As the temperature continues to rise, I find myself bringing out the summer clothes. I own exactly 3 pairs of summer shorts and a handful of tank tops. I own even less running shorts – 2 pairs of the extra long kind!
However, I find as May turns into June that I cannot keep this up. I need more summer clothes, especially for workouts. On one hot day, I wore a pair of my navy blue summer shorts. A Grade 1 student asked me, “Mme Irvine, why are your legs like that?” He caught the attention of all the students around and suddenly I was being examined by about 100 kids outside at that time. I just told him “That’s how my legs are. Everyone is different.”
I think I responded well but I can’t say it didn’t pierce a bit of my pride I have gained in my 93.3 pound weight loss. The question he asked was referring to the way my leg veins protrude out – my previous excessive obesity caused varicose veins and such. Also, I have extra skin that is left from the weight loss. The date this happened was May 12. I have been extremely self conscious to wear shorts since that day.
In my workouts, I wore a pair of shorts and a tank and felt uncomfortable because even though they fit, some of the extra skin around me is more obvious when I were summer clothing. I went back to capris.
I have grown more uncomfortable as the heat gathers. The skin thing is something I can look at medically and I will – but that is my own thing. The problem is how I can learn to be comfortable in the person I am. This extra skin is a badge of honour. I should be proud of it. I am not proud that I let myself get to a point where I almost became diabetic, but I am proud that I had the strength and the courage to stop it from happening.
I decided I had to just get over this stage and be brave. I bought 3 pairs of Under Armour shorts and a handful of tank tops from Old Navy, Salomon, and North Face. The shorts and some of the tops arrived today and I tried them on.
First reaction – proud that I fit size medium shorts and size small tops.
Second reaction – while looking into the mirror, I can see the rolls and the bumps and lumps. And I almost tear off the clothes and move to grab my capris.
Third reaction – I freeze. I stop. I can see my collarbones. I never could before. I can see a figure – I never had one before (well, except the one of a snowman or Pilsbury doughboy). I can see muscles. I never could before. If I look at myself as a whole – I look like an athletic person if I ignore what has been leftover from my struggle, my journey and my success.
So, I am keeping on these shorts and this top. I have a workout tonight that will total 100 kettlebell swings and 100 burpees in an non air-conditioned garage in +27 degree weather. I may flip and flop about but that’s ok.
This summer, I am wearing my shorts and tanks proudly. I will be working a day summer camp for the city all summer – and if the kids have questions, I will not be ashamed but proud. I am someone they can look up to now. I am someone who changed what I thought was impossible to do.
I am me, muscles, rolls, and all. I am healthy with some leftovers of a battle. I do not need to cover up who I am.
Whether you are just getting started, in the middle, or at the end of a weight loss journey – don’t let other people’s image of you make you cover yourself up to a point you are uncomfortable. You can allow yourself to be physically uncomfortable and melt in capris and t-shirts all summer, or remind yourself that you are moving forward. With that, you leave behind all the negativity and lighten the burden of that stress (physically and literally!). Become comfortable in the you that you are becoming. Wear those shorts. Wear those tank tops. Keep moving forward. I bet most people are thinking “Way to go” and who cares about the few who aren’t. They don’t matter. You matter. Get out there and be amazing.
As my new workout tank says – “Positive minds, positive vibes”.