Today I went on a run. A seemingly simple sunset run, but my mind started turning as soon as my feet hit the pavement. Since exercise addiction was a big part of my eating disorder, my ability to move my body without the pressure of ‘burning this’ or ‘losing that’ still astounds me.
Every day for the last two and a half months I have spent three hours in the car and countless hours sitting at my daughter’s bedside. When I would get home at the end of the day, my time was spent pumping or taking care of my son. My body was in survival mode. Going on a walk or to a yoga class was out of the question. Even before I ruptured, I was pregnant and feeling every ache and pain of pregnancy while also traveling and chasing a toddler. Going on walks did not feel good so I did not walk. It has literally been months since I moved my body other than two prenatal yoga classes.
Today I looked out the window and saw how beautifully sunny it was. My daughter was sleeping and my son was outside playing. I looked at my mom and asked if I could go on a walk. “GO!” She said, “It will be wonderful for you.” Who was I to argue? Mothers know best.
I set out to run/walk, never imagining I would be able to run without feeling cramped and out of breath since it had been months since I had exercised. But I really did not care if I ran like turtle, all I knew is that I needed to get out of the house and move my body. That is the amazing thing when you reconcile with exercise – when you throw out the calories burned, miles run or pace, exercise becomes play. You move your body simply because it feels good. It is that simple and yet we burden ourselves with calories in and out, pushing our bodies to painful levels to achieve a size or look. Today’s run went so far beyond that.
As soon as I stepped out of the driveway, my feet began to glide against the pavement. My body moved with such ease as I trotted down our small town’s main road. I smiled ear to ear. I felt such pride in my body and it’s perseverance. From nearly two weeks on bed rest to the pain of a c-section and recovery from it, my body has been through hell.
Doing something good for my body felt incredible. I thought back to the mornings I would set out on my drive to the NICU. I would see people walking and riding bikes and running. I dreamed of the day I could bring that back into my life. I dreamed of it not because I wanted to get back to some pre-baby body or burn off my daily Chick-fil-a. No, I am proud to say those things never cross my mind anymore. I wanted to return to the sidewalk because I craved self care. I wanted time for me, to clear my head and to do something good for my spirit.
It is that time of year when all we hear are messages about holiday ‘temptations’ and New Year’s weight loss resolutions. These messages eat at me (pun intended). For most of my life, I lived by the notion that the new year would bring a ‘healthier’ me, which of course meant a smaller sized version of me. Because if I weighed less, then I would ultimately be happier. And new year happiness was achieved through rigorous and grueling exercise and restriction, only to ultimately ‘fail’ and start the vicious cycle again.
My life and my run today boldly debunks my former thinking – a thinking pattern that plagues many of us. My body today proved that no matter what I am going through in life, it is resilient. On a day when I set out for a simple run/walk, I returned home with another piece of my spirit back in place.
The last few months have been exhausting emotionally and physically. My mom told me last month that I finally had the light back in my eyes. Today, I felt that light return to my body. In a world where we are inundated with thoughts and messages to lose, why can’t we reframe that to a message of gaining. Today I regained my physical spirit. My body reminded me (once again) that if I honor and take care of it, my body will take care of me.
Today, I did something good for my body and in return my body gave me my groove back.
What if we all focused less on simply losing weight through exercise and focused more on getting our groove back?