This morning, I had four miles at an easy pace on the schedule. It's been super nice outside lately, so I was looking forward to it, but it was really windy. I ran four-mile route that goes around a couple of neighborhoods, and a couple of miles in, I passed by an older man that I see fairly often when I run the neighborhoods. He's probably in his 70's, he walks a lot, and walks pretty far from what I've seen.
I haven't been running the neighborhoods lately, so I haven't seen him since just before the Chicago Marathon. He carries a baseball bat with him while he walks (for protection, I assumed). As I came up behind him today, I called out, "Coming up behind you!" and then when he turned, "I just wouldn't want to get whacked with your bat!" and he laughed and said, "Nah, this is for the pit bulls". He asked me how the marathon went, and I was surprised he remembered. So I stopped and walked alongside him for a couple of minutes while we chatted.
I learned that he walks for exercise to maintain his own weight loss! He said he used to weigh 210, and now he's 170. He said he feels a million times better, and he wishes that overweight people would be able to know what it feels like to be a "normal" weight, because they would see that it's worth the sacrifices to lose the weight. I didn't think of it that way before, but it definitely would be hard to go back to being obese now that I've experienced this size. Life was a lot harder before, from my self-confidence to tying my shoes to finding clothes.
Anyway, I hadn't stopped my Garmin while I walked with him, so when I started running again, my lap pace read 11:30. I made it a mission to try and get that mile pace down to 9:14, which is what my easy pace is supposed to be. I ran hard, but didn't quite make it. I got the lap pace down to 9:20. Not bad!
A couple of friends of mine shared this article on Facebook about feeling too fat to be photographed, and it definitely hit home for me. If there is one thing I regret most about being fat, it's that I was so worried and occupied by the fact that I was fat. I avoided the camera like the plague, and because of that, I don't have many pictures from my 20's, or even late teens. Now, my kids don't have many pictures of them as babies with their own mother.
I'm not sure what I thought at the time. That anyone looking at the photo would think, "I can't believe she allowed herself to be photographed, she's so fat!"? It's a ridiculous way to think, and I wish I'd realized that back then. Once we had digital cameras, it was so easy to delete pictures, too. If I did happen to get photographed, all I had to do was push a button or two and it would be gone, never to be seen again.
When I look at pictures of other families, I never notice, "Oh, she's overweight" or "Her thighs look big", or "Look at that double chin". I just see the picture for what it is--a photo of that family, doing whatever it is they were doing in the moment. Once I realized this, I try to get a lot more photos of myself in the memories. Rather than taking tons of pictures of Jerry and the kids when we do something fun as a family, I'll get pictures of them, ask Jerry to take pictures with me in them, or even ask a stranger to take a photo for us. I want my kids to have those pictures to see that I was an active mom, that I did fun things with them. When I was overweight, judging by the photos, you would think my kids didn't even have a mom, because I was never in the pictures!
Just today, while we were waiting for dinner to get done (it was in the oven), the four of us went for a walk around the neighborhood. Jerry was being silly with the kids, and I took a bunch of photos. Then I asked him to take my phone out of my pocket to get a picture of Eli and me, because I was giving Eli a piggy back ride (and galloping while doing it, just ask my burning thighs!).
Someday, I want Eli to look at that and see a mom who gave him a piggy back ride... he's not going to notice (or care) that I'm not wearing make-up, that I didn't do my hair, or that I'm wearing yoga pants (all easier to see if Jerry hadn't gotten such a blurry pic!). I still have days where I feel fat, and I nitpick certain spots on my body in photos... but I never delete pictures for that reason anymore. I always think to myself, "Someday, I'll be happy that I have this." When I first started losing weight, I decided to take a picture every 10 pounds that I lost, so I could see the changes in my body. After I'd lost 10 pounds, I felt amazing, and I was so excited to see the difference. I wore the same clothes, and had Jerry take some comparison photos.
When I looked at the pictures, I was horrified. I looked exactly the same! I was really upset, and was thisclose to deleting the pictures. But I reminded myself that I would regret it, if I did, in fact, go on to reach my goal weight. I'd have wished that I saved those pictures!
And now? For all of the pictures that I did save, or allowed to be taken, I'm grateful to have them! I just wish I hadn't let my weight stop me from capturing memories with my family for so long.