First things first: I returned the pants I’m wearing in this photo.
In my excitement at securing a new Going Out Outfit™ (not really trademarked), I overlooked the fact that the crotch hung about two inches below my actual crotch and over time, this would be an unacceptable fit for a woman whose clothes-buying frequency is on par with the life cycle of a sockeye salmon.
I’m not much of a shopper.
I kept the shirt. Let’s be real. It’s frickin’ adorbs. And no one can tell how horrible my bras are when I’m wearing it. Bonus!
I’m fully six months into a new year of focusing on my self-care. It’s actually eight months if you count the fact that I did my reset last fall when my blood pressure was all jacked up. I have lost more than 30 pounds in this very short time frame. While that might seem a bit extreme, 10 of it was cheap red wine and potato chips. The rest? The result of making choices to heal my body, rather than harm it. That’s really it.*
I went to a grad party last weekend and saw many of my extended Zielske clan. A handful of them were a bit shocked at how I look today. It always happens when you lose weight. I should know. I’ve been yo-yo-ing for over a decade. But there seems to be a point where they can’t not notice, if that makes sense. Dan says it’s because I was wearing clothes that actually fit. He may be onto something.
I am all about comfort. I hate bras. I hate anything form fitting. I like to be free and easy in all manner of garments. Whether I’m up or down on any given scale, comfy clothes are kind of my jam. I can’t see that changing anytime in the future.
However, I appreciate the notice. I do. But here’s the reality of any compliment on weight loss. You may experience one of two feelings, or both: 1) Wow, thank you so much for noticing, and 2) I must have looked really awful before.
Now let’s take a step right the eff back here, okay? Can we just pause it for a hot minute? The latter option is absolutely NOT the reaction I had. It might have been in the past, but not today.
Over the past eight years or so, I’ve been working really hard on becoming a woman who I can actually admire. I’m doing this through therapy and connecting to what life really offers, and by working to change the things about myself that need changing. Through this work, I have realized something that feels really important to me at this stage in life after 53 years on the planet, and that is this:
My body and how it looks is the least interesting thing about me.
I want you to take that in for a second. I want you to consider that for yourself. You may already know this and if so, I envy you. It took me about 53 years.
I started taking it in a few weeks ago after I read this post by one of my two best friends in this world:
View this post on Instagram
My intention in posting this photo or others like it may seem thirsty – HOWEVER my intention is to help myself and others by promoting a feeling of acceptance, relaxation, and neutrality about bodies in general. For some backstory: I was teased for being too tall and too skinny my entire childhood, then I became an adult and for the next 20 years lived in a 6 ft tall plus size 18-22 body. Recently, because of chronic debilitating gut health problems and what I changed to try and alleviate my symptoms, I lost 100 pounds over a five year period (I now waffle between 170-185lbs and a sz 10/12). The chronic health issue is healing over time. What I never expected is how critical and disappointed I would become in my body once it changed. How uncomfortable and ashamed. The extra skin that puddles around me when I lay down, that makes my thighs and stomach and breasts look “weird” – I have hated myself and it. That made me feel so ungrateful and petty. And I am, and it is. I’m finding ways to cut it out and get my power and confidence back. It’s really hard, and body talk and body image are something I’m actively learning a lot about right now. The idea of moving beyond ‘body positivity’ to ‘body neutrality’ is really interesting to me. It’s the idea that it doesn’t really matter what your body looks like, it’s only a tiny portion of what you ARE, likely even the LEAST INTERESTING THING about you. So maybe … let’s all just fucking relax and have fun with our bodies (movement, clothes, sex, skincare, trying new things, (sportiness!)(k-spa!)) ESPECIALLY if our bodies don’t fit a standard, so someone else out there can see it and feed off your (even fake) confidence and then maybe feel some freedom too AND then just go ahead and feel happy and grateful when someone you love is moved to take your photo and just share that happiness. That’s what I’m working for right now. I hope me posting my body and talking about this helps at least one person give their own body some neutral acceptance and go have some fun with it. Also, must say: Thank you to all the women who’ve I’ve watched and gained confidence from. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. #twdeveloping #bodyneutrality
How many people who love you would ever say, “Boy, my [sister-mom-bestie-grandma-daughter] is the best, but I would like her more if she were a few pounds lighter!”?
If you actually know someone like that, I would offer up they don’t love you.
But the reality is that how my body looks is the frickin’ LEAST interesting thing about me. Yes, it looks lighter right now. Yes, that could change over time.
I had high blood pressure. I got scared. I’m getting older and I have no idea what is in store for me health-wise from a hereditary standpoint (I was adopted). I needed to make some changes and see what shook out. So I did. And I am. And I will continue to do so.
How I look is not who I am. It has been, sadly, in the past and in my own mind. But it is probably not in the mind of anyone else, and especially not in the minds of those who love me.**
We make up shit about our bodies and those judgments hurt us.
They hurt us. They hurt our partners and friends. They hurt our sons and daughters.
Our health? That matters. That’s real. But the package that ties it all in? It’s simply a vessel that lets the most interesting things about you spill over into the world.
I guess today I’m feeling very grateful for making this connection personally. Maybe it’s the longer hair reminding me that I’m not my hair, either. Maybe it’s seeing how different I feel knowing that the numbers that actually matter (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc) are where they need to be.
And maybe it’s also realizing that rather than manage my stress by simply checking out with a cheap red wine buzz and potato chips, I’m choosing to acknowledge there is pain in life, and it actually offers me valuable information that I can handle if I slow down and work on understanding it.
That’s my Fit Story for June 2019.
I talk about this stuff in my online class, of course, but I want to share it here in this space, too. I never know who might need to read it today.
Until next month.
*In 2019, I’ve gut out gluten, most alcohol and junky carbs. I’ve also been doing intermittent fasting, which has been a great fit for me this year. No, it doesn’t mean starving yourself! I just eat my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks—of real food!—in a smaller window of time during the day.
**In 1984 I went through a brief but intense goth phase, wherein I wore white face makeup, deep red lipstick and teased up my dyed-black hair to levels rivaling those of Robert Smith. I’m pretty sure people were judging me at the drugstore once when I was shopping for some cough lozenges. A woman actually pulled her toddler closer to her when I passed them in the aisle. I remember thinking it was a good lesson for me in not judging people based on their external appearances. Her reaction to me was based on how I looked. And while I may have looked a little scary to her, she didn’t know that I was a freshman at the University of Washington pulling decent grades, and a former competitive figure roller skater with a family who loved me. Oh yeah, and that I had a really sore throat.
YOU CAN STILL JOIN ME FOR 2019 to work on discovering what is needed for you to have better health and fitness. This is not a one-size fits all process. Click on the graphic above to learn more!