I just got home from the gym.
Here I am in my sweaty, no-makeup, post gym yucky glory:
I opened my computer, and came across a new article written by Joni Edelman ‘Being Thin Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Being “Fat” Does‘. I read it, and I am happy for her that she has found her happiness in life. I don’t really like the word “fat” but no matter her size, it’s great that she is at peace with it. A part of me wants to tell her “You go Glen Coco!” – but, I just can’t…
I get it, she’s a super busy, hard-working mother. Taking care of kids is hard work. It’s exhausting mentally and physically. It’s definitely, 100% without a doubt, easier to just stop working out, stop eating healthy, and just stay home and “eat pizza and ice cream and enjoy it”, as she says.
What’s not easy is to take care of your kids all day. Cook dinner. Clean up. Then put your kids to bed, change into your gym clothes, drag your tired butt out the door into the freezing cold air, and head to the gym while your family is relaxing. I’m a mom, too, so I do understand. The only difference is tonight I put my babies to bed, kissed them goodnight, kissed my husband goodbye, put on my sneakers, and headed out the door to go workout – just like I do many nights of the week.
Just so we are clear on one thing, before you read any further, I am in no way fat-shaming, or being Judgy McJudgerson. Why? I’ve been in her shoes – both the “thin” shoes and the “fat” shoes. In September 2013 I was WAY over 200 pounds after giving birth to my third son in a span of 25 months. My body was tired, and in pain. I was not happy. In fact, being overweight made me feel horrible. It was the absolute worst I’ve ever felt in my whole life.
When you’re the biggest you’ve ever been in your life, complacency isn’t going to cut it. I needed to get healthy, and that’s what I did. I worked my ass off (literally) to lose nearly 100 pounds and get back into a size 4 (you can read my weight loss story here).
In her article, Joni focuses on how being a size 4 was not the key to her happiness. Joni also admits to being bipolar, so I see how the extreme dieting and now extreme opposite lifestyle she is currently promoting can be a result of that. But, I’ve battled extreme depression, too, after losing multiple pregnancies and my stillborn son. You know what makes depression worse (for ME)? Sitting on my rear end and eating my feelings. You know what makes it better? Exercising and getting endorphins to make me happy. It is a fact that the endorphins from physical activity are a huge benefit to helping with depression.
Being a size 4 is not THE key to my happiness, either. BUT being a size 4, and being in shape, is most definitely ONE of the keys to my happiness. It is a goal that I worked really hard for. Something I am proud of. Something that I work to maintain even when it’s not the fun or easy thing to do, but I do it because I want to feel healthy and happy.
A huge thing missing from all of this thick-and-thin talk in Joni’s article is BALANCE. Being obsessively thin or “unapologetically fat” are extreme versions of human existence. The key to happiness does not necessarily have to rest on the little tag that says what size your jeans are…but it can be a motivating factor to help keep you in check.
Joni says, “The world wants you to want to be thin.” No, sorry sister, but *I* want me to be thin. I really don’t care what other people want me to be. I want to feel healthy. I want to be able to run after my kids and not be huffing and puffing and out of breath. I want my kids to see that I am setting a good example for them and their views on health. This has nothing to do with “industries built on your insecurity”, as she says. It’s about me. My health. My life. My family.
Realistically, my body is far from perfect. I have stretch marks…ok, lots of them. I have a ton of loose skin from stretching it to it’s limit from carrying my babies and then losing so much weight in a short period of time. I can sit here and type a bunch of things that I am not thrilled about regarding my body.
But you know what? I’ve put this 30-year-old mom-machine through a lot in the past few years, so I want to take good care of it. In return, my body is good to me, too. I can run faster than I ever have in my life. I can play with my kids at the park and not be out of breath. I can do so many things “thin” (or rather, fit) that I can’t do when I am heavier. I won’t give up on maintaing this healthy lifestyle that I fought so hard to regain. I am happy to be thin, I am happy to be fit, and I am happy to feel healthy again. I am happy, and for *ME*, yes, that does have a strong correlation to my weight.
Self-love is another huge key to happiness, too. I am happy being thin, and that’s the way that *I* best love myself. Joni, on the other hand, loves herself the most when she doesn’t have to riddle her brain with counting calories and working out, and if that’s what’s working for her, then all the more power to her. That’s what makes us all different and human, and beautiful in different ways.
…and just for the record, you don’t have to give up all of the things you love to eat to be thin. “Food” and “thin” are not mutually exclusive. I eat pizza pretty regularly (pepperoni & meatball, please!), I had some amazing chocolate cake on Wednesday, and I even ate a huge burrito AFTER the gym this past Saturday. I enjoy every single calorie of the food I eat…and I’m not Googling how much exercise I have to do to negate what I just ate before I attempt to slide on my size 4 jeans. Because, balance.