I’ve always had this struggle with food and fitness. Not so much because I’m overweight (which I am) but I think it’s because I was brought up in a house where there was a struggle with food and fitness.
My mom has always had this idea in her head that she’s fat and that she’s ugly. I’ve said in previous posts that she always felt like the black sheep of the family. She’s taller, has a bigger chest, and her bone structure is different. But growing up she was a size 10-12. That is a normal body. Probably not for the time when she was born and grew up, but it’s healthy, and she was healthy.
After having children, her body changed. And I think she kind of resents us for it. But I think that its mostly because she didn’t take the time or effort to take care of her body. Growing up, I never saw her stick to an exercise routine, or really healthy eating for any period of time. My dad had a heart attack in 1997 so for a little bit our eating habits as a family changed. My dad dropped a lot of weight through this change in eating and through exercise. My mom was upset that he could drop it so quickly – but men are made differently then women.
So I think this is where I have this struggle: I see her try to “exercise” where doing the dishes or vacuuming for 5 minutes is considered “work” and therefore is her exercise for the day. And when she is upset (which frankly I’ve noticed is a lot), she will eat. Or in an attempt to drop weight she will cut out everything she deems unhealthy from her diet, what I like to call deprivation dieting. She deprives herself of all the yummy things, and then she’ll have like a donut and then it’s all over since she allowed herself one snack.
I’m trying to break that cycle. I want to exercise to feel good. I love food (obviously!) but have never enjoyed exercising since I have her idea that it’s work. Once I started doing yoga I started to enjoy it. I love cooking and making good tasting food. If I want to eat some chips I’m not going to stop myself. Maybe only a little bowl of them and then put the rest away (there is a bag of reese peanut butter hearts in my freezer right now so I can’t inhale them all) I’m trying to focus my life around that now.
Lately, I’ve been eating cleaner. Not for the fact that it’s healthier and I might drop a few pounds (I honestly don’t care at this point in my life what number the scale says as long as I’m making good choices). I noticed a few months ago that for about a period of a week I might have had 2-3 servings of vegetables a day. This is not good! So I started to change what I ate and when I ate it.
Since it’s spring, I now take advantage of the great prices for vegetables and I prepare salads for work. I only have 15-20 minutes to eat 3 out of the 5 days so I need something fast and something that won’t make my classroom smell since I don’t have any windows. Every Friday, I have 25 minutes to eat before my conversation class arrives. If my teenage girls show up first, YJ always says “ooo teacher on diet?” when she sees my salad. I hate that just because I’m eating a salad (and enjoying it btw) that I’m on a diet. Why is it that a fat girl eating a salad is on a diet, but a thin girl eating a salad is having a healthy meal. Or a fat girl eating a hamburger is making a bad choice but a thin girl eating the same it’s ok? Why can’t I just be eating a good salad because it’s spring and I’m craving salad?!?!
I don’t count calories. It’s too stressful for me. But when I eat, I try to make sure that I’m eating in a balanced way. My mom went on this calorie counting binge a few years ago. She would have 2 hotdogs for lunch and since the package said each one was only 100 calories she thought that was great! But she didn’t pay attention to anything else other than the calories: not the fat content or the sodium. Just the calories.
Like I said, I’ve always had this aversion to exercise. I remember this one time in grade 8, our teacher had us outside for gym class. As a warm up – we were to run around the baseball diamond 3 times (no stretching or getting up to running, nope just GO RUN!). Everyone starts out, I get about 3/4 of the way around running and then I have to walk. I think this is pretty good for me! I alternate running and walking (by the end mostly walking) until I get to the end of round 2. I was the last one at this point and was exhausted. I wasn’t allowed to stop until I did 3 and the rest of the class had to wait until I was finished. The teacher dispatched 3 of the fastest runners in the class to do one more loop as “encouragement” to me. They were to run along side me. After about 30 seconds they passed me because I had to go down to a walk, and I was like “screw this!” and slowly sauntered around the rest of the baseball diamond….literally swinging my arms in a slow walk. I wasted a good extra 5 minutes of everyone else’s time. That the was first time I ever felt bad for being out of shape and slower than the rest of my peers – and my teacher’s actions in the situation made me hate exercise for a good chunk of my life.
When I was living at home, I decided that I wanted to exercise a little bit more. Again, not to drop weight, but to be more active. We had a bike out in the garage and our wifi reached that far. I would pedal on the bike for an episode of Gilmore Girls on netflix and then go inside. My mom would ask how many calories I burned or what distance I went. I didn’t know and I didn’t care. Every time the third degree, so I stopped doing it. It wasn’t fun anymore and I didn’t want to talk about it. And of course if I did it every day and wanted to shower after, she’d be all “but you had a shower yesterday!” Even if it was a 2 minute shower. That house is not a “shower every day” type of house – which honestly I’m all for unless I’m exercising and all gross.
My dad pretty much stays out of the whole food and fitness thing. He eats well and now that he has two brand new hips he’s exercising more. He’s active and knows what you put into your health you get out of it. I think focusing on my mom in all of this is because she’s a female, and I take my cues of body image and happiness from her. Although I’m breaking that cycle slowly because I can see how toxic her ideas are.
I mentioned last week that I was going to start doing classes at the fitness centre after work. Thankfully, on Friday we didn’t go. But today is finally the day! We are going!! I’m pretty excited about it. It’s pilates, not yoga, so I’m not sure I will survive the class but I will try my hardest! And I’m not sure how it will go with it being a Korean class and I can’t understand Korean. And of course, there are my tattoos to worry about and Doris can’t participate! So it’ll be hair “au naturel” for the class and my co-worker I’mg going with. If I survive, I’ll make sure to put up a post tomorrow about it!
I’ve noticed a change already in myself since I started being more mindful of what I was eating. I tried on a shirt yesterday that I haven’t worn since I moved. It’s a “petite” which was a bad choice (shorter than normal lengths and a bit tighter too) – but I love it!!! It’s black just simple black, but the shoulders is sheer black with white polka dots. It was a go-to for teacher interviews, very cute and very professional. Well, it usually sat right at the top of my pants and rolled up when I made any movement. Now, it sits about an inch lower and I have more movement before it starts to shimmy up! Just that much is a victory for me and I’m glad I wore it since it totally made my day!!