Not the Littlest Leprechaun
Today’s weight: 185. Thank god, yesterday I kept a full day’s food diary for the first time since January 23, when my weight was at 177.5. Between late January and early March, I kept partial food diaries, but abandoned them because I had eaten too much. Calories consumed yesterday: 3,170. Calories burned by being alive (my basal metabolic rate): 1,400. Calories burned during exercise: 270 (probably optimistic). Net: 1,500+.
Yikes! Well, at least I’m facing reality.
My reality check actually began on St. Patrick’s Day, when I had to dress up like a leprechaun. Let me explain—I was helping staff the tent for runners associated with the Girls on the Run charity at Washington DC’s first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Back in February, when my new employer, Athleta, asked for volunteers, this had seemed like a good idea.
Later, when our store’s general manager decided that Athleta volunteers should wear cute green running skorts on St. Patrick’s Day, a sense of alarm sank in.
Short skorts are great for 20-somethings. Athleta’s other salesgirls will look like cute little leprechauns, I thought. But an overweight 50-something? Not so cute. I wondered whether I'd look like a 200-pound canary or a chubby leprechaun. When the skorts arrived, I slinked into a fitting room. I put on black leggings and a top first. Then came the skort. At least it went over my hips!
On the morning of the race I consider wearing my leprechaun outfit on the DC subway with the rest of the Athleta team, but I don’t want to frighten subway riders that early in the morning. So my husband drops me off. As I trudge to the starting line, I feel like a cross between a squat cactus and a green fireplug.
I give my body a pep talk. I tell it, “Suck it up Siobhan,” which was my adopted Irish name for the day. “Shoulders back,” I tell my lats. “Bad posture is gonna make this worse!”
I often debate whether to accept and love my body as it is (in order for it to cooperate in the thinning process) or whether it has to be thin before I can love and accept it. I decide that today is an occasion for unconditional self acceptance.
“Grin and bear it, Siobhan!” I lecture, cutting off a whine from my abdomen. “Live in the now! Love this day!”
Rock bands are warming up, the sun’s out, and the temperature is in the 60’s. One band is playing “Eye of the Tiger.” What’s not to love about being alive—whether as a squat cactus or a little leprechaun? Hey, this is fun, I think.
As the racers trot past the starting line, we all wave posters and cheer for the runners. Hey! I’m loving this! I think.
I quickly realize that I want to run another race. I need a goal to keep myself exercising. And who on earth cares how I look? Not my Athleta teammates. I’m happy that I’m healthy enough to even think about running another race.
I take the subway home without worrying for a single minute whether my fat canary, pudgy leprechaun, squat cactus, green fireplug appearance inflicts pain on a single passenger. In fact, I’m so inspired that I walk the 3 miles home from the subway. I can’t wait to cross my next finish line.
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