While in theory it would have been beautiful to have my little porkchop and parade home in a cute summer dress, my logical mind knew better. I mean,  I was the size of a small house prior to popping him out, and while he was a bit of a chunky monkey he certainly wasn’t 33 pounds (my total pregnancy weight gain).  I was also very aware that having recently moved back to Regina, living with family an hour outside of the city, it being summer and having a new baby around wasn’t exactly the best time to dive head first into a weight loss tunnel.

While I have no doubt in my mind I could have done it, I also know it wouldn’t have been what was best for everyone and I most certainly would not have come out sane on the other side. So I gave myself a break. We were due to move the beginning of October, and I told the husband that once we were settled then I would jump back in.  It was important for me to vocalize this to him because he would do his part and keep me accountable.

Let me make it clear, he does not care if my jeans are a size 28 or if they were a 38, but he knows it matters to me to get back into my pants, to feel good again and most importantly to be at the level of fitness I was prior to the little mans arrival. He’s the one who has to talk me off the ledge after I have a meltdown while standing inside my closet staring at all of my clothes that do not fit (and which I refused to replace or buy bigger sizes of). So one could argue that for selfish, non body related and sanity reasons he too wants to see me back into my jeans.

So October rolled around and we all got settled into a routine which included a workout one for me. Physically I am ready; for the most part I can confidently say that aside from some pretty weak lower abdomen muscles my body has, for all intent purposes, recovered. I jumped back into workouts, going 4-5 mornings a week and a couple nights a week jetting off to a water class. The weight started to fall off again much to my happiness, although not to my surprise. Common sense and history has told me that exercising regularly combined with my already fantastic eating habits would lead to a movement on the scale.

What I was not prepared for however was the mental disconnect I am struggling with lately. I have been active in some form or another for the past several years because I wanted to be doing it, not because I felt I had to. I did not have to work out if I didn’t want to, I simply made a conscious choice to do it.

Yesterday morning while feeding the littlest tyke I was flipping through the channels on the TV. I’ll admit I never do this because nothing ever appeals to me and after wasting 20 minutes channel surfing I give up, turn off the TV and crack a book instead (0nce a bookworm, always a bookworm…). But I saw a Drew Barrymore interview/special being given by Oprah, so I tuned in and caught part of it. She said something that just struck a nerve with me and made me go “YES! YES! YES!”  – internally of course, as I didn’t want to wake the sleeping (finally!) teething little person.

Oprah asked her how she felt about all the pressure to lose baby weight, to share your diet and workouts and what her goals were. Drew replied, I want to be healthy enough to feel good mentally. Sometimes for me, like my ultimate favorite body quote by Kelly Osbourne (in case you don’t click the link, I have to share it. Years ago she said “I Don’t want to be the prettiest girl in the world, I just want to like myself”.), I hear someone say something and it sticks like glue in my brain. This simple sentence in a string of many others just stood out. It’s almost like her thoughts resonate so deeply with my own they give me a calm as though  I said it myself.

Yesterday I came home from the gym very down and discouraged. For the first time that I can ever recall I had already checked out by the time I got there. I walked towards the row machines, completed my time and proceeded to do a chest and back workout. Yes, physically I powered through my workout and made the most of my time there. But the truth is my want wasn’t in it. I was there because I felt a need to be there. Generally this would not bother me – we all have off days, and  I would have came home, told the husband my workout was shitty and carried on about my life returning tomorrow for a bette workout. Except the truth is that feeling the need instead of the want has become a norm these past couple weeks.

So while I was verbalizing my struggles and more or less talking through it to myself while the husband listened I kept expecting a light bulb moment. A moment where it all makes sense and the answer to my problems suddenly appears. However, this was not the case. What did happen was a single comment was made. The husband stopped making his lunch, looked at me and said, “Don’t go. If you’re not into it, don’t do it. Find something else”. Just like that; a simple answer.

And I knew what he meant. He did not mean take up residence on the sofa and give up; he meant to give myself a break. Allow myself to breath without feeling that I need to go.  If it means taking a break from the physical building of a gym then do it. I am the first one to admit and to tell people that the gym is not for everyone, I just happened to be a person who enjoyed being there. Or perhaps it’s simply a change of pace – instead of weight workouts to spend more time doing yoga, pilates,  and swimming – 3 things that always make me feel calm and mentally sound.

And what it comes down to is that physically I am healthy, still a little over weight in terms of where I prefer to be, but overall still physically healthy. But mentally I am not. Mentally I feel unhealthy, too chunky  and feel terrible about my physical body. This feeling is not in a body issue way, because I do enjoy my body still, but perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that prior to becoming pregnant I was physically and mentally in awesome condition, so I struggle with comparing my now to my then and in turn it makes me feel unhealthy.  This is a new feeling for me, one I haven’t felt in many, many years and to be completely honest I’m not quite sure what to do with it. I know ignoring the physical aspect of my being is not an option; nor is becoming a couch potato. I know that the only way to get  my mental and physical selves on the same page is to work them both.

I suppose the first step is recognizing what the issue is, and today, thanks to one lovely Ms. Drew Barrymore, I can say it’s clicked. I realize now that I need to find a happy medium that will mentally help get me where I want to be physically, and in turn hopefully will mentally make me feel a little more like myself. And possibly help me get my want back.


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