First published August 30, 2014
Running. I use to love running. I ran miles and miles and loved it. I got lost in my thoughts. I didn’t have devices that tracked my distance, or music as I traversed the distances. Running was for fitness not to fight fatness. The running years defined me and it’s so challenging to change that definition.
Over the years running became less, jogging was more like it, and eventually walking would replace both. The decrease in energy output took its toll and insidious fatness made its way into my life. Family, work, and higher education, all got in the way. Eating on the run, eating too much of everything, not exercising enough, but just enough to make me feel I was doing something positive is how I rolled for a good, solid two decades.
I didn’t see myself as getting fat in my thirties but I was. One day I just couldn’t fit into my jeans anymore, even when I lay down on the bed and sucked in my gut, I couldn’t get that zipper up or the button buttoned. My husband happily said to me one day that my breasts looked larger and I cried. For god sake I wasn’t an adolescent, breasts don’t grow when a woman is thirty-five years old unless she is pregnant and clearly that was not the case since he had had a vasectomy. I was in trouble for sure because I still had that definition of myself of being a runner. Clearly, I was not but I must have forgotten to tell myself.
Fatness. Fitness. The fatter I got the less fit I felt. It was torture losing weight and exercising heartily again. It took a very long time, years but I don’t know how many because I didn’t go on a program or anything like Weight Watchers, I just went with changing my life.
Decade number four hits and in the middle of it I decide to become a teacher. I put in insanely long days and eventually fatness comes to visit me, again, though admittedly this time my spouse knew better than to share with me his opinion of my bodily changes. I battle the weight, count my calories, get up at 4:30 a.m. to work out before work, and still the fat flourishes despite my best effort.
A good health physical after years of avoiding doctors, and the nasty scale, I am told I have hypothyroidism. So great, now I know where the extra fifteen pounds came from and a host of other issues that had been challenging. That extra fifteen is more like thirty now and might as well be soldered onto the hips and thighs. It’s not going anywhere.
Yes, I’m on medication. Yes, I still like exercise. Yes, I still love eating. Yes, I will always be on the fat side and, that’s okay because the definition of me is evolving…I tell myself.
Lately, I’ve felt like running again and so I have. Well, okay, it isn’t exactly running, it is more like a falling forward motion, but it feels like running to me. It’s hard for this old, fat body. These days I encumber myself with my cell phone, Map My Run, and music which is why I was startled when a very fit, twenty-something young woman, flew by going uphill and gave me a ‘you go girl. I yelled out ‘you too’ but she was way past me in the nanosecond that it took me to say it that it vaporized into the air, spoken but unheard by anyone but me.
I enjoy how I feel running, maybe next time I’ll leave those devices home and get to know that self of mine that is buried under the junk of too much technology, and maybe I’ll always be fat too, maybe.