There is a lot of chatter on here about how hard it is to make peace with our bodies as working moms. We haul around our (irrational, burdensome) guilt with us wherever we go, including at the gym and during meals. Michelle and Sharlene have delved into the difficult topic of body image recently, as have I. One problem many of us share is that of finding the time to fit regular, effective exercise into an already overloaded schedule.
Anyone who has ever discussed diet and exercise with me will know that I put the former way above the latter on the ladder of importance: from the research I’ve done, I believe that bodies are made in the kitchen, not so much the gym. Nonetheless, I’m off my exercise strike and back on the elliptical machine sitting in my basement. Why? I don’t know. I think working out ultimately makes me feel good, as much as I hate it while I’m doing it, not to mention leading up to it (I can’t work out today … I need to … do laundry, yeah).
These are the thoughts that race through my mind while I’m hating my life trying to keep my heart rate up on the machine:
I should just be happy being heavy. Heavy people are successful in their careers, because they don’t have time to work out due to all the business they’re doing, and therefore being big is a sign of success. Skinny people are unsuccessful! Haha!
Stupid bitch. This workout is your punishment for eating ice cream yesterday. Fattie.
I f**king HATE people who talk about their stupid road races and mud runs! Die in a fire, all of you!!!
Actually, no. Sorry. I just hate myself.
At some point midway in, I feel like giving up and bursting into tears. This is why I work out alone, in my basement, and not at the gym.
The good news is that I always finish ok. I don’t actually burst into tears—I keep that suppressed and try to focus on a podcast or article I’m reading. When the 30 minutes is over, I step off and, amazingly, I feel really good. It’s like the elliptical is some sort of release valve for the negative self-talk.
Looking over what I just wrote above is extremely painful for me. I can’t believe how much pent-up emotion I have about my body, exercise, food, and other weird tangential stuff. I don’t even recognize that person. Would I want my daughters to accuse skinny people of being unsuccessful in their careers (Huh?), or tell marathon runners to die in a fire? Holy crap. That’s not who I am, nor who I want myself or my kids to be.
I had to write this, because I have the feeling I’m not alone, as bizarre as this phenomenon seems to me as I reflect upon it. So often, we read status updates and tweets about how great people are feeling about doing Crossfit or some crazy challenge. What you don’t often see is how less-than-fit people, like me, struggle emotionally with NOT being that person who is easily motivated by someone else’s physical achievements. But I’ve been right here all along, in the basement.