Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am the Beholder

Here's something fun to do at work: volunteer to have your Body Mass Index, Body Fat Percentage, and Blood Pressure measured by perky health care provider employees in the cafeteria in front of your coworkers as part of your organization's Strength Challenge.

It turns out strength is my challenge. Once upon a time I did twenty push-ups a day; I was strong back then. But I have never been one for lifting weights and after a few weeks of falling off the push-up wagon, push-ups became decidedly less fun. So I eventually came to eschew anything requiring strength that wasn't part of achieving another objective--like moving a couch or lifting an irate, prostrate toddler off the floor of Costco. I run regularly, but confine my fitness to that singular activity: putting one foot in front of the other as fast as it takes to get me back home before dark.

I am not opposed to incorporating some Strength Training into my Fitness Regime; I am just not committed to it. I would say that I experiment with exercise like others do with new drugs: If you are doing it and invite me to join you, I am open to the experience. While I wait for the next opportunity to present itself, I have time to recover from my last strange trip. In the last two months I have attended one 5:30 AM Boot Camp class at the YMCA and one overcrowded BodyPump class on Valentine's Day. Both times I was in the company of close friends who promised to take care of me and make the experience as comfortable as possible. Both times I had trouble walking for days afterward.

Two weeks ago, because the word "free" tantalized me in a seductive email, I signed up for our workplace Strength Challenge. There's an unopened envelope on my desk at home with instructions and a resistance band inside. The package arrived just before we departed on a long weekend roadtrip--a long weekend roadtrip to visit my friend and her gym's BodyPump class. The BodyPump class is why I had to hobble to the cafeteria today to find out some things I already knew, including: my blood pressure is fine; my body weighs more than it ever has, unpregnant; my BMI is in the "high" range; the percentage of my body that is fat is about the same percentage of the earth that is land. My sense of humor, thankfully, is healthy.

In fact, I am in a pretty good place to receive all this pride-swallowing news. Despite the fact that I spent a weekend without my tweezers, my razor, and the deodorant that actually works, and then ate junk food and sat on my ever-expanding ass in traffic for an entire day, I am feeling pretty okay with myself. Despite the fact my wardrobe has narrowed to the few items that fit over my thighs and derriere--including a pair of shorts that are size 12--I am not despondent. Despite the fact that hairs grow out of my chin and grey hairs are overtaking my pate, I am keeping on. Despite the fact that I have pimples AND wrinkles and a webbed neck and teeth that are starting to converge even after several rounds of horrifying middle-school orthodontia, I am dealing. Despite the fact that my once satisfyingly size-B breasts have shrunken down to something best concealed by a good padded bra, I'm hanging in there.

Because I know perfectly well that besides the chin hairs and webbed neck and crooked teeth and flat bosoms, I have some control over my appearance. I acknowledge that I have been eating without remorse (for example: I celebrated my high marks in BMI with chocolate!). Apparently the superficial side of my self esteem is fueled by the fact that I like my haircut and dye job and my toes when they're painted and I own some really cute pairs of shoes. By now I know What Not To Wear for my body type and size. I have learned to apply makeup efficiently and that I only need to wash my hair a few days a week. I can actually convince myself I'm pretty darned good looking.

Nevertheless, I am going to the doctor next week for my annual exam/another dose of humble pie, where I suspect I will be told I should capitalize on my health and use it to move my body around more often, more quickly.

And maybe lift something. You know, besides that little body fat machine. Ugh.


Anonymous said...

At least you are running. I am tired after hauling this Winnebago I call an ass up a flight of stairs!!

me said...

I'm glad you're happy with yourself because I think you're pretty darn awesome!!!

me said...

About attending classes where you waddle or walk like a marionette for days . . . I ran into the floor with my face at BootCamp on Wednesday. My cheek hurts everytime I try to touch it. I expected my muscles to be sore, just not my face muscles. :)

Anonymous said...

I think I will try to avoid any classes titled "Boot Camp."