Why I’m Doing It – For Me

9

The Challenge: Fit Girls | 28 Day Jumpstart

A dear friend of mine, Gretchen, told me about this fitness challenge, one that we could do together. Initially, I bought the regimen because she asked, and because I love doing things with her, and in the abstract I knew I needed to do something about my shape some day — before I don’t have a shot at it anymore. But the more I read of the e-book, and having started the work, I’m actually very excited to see what this brings.

Learn to rock the Fit Girl lifestyle for transformative results inside and out! The 28 DAY JUMPSTART is a beginner-friendly crash course in everything Fit Girl. This is, truly, a lifestyle and not a diet. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in less than a month if you give it your all with thousands of other Fit Girls cheering you on!

The 28 Day Jumpstart includes …

  • Full meal plan
  • Full exercise plan
  • No gym required
  • No equipment required
  • Weekly grocery lists
  • Meal prep schedules
  • Vegan, vegetarian & gluten-free options!

Reality Check

I’ve always been more concerned with developing my intelligence and kindness, growing into a better, fairer person. I’ve never followed a “diet” other than calorie counting via Fitbit and My Fitness Pal. I’ve tried to get into exercise videos, routines, gym memberships, and the like. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Spend $200 on running shoes you use five times…along with a matching outfit.

But I have always just let fitness routines…drift off. A missed day here, then another there…then two more…working late then birthdays and breaks that stretch into a week…and it’s gone. Mostly because I didn’t want to do it enough, and I didn’t have a plan, and most critically, I didn’t remember my motivations when I was struggling though a workout routine.

This time, I’ve traced my motivations. And I’m hoping it helps. #accountability

Physical health — it’s time

Just as there’s been ample time spent in the past few years spent working on myself, in developing my empathy and attempting to keep it from strangling me, and keeping my mind on the right track, I’ve stopped paying attention to my physical condition. And I can forgive myself that. But I think I’m ready to stop ignoring this vessel that carries around my mind, heart and soul.

Leveling up — a challenge I’ve never completed

I have never completely invested in a fitness regimen. I have faithfully (and sometimes not so faithfully) attended hot yoga for the past 4 years. The low-impact nature doesn’t hurt my fragile hips and it soothes me. But I struggle to maintain a regular schedule, especially when it’s way more fun to go out with friends than it is to go exercise. But this could be the chance to stop being the one who gives up and be the one who did it. The extensive support system on Instagram is definitely going to help, as will Gretchen and Sharina’s participation.

FitgirlWhy

My reasons for completing this challenge…I’m posting this on the bathroom mirror to see every day.

Becoming Mia — transformation by choice

I’ve gone through a lot of shit lately, and if you know me well, you know all the gory details. There’s more that most people don’t know – I try to distribute my woes among friends so I don’t overwhelm anyone else, and tap out my emotional support resources. In this chaotic time, I’ve felt a need to redefine myself. I changed my name on Facebook, and most other social networks, to one that I’ve chosen. I’m considering changing it legally; I love this name, a simple, sweet, easy-to-pronounce name that I wanted to give to my daughter. But I never had a daughter.

I looked up the meaning of the name, and found this on Urban Dictionary, which, of course isn’t a scientific-type resource, but reflects cultural impressions of the name:

  1. She is a crazy girl. Makes jokes most people do not understand. She is veryyyy pretty and has nice eyes. You will be stunned when you meet a Mia.
  2. Mia is the perfect girl. She is smart, the most beautiful girl in the world, and has a huge heart. She will always be there for you and will always give her two [cents]. She is extremely cute in everything that she does. She has a lot of sass but you come to love that about her. If you have a Mia you should consider yourself the luckiest [person] on the earth. Her smile and eyes are amazing. She is literally an angel on earth but she is naughty at the same time.
  3. A beautiful young girl that doesn’t realize her own beauty.

I’m down with that 😉

I’m also considering changing my surname, which may be a radical move. I’m trying to decide if this is a reactionary move, so I’m sitting on it for a while (and if you’ve read this far, I’d like to hear your opinion on the topic in the comments)…I’ve chosen several strong, simple names, and I’m trying to see if any of them fit me. I need a name that’s strong, but wasn’t “after” anyone. I’ve carried the names of men who haven’t truly loved me my whole life. I don’t plan to change it again after this, if I do.

  • Mia Stone
  • Mia Grey
  • Mia Steel
  • Mia Kennedy (too many associations?)
  • Mia Sharp
  • Mia Night (yes, very similar to Knight, but I have my SWF reasons for not using it)
  • Mia Cipris (how would you pronounce this? I’d pronounce it /ˈsɪp-rɪs/)
  • Mia Carter

I might decide later not to go this far, or not change my name at all. But it’s a bigger change than hair color, and can help me grow into a new person, the person I’m forging through my efforts at becoming my real self, not the self I was to make others happy.

All of this to say, this fitness challenge was something I’ve never achieved, but the newly-born me, Mia, is amazing, and she can definitely do it.

Sweater dresses — no, I’m not pregnant

Yep. For the past…ten years…?…I’ve had weight issues. My wedding ring stopped fitting, and my already computer-centric lifestyle got less and less active. I have hip problems from a minor birth defect, and my sedentary nature. Yoga has helped me immensely, but lately, with all of the chaos, I haven’t been attending regularly. Also: Dreyer’s Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. And I learned at one of my previous jobs how to eat my feelings, and I need to unlearn that.

