Three years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I was constantly running, at least twice a week I was logging 5 miles, and I never did under 3. I ran every other night. Like it was my religion. And sort of it was. Running was my solace. My time for just me. It was where I got all the thoughts out without the chatter of little voices or the looming deadline of grad school.
I had always hated running. I could have wore one of those shirts that said “If you see me running you’d better run too, because something must be chasing me.” It was at the epitome of all things horrendous. But it was cheap.I didn’t need special equipment. And I started running in a time where I needed the space to clear my mind. Leading up to those three years ago were three more of pretty substantial change. We had just adopted our daughter and going from a couple to parents of an 8 year old takes a minute of adjustment. So I started running. And eating different. I was still trying to get pregnant at that time and my docs had put me on Metformin, a diabetic drug, to try and combat the insulin resistance that was taking over my body. In addition, I cut out all white flour, white sugar and pretty much anything good. Coupled with the pavement pounding, I lost weight-for the first time in my life. And I grew to love it. I ran at night, under the stars. I ran in the snow, my breath puffing out in time with Christmas music. I ran on the beach on Sundays. I ran.
It was amazing. I swore I would never get back to where I was. But then life happened. I had surgery and stopped taking the meds because they didn’t make me feel good in other ways. I stopped running and joined a gym. But Zumba just didn’t do for my body what running did. And I got out of the habit. And into a new job and new mommyhood. And now those jeans that I swore would only get smaller don’t fit anymore.
So much of it for me revolves around the new babe. I see all these pins and posts encouraging mothers to accept their bodies after the baby because of the wondrous work they have done. And I couldn’t agree more. But what about those of us who are adoptive mammas? My body didn’t carry anyone. But it also hasn’t slept in over a year. And after waiting so long for this little life, I just couldn’t put him down. I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from him for more than absolutely necessary. And my own health was included. It’s counter intuitive to think that I’m being a better mommy by being with him instead of taking care of myself. But that’s what I did. And while I regret my waist size, I don’t regret the time spent with my kids.
But it has to change. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I can’t hide behind the boots and the tights and the skirts. I miss how I felt when I was in shape. I miss the confidence I had and how I carried myself. More upright and less in the shadows. I haven’t allowed myself in pictures hardly at all this last year and that’s not fair. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my kids not to have documentation of me in their younger lives. And I’m working on not being too hard on myself.
There is something to say about finding grace and allowing yourself to take it-even when you’re the giver. Odd isn’t it? Odd that often the keeper of our own happiness is ourselves. We are our toughest critic. I’ve spent a good deal of my life being hard on myself for the shape of my body, only to find out that it wasn’t totally up to me. And it’s still not. There are still things I can’t control. Like how I may chronologically be 33, but my body thinks I’m closer to 55-and the weight settles like stone accordingly.
I will never be a supermodel. And I don’t want to be. I like food. I like having a glass (or two) of wine. I like a big ‘ole piece of chocolate cake on occassion. And that’s okay. I’m giving myself grace for that. Grace to live a little and enjoy this life. I’m giving myself grace for the jeans that (right now) are too tight and recognizing that this doesn’t have to be my fate. I hate pulling on the fat jeans, and that is incentive. It’s hard not to look back and say “I wish I would have…” but I’m not. I’m giving myself grace to take this one day at a time. One workout at a time. One meal at a time. And that’s alright with me.
How about you? Do you have an area in your life where you’re trying to give yourself grace?