Diary of a fat kid

Week 4, Day 2. It’s getting serious now. Today we drove to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail (sort of like the trail that goes to Lowell Park for all you Sauk Valley-ites) for our training session. The trail will be part of the 5K course we plan to run in November. I don’t know what it was about today — Two days of rest? A long walk the night before? No breakfast? — but I struggled to stay motivated today. For the first time since we started this journey, I felt like giving up during one of the running segments. It’s a mental game for me right now, I think. My body can do it. I know my body can do it. But, at least today, I didn’t want to. We finished without turning around, so we had a long walk back to the car, but by the time that was over, I felt like I could run again, not that I was going to, but I had recovered my will a little.

The reality of running this far is starting to weigh on me. I keep thinking of myself as the fat kid trying to run a mile and a half in gym class in enough time not to fail. I see the athletes and skinny kids passing me, finishing with an A or a B grade while I struggled to push myself to a D grade. I’m wondering if I really can do this, if I really have it in me.

Forgive my side trip into therapy here for a minute, but this teenage insecurity has been plaguing me lately. Last night, I suggested to my husband that we go for a walk as a family because I didn’t think our 2-year-old had had enough exercise that day, and I thought, when I looked at her, that I could see a bit of a “pooch” in her belly.

So here’s my fear: I am still scarred by my own body image insecurities and will pass those on to my daughter through my actions, attitudes, behaviors, etc. Being the “fat kid” in grade school gives me a bit of anxiety when the doctor says Isabelle is in the 75th percentile for weight and the 10th percentile for height. I don’t want her to have to struggle with her weight or how she sees herself or to be teased by kids and have her zest for life sapped from her.

This exercise with family thing is such a balancing act. If my husband and I want to have a good workout, then the kids have to ride. If we want the kids to get exercise, then we sacrifice our own fitness because of their pace. I’m happy about the changes we’re making to be healthy and fit, and I know that by building this foundation now, we’re setting ourselves up for an easier time of family exercise when the kids can keep up or ride bikes. Still, I worry. Too much.

And I know that if I don’t deal with the “fat kid” from my past, then I’ll be of no help to my daughter when she begins to face these issues. I don’t want to be indifferent about her activity levels, but I also don’t want to create an environment where she overreacts to the many changes her body will undergo. (We’re watching the current season of “The Biggest Loser,” and one of the contestants has a daughter who was starving herself because she didn’t want to be fat like her mom. Lord, help me, I don’t want to be there.)

Like I said before, it’s a mental game right now, and this is some of the baggage I’m carrying as we train. I’m hoping to throw off what hinders, as the apostle Paul says, so I can truly run free … literally and spiritually.

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4 thoughts on “Diary of a fat kid

  1. I would always purposefully mess up my mile b/c I didn’t want to put in my real effort and feel like a failure when I didn’t do ‘well enough.’

    I think that every person has issues that they’re afraid to pass on to their kids. I think that it’s about controlling the impulses and also, when their old enough, being honest.
    I say this because my mom, and her whole family, have a ton of issues, they went through some horrible stuff when they were growing up and when someone looks at my generation you can tell the difference between the ones that didn’t recognize their issues and really pushed them on the kids and that weren’t honest and the ones that were.
    I am biased, I think that my mom is one of the most amazing people on the planet, but I think that that’s what my mom did right. Yeah, with her plethora of issues they got passed on to me, but not in a way that has lead me down a negative path, but in a way that has caused me to be vigilant against what my mom, aunts, uncles and nana experienced. I think that I’m able to do it because my mom prayed about not putting on me and also, was as honest as she can be.
    I know that this is different that self-esteem and body issues, but I think that it’s on the same path. I think that the fact that you’re even thinking of it is a good thing b/c then you’re aware so you can stop yourself if needed or just deal with it for yourself so she won’t even know about it until years later. 🙂

    Plus, I know that you love her enough to do anything you need to for her.

    Hopefully, this all made sense.

  2. It’s so funny how many of us had the same exact issues, and yet, probably never knew we weren’t alone. Lisa, you should know I NEVER would’ve given you the label of a fat kid. I know we were older when I knew you, but it never even crossed my mind to think of you as heavy. I am in the exact same spot as you right now. Hearing my 10th grade self tell me to hate running while my 34 year old self is dying to try it.

    That fear keeps me from trying.

    You’ve so inspired me. Can you tell me more about this couch to 5K program? I have some back issues so I really might not be able to do it, but I really, really want to try!! 🙂 I loved this entry…therapy and all!!

    • Thanks for the kind words! The mirror is so deceptive. I look back at pictures of me THEN and I wonder what my deal was, but I look at myself now sometimes and still see that insecure, awkward, uncomfortable kid. I think women of all shapes and sizes struggle with this. It just always helps me to make it public!

      Here’s the link to the Couch to 5K: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml?cmp=18-1

      It’s gradual and you can take it at your own pace if you need to. We’re pushing through on track so we can run a 5K on Nov. 20, which is exactly 9 weeks from when we started the program. Give it a try! I’m not a doctor so I don’t know if your back issues would hinder you, but I’ve been amazed at how I’ve progressed on this plan. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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