In the end you’ll still be you

eat-to-nourishI go back and forth about my fitness goals.

The health benefits are very important to me, because I’m not just battling obesity, I am battling diabetes. I want to get my blood sugar under control. I want to be able to take fewer medications.

I have been told more than once that I should simply resign myself to the fact that diabetes is a progressive disease and it’s going to get worse. That may be so but before it gets much worse, I want to master it to the point that it gets a bit better. At least for awhile.

I don’t do resignation well. I don’t particularly want to surrender my body to diabetes. That, in my opinion, would suck.

At the same time, every time I read somewhere that I am not defined by a number (I know that), that I am beautiful regardless of what I weigh (yeah, right), that I shouldn’t worry about how other people view me — which translates into “you shouldn’t care whether or not your are attractive” — I have to laugh a little.

Let’s be honest. Mastering my medical maladies is meaningful but my looks matter, too. And it’s not even that it matters how people view me (although, it does), so much as that it matters how I view me. I want to find myself aesthetically pleasing. And yes, that really, really matters to me.

Networking functions and their ilk are very difficult for me. They lie far, far outside my comfort zone. But I have had to do them and I will tell you this: I am much more successful at such functions when I know I look good than I am when I’m fretting because I chose the wrong outfit or I’d look alright if I wasn’t so bloated or my hair decided to do something stupid this morning or … .

In short, confidence quenches self-consciousness, every time. If I don’t have to worry about my appearance, I can focus on the person I’m talking to and be genuinely interested in them instead of doing my best to appear to be listening to them while I secretly worry about how they see me.

So, of course I want that number on the scale to decline. Of course I want to be wearing a smaller dress size. Of course I’d rather look like this:

black-fit-woman

than like this:

fat-black-woman

What makes any of this matter is that my primary fitness goals will dictate a lot of what I do and how I respond to setbacks.

When I’m in that place where I want to be healthy and I want to be strong, then I’ll be disappointed when I can’t do all 25 of those tricep dips. (My onboard spell check thingie is not okay with it if I talk about a single tricep rather than both triceps. Go figure.)

When I’m in that place where I want to be pretty — which, in my head, translates into slim — then I care less about that sort of thing but when I pull something out of my closet and find that I still can’t get into it (or can’t get into it without looking like a clown), then I’ll be depressed. That’s because that is the type of episode that triggers all the negative self-talk that I’m constantly fighting with, the self-talk that tells me I’m fat and ugly.

And now, we have come full circle. Because now is the moment when I remind you not to bother telling me that being pretty is all in my head and not in my mirror. I care what I look like and there’s no point in telling me that I shouldn’t. I just do.

I can’t do 25 tricep dips right now but I can do 10. I consider that to be quite an improvement over the day I tried and could only do 2. I am making progress. I am learning patience because it wouldn’t be healthy for the weight to just “fall off me.” I am acquiring faith in my ability to get my body to the point where it does what I tell it to do.

And I am hopeful … because when I get to that point, I will also be at the point where I won’t mind looking in the mirror anymore.

I AM STRONG

I have fallen
I have cried
I have been afraid
I have been alone

I have fallen
  but I have picked myself back up
I have cried
  but I have laughed more
I have been afraid
  but I did what needed doing
I have been alone
  and still I thrive

I am not weak because I need
I am strong because I stand

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