Today as I was halfway through a high intensity workout, clad in short spandex shorts and a sports bra, I looked up and caught myself in the mirror. I was halfway through my minute of criss-cross jacks, trying to keep my breath steady as I brought elbow to meet knee and also trying not to die. Every time my limbs crossed my torso to say hello to each other briefly, my stomach crunched itself up into a few tiny little rolls. As I splayed my limbs back out, a split second reprieve before I launched into the same action on the other side, my stomach would jiggle itself back into semi-flat existence. After a year of exercising and feeding my body (mostly) healthy food, I have a tummy that has some definition but is still holding on to that lower abdominal pooch and a little layer of blubber as well, just for old times’ sake.
As I watched my stomach fold and jiggle with my uncoordinated limb movements my face burst into a spontaneous smile. (If you thought I was going to say it burst into a spontaneous flame, you are totally my wavelength because I actually almost typed that. But that didn’t happen so it would have been a lie and I don’t want to lie to you. That is what this blog is about: the truth. So I’m sorry I couldn’t give you that small bit of hyperbole. Digressing…) One year ago, even a few months ago, I never would have smiled at the sight of my flab jiggling away. I would have been mortified. I might have put a shirt on despite being alone in my apartment. I might have spent the rest of the workout distracted by a voice in my head reminding me how disgustingly fat I am. But there I was, smiling. And proud.
My body is, at this very moment, in the best shape it has ever been in. It looks better than I can ever remember it looking. The other day I went bathing suit shopping because the ones I’ve owned for the last few years were all too big. Let me repeat that: they were all. too. big. During the bathing suit shopping I lamented the fact that I still couldn’t wear teeny bikini bottoms without making myself look like a peanut and even had a couple moments where I whined to Sam that I am SO FAT. But that only happened a couple of times, I didn’t cry, and I actually continued to love the body I was looking at despite its unfortunate appearance in unflattering cuts.
Then I found a bathing suit and I felt happy and the world was great again.
Things are still not perfect. Yes, my upper thighs and hips seem to have a harder time with change than other parts of my body but they are starting to get the message. I catch myself in my cut off denim shorts in a mirror once in awhile and notice some cellulite lingering on the back of my thighs. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get rid of that pesky curve that exists on both the outside and inside of my legs that is, I’m pretty sure, the jiggliest part of every human body. Once in awhile I ask myself if I will ever look like I want to look or if it’s all just a pipe dream.
But then I remember that I’m now a size eight and I used to be a twelve to fourteen. I remember that I used to be out of breath doing basically anything. I remember that I took comfort in food instead of other, more fulfilling, past times. I think about the fact that I bike a minimum of eight kilometres a day and do yoga or HIIT four to five of those days, something my body never would have been able to handle in the past. I remind myself that I am happier, mentally tougher, and so much healthier than I have ever been.
So when I catch myself in the mirror, red and sweaty with a simultaneously rolling and jiggling tummy, I smile now. I smile because there is some definition there. I smile because I’m doing something I never would have been able to do before. I see my legs, pale and still a little soft, and love them for literally pushing me to and from work every day, around the city on the weekends, and for never giving out during jump squats even when my brain is screaming.
I don’t have the best body in the world. I never will. But I have the best body for me.
And I really do, for the first time in my life, love what I see when I look in the mirror – naked, clothed, or in spandex shorts and a sports bra, panting and jumping and jiggling.