I sing the body electric/The bodies of men and women engirth me, and I engirth them,/They will not let me off nor I them till I go with them and respond to them and love them…
The expression of the body of man or woman balks account,/The male is perfect and that of the female is perfect…
Be not ashamed women..your privilege encloses the rest..it is the exit of the rest,/You are the gates of the body and you are the gates of the soul./The female contains all qualities and tempers them….she is in her place….she moves with perfect balance,/She is all things duly veiled….she is both passive and active…
(Excerpted from Walt Whitman’s, “I Sing the Body Electric”, Leaves of Grass)
According to the scale at Weight Watchers, I am still overweight. In the many years that I have been a member, I have come very close to hitting my goal, and then something happens (usually self-sabotage) and I gain weight. While I have kept 40 pounds off for many, many years that last 20 continues to elude me. It is frustrating because I know what I have to do to lose the weight; I feel like I do what I am supposed to do to lose the weight, but I don’t lose the weight. My weight loss journey is one that has been the longest and hardest I have ever taken, even in comparison to my triathlon training. It is the one that upon hitting my “goal” weight will be the biggest achievement of my life.
I thought training for a tri would really help me lose the weight, and it did in the beginning. Within the first two weeks of training I lost five pounds. Then my grandma died and I traveled to Minnesota for the funeral, eating and drinking and not working out to the extent I do at home, and gained all five pounds back. Since then (that was the end of May) I have gone back and forth. I was warned that training was not a way to lose weight – and I understand that…I am gaining muscles, etc…but I didn’t necessarily think it would make me gain weight. When I look back on the week’s worth of effort, not only with activity but also with the foods I eat, it is frustrating to see a gain on the scale.
It is quite frustrating to see the numbers rise, stay the same, or only go down a little bit but what I have to keep in mind is what my body can do now that it couldn’t do eight years ago. Eight years ago I would not have been able to swim a mile in the river. Eight years ago I would not have been able to ride my bike for 40 miles and then hop off of it and go for a three mile run. Eight years ago…there are so many things now that I can do that I never would have thought possible eight years ago.
Early in our training we had a swim clinic, which meant I had to be in a fitted swimsuit in front of people. Eight years ago there would have been no way that would have happened. Hell, I don’t think I would have walked around like that eight months ago! Why could I do it now? Because I have fallen in love with my body because of the things it can do. I have moved from worrying about what my body looks like to appreciating it for what it can accomplish.
Do I still want to lose weight? Yes. Do I still sometimes look at myself and worry about what people see? Yes. I am human after all. But, losing weight isn’t my entire focus anymore. My focus is now on strengthening and preparing my body for my triathlon.
It may not be perfect, but my body can do amazing things! I sing my Body Electric!