I talk about fitness and health (as it relates to me) every once and awhile. The crib notes version for any new readers: I spent the first twenty-five years of my life as a “Big Girl”, save for a stint in high school where I decided that eating is for losers. Literally.

In my early twenties I tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, consulted a dietitian and made huge strides. I started working out, eating healthier and before I knew it my thighs no longer rubbed together when I walked. I didn’t even know that was possible.

I had a few hiccups along the way, but they mostly related to getting pregnant and gaining sixty pounds. I measured forty-eight inches in circumference. That’s FOUR FEET, people.

I am in no way perfect when it comes to eating well and exercising. I try (Oh, how I try) and I have figured out what works for me (Less carbs, more veggies and protein) but I am in a constant state of slipping up, beating myself up, and setting myself straight. Time and time (and time) again. I hope that the self-criticism will cease before I’m eighty but the forecast is not looking good.

In order to keep the (critical) demons at bay and to feel (mostly) at home in my body, I exercise. I attend a Boot Camp two nights a week (and have signed up for the four mornings per week class during the summer) and fill the rest of my days with other workouts. The majority of those workouts have been of the Jillian Michaels variety and while they are a good workout, yes, I’m getting bored. And it’s getting nice outside.

Before becoming a blimp while hosting my firstborn child, I was a runner. I was a runner after having said child as well, but somewhere in the blur of having three kids in under four years I got out of the habit. My knees also could not hack it anymore. I had surgery for patella femoral syndrome back when I was twenty and the symptoms had all reappeared. Hence the boot camp and the DVD workouts and the power walking on my lunch hour. I’ve always missed running, though. I’m one of THOSE people.

In the past few months our fitness instructor has added some running to our class and…my knees haven’t hurt. At all. I wondered if maybe I should try running again. I bought some new Nike Airs, downloaded the Couch to 5K App and hit the road. I’m on week 6 (I cheated and started on Week 3 because my cardio is in pretty good shape) and so far, no knee pain.  All I need to do is get some new (good) running music and earbuds that don’t fall out (Suggestions?) and I will be perfectly happy with this new regime.

As for the body image stuff, I’m working on it. I know in my head that I’m in decent shape but put me in front of a mirror and the Mean Girl voice in my head pipes up. My thighs are too muscular, that inch you can pinch above my hips shouldn’t be there, my stomach should be more defined. It’s all ridiculous, I know it is, and I need it to stop. Not only for my sake but for Emily’s.

I’ve got a beautiful little girl who is looking to me as a model for how to grow into a woman. I never speak negatively about myself in front of her but as she grows up she’s going to catch on when I make self-deprecating comments. I want her to feel beautiful in her skin, regardless of her size and shape. I want that for me, too. Nobody can do it for me, so it’s time to stop the noise.

Ready, set, GO.

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  1. rachel joy June 10, 2010 12:21 am edit

    I heart C25K. Really, I do. When I heard about it, I knew it was the only way I’d get running. I got to week 7 or 8 and then flaked off a bit, but reached my goal to do the 5K Run for Water on May 30. Now I’m kind of a little bit excited to do another one. Crazy. I love that it’s an app. If only I had the iPhone. Is it verbal cues, or just beeps? I found a podcast that a guy made with verbal cues and liked that. Max wants to run the next community run with me. I’m kind of tempted to start him on C25K and see how much he can handle.

  2. angella June 10, 2010 7:37 am edit

    Way to go, Rachel!

    There’s a chime and then a voice that cuts over your music to tell you to walk/run/cool down. It also chimes and tell you when you’re halfway so you can turn around and head back. :)

  3. Eric's Mommy June 10, 2010 4:09 am edit

    You go girl!
    I was always super skinny as a kid, I would get picked on for being so skinny. I hated it. Now after having my son (8 years ago!) I am at the heaviest I have ever been, with the exception of the 50 plus pounds I gained when pregnant.

    I need to do something.

    PS-I have bad knees too, I did 30DS and it messed them up worse :(

  4. K June 10, 2010 4:22 am edit

    I’m so excited for your running journey! I hope your knees (and the rest of your body) stay pain-free. I love running too and I understand your desire to go for it! Can’t wait to hear about your race(s)!

  5. angella June 13, 2010 10:10 pm edit

    Wait. WHAT races? I need to race? Oh, dear.

  6. Michelle June 10, 2010 6:09 am edit

    I understand where you are coming from. I spent the first 34 years of my life as a very overweight person. I tried everything you could think of, so after careful consideration i had weight loss surgery. I also joined the Y and started cooking healthier meals. After the first 100 pounds came off and I could actually move my body and has the energy to do so, I started working out more and I am now down 170 pounds. As a result of my life changing habits, my whole family is healthier! My husband has lost 70 pounds and both my 5 year old daughter and my teenage stepdaughter have better eating and exercising habits. We still go to the Y 3-4 times a week and if we are not there, we are walking\riding our bike around the neighborhood lakes.

    I still strugggle everyday when I look in the mirror, I still see the fat girl, but I am working on it.

  7. a- June 10, 2010 7:19 am edit

    2 babies in 2 years + Desk job = heaviest ever
    Now that I am working towards healthier food choices, a.m workouts, weekend swims, etc. I find myself really struggling with my internal self. Part of me wants to be smaller and tends to not like what she sees in the mirror. But there is another part of me who loves yummy (read bad for you) foods, is blessed to have a husband who finds her sexy regardless and just wants to enjoy life as is. That version of me doesn’t really SEE the outside. It’s a daily battle.

    Good luck to you on this endeavor.

