Coming up from an afternoon workout in my shorts and T-shirt one evening, I found Temple Williams, the editor who was then my best friend, waiting in my office. At that point, I’d lost 15 pounds. My calves were suddenly prominent, and my knees had thickened dramatically There was a new bridge of cartilage running downward from the point of my kneecap.
“You’ve changed your body type,” Temple told me. “You’re a different person now. You can’t ever go back”
– Benjamin Cheever, Strides (Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007)
I picked up Strides from the library a few weeks ago. I wanted a book about running, but not on running – something about the act of running but not the technical aspects. Strides, which is a mix of the author’s own journey with running and the history of marathons, did the trick. There were several things in the book that made me stop and take notice. The section above was one of them.
I too have significantly changed my body type, and I am also a different person. It isn’t just the physical changes, though those are significant, but I have also changed who I am. There are some big personality changes as well.
I have a different kind of energy now. I feel more upbeat, more energized. I am more willing to get up and do things, rather than spend my time sitting quietly. Don’t get me wrong, I still get worn down. The last few days I wore myself out… right into a migraine. I guess my body figured if I wasn’t going to get enough sleep, it would make me rest. But over all, I feel great. It’s the little things that kind of surprise me – how easy it is to get out of my little hatchback car, how much I enjoy running up my stairs to the second floor, how much more “peppy” I feel around friends… you get the idea.
I commented about this on Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty’s blog post about risk, Why are the Very Fit More Likely to Have Unsafe Sex?. Something happens when you decide to make a life change like getting fit. You have to take risks. Getting out there and jogging, knowing there were times I looked pretty darn foolish, and yet doing it anyway has changed me. I’m taking risks every time I lift weights or go out for a run, and after each success, I am willing to take a few more.
It isn’t just physical risks, it’s translated into my personal life. I am wearing clothes I never would have worn before and willing to try new things. Julian (my boyfriend) and I were talking the other day about how our communication has gotten better. I know I feel more comfortable and have been more open lately.
These things are turning into a bigger thing – I am happier. It isn’t at all about my dress size or even the lovely compliments that I have been getting. The fact is, I feel better on the inside, and that is more than enough for me.