Breast cancer made me fat. Well, not fat like being pregnant made me fat (yikes!), but it definitely left me puffy, bloated, soft and about 10 pounds heavier than I like. It’s why I took full advantage of a trip to Canyon Ranch a few years ago — I soaked up a bunch of tips and tricks for eating clean and exercising enough, made lots of lifestyle changes when I got home, and by golly, it worked. I dropped 15 pounds and found a number on the scale that made me happy.
And now, in an ironic turn of events, the very fitness that I’ve worked so hard for is making me fat. Well, not fat, but this 1/2 marathon training is making me thicker, bulkier and about 4 or 5 pounds heavier than I like. I know, I know, it might be muscle, but still, I don’t like it. I mean, I’m burning something like a thousand calories on my long runs, and, well, isn’t that supposed to help me maintain my weight? I know, I know, it might be muscle.
I think the point here is that I’m never entirely content with my body. Why is that? Well, I know partly why — OMG, all those impossible-to-attain media images. All skinny models and actresses aside, though, I’ve got to start loving what I’ve got. Like Danny loves what he’s got.
Six-year-old Danny is a lollygagger. He takes his own sweet time to accomplish anything. It seems like a pretty nice existence (low stress!), but when matters are urgent, his approach is a problem. Take school mornings: rolling around on the floor before he gets dressed and savoring each bit of breakfast just doesn’t work when we’re racing against the clock to get out the door. And today, the guy was in no hurry to brush his teeth and hair. He just stood, staring in the bathroom mirror, completely still.
“Danny, come on!” I urged him. “We need to get in the car!” And then he shared what I’ve been thinking about all day:
“Mom, I’m just checking out my beauty.”
“You are a beauty,” I told Danny, and I let him admire his image for a minute longer (but just a minute, the clock was ticking).
Sometimes wisdom comes wrapped in first-grade packages. Danny looks in the mirror and sees nothing but beauty. He doesn’t see his big tooth growing in all crooked, his messy hair or his clothing that rarely matches. He just sees good. When I look in the mirror, I see gray hair, wrinkles starting to crawl across my face, and the dreaded thigh-ulite. When I really dig deep, I do love my body — gosh, it birthed two humongous babies and beat cancer — but I need to do better at appreciating the goodness on a daily basis. That’s why, starting today, I’m going to take a little more time to look for the beauty.
I think you should, too.