“The human body is the best work of art”

*blows dust off blog*

So, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written anything personal and, given that I literally write for a living, that seems kind of odd.  Ever since I started my career as a journalist, nearly a year-and-a-half ago, I’ve only written two personal posts (if you include this one). I want to get back to this, which I say every time, but I’m keen on keeping my word, I swear.

Anyway, there’s always a reason one may come back to writing on a personal level, and for me the story is no different: for me, this is about making positive changes.

I went with making positive changes instead of losing weight, because that’s relative for everyone. Yes, I want to lose weight, but me, my personality, my entire being, is not defined by the weight on the scale, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.

I’ve been down this road before. In November 2009, I was at my heaviest weight at 223 pounds. I didn’t think I weighed that much when I stepped on the scale that gloomy, dry winter day at the Curves in Kamloops. My heart sank and it made me realise I needed to do something about it.

When I first gained weight, like most people my eating habits weren’t great. I drank a two liter of Pepsi almost every day, ate Hamburger Helper and Sidekicks for dinner on a regular basis (‘sup, college life), ate pizza a lot and, oh by the way, did I mention that I used to live across the street from a 7-11? Which are 24hrs? That certainly didn’t help my weight. And I had no self control (I did, however, eliminate pop in 2008 in efforts to ‘cut back’).

When I stepped on that scale, trying my hardest not to look at the number on the scale, my self confidence was at an all-time low, I was depressed and unhappy in so many other aspects of my life. Making that one change was something for me to look forward to, because it was all I had to look forward to.

I lost about 40 pounds over the course of a year,  although it took me a long time to get used to the differences in my body. I still felt like that 223 pound woman, and buying smaller sized clothes–funnily enough–was challenging because I hadn’t done that in years.

During that year I made significant other changes, which included a rushed move to Vancouver (where I’ve been now for almost 8 years), and a number of other stressful situations that aren’t relevant. Putting it simply,  late 2009-2010–and even 2011– was a pivotal period of growth for me. While there are many things I would change about that time of my life, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Over the course of a couple more years, I started running. I cancelled my Curves membership after awhile, and worked regular speed walking up to running.  I never considered myself a runner and then all of a sudden I was able to run 6km, and then I stopped, for whatever reason.

Fast forward to now. I am not that person I was in 2009. I’m in a career that I love, finally, and work for the best company I could ask for.  I have a partner that supports me in all aspects, and vice versa. I have kept true to my word on not drinking pop (save for the occasional one on BC Ferries, thanks to White Spot–but now I’ve cut that out as well).  My boyfriend and I, we’ve for the most part ate pretty well in the near 2 years we’ve lived together. Granted, that has been a process, but over the last year we’ve been cooking more at home–eating lots of chicken, fish, and veggies (sometimes the occasional pasta dish with our own sauce and homemade pizza, but I digress)–save for the occasional night out.

But, we’ve gained weight, and our eating habits weren’t always that great, but like I said they’ve improved over the last year. Alcohol has been a contributing factor, I know this for sure. We used to drink a lot more, and over time we’ve cut back–but not enough. I also get my sweet tooth at least once a month (which can last for days, thanks to PMDD). If there’s something sweet around me (particularly when it comes to pastries), I’ve generally had a hard time not having it: like donuts, for example–I’d like to say I get my sweet cravings from my mom.

Anyway, my weight gain has been a gradual progression over the last couple of years. I’m not at my heaviest like I was in 2009, but I’m heavy enough that it’s noticeable in my face, my gut, my back (back fat is the goddamn worst, let me tell you), my arms. I’d say most of it is concentrated in my torso, literally from my shoulders down to my waist. While I haven’t (at least I don’t think) gained all the weight back I lost, I’ve gained enough that I feel like all my hard work has gone to waste.

Here’s the thing I struggle with, though, because I know weight doesn’t–and shouldn’t–define who we are as people. For me, it’s about being healthy. I have big bones, so I will never be super thin. At least not at this age. The weight I’ve gained makes me uncomfortable in certain areas of my body and I feel like it’s limiting me. I have back issues, so the extra weight on my back isn’t helping me. I have all sorts of knee and ankle problems, and I don’t want them to get worse.

So, this week my boyfriend and I started taking our physical activity seriously. We’ve committed to running– I ordered workout clothes in mid-September because I got tired of feeling this way–started logging our meals, and are cutting down our alcohol intake.

I will never be one to diet, I will never be one to cut out things entirely, unless I absolutely have to. Life is all about balance and moderation, and I still want to enjoy things that I like.  Having someone that I can do this with, that wants to make these positive changes as well, makes a huge difference. Having an immediate support system that’s doing the same thing you are makes it easier to hold one another accountable, which I know we will.

Change is hard, and it’s going to take me awhile before I regain any of the speed I once had, but that’s not my focus right now: my focus is making progress, and we’re already ahead from where we were a few days ago.

So, here’s a picture of me on day one.  I posted this on Instagram to publicly hold myself accountable for the changes I’m making. I get why people do it, because it can be so easy to just fall right back off. Posting it puts it out there that I’m making changes, and while I’m not doing it for anyone else but me, I want people to know I’m keeping my word. This photo, I’m not a fan of it, but it’s here so I can see my progress; I can’t wait.

 

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Author: Jocelyn Aspa

early 30-something. journalist. sports fan. puns. cats. mental health advocate. not taking myself seriously (most of the time)

2 thoughts on ““The human body is the best work of art””

  1. Thought-provoking. I just finished “The Swans Of Fifth Avenue,” about Babe Paley and other beautiful socialites who made looking beautiful and having perfect bodies their life’s work. It’s a great book. Author: Melanie Benjamin

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