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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Between Health and Weight

my favorite shoes, brand spankin' new

Sweat beads on my forehead, the whir of the treadmill belt muffled by The Black Eyed Peas pulsing in my ears. I’m finally getting accustomed to the monotony of my indoor runs.  I use the time to get lost in my music and my thoughts; my eyes slightly glazed as they focus on the glowing yellow streetlights, halos in the sky through the condensation on the wall of windows.

My runs have been more sporadic than I’d like, mornings thwarted by sick kids interrupting sleep, coaxed back to bed with glasses of water and smoothed brows and curling up in our bed when nothing else works.

My legs tire more quickly than they should, growing heavy as my eyes are drawn again and again to the numbers on the display. Three miles feels longer than three miles. Still, running is one of my safe places, something that makes me feel strong and sure, even when I realistically look at my abilities and know I may never meet some of my secret goals.

I leave my running shoes by the back door so my kids grow up knowing that part of my life, seeing the routine modeled the same way we brush our teeth or read books before bed. I envision myself at seventy, standing around at the beginning of a race, people thinking I am there to cheer on my grandchildren until they see the numbers pinned to my chest.

But there’s another reason I run, a reason I don’t mention to Abbey when we talk about my new running shoes. A reason that’s been sitting in the forefront of my mind since the beginning of the year.

Running burns calories, and calories and I are having an intimate relationship, carefully chaperoned by my new drill sergeant, My Fitness Pal.

I’ve hired (by that I mean signed up for free) My Fitness Pal to help me track my calorie intake. 

I truly wish I could say I’m tracking those calories for my health or to set an example of healthy, clean eating for my family.

I'm not.

I cringe when I see my calorie logs some days, particularly on the days when I am under or at my calorie limit but my morning is filled with French Vanilla Creamer instead of a nutritious breakfast.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, though it may not seem like a dramatic confession.

One of the things I desperately want for Abbey is for her to grow up with a respect for good health and a safe and healthy body image, because I know how difficult it is to struggle with weight.

Punching numbers into a computer or my phone and mentally trading out meal calories for an extra cup of coffee with creamer for the sole reason of dropping a jean size isn’t the example I want to set for her.

Teetering between weight loss and a healthy example, I’m trying to find my balance.

And it’s so much more difficult than I expected it to be.

as always, thanks to Shell for inviting us to pour out our hearts







Labels:

34 Comments:

  • At January 25, 2012 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous Vinobaby said...

    I applaud you for trying to instill a healthy body image in your daughter. It is so important, and can save her from the struggles so many of us have had to endure. Around here, both my husband and I try to work out on a regular basis, and we stress to our son it is not because we want to be "skinny," but because we want to be healthy, to live long, productive lives.

    Congrats to you for getting on that treadmill each time. It is challenging, but to worth it.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 7:54 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    That is what I want to instill, absolutely.  I think my exercise habits DO show that, but I worry about the subtle things I do about food that might be sinking in without my knowledge.  We never talk about weight/losing weight/etc. but they are just so observant :(

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 9:41 AM , Anonymous Liz said...

    It's really hard to work in a solid, regular work out schedule with kids. I know that I've tried a bajillion different approaches. 

    And I'm like you with the treadmill. It's boring and hard to stay motivated to keep on it vs. running outside.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 9:53 AM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    It is so hard. 

    I want to be healthy and set that example for my kids, but another part of me just wants to drop a jeans size. 

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    I know how you feel. Being healthy and losing that weight just to be a smaller size is a huge challenge that we all face and it's made more difficult when we have kids. And then to have one or more of those kids be girls just adds to the problem.
    I think that you're doing a good job though!

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous Emmy said...

    It is tricky and a fine line. As yes it is so important to teach them to be healthy but we also want them to love who they are. But I bet you are doing a great job and just setting the right example.

    By the way when are you going to draw the winner for the book? :)

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous Jen @ Dear Mommy Brain said...

    What starts out as just a desire to lose weight can evolve into a healthier lifestyle.  I use My Fitness Pal to track calories on occasion, but what I've found is it's a better tool for getting a general idea of what your intake/output is.  Once you get into a rhythm, you don't need to micromanage your calories and that's when you end up being at YOUR healthiest weight.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    My biggest worry is finding the balance between a "healthy" weight and the weight I want to be :)

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    The winner is drawn and will post on Friday :)

    I don't know.  I think I WAS setting a decent example.  Wanting to lose weight doesn't bring out the best habits for me.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:52 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes!  And thanks Jackie; it's a constant struggle for me, because I am not a "do as I say, not as I do" person.  I want her to see me as someone healthy and not just someone wishing to always be a little lighter, a little taller, a little MORE :)

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes.  That exactly. 

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Giggle.  Yes.  A bajillion different approaches.  Just when I have it figured out...boom! monkey wrench :)

    Music helps.  Or HGTV with closed captioning & music at the same time ;)

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 2:07 PM , Anonymous What She Said said...

    I think it's so important to teach our daughters about healthy body image. I feel like our generation was the first one to really have this insanely unrealistic and unhealthy image of what a woman should look like crammed down our throats, and the disturbing physical and emotional results are all around us these days. And yet our society and culture and media continue to promote such images. So, I think that our generation, as mothers, will focus more on what is a true healthy body image more than our own mothers did - and that's a good thing. So, good for you - you're teaching Abbey to have a love and respect for exercise for all the right reasons. 

    Also? You make me want to start running again. I loved the aspects of it you mentioned - the getting lost in my thoughts and the music. I have a whole playlist dedicated to running. I need to use it more often. 

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM , Anonymous What She Said said...

    It really is! I'm struggling with this right now - and have ever since my daughter was born. Reassuring to see I'm not the only one. 

