Suck It Up

Yesterday I woke up sniffing and snuffing and completely congested with watery eyes. I went to class and spent an hour in the library blankly staring at words on paper, not really digesting anything I was reading. There was supposed to be a group meeting that was cancelled at the last minute so I came home with the intention of going to the gym or getting out for a quick run but I ended up opting out because I was just so drained feeling.

Today I woke up slightly less congested, but still watery eyes and runny nose and sneezing. I needed to renew my passport and on the way home made myself stop at the gym. I had a kind of insanely intense 50 minute workout and now feel 100% better than I did yesterday.

The thing I always tell people when they ask me about working out while sick is that if it’s in your head, suck it up and run or workout. If it’s in your chest or is the flu, rest. Easy for me to say when I’m not sick though, right? Maybe I would have felt better yesterday had I just spent some time in my sneakers, but maybe I really did need to rest. It’s hard to tell when you can’t breathe and every time you bend over, you can feel your throbbing pulse in your sinuses.

Not that I’m advocating never taking a rest day, I’m just saying that our minds convince us that we’re too tired, too sick, too sore, too whatever more often than is actually the case.

I’m into my third month of this 12 week weight lifting program that I’ve been using as part of my training program for Hiking to Everest Base Camp in April. While I have to confess, I was hoping to be one of those people that was magically transformed into sinewy muscles (that hasn’t really happened), I also should make note that my eating hasn’t always been the greatest. I mean, I guess I’m solidly 80% healthy, but honestly? 20% less than ideal food doesn’t transform a body in two months. Anyway, I am stronger, no question. I try not to weigh myself and even if I were to tell you about a number, it sure wouldn’t be the number on the scale of the day that my period started that was a week late so I’m extra bloated, you know? But in reality, that doesn’t matter.

I was at a birthday party for one of Leila’s friends on Sunday and while I watched the kids play and poured them juice and tried to ignore the slightly awkward silence between me and the other moms (note: that is the one downside of kids parties when you don’t know the other parents. So. Awkward.), I was thinking about all the little girls there and enjoying their extremely noisy musical instrument parade and watching one little girl play with princess ponies or something in a castle and thinking about how our society molds these little people into big people.

We don’t have cable and so we don’t watch commercials and plus I don’t really buy my kids any toys other than Christmas and their birthdays and I try really, really hard not to fill their minds with crap. I read this post about preventing eating disorders in kids (go read it, seriously. I’ll wait. Done? Ok good.) and it really resonated with me.

Steve and I are both very conscious of feeding our kids healthy food (as I’ve mentioned here a lot of times), but we also don’t label food as “bad” or forbid anything. We give the kids dessert of ice cream sometimes and we let them eat chips and they have suckers and candy once in a while, we just make sure that they eat the healthy stuff first. And that’s what we tell them too: that it’s ok to eat treats, as long as you fuel the machine beforehand.

We also make sure we consistently tell both girls how smart they are, how kind they are, praise them for working hard at their colouring or printing or singing or running. We tell them they are strong and that yes, they are beautiful, but that beauty shines through from their hearts. That everyone’s beauty is kept in their heart and when they have a kind and loving heart, they are beautiful, no matter what their face or body or clothes look like.

And that’s all great. But I never thought about how the girls perceive what they overhear us saying about other people. About other women’s looks (anything from “she’s gained weight” to “she looked good!”) to people’s possession, the stuff.

Children hear so much more than what we say to them. They know when we’re not being sincere and they perceive how we see ourselves by the way we whisper about our body/success/life behind our hands to try and hide it from them.

So I’m done. I’m done with being critical of myself and the inch of fat on my stomach. I’m done commenting on other women’s bodies. From now on, I am making a concerted effort to not only focus on my own strengths (physical and otherwise), but also the strengths of others. My children can see through my insincerity regardless if I am talking about myself or someone else. From now on, I model the behaviour I want to teach them. Because it’s the easiest and most efficient way.

I believe in myself so that they won’t stop believe in themselves.

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