So, where was I? Oh yeah, tweens. If you're a parent of one, the term itself may bring on a shudder. It's the natural progression of things, the storm before the calm, the part where your world, the one with the seismic shift that you've finally gotten yourself accustomed to, suddenly shifts again and nothing is what it seems.
Yes, it's that dramatic.
But the silver lining in the onset of tween and teen is that your kids want freedom. They ask when you're going to be gone because they like to run around the house singing at the top of their lungs (which we, as their parents and general old people, frown upon). And once I got past my misgivings, my helicopterish hovering ways, it means independence for me.
Carefully balanced independence, but still. Independence. It's a lovely thing.
Yes, I still have to
Because (here's the "truth" part): I haven't been running. Or really working out
A few years ago, I lost weight like it was my job. Through medication, exercise and eating healthfully, I dropped a good portion of my body weight, gained lots of muscle and an insight to what life is like as a person who can shop in the regular misses department—a novelty for me. Then, I went off the medication, hurt my knee and had to stop running and gained the weight back like it was my job. I put other things first on my to-do list and ever so slowly, that weight creeped back up.
The worst part about gaining it back is that the whole time I was losing weight, all I ever heard was how great I looked, even though I felt like shit and was ignoring pretty much everything else that mattered because I spent all my time exercising, researching healthy foods and counting calories ingested and burned. I mean, I wanted people to notice because it was a big deal—it validated the hard work. But then when people noticed, it made me uncomfortable. Now that I'm not that skinny me, my self-worth is hard to maintain. I bought into the hype, convinced myself that my value was directly related to the number on the scale—and the higher the number, the lower my worth.
Now, I want to do things the right way. I'm not willing to forego my quality of life for a pair of skinny jeans. But I'm not willing to continue to convince myself that I'm a victim, either. Because that's what it feels like. Oh woe is me, I gained weight again! Yeah, well I know what causes that. And it means a lot to me because my kids are on this journey with me. They notice. And I don't want them to fall victim of tying their own worth to their weight.
It's hard to start over. It's hard to go to the gym and work out when you're not able to crush it, when you're trying to hide under your workout clothes instead of flaunt your muscles in the making. To hit the streets running when you get out of breath before you hit the half-mile point. But what choice do I have? This is the consequence of my actions—or inaction, as the case may be.
I'm not in it for the skinny jeans. I'm in it for a healthy me. It's stress relief. My kids like me better when I run, because it clears my head. I like myself better when I work out. I'm more creative. Burning calories clears out a foggy brain.
So if you see me (or someone like me) out on the street or at the gym, pushing that extra little bit, trying to improve but not sacrificing it all, give that person a smile. It means the whole world.
Three songs that got me moving this morning:
1. That's Not My Name, the Ting Tings
2. Into Action, Tim Armstrong
3. Bitter Rivals, Sleigh Bells