My fear in all of this is that I’m the cliché. The one that will be labeled “baby weight.” And so, I suppose, I must own it: Hello. My name is Kristen and I want to drop my baby weight.
All together now: Hi, Kristen.
And, since this is a common tale, yes, the “babies” are now ages 6 and 2. No real babies in this house.
Truth be told, though, I am a healthy weight. Sorry if that is disappointing. I am not obese, not even teetering on the brink. I am blessed with long legs and height – and I run. And run. And run.
But I have body issues. As do most of us, right? I’ve battled them all my life. I remember a friend in the third grade telling me I had a fat tummy, and even at my thinnest – which was a size 2 at 5’8” – because of that third-grade observation, I still had a fat tummy.
Fast-forward a few decades, add a couple of children, a love of food and drink, a sluggish metabolism, and the truth is: I’m just out of shape. The body is loose. I don’t wear shorts – even running shorts – because my thighs look like cottage cheese. My tummy is stretch-stained from the weight I gained with daughter No. 1. I’ve worn a granny suit to the pool for the last four years. I loathe the thought of a summer vacation at the beach.
And I really don’t want to be that stereotypical female with body issues. But I am. Only now I am raising two daughters, so I need to end this. For them – and for me.
Last year, I began tackling my body issues – and setting an example for my girls – by getting back into running after a long hiatus. I accomplished some impressive running feats: an 8k, a 10-miler, 15k, half marathon and a 200-mile overnight relay race.
My girls watched me cross many of those finish lines, and my 6-year-old was so moved by what I did that she ran her first kids run – and received a third-place trophy for her efforts.
But I’m still not there. If the pool opened next week, I would need that granny suit. And I’m not comfortable with that.
I’m 38. I’m the mother of two girls. I have a successful corporate career. I’m my family’s breadwinner. I have the love of a great man and two of the most precocious and inquisitive little girls anyone could ever want. It’s a good life.
But the body image keeps bringing my down. The thing of it is: I can change that. And for as many times as I’ve started, I’m ready to tackle it this time. I want to eliminate the negatives in my life, one of which is silencing that voice from the third grade. I do not long to be a size 2 again, but I do want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to feel, at the end of the day, that I’ve pushed myself and grown at home and at work, mentally, physically, emotionally.
My goal is to drop some weight but I have no number in mind. What’s more important is that, through this project, I empower myself to feel strong again. And I want my daughters to know this strength: To feel confident. To have back-arching self-esteem. To never apologize for being good at what they do. I want to show them that, as women, you can run. You can giggle. You can cry. You can lead. You can work and play hard. And you can still find the time to better yourself. Every. Single. Day.
Here’s what I’m committing to do this year:
- Moving every day. For me, this will be in the form of running. The run can be as long as I want it to be – and I’ve run an ultra-marathon, so I’ve got it in me – but it can be no shorter than a mile. I plan to tell you what a run-a-day feels like: the good, the bad and the ugly. I suspect it won’t be pretty, but I don’t mind getting dirty. I just want to share with you that we can do it, despite the kids, the relationships, the work, the schedules and the craziness – we can better ourselves.
- Eating better.
- Relaxing more.
- Stressing less.
- Not wearing my granny suit to the pool this summer.
By the way, today I’ll run three miles. More to come on that…