I’m a grown-ass human & I can do whatever I want.
“You’re much better in short sprints.” – my trainer on how I kick my ass into gear. Right now, I’m exactly 5 months from turning 40. It’s only been about 8 months since I wore a knockout wedding dress in which I felt like a badass goddess. I had picked a dress that didn’t fit me at the time and wasn’t interested in altering the dress – I knew I could get my body into that dress. I worked my TAIL off because we figured out how I focused best. My trainer, Kyle Brown, figured out that short sprints with big deadlines were my best bet.
The day of my wedding, I walked out to a group of my best girlfriends and heard one say, “That dress was made for your body.” My response: “Nope, my body was made for this dress.”
8 months later, I know I wouldn’t fit in that dress the same way. I just hired a cardio coach to get me back to running and cycling. So, when I got up today, I decided it was time to track my progress. I had my husband take a set of photos of me in a sports bra and shorts. I didn’t think about it until I uploaded them to the training app. A notice came up that said I just had to scroll left to compare. I scrolled over to see pics of me right before the wedding. That wasn’t the best idea. I’m not “overweight” (whatever that means these days) – and based on how my relatives look, I doubt I could gain all that much. I was born to a tall skinny family, weighed way too little in high school because I grew too fast, and stayed pretty lanky through my 20’s into my 30’s. If you saw the pictures, you’d wonder if there was much of a difference. To me? Demoralizing.
You see, I’m sitting in my home on a forced day off after 4 weeks of crushing my job during the COVID-19 quarantine. I’m exhausted, overworked, eating gummy bears by the handful, and sipping martinis as if I am still 25. Although I’ve been handling this pandemic pretty well, the 5lb bag of gummy bears could say otherwise.
I’ve been off synthetic birth control for the last few months. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’m recovering from 20 years of those little pills and an IUD. My body is still trying to acclimate – yet, somehow my mood got right on it. I’ve only been upset twice since that day at the Gynocologist when she took that painful little device out of me and dangled it from forceps near my face. (Yeah, she was horrible.)
My body has basically been on the rebound since. It started craving more sleep, more sugar, and more touch. My skin is so much more sensitive and I’m taking more naps. (By more naps, I just mean naps – I’ve NEVER been a napper.) And like I said, my mood is on point. I’m not sure what I was thinking all those years, but I swore I was naturally moody until I took myself off birth control. Just since meeting my husband, I’ve broken at least 3 doorjambs from slamming our apartment doors. Getting angry for things I later couldn’t understand.
Now, I’m asking myself better questions about how I feel, why I feel that way, and how my boundaries got pushed. THEN responding. It’s a beautiful awareness – and I’m sure it’s more than just a change in hormones, but I’ll attribute most of my generally happy humanity to being myself without additional hormones.
When I was at the gyno’s office, she made a HUGE point of making sure I knew that my body will just change and I’ll have to get used to that. This coming from a 50-something Gynocologist with the body-fat of an Olympic swimmer who says she does Pilates every day. I wasn’t sure whether to take what she said as sarcasm or just general lack of bedside manner. I then heard the same thing from friends over 40. And the way they said it, it sounded as if they should be saying, “tsk tsk.” As if turning 40 was my limit.
When did I stop being a “baby” with everyone telling me everything I need to know because I obviously know nothing to being “too old” and obviously still knowing nothing about my own body? Can we start a conversation about boundaries? A
lso, isn’t it 2020? Isn’t 40 the new 30 or something?
Why do people say shit like that anyway? As if every human body is the same. Grr…
I am not afraid of 40. I’ll do everything it takes to hit my 40’s with a rockin’ bod and healthy lifestyle. I’d much rather go into it with 5 extra pounds and a much happier mental space. So, back to this demoralizing situation – the one where I uploaded photos of myself to this app after 4 weeks of being stuck at home without a gym and with whacky Denver weather (it’s snowing today, btw.)
The thing the photos don’t show is that I’m more mentally stable than I would have been had I stayed on synthetic hormones. I’m an entrepreneur who just lost 100% of my income because all of my business is done in-person. I’m not freaking out about money or paying my team. I’m not worrying about this pandemic causing me to get a job. And I’m also thrilled that I don’t have to travel all that much right now. Sure, I’ve cried a few times from being overwhelmed or worried, but so has every single person who isn’t pretending this isn’t happening.
The best part: my husband has become my workout buddy again. He’s rocking TRX and bodyweight workouts and doing yoga with me in our living room. We’re connecting more. I even told him how I felt about the photos and he said, “You’re sexier than ever and I always want to jump you.”
On top of that, the cardio coach I just hired, she responded to my “I’ve got a new goal for when I turn 40” with “Ooh yeah!! Some of my running friends said when they turned 40 they started having the best running years and being in the best shape of their life.” JUST what a 39yo demoralized woman needed to hear. Thank you, Laura. (If you need a cardio push, check her out: laurasconley.com)
So, what would happen if we all stopped bitching about our bodies and started praising our mental health? What if we learned that our weight wasn’t a sign of health as much as our lack of slamming doors? WHAT IF we started saying nice things about our bodies – and fired anyone who says otherwise? (Gynocologists with no tact included.)
I’m in it. Right now. Feeling every bit of feeling in how my upper belly sits on my lower belly. How my under-boobs sit on my upper belly. And how my love handles are pushing out next to my elbows. All those squishy parts I’m not super psyched about. AND I’m feeling how I don’t want to hit something, punch someone, throw something, or slam something.
I can drink less martinis. I can stop getting a fistful of gummy bears every time I get a craving. I can stop baking cookies. AND I’m grateful I gave myself the space to indulge and take stock in how grateful I am for being able to do those things (even if we’ve finally run out of toilet paper – it’s all a balance, right?) I can remind myself that I loved every sip and every bite. I’m a grown-ass human and I can do whatever I want.
AND I can go to sleep earlier. I can work out. I can run. I can ride my bike. I can make healthy meals. I can focus on what’s good for my body and my mental health. Which means I can also still sip wine when I want.
I have 5 months of sprinting ahead. 5 months of “here comes 40.” And 5 more monthly pictures of me in my shorts and sports bra to show myself that I don’t have to do it perfectly. 5 months of heading toward a goal I’ve set for myself. 5 months to prove to myself that I REALLY want to live a life without limits. 5 months to accepting that perfection is not interesting. 5 more months of not getting mad for no reason.
Cheers, Kickass Humans. To a life without limits.