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 7:36 PM , Anonymous jessica said...

    This is such a great post Angela and an important topic. I have always struggled with my body image and do not want my girls to go through the same but, being girls, I know they will. I want them to start out with more confidence than I had in myself and not battle with food as I always have. So hard to be a good example when we can't make peace with ourselves.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM , Blogger Andrea (ace1028) said...

    Oh man. You hit me hard just now. I among own road to healthy ways and yet I am using my phone and doing the same freaking thing. I do not want to. I know what I learned from my own mom. I know what I worry about. Man, that was intensely real, thank you for sharing. It is such a place to be, this rock and hard place, isn't it? I wish you success and a smooth road paved with healthy intentions. I am right there with you, beside you, cheering you on!

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 9:51 PM , Anonymous Kristin & Megan said...

    I totally understand your struggle. If this little bean is a girl, I don't want her to obsess over the scale like I did!

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:32 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I know.  It is one of the hardest things to think about for her in the future.  It's a hard concept for me to wrap my head around.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:34 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I know.  It is one of the hardest things to think about for her in the future.  It's a hard concept for me to wrap my head around.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's such a tough thing for me, because I want her to love her body in ways I never did, to see it as powerful and not something to be ashamed of, no matter how it looks.  I never felt like that, and 90% of the time still don't feel like that.  I hope so much that I can be so conscious of it for her and try to do everything I can to help her develop a healthy sense of herself.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's such a tough thing for me, because I want her to love her body in ways I never did, to see it as powerful and not something to be ashamed of, no matter how it looks.  I never felt like that, and 90% of the time still don't feel like that.  I hope so much that I can be so conscious of it for her and try to do everything I can to help her develop a healthy sense of herself.

     
  • At January 25, 2012 at 11:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's such a tough thing for me, because I want her to love her body in ways I never did, to see it as powerful and not something to be ashamed of, no matter how it looks.  I never felt like that, and 90% of the time still don't feel like that.  I hope so much that I can be so conscious of it for her and try to do everything I can to help her develop a healthy sense of herself.

     
  • At January 26, 2012 at 10:24 AM , Anonymous Kir said...

    Well I am the mom of boys, but the aunt to teenage girls who are all beautiful and skinny. Plus even being friends with girls like You and others who are skinnier and smaller than me can be a bit intimidating most days...
    but for my sons, I want them to know that women of all shapes and sizes can be interesting exciting people. I don't want to be the "fattest mom" of thier friends moms but I also don't want to sacrifice myself for it. I wan them to know that me being a size 12 doesn't define me , it's what is inside and it always will be. I think that Abbey just watching you being YOU is more than enough motivation and example of what a fantastic woman you are. The healthy ideas and ways to look at our weight and ourselves are just icing on that.

    Abbey is never going to get a better "Example" than you. xo

     
  • At January 26, 2012 at 3:09 PM , Anonymous Julie Gardner said...

    Does either "running" or "sitting on the couch" qualify as a bajillion different approaches?

    Because I've got those covered.

    (And I hear you on the balance-thing, Angela. It is So. Very. Hard.)

     
  • At January 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM , Anonymous J. Bruno said...

    This is such a difficult balance.  My cousin was just talking to me about this the other day.  She has a daughter who is a bottomless pit.  She's 4, so it's not a huge deal, but it's so hard to define these boundaries at any age.

     
  • At January 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM , Anonymous Lady Jennie said...

    This rings true with me, that's for sure.  I've started by walking - taking it slow.

     
  • At January 28, 2012 at 12:26 AM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

    Such a great post. I struggle with my body image and I don't want to push that off onto my kids. Right now I only have boys, but I know that they can be aware of those things too. I also don't want to lead them into thinking that only skinny girls are worthy. I'm trying my best, but at the same time it's so hard to be a positive role model when we're struggling with ourselves.

     
  • At January 29, 2012 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes; it's hard, because what we teach our boys is just as important as what we teach our girls.  How they look at women and appreciate women starts with us, and I don't want to put that onto them, either.

     
  • At January 29, 2012 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Every little bit helps move us towards health, right?

     
  • At January 30, 2012 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I see both types of moms out there, unfortunately.  You know the moms on those pageant shows aren’t worried about developing a healthy body image.  I can only hope that the balance tips towards mothers who are cognizant of the issue and are actively trying to change the way our girls think about themselves.  It’s tough; they are bombarded at a very young age with an unrealistic standard of what makes a healthy body.
    And I’m totally a running pusher.  Do it!  What’s on your playlist?  I’m always interested in what people use to get motivated when they run.

     
  • At January 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's hard, because you want them to learn a healthy relationship with food, and I don't know exactly how to teach that :(

     
  • At January 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You are much too kind to me!  And yes, teaching our boys that it's what's inside is just as important as teaching our girls. 

    Never be intimidated by me!  There is always someone prettier, someone funnier, someone skinner out there.  But there's never another "me" or another "you", and that's the important thing :)

     
  • At January 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM , Anonymous Miss Marina Star said...

    I can relate to this post is so many ways. I'm treadmill runner, because of the kids, and a habitual weigh-er. I know that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and weight and exercise that is new to me since having children. Having a young daughter brings is more into focus than it was with my son and I'm struggling with this.

    Thank you for posting on such a sensitive subject. It's nice to know I'm not alone in these fears and feelings.

     
  • At January 31, 2012 at 11:06 PM , Anonymous Elaine A. said...

    It's hard, no doubt about it.  I'm struggling a bit myself right now.  Still running but eating like I shouldn't. I changed my ways yesterday but oh man, is it difficult. 

    And yes, I just want my kids to know that being healthy (eating right, exercising both mid and body) is the best plan. 

    p.s. Nice shoes! ;)

     

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