Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grieving the After

This summer I did something that was incredibly difficult and scary.  I gave away an entire wardrobe's worth of clothing in my "goal size".  These clothes were things I wore at about age 17-21.  I'm 34 now, and about 3 or 4 sizes above that collection of clothing.  I dutifully held on to these items because they were my favorite clothes- there was some really cute stuff in there!  And OF COURSE, I would get to that size again...some day.  I wouldn't want to have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars replacing all those clothes WHEN I got back to that size!

I've taken many "before" pictures in my life, sat down and planned out my "miraculous transformation to come", wrote down every workout, every calorie limit and possible "cheat" day to stick with the healthy goal of losing 2 pounds per week.  In fact, the box this clothing was stored in was labeled, "Julie's clothes Summer 2008".  That was the time period I had estimated I'd be able to fit in them again, after my careful planning out of the exact path to take to this glorious "after".

So when it was time to clean out and get rid of my storage unit this summer, I took a long hard look at this wardrobe I had been saving.  I took them out and looked longingly at my jeans and black pants that I fondly remember feeling so great wearing - I even got asked out on a date (something that almost never happened to me) by a complete stranger while wearing those clothes!  That means, this guy who knew NOTHING about me, asked me out based solely on looks...ME!  What a thrilling day that was. How nice it would be to have that experience again.  But for that to happen, I have to fit in those clothes again.

So then why did I give the clothes away?  Why would I waste money and give up my inspiration to be healthy?  I remember once even hanging those jeans up on my wall in an attempt to inspire myself daily to exercise and avoid eating the sweets I loved, so that I could once again be sexy, confident, and acceptable to males.

Why did I get rid of them?  I'll tell you why.  Because I decided to be kind to myself.  I decided I love myself.  I decided that I am awesome the way I am - NOT ONE POUND LIGHTER.  I will no longer subject myself to the self-inflicted abuse of putting life off until I get to my "after".  My life is here and now.  I got rid of those clothes because I gave myself permission to go ahead and live.

Believe me, letting it go was a hard thing to do.  I hesitated.  I regretted.  I bargained.  I cried.  And after they were gone, I breathed.  Then I smiled.  And then I went on with my awesome life.

(Thanks again to Militant Baker for doing this Smash the Scale thing at the beginning of this year.  I took another big step by grieving the "after".)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Far from careless CARlessness

One month today.  The amount of time I have been living without a car.  Here are some things I have learned.

  • Not having to pay car insurance, gas, repairs, maintenance, registration, saves a lot of money each month- I love it!  Now if someone would buy my car I could also add that financial benefit to the list...I want to buy better bikes for my oldest son and me!
  • Bike repairs are almost constant with 3 bikes and a trailer we use regularly.  I just patched a hole in my inner tube last week, and need to repair one on the trailer now and replace my son's broken bike chain.  Obviously the repairs are a lot cheaper, but more time-consuming for me and more frequent than with a car.
  • Drivers are pedestrian-and-cyclist-stupid.  Seriously, you do see those things called cross walks painted on the road at the intersection, right?  That's not your stop line.  The stop line is BEHIND the cross walk. I think every driver should be required to travel by bike with children for a month to get a little perspective on how stupid they're being.
  • Lessons can be for life.  I'm grateful that my dad taught me how to patch up a bike tube back when I was probably 12.  I still have vivid memories of that lesson, and have applied what I learned, greater than 20 years later!
  • Being without a car is limiting.  I cannot just pick up and go whenever I'd like.  I have to plan ahead, sometimes spending hours a week figuring out bus schedules, biking distances, timing so I don't miss the train, etc.
  • Being without a car is freeing.  I feel empowered that I can get around and survive just fine without a car and save a good deal of money.  This baffles a lot of people.  Many adults from the generation before mine were shocked and totally incredulous when they heard of my plans to stop using a car.  They tried to advise me against it.
  • Sacrificing teaches appreciation for things.  I appreciate distances a lot more.  Traveling a distance of 10 miles is very different depending on your mode of traversing it.  Having to spend hours on commuting around has really helped me appreciate the time available to me and to use it well.
  • Appreciation for things teaches sacrifice.  I have an appreciation for money since I have precious little of it.  Because of that and this no-car experience, I'd rather sacrifice car use even when I do have one, and take the bus and ride my bike at any logical opportunity in order to save money for more important stuff.  Appreciation for clean air to breathe and not screwing up the environment more also leads me to these same sacrifices.
  • I can do hard things.  For the past month I have done my grocery shopping by riding to the store in the company of children on their own bikes, and a trailer attached to mine for bringing things home.  I then ride those 50-some-odd pounds of food up a big hill to my house.  Every time I do it without having to get off the bike and walk, I just feel like doing a victory dance.  (After I catch my breath!)

I'm glad I have been able to do this, and I hope to continue without a car for the rest of the year, possibly even until next summer.  I have a lot of gratitude for the public transportation system, especially the train!  And I love that my university values it and offers very inexpensive yearly bus passes to the students.  That's the only reason I can even do things this way.  (Thanks UTA and UVU!)
There's nothing like riding a bike with the wind in my hair, enjoying the sunlight and fresh air.  It's really fun and enjoyable!  But my favorite part?  Every time I ride past the gas station, complete with the giant signs saying, "Unleaded $3.65/ gal, Premium $3.75/ gal" I just have to grin and chuckle to myself.  I'm sorry most of the rest of you are still paying those prices.  I'll try not to rub it in that I'm not.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Feelin' Fit

The human body is amazing, y'all.  Mine astounds me.  The fact that I can bust up my toe, get a nasty fracture, and just a couple weeks later it has fully healed itself, is so awesome.

And with a little help from some asthma medicine, my muscles are able to get the oxygen they need and I can do so much more than I can without it.  Even after cycling all over town and dragging a trailer full of heavy groceries up the hill (again), swimming a half mile today was a breeze, and I would have done more if my kids hadn't wanted to leave.  I wish I'd had an inhaler in High School when I was on the swim team, I could have done so much better.

I'm really grateful that I have the strong body I do.  I'm not the most fit, but I know a lot of people of all different sizes who are much more limited in their abilities.  Size does NOT equal fitness or lack thereof.  I'm happy to be able to do most of the stuff I love- hike, bike, swim, garden, backpack, roller blade, explore, and play!

Here's what it looks like to be fairly fit AND fairly fat.  Yeah, it happens, and it's dang fun, so don't be hatin. ;)

Biking uphill...
Biking downhill! Wheee!!!

Weeding my new garden

My first harvest :)

Swimming with the kiddos