Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Perceptions: our warped ‘healthy outloook’ thinking

I have been thinking a lot recently about perceptions.   More specifically, I have been thinking a lot about my perception of myself.  My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years.  I have been as high as 320 pounds and as low as 175 and I have been everywhere in between. I have been fit.  I have been not fit.  I have been fat.  I have been thin.  I can see the whole lifecycle and all of these changes….NOW.  But when I look back, I have had a totally warped sense of who and what I am.

When I was 320 pounds, I didn’t see myself as a larger gal.  I was just me and I saw myself as a normal size.  I originally got swept into the weight loss race by friends at work…an accountability group.  I stayed in the race as an effort to make my then-spouse desire and love me. (STUPID move on my end!)  But I did not have any perception that I was overweight.  Looking back, how utterly crazy!  There I was  wearing size 22 and 24 (bursting at the seams) and I didn’t feel fat!  Looking back, I know that my perception of myself was WAY off.  I was severely overweight!

I worked my tail end off and made it to my goal weight and something  crazy happened.  While I never felt fat before, I at that point began to see myself as fat!  How insane is that?  I could not see my weight loss in the mirror.  I was now thin (I’m going to call size 10 thin) but I felt like I was fat.  My perception was WAY off again. 

As I have gained weight, I have felt the weight.  I can see myself as overweight.  But I can see how thin I was just a few  years ago.  My perception of myself is, I think;  pretty spot on at the moment.   (Surprising isn’t it?)

I just realized the other day that my perceptions about my fitness levels were pretty warped also. 

When I was severely overweight, I thought I was pretty fit and active.  I still rode a bike.  So I was fit right???  I thought so!! 

I didn’t really exercise TOO heavily when I was losing weight.  I was only sporadic with my exercise when I was at my lowest.  But the whole time, I thought that I was fit.  I thought I was fit when I was big and I thought that I was fit when I was small.  My perception was way off!

But, as I started to regain the weight I continued with the exercise and in fact, even picked up more and more activities. (Looking back, some were in an effort to lose weight but a lot were in an effort to drown the sorrow of a sad and pitiful relationship.)  I didn’t see myself as fit at that point.  But I remember weekend mornings where I would get up and go run 3-5 miles at the battlefield and when I got back to my car I would eat a banana to refuel while I waited for my friend to arrive for our weekly walk.  I would then walk at least 3 miles with that friend.  I would THEN go home and clean the house, work in the yard and maybe go out for a bike ride or some other activity later in the day.    Even when I met Jason.  I would go for a run in the morning go back and push mow the yards (an hour worth of activity) go inside and shower and then head out to go hiking with jason.  ACTIVE and fit!  But I didn’t see it in myself. I thought I was a slug. 
This active lifestyle was emphasized in a recent time hop picture that popped up on my facebook page.  It was originally posted on a Wednesday.  I had apparently only worked half a day (which happened every other Wednesday at that job).  So I went for a long walk…..went for a run….and then hit up Zumba.  (I wonder if it was a night where I did a double class…two hours….because I frequently did back to back classes on my half days!).      But I remember thinking that I was fat and unfit…because I didn’t weigh the ‘perfect weight’ and I didn’t look like a string bean.    But seriously.  That was an ACTIVE day!  I remember those days and they didn’t faze me….I rolled through them with a smile on my face!  My perception of my fit level was WAY off.  I was fit!
The time hop picture that made me see?   

 I want that fit level back!  I don’t want the exact saying back….because I don’t want Todd back!!!!  But I DO want to be able to say “I hiked with Jason, then went for a run and just because I then went to Zumba” 

Maybe, just maybe I had to regain the weight to actually learn to see myself for exactly what I am.  I see the difference between where I am now.  I had to lose that fitness before I recognized it!  I had to regain the weight before I recognized it.   Maybe this was for me a vital step to truly becoming healthy and fit physically AND mentally/emotionally!!!