Sunday, July 5, 2015

Thinness Does Not Necessarily Equal Fitness

Assumptions about body styles

I noticed a cute little gal at the fitness trail where I do my cardio 3 times a week.  She appears to be in her 30's and does not have a look that most pretty young girls would envy.  She is very pear shaped and has a body style that gives me the impression that she is destined to look thick no matter what she eats or how she exercises.  

But, that gal sure is fit!  She's a perfect example of why it's not thinness that I aspire to, but fitness and health.  Trotting behind her on the trail I'm amazed by the muscles I can see in her legs, arms and back.  Under the layer of fat that she'll perhaps never get rid of is a thick layer of muscle that, no doubt, represents years of putting her time in at the gym and the running trails.

She doesn't stay in my sight very long  --   she's a fast runner.  She's faster than I used to be and I was a distance runner for many years.  A nine-minute mile was my pace unless I was going for a sprint.  This little gal is faster than that!

Bounding down the trail, she passes younger, thinner women with a quick, practiced rhythm. She makes it look effortless, but I know better!  I used to run like that (and hopefully will again) so I am fully aware of how many pairs of running shoes she destroyed on her way to her present level of fitness.

I admire her so much!  She inspires my thoughts as I trot along.

Although I still have a good 50 or more pounds to lose, my cholesterol is down to 160 and my blood sugar is at the low end of normal.  My resting heart rate averages 64 BPM, blood pressure is down, etc.  I can now lift weights at the gym that a lot of men would have trouble handling and my stamina increases every day.

But like the gal at the trail, I don't LOOK like someone who is in better shape than her thinner friends.  I have slender friends who could not do planks, could not make it through a 3 mile walk, and who don't eat right or take care of themselves at all.

We get so caught up in what we think we see!  We can be so distracted by how things appear that we fail to appreciate the way things actually are.  I have plenty of days (Ok, MOST days) where I feel fat, old and unattractive because that's how it can seem when I look in the mirror.

I'm trying to retrain myself to let my body tell me how I'm doing.  What the mirror shows and what other people think they see when they look at me have nothing to do with the strength and personal fortitude it's taken to get me this far.   The best parts of us cannot be measured that way.

Here's to hoping that the "fat" and "unattractive" days get few and fewer,  And that I learn to listen to what my body says, to believe it, and to fully own what I've been working for.