#12 – You’ll get fat in your twenties and other lies
When I was a teen, everyone would always tell me I’d get fat in my twenties. So many people said it! When I was in my 20s, they said I’d get fat for sure in my 30s, which was when I had my first child. Sure, I could lose about 5-10 pounds after the births of my children when I was in my mid thirties, but I was still pretty thin. Fast forward when I was approximately 40 (about 2002), they were finally kind of right. The flab was there to stay. Yikes!
As memories of being teased about being skinny and feeling un-athletic faded over the years (I was a tennis player now after all), I felt decidedly uncomfortable in my current mom body. Softer, flabbier, for sure. It happened so slowly after having children, but I felt out of sorts. Not me.
One day I decided I wanted my old body back and lose the 10 pounds I had gained since childbirth. I kind of missed my skinny, scrawny little body. I missed being small. I saw myself that way, so time to get back to “me.” Time to make a change.
I had started doing what some might call jogging, certainly not running, starting about this time. My pace was, like, 14 minute miles. I would jog on the horse trails in our community, and I loved listening to music to keep me going. Just me and the trail for whatever pace that was comfortable for me at that moment.
I also went on (please don’t call it a diet) an eating plan to lose fat and gain muscle. I used a nutritionist to help me on what to eat and what not to eat. Turns out I needed to eat fewer carbs and eat a lot more protein. A lot of protein! These were the days before apps. It was a spreadsheet, and I would input what I ate and it deducted my allotted protein, carbs, and fat throughout the day. This worked well for me and I was a model client of his. I lost the 10 pounds fairly quickly and I felt very good about it!
I ran 3-4 times a week, about 3-4 miles each time for several years. Our two sons were active runners in school, participating in cross country. Our older son, Spencer, was active in Students Run LA, a program to get kids running and moving and ultimately run the LA Marathon in 7th grade. He went on to run many, many more marathons, including the San Francisco Marathon when he was 18 in 3:05 qualifying him to run the Boston Marathon later that year, which he did. Garrett, our youngest, went on to run marathons, too, and was on his high school’s state championship cross country team in 2011 and 2012. I was and am SO happy my children were athletic and succeed in this area, where I did not.
But now it’s 2008, and I decide to run a marathon! My sons ran marathons and I wanted to be challenged and, truth be told, I wanted them to be proud of me – their un-athletic mom. The Orange County (California) Marathon was set for April of 2009, and I got some tennis ladies to start training with me. My 81 year old mother had breast cancer so we all decide to raise money for breast cancer research in her honor. We all did short training runs during the week according to our program, and joined together on the weekends for our long runs. We even did some fun runs and half marathons to prepare for the big event.
Another body shaming episode came about this time. I think, and hope, she meant well but it made me so angry. This women who was a friend and a personal trainer where I played tennis came up to me and said I looked really thin. Really thin, she said. I explained I was training for a marathon so I was running a lot. While I didn’t like the emphasis she put on thin (it didn’t sound kind), she was a personal trainer so professional should know the difference between naturally thin and something being wrong. Then, said the something I thought was extremely offensive. She asked me if I was eating. Seriously? WTF! Saying I was thin was not a compliment and now was basically asking me if I had an eating disorder. I quickly shot back that, yes, I was eating. I had to eat so much more with all of the running, but that I was offended and she had crossed the line. She definitely knew I did not appreciate her “inquiry.” She basically meant to say that I looked so bad, I must be ill. I walked off and barely spoke to her ever again. She did apologize in an email to me later in the day, which was nice but it was still very upsetting. I wonder if she ever walks up to heavy people and ask them if they are eating too much. So bad. So hurtful. Here I was feeling good about my fitness, and this professional trainer thinks I look so thin I must have an eating disorder. Leave me alone.
During the very same time, while training for the marathon, I was also competing for the most wins in my tennis league. It was a very athletic time for me, but also very challenging as I tried to also spend time with my ailing mother.
Stay tuned for the rest of this story…
FUN FACT: “Fargo”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” are my favorite movies.