My Fit Update for June 2019

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life57 Comments

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

A post shared by Tara Whitney (@tarawhitney) on

 

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!

 

 

Cathy ZielskeMy Fit Update for June 2019

57 Comments on “My Fit Update for June 2019”

  1. #2
    Sue Hudson

    Oh ,Cathy you always inspire. Such a gift you are. Thank you for sharing you story. It makes me appreciate you even more. I struggle similarly and you give me hope!

  2. #4
    Rebecca Winston

    Cathy, I have watched you on this journey and you should be so proud of yourself awareness. Non-scale victories like lowering blood pressure and A1c – those are benefits of taking care of ourselves. You are doing the hard work of self discovery and addressing the underlying factors to poor body image, low self esteem and a host of other baggage. Job well done and keep on this journey. You are and amazing artist, illustrator and human. You got this girl!

  3. #5
    Lori Smart

    Way to see things, Cathy! Really healthy thinking! I am pretty much your age and was seriously sick a few years ago. The worst part was ovarian cancer. I’m 3 years cancer free now and peeling away at all the other health issues. Where I used to worry about how people saw my body, I’m now just grateful to be alive and only care that people see me as a kind, caring person.

  4. #7
    Candace

    Love the term “body neutrality” and I think I am finally ready to admit that I need an accountability kick in the butt (if you are familiar with Gretche Reubens Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger). SO, going to sign up for your Fit class, which I should have done much earlier and a few health milestones ago. ?

  5. #8
    Milena

    I didn’t participate in your FIT class this year even though I’ve done it every year you’ve offered it. Not because I didn’t enjoy it – I did! But because I just didn’t feel I was doing it right and I certainly wasn’t doing well. Your post has made me remember why I did participate all those years. Your words always resonate with me. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think I’ll go register now so I don’t miss out on any more of your valuable lessons!

  6. #10
    Christine George

    Thanks for sharing your insight Cathy. “Body neutrality”, what a brilliant concept!!

  7. #12
    Deb

    What a fabulous read. I’m almost 53 too and have had to make some changes this year too. Weight crept on, hormones were crazy and after blood tests a few red flags popped up. I started on a journey to address these issues and initially I was only really interested in the weight loss. My naturopath reminded me its more important to feel healthy and to be consistent.
    Tarryn Brumfitt’s Embrace movie is definitely worth viewing as is her website Body Image Movement.

  8. #14
    Felicia

    “My body and how it looks is the least interesting thing about me.”
    I seriously need this quote in a print or wall words or something!

  9. #15
    Louise Nakkan

    This is the best, a fab philosophy. I’ve been a Tara Whitney fan for eons too, and had noticed her changing look and now I know why. Well done to you Cathy, I’m completely onboard with where you’re at. Your story is eerily MY story , same age and same results right now. Reading this reaffirms my faith that I’m on the right track for the right reasons. We got this ??

    1. #15.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yes, we do! And Tara’s story is very real. It is not an overnight success story for her. She has done a lot of work on herself and to heal her chronic illnesses. She’s my hero.

  10. #16
    Lynne Moore

    Thanks for furthering the idea that “my body and how it looks is the least interesting thing about me.” It’s good to remember that as a mantra. I run in a circle of friends who are generally 20+ years younger than me – and in a movement art. I sometimes get caught up in the photos – how out of place I see myself.

    One of my friends (in this group) is a photographer and will sometimes take photos in class. The other week he deleted all the photos with me because I mentioned I thought I looked awkward (in an effort to be kind). I forgot to qualify it as “what I saw of myself only” and not the value of the photo in general. An interesting lesson for me.

  11. #17
    Marian

    Hi Cathy, Do you feel comfortable sharing if you had to take anything for the high blood pressure, or did you vow to make the changes so you wouldn’t have to? Just curious as I have just had a few high readings after a life time of normal and my doctor wants me to start on meds. . .my concern is, if you start down that path but then make changes can you wean off? Anyway, thanks for sharing as much as you do with us! Much love.

