Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My War With Fat

Fat. It's the stuff that makes butter and bacon taste so damned good. It's a four letter word in a thin-obsessed society. It's dead weight that makes you 3 seconds slower per pound per mile when you're running a marathon. It's defined as a group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water.It's a suitcase full of emotions that most women drag around with them every day of their lives, whether or not they are actually fat at all.

I am at war with Fat.

I don't want to be. I want to be completely content to be a healthy, fit, vigorous individual who just so happens to carry a few extra pounds here and there. I don't want to look at women who are less fit than I am but far skinnier and feel envy. But I do. I don't want to have only half a Thyroid gland that decides on a daily basis whether or not it wants to do the work it's supposed to be doing to keep my body in a healthy range.

I don't often talk about Fat on this blog. I don't often talk about weight. I try very hard to keep my focus on health and not on numbers on a scale. But I have to admit that lately I am losing the battle of self-contentment in my own head. And I know why. My doctor is adjusting my thyroid medication again. This always means that I gain weight. I gain weight even though I'm working out exactly as much as I was a month ago. Even though I'm not eating any differently. Even though nothing at all has changed other than that damn little pill I have to take.

And really, it's only a few pounds so far. The guys reading this are probably rolling their eyes. I can hear you thinking "Hell, I gain fifteen pounds every winter and just take it off when I start up my spring training. Big deal." Well, I got news for you fellas. It don't work that way for 44 year old women. My husband eats one less piece of pizza a week and he loses fifteen pounds. To take off the fifteen pounds I gained the last time my medication went wonky on me it took me a year of killing myself with Crossfit and eating strict Paleo. For me, it's less about the few pounds that I've gained (heck I can still wear my jeans) but more about feeling out of control.

It's even worse when you coach and teach fitness for a living. This compounds the fear from just "I'll have a muffin top in my tight jeans" to "People will come to my class and wonder why they'd take fitness advice from me". It just seems so ridiculous that a healthy fit woman can have nightmares about a few pounds of fat. I won't go into the whole sordid history of being the fat kid in grade school, eating disorders in high school, blah blah blah. I bet many of you have the same story. But I know that whole history of interactions with Fat and the notion of Fat that we get from our society, they all contribute to what we feel about ourselves.

I just need to bust myself out of this Fat Funk (wish it was a Phat Funk, that would be better). What do you do to keep yourself focused on health, fitness, vitality, and all of the things that matter more than a dress size?


juliejulie said...

Great post, Robin. I struggle with this too, even though I try hard to be thankful for my health. I'll now add healthy thyroid to my "thankful for" column. It'd be easy to say something trite, like embrace the chub! which I tend to do. The only thing I can offer is the truth: when I look at you, I see an amazing, talented, beautiful, strong and fit woman who can get more done in a day than I can in a week. It never once occurred to me to check out your muffin top. Do you even have one? I'm serious, here! If there were glasses we could put on to see each other the way others see us...damn, we could probably change the world every day 10 times over.

tinaparker87 said...

You are not alone Robin. I can tell people what I do and they think I'm crazy to be an endurance athlete. Coach reminds me that, yes, it would be easier for you to do the race and a lower weight. I struggle with it all the time. Last night I went to Weight Watchers and thought really, I'm sitting here and these people are worried about punching a calculator for points. I'm thinking about the GU pack, shot block and the drink mix with the workout. Realized when I got to work the great lunch and snacks I packed are at home on the counter. (darn it). Salad for me next door, decorate the tree and head tho the swim workout I wanted to do Monday.

tinaparker87 said...

I look at pictures, ask myself will that help me reach my goal and know that I want to make the cut off for IMSG in may. (my goal)

TriHeart said...

I read your blog. No seriously, your posts really help me refocus on total health and fitness and not just the scale. I haven't been able to lose all the baby weight yet and the skin around my abdomen is loose and wrinkly from overstretched skin. Sometimes it gets me down. But I remember your post from years ago after your Ironman when you got your award for placing in the Athena class. And I think about how I'm an Athena too and that means I'm strong and fit.

Robin said...

Wow, thanks for the reminder. I think it's harder in the wintertime because it's easier to become less goal-oriented and more what-do-I-look-like oriented. I need to think on that some more and re-focus on what's important.

I also thought about last year when I broke my arm and it refocused me on appreciating my body for all of the wonderful things it can do (because suddenly it couldn't). I definitely need to get that mojo back!

Patty said...

If someone as athletic as you struggles with this, then it just reinforces my thoughts that we need a little more fat on our bodies than we think we should have. I'm starting to be ok with that. I'm more jealous of a woman that can do a pull-up than a skinny woman that can't! :-)