So I have a shape, it’s just not one I’m proud of. I’ve learned to disguise it with clothing, but my choices are limited. There are certain cuts that I just don’t have the guts to wear anymore. But I used to look stunning in sweater dresses, and I want to shop confidently again, knowing that I can expand my horizons away from babydoll tops and empire-waist dresses. I think the most recent thing that drew my attention to this was a visit to the veterinarian. He’s a family friend, and I’ve known him for years, more than a decade, and he’s a sweet, fatherly figure in my life for which I’m grateful. He’s been there, and shed tears with me, every time I’ve had to put a baby down, and every time I get a new baby. He’s asked me for years when I’m having a human baby, and told me how beautiful my children would be. So when I was in there for a checkup for Taylor, he started talking about how happy he was for me, and that if my ex got a job at the animal hospital he wouldn’t be home to change diapers.

?

Then I got it. He thinks I’m pregnant. Enough to show. Little did he know that my actual secret was that my ex and I were in the middle of a cold-war-style divorce. Awkward. I let it pass, because really, I didn’t need to embarrass him, and it didn’t really hurt because at that time so many other things hurt so much more.

This I can control, this misapprehension. The kind of misapprehension that makes the other person feel as bad as I do about it.

And also, sweater dresses.

Pride — holding my head high (PLAY BALL)

Even though, like Amy, I’ve learned to love this shape I have, I know how other people look at me. Sure, there’re men who like a girl with a little meat on her bones (/sarcasm). And I agree completely with this:

It also bothers me when people use any sort of phrase that declares one body type as being somehow superior to another. Almost every time I’ve ever witnessed a man say he “loves curves” or has tried to reassure me that I’m not fat — I am a size 10/12 and totally cool with it, so I am admittedly not sure why they still insist on doing so — they follow it up with something insulting thin women. It typically goes along the lines of, “I like a girl with some meat on her bones. Skinny girls are gross.”

So since I worked very hard to learn not to judge others, I’d appreciate that others not judge me. But then, I know how the world often works. And being “on the market”, learning to date again, I know I have to get past that gatekeeper, Physical Attraction, and many men aren’t attracted to my body type. But those men will never learn what a wonderful, intelligent, supportive, funny, beautiful soul I am. Hell, maybe it’s my own personal gatekeeper to keep the assholes away (yes, I’ve already met more than one judgmental asshole who has told me if I just lost weight, I’d be sexy).

Fuck the “pretty face” people, seriously, but unless I meet at least a certain standard that I’ve set for myself, regain my pride in my shape, and love all of my body, I won’t project enough of the qualities that I will need to stop attracting assholes and start attracting real people. Who like me for me.

I DON’T KNOW. I’m a feminist who despises shaming, but I can’t deny that this weighs on me, frustrates me, and that I am torn about what to think about this. But it’s a motivation for my efforts, for ill or for good.

Final truth: If I lose a bit of weight and tighten up, I’d not even have to worry about this.

Baseline — easier to maintain than achieve

So resetting the baseline is the idea here. Not thinspiration-style bullshit, but reducing my tummy. I love my legs (although I would like to be able to zip up those superhero boots I have), my hips, my everything but very specific body parts. And this is a high mountain I’m climbing, with the complex web of struggles I’m fighting through, but I’m comforted that once I achieve a level that I’m happy with, exercise and fitness will be habitual. It gets better. The hardest step is the first.

But most important of all: “I love you”

I realized looking at myself in a mirror while I was getting ready for work the other day that I never tell myself “I love you”. I tell at least one other person a day, and try to show appreciation, empathy, kindness, respect, to everyone I meet. But myself…sometimes I can barely meet my own eyes, especially when they’re bloodshot from lack of food or sleep, and I am back in my natural state, dark-blonde eyelashes, thin skin and red splotches, the curse of a fair complexion. And jowls that were caricatured in a portrait of my Great Aunt Virginia. And the nose that people teased me about until college.

I’ve learned not to worry about the nose – it’s functional, and beautiful in the frontal view, and I almost never see myself in profile, so I can forget about it. But that old saw about how you have to love yourself before others can love you – I’ve rarely noticed that is a problem. I love my personality, my open unguarded heart, my intelligence…I love everything except the fact that I’ve stopped concentrating on my fitness. So because I love me, and I want to love me more, I need to prove something to myself. And this would definitely do it.

Final Thoughts

I’ve only completed one day of this, and it’s not going to be easy, especially the first week. But I’m trying. Persistence over perfection and being kind to myself for my failures will help a lot.

9 Responses

  1. Cam

    Have you considered ‘Strong’ as a last name? I like the sound of Mia Strong. I like saying ‘Mia Strong.’ And Strong is… well, strong.
    Also, I love you.

  2. Gretchen

    Maybe consider a verb for a last name? In Wild, she changed her last name to Strayed because that is what she did in her marriage. You could be Mia Soared.

  3. Gretchen

    grey and steel are the last names of the two major characters in Fifty Shades of Grey.

  4. Elissa

    I love all of this and support it all! Additionally, I need to do this fit challenge with you! I’m miserable right now. Keep me posted.