    1. #17.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hi Marian, I did not have to do meds. They said, “Let’s see if we can do this with diet and exercise.” Basically, get off the salty, sugary junk and lose some weight. Which I did. But if meds would have been needed, that would have been how it had to be. I know people who have been on meds, but with lifestyle changes, get off them. Good luck!

  12. #18
    Dara

    Cathy, I turn 54 on the 13th. Let’s do this, girl! And thanks for the cheap therapy as my therapist retured and moved to Chicago. Love you, online friend!

  13. #19
    Melissa

    Thanks for sharing your journey as well as that of your friend.

    I so appreciate her statement, “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 we all need to do: just be ourselves – feel happy & grateful – share that happiness – and be in of the photos we take… regardless of how we think we look

    Our bodies are amazing… whatever shape/size/height/color/age – we are amazing and we are beautiful.

  14. #20
    Cindyellen Robinson

    I’m 56. My health scare came in 1998, when i weighed 125 lbs more than i do now. I did the same things you’re doing, and got active, learned some interesting lessons. I’m so glad for you! We aren’t just our bodies. That’s so important as we age.

  15. #21
    Lisa Cole

    Thanks for always being real. This 53 year old needed to hear that from your 53 year old. I think we may be soul sisters in the journeys we are on, they are so similar. And that shirt is totes adorbs!

  16. #22
    Mary Ellen Harrison

    I signed up for Fit in January and have not participated at all. This post has inspired me so much. Thank you and see you in class!

    1. #22.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yes! And honestly, just listen to a few of the audio messages to get started! Might give you a kick of inspiration. 🙂

  17. #23
    Kirsten

    Such an important message, will definitely be thinking about this and want to work on incorporating body neutrality more into my outlook.
    Thank you!

  18. #24
    Glenda Thorne

    Bang On!! Cathy. I have always been fit and had a great shape until menopause, then I’m not sure what exactly happened, 40 pounds happened??!! This started at the tender age of 43 and lasted for 10 years, at least the migraines went away. I’m now 66, have been exercising regularly for 2 years, have lost some weight , fitter than when I weighed less, cholesterol excellent, BP good, sugar levels good, healthier all around. BUT!, do I love my cellulite, spider veins, baby pouch, grey hair, wrinkles, YOU bet I do, now. It took me awhile, longer than you did unfortunately, to accept me for me. Keep that wonderful attitude going. If someone doesn’t like the way I look, tough!. They are missing out on knowing a sweet grandma, their loss. Thanks for your insightfulness today, needed to remind myself again.

    1. #24.1
      Cathy Zielske

      As I always say, better late than never. I’m continually connecting to being grateful for my body.

  19. #26
    Katie B

    I really needed to read this today, this second. I’m going to make a post-it note to remind myself of these truths. Because I will forget, as I always do. But I will have your words to remind me. Thank you! Thank you!

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I have frequently joked with my therapist that I need bracelets for every new thing I learn, or connect to, so I won’t forget. My wrists should be covered with things to remember, that I always seem to forget.

  20. #27
    Kim

    Gah. I’m sitting at my desk at work crying. I put off reading this for no other reason than that I was saving it until I really needed something because I just had this sense that it was going to be GOOD. And boy, was it good. I can’t tell you how long I’ve hated myself and how I look and the way people have reacted to me and my body and just ALL OF IT. I saw Tara’s Instagram post and I cried. I read this and I cried. I think, maybe, it’s time to start at least liking myself and my body a teeny, tiny bit. I think jumping right to love may be too much for me to handle all at once, but I need to take that first step. Thank you Cathy and Tara.

    1. #27.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Kim, just wanted to send you a virtual hug. And love is not required at the outset. That is what I like about body neutrality, the idea that we can learn to appreciate our bodies, as vehicles to life! : )

  21. #28
    Kat Post

    Body neutrality is important- we can’t all love our bodies. Especially in a fatphobic society- which is especially frustrating because size does NOT equal health. Check out Christy Harrison’s podcast Food Psych. Or just follow her on instagram. It’s been a total mind fu$k but also extremely eye opening. You seem to be on a similar path!

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