Sunday February 10, 2013

This week’s totals:

Swim: 8150 (4.63 miles)
Bike: 0
Run: 0

I’ve created a new page on my blog titled Project Progress with information on how to view my overall progress towards the 2,000,000 yards. I use Speedo Pace Club, and have a personal dashboard, that allows me to track my overall yardage and time spent swimming. It’s all a good guesstimate, but it’s a great tool for tracking – and I get a nifty map to track my progress around Lake Superior!

For the past two weeks, I’ve taken it relatively easy on workouts. This is the second week that I’ve missed multiple days of workouts – having only worked out on Monday, Wednesday, and today. I skipped workouts for two main reasons:

  1. Work: I had past due deadlines, and had to pull some long hours to finish some of the tasks for a project we are working on. So instead of going to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday, I used that time to get up early and work from home.
  2. Social life: Thursday night, I met up with some friends for drinks. I knew I had to get up for swim practice at 5am. Come 9:00 – when I should have been going to bed – the girls I was with were headed to another bar for another glass of wine. I had a choice – join or bail. If I bailed, I’d be missing out on more time with some girls I haven’t seen in a long time. If I joined, I’d have to miss the workout – because there was no way I was going to practice on 4 hours of sleep. Not only did I join, but I went home and stayed up even later than I had initially planned to spend time with D. That time with D is always worth skipping a work-out, as well as skipping the work-out to spend time with my friends. There will always be another day for a work-out, but there may not be another day for the people that are in your life.

Different from last week, I did not feel guilty about skipping these workouts. I think a major part of that is because of a blog post I read earlier this week, titled “Re-imagining the Fitness Industry.” It forced me to take a step back and re-evaluate WHY I’m exercising and why I’m doing what I’m doing. The blog post discusses the messages we receive about exercise, fitness, and dieting, and the misconceptions we have behind them.

It was the first three sentences that made me take a step back – the first sentence why do you work out? and the third sentence what is your end goal? After read and evaluating, I would say I have “surface” why’s and what’s for this project – I want to be healthy, I want to have a project, blah blah. However, deep down, I know the real why and the real what – and it has to do with the misconception about body image and the media.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any problems with my body – that I’m 100% satisfied with how I look and feel. If anything, I would even say it’s unfair to assume that skinny and small woman don’t have body image issues. I understand that by saying this, most women who struggle with their weight would scoff and ridicule me for saying this. So as a smaller and skinny woman, I don’t talk about this, but it should be said.

When I look in the mirror, I do not feel beautiful.

While I could sit here and identify why I feel this way (both from my past and my present), the fact remains that there are a number things that I see, think, and believe about myself that is really the reason for the why and the what.

  1. I feel shame being my size.  I can rationally see that yes, I am small, I am skinny, and I have a high metabolism rate. But I shouldn’t feel shame at having my own body image issues; my pressures are different than yours, but they are still real and they are still ever present.
  2. Because of this, I feel pressured to maintain my size. Any weight gain would be a disgrace to the high metabolism I have been blessed with. For shame.
  3. I feel guilty when I don’t eat healthy. I’m supposed to be staying this small, right? Can’t do that if I eat this candy bar, or if I go for seconds on dessert. And really, why am I doing that? I love eating healthy all the time anyway, right?
  4.  I wake up in the morning, and I feel fat. Especially when I skip a workout. Or have a large snack the night before, and that snack isn’t something healthy – which it never is because I like junk food as much as the next person.
  5. I struggle daily with food. I am constantly doing the math on the calories I’ve consumed – or constantly fighting not to be. It is an unhealthy habit that formed early in college, being surrounded by other women who counted calories, and worked out extra just to burn off any extra they consumed. It was the start of an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, and I have struggled with it daily.

So why am I working out? Because I don’t feel fit enough, I don’t feel skinny enough, I don’t feel like I look like the girls on the posters at Victoria’s Secret – which I get to drive by every morning I go to swim practice. I am reminded daily that I’m not quite good enough. And if this is the WHY, then my end goal is what – to be a Victoria’s Secret model? I know the truth behind those photos – air brushing and Photoshop magic.

Talk about fucked up.

When I started this project, I had some why’s and an end goal that I wrote down. The why’s haven’t changed, but more meaning has been added to them.

Why? To make exercise and healthy living an important part of my life – a habit that is maintained throughout my life that I can model for children, and my grandchildren.

Why? To make this bigger than just myself.

What was my end goal? To reach the 2,000,000 yards by the time I was 30.

This week was a good start to trying to figure out how I make this bigger than myself. While I have a better idea, I still am not sure what it is yet, but I know I have guidance for my prayers for the next however many weeks, months, or years.

But I also know my end goal is different – I want to feel beautiful, on the inside. I want to correct my thoughts, and I don’t want to have to rely on a mirror or another person’s approval to feel beautiful. Feeling beautiful on the inside goes so much deeper, is harder to achieve and infinitely more beautiful than the six-pack and biceps I want to see in the mirror.

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