Thursday, 4 October 2012

Looking good on my terms

A woman I periodically see at the gym stopped me in the cafeteria at work today. She told me I looked great and asked if I’d lost a ton of weight. 

I had to resist the urge to throw my arms around her neck and cuddle her.  I’m not kidding, I was so grateful for the compliment that my nose twitched to nuzzle her neck.

The truth is I’ve been working really hard at the gym and at the table for some time now.

Let me tell you, it has not come easy. And to be completely honest, I haven’t shed that many pounds. The changes have come in the form of toning and reshaping. I’ve been weight training three times a week (a class called Bodypump), and running and cycling the other days.

It took me about four months to cement this workout schedule. I fought myself the entire time. At the beginning I’d let just about any excuse deter me from going down to the gym:  

Not enough sleep?
Too tired.  

Too emotional.

Reruns of Parenthood again? 
Too distracted – how can I be expected to work-out not knowing if Jasmine and Crosby are back together?

And on and on.

But then I began loving it, really needing to get those workouts in for my sanity’s sake.
I’d always been into exercise of some sort – my metabolism had dug its heels in early -  by the end of my adolescence, refused to budge unless I took drastic measures. I've always gained weight easily and was up 60 and 50 pounds with Deaglan and Naveen respectively. 

 I’ve always struggled with body image. 

I remember being seven years old and conscious of the small soft rolls of my stomach. In grade five when skin tight RoadRunner jeans were in, I yearned to have a rear end to fill them out. In university when all the girls I knew were aiming for Kate Moss waifish-ness, I was looking to specialty shops for bras that gave me enough support.

But after I had my boys, I changed my mind about what I wanted to look like and why. I stopped with the nonsense of coveting what I saw on TV and magazine ads. I decided I wanted to look good because it felt good. I decided I wanted to be healthy so I could live long enough to do all the things I’d been dreaming about. 

And yet even regular exercise wasn't giving me the changes I wanted. 

Up until this point, I'd avoided addressing my eating habits. Oh it's not that I was feasting on fast food and milkshakes everyday. On the whole I'd say I  ate okay - always brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, green salads, chicken, salmon and fruit.  But I had to admit I was now in my forties and maybe I needed to cut some of the pasta and bread out, replace them with raw or cooked vegetables and beans. I could no longer indulge in the pizza we ordered for the kids once a week, could no longer consider wraps from McDonald's a healthier choice those nights we were just too tired to cook. 

Because I didn't want to flirt with idea of losing the weight and getting healthy anymore. I wanted to actually do it. 

So I started making healthier choices at every meal. I shifted my thinking about what constituted a meal, embraced the notion that rice, pasta or potatoes didn't have to be on my plate just because I'd grown up believing they did. I began giving all vegetables a chance - not just the ones that fit neatly into my idea of a salad.

I'd likely not be a good candidate for one of those before and after shows - my progress has been slow and gradual and I've certainly got a longer way to go. And I've made friends with the realization that I'll always have to exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy weight. 

In fact I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with running all the time. 

And there's also this: I've never felt I had to trim down to gain my husband's approval - he says the nicest things all the time about how I look (believe me I've suggested on more than one occassion he consider asking for a stronger prescription for his glasses).  And whenever I lament that attaining a flat stomach would require major surgery, I look at those boys of mine and know that a bit of a belly is a small price to pay for such heavenly gifts. 


  1. You're probably feeling good not just because you're looking good but also because you're feeling good.

    This kind of healthy lifestyle change can make the body so much healthier. Your heart and blood vessels are probably smiling which makes the brain happy. Keep it up. Not just because you want to look good but just knowing that it is good for you.

    Plus, it sets a good example of healthy choices for your children to look up to and respect.

    Pat yourself on the back - well one Kim and keep it up.

  2. congrats on achieving your fitness goals...slow and steady wins the race! this is what I love about getting older, being free of all the nonsense like media images of the perfect body and beauty

  3. I'm so proud of you! It is hard work to make those daily choices (especially the eating part!) but I bet you do look incredible! And I love how supportive your husband is :-)

  4. I used to hate my body. I was so unhealthy and chubby and didn't fit in to the stereo-types. It took a long time for me to be "ok" with myself. The hardest thing is pushing yourself to do it. I'm incredibly proud of you.

  5. Great job, Kim!!! If I were there right now I'd give you a big ol' hug :)
    So proud of you!!

  6. Good for you! And truly, all the research suggests that slow weight loss is the way to go so that your body isn't triggered to slow down your metabolism to conserve fat. And anyway, it's the healthiness (the toning and shaping you mentioned) that matters more than the actual weight. So yay for you!

  7. My sister in law is a size zero, and so pleased with herself that she always manages to make me feel like a gargantuan around her. I don't think she even has a stomach-and certainly not the soft tummy rolls that I have as well. But you said it, my friend. She doesn't have any precious children either:) End of story. Hugs,Kim. xx

  8. Oh, this is such great/wonderful news. You are an inspiration!!!


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