Monday, June 01, 2009

A Letter to Future Me (and Maybe Some of You)

I have a friend who has been fighting a similar battle with weight. She's much closer to her target than I am, and she's becoming disheartened by the sagginess that she's now facing. Her body, like mine, is not that of a twenty-year-old, and doesn't simply "snap back" the way she wishes it would. (Would it even snap back so much at twenty? I don't even know, but let's not get on this tangent now...)

The encouragement I gave to give her skin/body a year to tighten was no consolation to her. She wants the tight body she's working for, and she wants it now. The reality that she may never get that body without surgery looms over her. I can't say as I blame her for her frustrations. There are times already when I'm lying in bed and wondering if the squooshy parts of me will simply become floppier squooshy parts of me... and how I'll feel about that. Sorry if that's too much detail, but it is what it is.

But, at the same time, is the alternative any better? I think the answer is very clear. At least, it is clear when we're thinking, um, clearly. (I may need a thesaurus.) I wonder if I'll soon be where she is now, wondering whether all the work for a thinner-but-flabbier body is worth it. So, while I'm here at a sort of mid-point, I'm going to write a preemptive letter to that doubting self. If and when I reach that cloudy point where I wonder if well-fed flab isn't better than well-worked sag, I hope to return here and regain clarity.

Dear Skinny Me:

If you're reading this, you're likely struggling with some floppy bits. Here are some things to consider before diving into that pint of Chocolate Haagen Dazs.

How many things are you doing right now that you'd never have done before? Back in May, you went kayaking. Without hesitating. Struck that off your life list, right? Would you have done that at 250? How many other things are you doing now that you'd never have done "back then"? How much did you let your weight limit you? Remember, that was what this truly was all about. It wasn't how you looked in a bathing suit so much as it was about whether or not you were willing to go swimming in public. Your weight stopped you from living the life you wanted to live. How about now?

How heavily are you breathing at the top of the stairs? Oh, not at all? Pretty nice, right? How are you enjoying those hikes? Nice views, nice company, right? Can you strap on an extra 80-100 pounds (on top of your 35 poun backpack) and do the same hike? Bummer. It's not just about self-confidence, it's about fitness. Your weight held you back in more ways than one.

How much is any flabbiness bothering you with any of the above? Didn't think so. Listen, you knew you weren't going to be a supermodel at any weight. That ship sailed a long time ago... if it was even ever in this hemisphere. You may not love how you look nekkid right now, but you've got near-nekkid pictures you can pull out for some comparisons. Is that huge belly really better than the floppy tummy? How about those calves? See how the skin is so tight it looks like it's about to burst? Don't you like your shapely calves better right now? What about those extra chins? (Are you kidding?!?) Has it been a year since you hit goal? If not, then give it time. Your body may surprise you. And even if it has been a year, see above.

Now, forget how you look. Is this even about that? Sure, it's a bonus, but it's not The Main Thing. The main thing is your health. Seriously. You know that. Remember those overweight people who had to use scooters primarily due to their weight and related problems? You were headed down that path. Sure, you could do a lot at 250... and 37 years old. How long do you think that was going to last? It wasn't and you know it. The high blood pressure was a gentle warning. What was going to happen next? But now where are you headed? Rather than spending the last ten to twenty years of your life sitting around in constant discomfort, pain, and weakness you're going to have the health and vitality to travel and truly enjoy your retirement. That's huge.

Darn it, just look at your accomplishments! You've done things even you weren't sure you would ever accomplish! And now you're wondering whether it was worth it? Let me tell you, from here at the midpoint, it is. You know it is.

Now go for a run.


J9 said...

I love this letter. Not only will it encourage a thin-but-flabby person, it also is highly motivating to my current fat self. I also want to be a fat athlete, and for the exact reasons that you give here - hiking, kayaking, running up steps and not puffing at the top... Terrific post. Thanks!

Urmi said...

This is amazing. Thank you.
- urmi from DailyBurn