When I look in the mirror these days, someone familiar looks back. Other times, I find that I am gazing at my ankles or examining the architecture of my hands. Years and years ago, when I first made this journey back from Being Fat, I remember telling a friend that my collar-bones were back, and then being startled when he magically worked that into a poem he was writing. While my collar-bones are still just hinting still at their reemergence, I know they are there and I am eager to see them again.
My body is coming back to me. My mother tells me that I move differently now, but what she means is that I move the way I use to. I have only set down just shy of 25 pounds, but clearly it was a significant 25 pounds. I feel different and yet I feel more myself.
For the last couple of years, if I spent much time on my feet I was beset with “cankles.” My lower legs and ankles would swell uncomfortably. Shoes pinched and rubbed. Yesterday I saw a woman with some terrible affliction– her lower legs were as big around as basketballs, and it was clear that she found it painful to walk. Mine weren’t anywhere like that– but people had started to notice.
They don’t notice anymore because my ankles are normal. While they’re not yet completely slender (after all, how strange would that look?), I recognize them. They have angles and planes and a simple gracefulness that I haven’t seen in a very long time.
While weight was a big part of this equation, so was edema. I was puffy. My hands were puffy, my feet were puffy, my face was puffy. No doubt my ass was puffy too. But the thing about slowly starting to move and continuing to move is that my circulation improved. My hands and feet are not as cold as they once were, and they are no longer swollen. I can move farther, faster. I show dogs. It used to be that I would dread running the dog in the circle around the 50 foot ring. God forbid we had one of those judges that would send us around multiple times, I’d be huffing and puffing, my face red and sweat rolling off my brow. It’s not like that now. It’s easy again. How quickly our bodies come back to us, given half a chance.
A fellow traveler on this journey writes that when she started she couldn’t walk around the block. (Ugh, I know that feeling.) Last week, she went on an 11-mile hike. This is her blog, Stopping the Wind, it’s well worth following. She posted this video there about a disabled veteran who was told he would never walk unassisted and that man’s remarkable accomplishments returning to his better self.
This finally is the reward. Yes, with diet and exercise we are healthier. Yes, clothes fit better, and we look better and we feel better. But the best part is getting the better part of ourselves back again. That’s what makes the journey a joyous one.
Target number 56. Steps walked 3720. For breakfast, scrambled eggs with toast. At lunchtime, I was pressed and just had a slice of wondrous ciabatta with a bit of butter, a hard-boiled egg and two cups of watermelon. When I was out running errands with my son, we had a couple of Timbits, or as Julian likes to call them Bits o’ Tim. (Yes, I know– but life is supposed to allow for these occasional slips, they’re actually not as nutritionally disastrous as a Pepperidge Farm cookie) Tonight, a wondrous Mother’s Day dinner concocted by my fabulous husband: 10 oz New York strip, an ear of grilled corn (no butter, it didn’t need it) a pile of asparagus from my friend Sandy’s garden and a piece of baklava.