  8. Kami's Khlopchyk June 10, 2010 8:00 am edit

    I am so happy you are able to run again! I get it, I do, I am one of THOSE people too :)

    And earbuds that don’t fall out? Still looking! I thought it was just my ears that were funny shaped or something…
    .-= Kami’s Khlopchyk´s last blog ..Great Big Number 9! =-.

  9. Jen June 10, 2010 11:23 am edit

    It’s not just you. I should show you ones that I find that DON’T! fall out.

  10. Sizzle June 10, 2010 8:16 am edit

    What a beautiful thing- to finally learn to love yourself as you are while giving your daughter that gift simultaneously.

    I really should get my knees checked. They make a horrible grinding noise when I bend them.
    .-= Sizzle´s last blog ..The Wild West =-.

  11. Rhonda June 10, 2010 9:22 am edit

    I got frustrated with earbuds falling out too, so I dug out the earphones that came with my walkman eons ago. They’re great for running!!! They’re the over the head kind with the sideways smartie type buds that stick in your ear. They stay in place, and who care what they look like when you’re running….

  12. Jilian June 10, 2010 10:56 am edit

    I’m waiting for a comment that mentions the perfect headphones! My favorites still are the sony sport ones that fold up. They aren’t earbuds per say…. but the little ends stick in your ears so they don’t ‘set on them’ if that makes sense. Only problem is that I sweat SO MUCH they’ll short our before I finish a workout. Seriously.

    I bought the ‘skull candy’ ones and pretty much hate them. I’ve tried all 3 size covers they come with and none will stay in. Luckily I can run without music.
    .-= Jilian´s last blog ..Baby DIY #2 – Pinwheel Taggie =-.

  13. Jen June 10, 2010 11:21 am edit

    Am I allowed to say that I think you look SMOKIN’???

    I miss running. This single-parenting-for-a-month-and-a-half gig is NOT good for the whole trying-to-fit-excercise-in thing. NOT GOOD AT ALL.

    You may be MUCH smaller than you were when you were 20, but I’m MUCH larger. Stupid carbs. And extreme laziness.

    I think Emily’s got a pretty good role model.

  14. Tamara June 10, 2010 11:51 am edit

    I got some Bose in-ear headphones (some swag bag had them) that I can’t find online anywhere, but they have a little suction that keeps them in and since I don’t run for longer than an hour, they are pretty comfortable. (Longer wearing while using them for television has proven a little hurty…) The ones on the Bose site I haven’t tried, but I bet they’re pretty great (for $99.00 they better be).

    Also check out “Born to Run” the book about barefoot running, it gives interesting insight on running injuries and how running shoes might be causing them. Not that I’m suggesting you should run barefoot, just that you might want to get your shoes checked out if you start to have pain again.
    .-= Tamara´s last blog ..flashes before your eyes =-.

  15. Kerri Anne June 10, 2010 12:08 pm edit

    1) You are beautiful. Inside and out, for sure.
    2) I love! that you’ve been running and loving it. I’m a runner’s high girl, too, and I honestly don’t see how people run without it, though I know there are plenty who do. I am literally beaming (and lo, I will even admit I have CRIED) after runs, and great workouts in general.
    3) I’m excited! to run with you on and around Cannon Beach!
    4) Please share any headphone recs, because mine are pretty annoying, too.
    5) I’m still holding out for you to come hang out in October and run 6 miles across a bridge with me. Afterward we shall eat some pumpkin pie. Or something otherwise awesome.
    6) The sun and blue sky in that photo? Can you send some down here, please? PLEASE.
    .-= Kerri Anne´s last blog ..Interest In Your Bold Rejection Of Social Norms As Evidenced By Your Dyed Hair =-.

  16. hillary June 10, 2010 12:48 pm edit

    good running music:
    Anything by Muse but specifically Time is Running Out, Stockholm Syndrome, Hysteria, Far Away, New Born, Swept Away, Politik, Knights of Cydonia, and Uprising.
    Hot Chip – One Pure Thought
    The Killers – Human, I Can’t Stay, Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, For Reasons Unknown
    Metric – Help I’m Alive
    Coldplay – Viva La Vida
    Kate Nash – Foundations
    Phoenix – Lisztomania
    Kooks – Ooh La
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
    MGMT – Time to Pretend
    .-= hillary´s last blog ..Makes Me Want To Be A Little Stronger Still I See Monsters =-.

  17. Karmyn June 10, 2010 2:39 pm edit

    I am forcing myself to love running! I just signed up for my first 10K! (and am working on the couch to 5K as well!) Cool to hear your journey :) And I love your perspective on raising Emily with a healthy body image :)
    .-= Karmyn´s last blog ..Four =-.

  18. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com June 10, 2010 7:19 pm edit

    You can do it!

  19. Danica June 11, 2010 1:33 pm edit

    Oh. Dear. Sister of my heart. I too used to be a big girl. Wait. I still am big-ish. Oh well. I too ran before kids. I too found myself missing it. I too have recently picked it up again.
    I’ve been doing well and can go several kms now before needing to slow down and walk for a bit. Except for this one hill I can’t seem to conquer. I just can’t quite crest the thing.
    Here’s to not-winter and working out in the great Canadian outdoors!
    .-= Danica´s last blog ..Question for ya… =-.

  20. Jenn of the Roof June 12, 2010 5:11 pm edit

    I too am enjoying the C25K…even though I’m only on week 3. I have NEVER run before…I used to joke about it, only run if I was being chased, etc.

    I found some great podcasts online for C25K…except I can’t remember where. Maybe a google search will yield some?
    .-= Jenn of the Roof´s last blog ..Creativity Bootcamp, Day Five =-.

  21. gorillabuns June 12, 2010 6:26 pm edit

    if i could actually exercise from my couch, i would so be on board!

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