It’s Thursday…which means it is time to link up with Amanda from Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday. Normally I just share a bunch of random thoughts…but now it is time to share one random train of thought.
Around this time last year I visited my doctor for my annual physical. I had lost somewhere between 10 and 15 lbs since I had last seen my doctor so I was feeling pretty great. She breezed through the door and told me with her charming accent that I was overweight and needed to lose weight. Feeling vulnerable wearing nothing more than a paper sheet I was somewhat in shock. I knew I was in better shape than the year before but she was focusing on the here and now. She didn’t ask how active I was, it was all about my BMI. I tried to stammer that I had already lost some weight and was quite active but she was already moving on to the next thing in order to keep our appointment on time and on track.
My annual physical this year actually caused me a touch of anxiety. I knew I’d get the same message from my doctor because nothing has changed since last year. At least nothing has changed if you consider the number on the scale and not the fact that I trained for and raced another Ironman and another Goofy Challenge over the last year.
Yesterday in my ballet barre class I looked at the lithe and graceful instructor and I began to criticize my bingo wings as we ran through swan arm exercises. It was easy to forget that these arms have gotten me through hundreds of metres of swimming. I’ve looked at my wide hips, I’ve lamented over boots not fitting my calves and I’ve struggled to pull jeans over my “athletic” thighs. It has been easy to forget the miles these legs have taken me through. Like my friend Kelly I’ve often struggled to reconcile the athlete that I feel I am versus my body shape and size. In sports like triathlon or at the gym it is very easy to get caught up in the comparison game and we forget what our bodies are capable of.
As for my physical this year? Apparently my blood pressure is awesome (which is great to hear since blood pressure issues run in my family). She made the briefest of comments about the number on the scale but mostly focused on how healthy I seemed to be. I walked out of my doctor’s office feeling much better than when I walked in.
I could probably go to endless ballet barre classes and I doubt I will ever look like a dancer since it just isn’t in my genetics. I didn’t sign up for barre class to look like a dancer. I signed up because it is a great workout for building hip and glute strength to support running. I’ve always raced Ironmans and marathons because I like pushing my mental and physical limits, not because I had hoped that training for the event would lead me to a certain weight or body composition.
This post is as much a reminder to myself to appreciate my body for what it can do and for the journeys it has taken me on as it is a message to you. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game because you don’t look like the person standing next to you. Continue to do what you love and love your body as there is more to health and happiness than a BMI number.