Saturday, March 17, 2012

Body Image II

I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for me to get back to the list of topics I need to write about. 

Here's the progress I've made on my list:

  • I decided we would wait one more year and start Ella in preschool when she is three years old. (whew!)
  • 60 Minutes did an article about red-shirting kids for Kindergarten. (that's not crazy at all)
  • A former student of mine gave me a writing assignment. (how's that for success?)
  • I dropped Medicine A and two or three dress sizes, but I still haven't exercised once in 2012. (must do something about that)
  •  Being Ella's Mommy is the only job I've ever been good at AND liked so much. I've finally found my calling.
  • Body image (see bullets 3, 4, 5--more on that later)
  • 99 of 100 (what I didn't do for winter break)
  • oh, and don't forget, I made a table (see bullet 1)
Today I will address body image, again.

A former student of mine gave me a writing assignment. I'm not sure what's going to happen with it, but it got me thinking about body image and, of course, raising Ella.

Now I'm thinking about body image and my own body.

Some of you might remember my Note to my Doctors post from August 2011. For various reasons, I didn't write very many posts after that, and so I never told you about the decision we made.

I did drop Medicine A, the one that was making me fat and started having side effects like insomnia and restless legs (a condition that sounds silly until you experience the inability to lie/sit still. It was like being a kid doing the pee-pee dance all the time.). Of course, in order to drop Medicine A while also circumventing a serious relapse of depression, I had to add a little more of one medicine and a new medicine, as well.

The result has been fabulous. Very quickly, I was able to sleep again, which is an important factor in warding off depression even for people who are healthy. My legs stopped moving like crazy and I started losing weight.

Yeah. Losing weight.

Seriously. All I did was stop taking Medicine A, and suddenly the baby weight and the just-because-I'm-fat weight started melting off.

My metabolism was back!

I'm pretty sure people were envying me--I got compliments from friends and even the receptionist at an office I visit frequently. What they didn't know was that I was pretty dizzy or slightly faint a lot of the time.

Apparently, when my metabolism kicked back in, it was doing funny things with my blood sugar or something.

Fortunately, that feeling is gone now, and the weight has not come back.

I've lost two or three dress sizes and I haven't exercised a single day this year, nor have I changed my diet. (My diet isn't A Diet--I just eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it. Luckily, I rarely want to eat stuff that's really fattening or sweet, so we don't have cookies or ice cream or many other unhealthy snacks in the house. For example, we had pizza and beer for dinner last night and I had leftover pizza for lunch today. I don't do real diets.)

I'm still not back to the shape I was in when I was in my early 30s, before we moved to Redondo Beach, when we lived in Hillcrest and I was doing a yoga class sometimes twice a day and walking every morning (I had a job walking dogs). Back then I was a size zero, and I resolved that I would never gain weight ever again.

Silly me.

Any muscle tone I have is incidental to walking to the park or a friend's house now and then, doing laundry, and carrying a 25 pound kid around.

My abs are all stretched out from carrying an 8 pound 8 ounce kid around in there almost two years ago.

It's not pretty.

Like most women, I made a New Year resolution to exercise regularly in 2012. I joked that by "regularly" I meant more than once a month. I made this resolution public by writing about it in the MOMS Club of Seal Beach--Old Town newsletter that I edit. Telling people my plan was supposed to hold me accountable.

It didn't work.

Now, I am almost proud of my lack of exercise, as though it is an accomplishment. I haven't exercised for two months and 17 days! And that's just since January 1! I don't remember the last time I exercised before then, but the Race for the Cure comes to mind, and I'm pretty sure that was in late September.

Clearly I need to revise my attitude about exercise.

As I've said before, I want to be healthy for Ella. So does Justin. We're just not doing very much about it. But we will. Justin, who can't run because of the 1996 traumatic amputation of half of his left foot in the Marine Corps, ordered an exercise bike. We're going to put it in our laundry/exercise/art room. He likes riding the bike and I like doing yoga classes at the gym, but we gave up our memberships because A) there isn't a 24 Hour Fitness close enough to our house for us and B) even though the gym is open 24/7 it's hard to fit going to it into The Routine. Realistically, working out at the gym for an hour would take at least two hours, if I factored in getting ready, taking Ella to the daycare there, working out, getting Ella from the daycare into the car, and showering and getting ready for the day. Plus, I like to exercise in the morning and that doesn't really work with her schedule of activities, and then her lunch and noon nap ruin my chances of exercising in the afternoon. I plan to try an exercise class at a gym walking distance from our house that is offered frequently throughout the day. I figure, if it takes only five minutes to get there, I can commit to doing it at least twice a week when Justin is off or my mom can come over to watch Ella.

There are women in our MOMS Club that set such wonderful examples of healthy living for their children. They run daily with their kids in their jogging strollers. I've heard moms say, "As long as I can get at least three miles in a day, I'm happy." Or, "I feel so much better when I exercise." Or, "I'm so much nicer/happier when I exercise." I've gone on a walk with a mom and her daughter said, "Mommy, I want to run!" while she leaned forward in her stroller like she was trying to make a horse go faster.

I want Ella to think that way about exercise.

I want to think that way about exercise.

I did, once upon a time.

I'm going to try to get that back.


B. Wilson said...

I love this. I love how you're thinking through body image as a mother to your daughter who is no-doubt impressionable, especially in the coming years.

You're an excellent mother. :)

OakMonster said...

Jumping jacks and/or squats while waiting for the hot water helps maintain me somewhat. ;-)

I'm sure there are some mommy & me exercise videos that you can do with Ella too. Going to have to look for those so you guys can "hang out"!