Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nature vs. Nurture?

It's been an interesting couple of days.  I loaded the kids up to head to the gym Monday afternoon.  And promptly got stuck in the mounds of snow on the side of our driver.  I tried and tried to get the car out.  Ended the whole escapade by burning out the power steering pump on my car.  Fun stuff!  So, while I'm waiting for the car to be fixed, I'm stuck home with my two little beasties.  Leo spends the days begging to "go gyn, play basketballs" and Lily spends the days going from playing nicely with her brother first thing in the morning to knocking him over and hitting him over the head with toys while screaming at him to "be good".  HA!  It's a wonder I have any sanity left after three days of this!  So tonight, when my husband offered to let me skip out on bedtime and spend a couple of hours at the gym, I jumped at the chance and took full advantage of it.  There's this funny thing that happens in Minnesota in the winter.  People forget they have legs!  Seriously, they do.  It's the only explanation I can come up with for some of their behaviors.  I'm not used to driving my husband's big 4x4 truck.  So when I parked at the very busy gym, I didn't do the best job.  I had to back up and try to straighten the truck out.  Apparently, that made it look like maybe I was vacating the spot.  So, a minivan stopped to wait for me.  I pulled back in and realized I was going to have to make another attempt at it.  I waited for the minivan to go by and then reversed again.  The driver of the minivan must have been seriously desperate for a spot.  He/she decided to reverse a full 15 feet or more and wait for me again!  Oy!  I really hope this is just a Minnesota thing.  I didn't even have a prime spot or anything!  More than halfway back from the front of the building!  I used the annoyance I felt to get in a good workout.  Pushed myself hard, even though my foot (the eczema-spots) was killing me.  Wanna know how all of this exercise/lifestyle change is going for me?  I stepped on the scale this morning and discovered that I am now down 28 lbs from when I started 4 months ago!  Love it!  I think about half of that weight has come directly from my boobs....they're starting to look like gym socks that someone dropped an orange into!  I'm realizing that changing your life/losing weight is really more of a marathon (or even an ultra-marathon) than a sprint.  You can't expect quick results, but if you keep at it and hang in there, eventually you'll get the results.

A little clarification from my last husband was really upset with me.  He actually read it!  He thought I made it sound like he wasn't making any effort at all.  He really is trying.  I think I tend to get a little resentful sometimes because it seems to me like he gives 150% at work and I wonder why he can't give that much effort to our marriage.  But work is something that comes easily to him.  Romantic relationships, not so much. In fact, when we met 11 years ago, he'd only ever had one other "girlfriend" that he'd dated for a few months. He's an amazing person and is incredible in so many ways.  It's just the differences in how we show our love for each other that causes us some problems.  And when it comes down to it, the way we were raised can be a huge factor in our relationships.  He grew up secure in the knowledge that his mom adored him (she's always told him he's her favorite person in the entire world).  I grew up never feeling loved, never feeling secure.  He may not know how to show love, but the fact is that I don't know how to accept love.  I forget and lose sight of the security he gives me.  And really, he must love me tremendously....he lets me sleep in nearly every morning on the weekends!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately...the idea that being fat may be genetic.  How exactly can they go about determining that?  Do all fat people share a gene?  Seriously, how do they figure it out?  (And please, let me insert here, I don't mean to offend with the use of the term "fat people"...I'm a fat person, it's just a way of stating things to me).  Here's the thing....parents share so much more with their children than just their genes.  We learn how to live, how to view the world, how to view ourselves, how to view food.  It all comes from our parents!  So how can we separate that from the genetics?  Do you pluck a baby from his chunky mommy's arms and raise him in a lab with just the right amounts of food and exercise and see if he turns out chunky too?  Here's my point in all of this and why I've been thinking about it....fat people make excuses for being fat and let that keep them from creating any other reality.  Please understand that I'm speaking about this from a personal experience....I do understand that there are genuine medical conditions that can make someone retain weight.  And maybe genetics are the reason.  But, the truth is, we have a choice.  Even if our genetics predispose us to being chunky, we still have a choice.  I'm learning as I go along in my fitness journey that I'm making a new choice for myself.  I'm okay with it if my body stays fat.  And being fat isn't necessarily a bad thing (hey, your chances of surviving a debilitating illness are better if you've got an extra store of nutrients!).  But, I'm only okay with being fat now if strength and endurance are part of it.  Your genetics may say that you're going to be chunkier, but they don't say that you can only be chunky.  You can be chunky and have muscle.  You can be chunky and still be able to run a 5k.  You can be chunky and fit!  I've spent so many years being ashamed of my fat.  I refuse to feel shame anymore and I hope others will stop feeling ashamed of their weight too.   Shame crushes and prevents improvement.  It's definitely not a useful emotion.  And when it comes down to it, why waste time feeling ashamed of your size when you can put all that energy into creating a better life instead?


  1. Well girl...once again I am left inspired by you....your drive, your dedication, your will, and your honesty on your blog. Keep it up.

    I have been a bit worried about you. I am glad your husband read your post and that you guys talked about it. I think that you wrote some important stuff.

  2. Hey hon - I read your blog, but posting comments I haven't done, but I really appreciate your honesty and forthrightness. It's the better way in the end. Any time we can feel less shame is good. I have a favorite quote from Margaret Cho that I read whenever I get on the 'I look horrible and gotta lose some weight' train. I thought you might appreciate it. Mine hangs over my bureau in my bedroom and honestly, reading it every day has helped me tremendously. Here it is:

    "One day I just said... What if this is just what I look like, and nothing I do changes that? So how much time would I save if I stopped taking that extra second every time I look in the mirror to call myself fat? ... And it turns out I save about ninety-two minutes a week. I can take a pottery class."
    - Margaret Cho

  3. Oh, I like that last quite from Margaret Cho.
    I think you know you're doing incredibly well and hope you know that you have a large cheering group standing right beside you.
    I don't have "fat" in my family history, but dang the things I do have, keep me going for walks and runs. Things like heart disease, strokes, aneurisms...not to mention depression, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia.
    I studied psch and bio in college so if you're really interested I could gather some more info for you on the whole nature/nurture side, but you are really finding a great explanation for your family and a good guide for your children already.
    Enjoy today friend :)

  4. You are not fat, silly girl, you are overweight. And you won't be for much longer.
    All the women in my family (well, the ones I am actually realated to, anyway) are, as my little bff Abigail puts it, shaped.
    No skinny ladies in my family, I'm telling you. And no matter how much we diet, work out and look after ourselves, we always have a chubby tummy. Not necessarily fat or flabby, but always soft as a cushion with the potential to grow. And grow...
    I have inherited my Mum's brains and my Dad's shoulders... I'd be ace as a bodybuilder, if it wasn't for my body flatly refusing to lose its softness. There might be muscles hard as steel (well... 10 years ago maybe) underneath, but the top few layers are soft.
    I suppose the predisposition might be inherited, but the only reason I am actually overweight right now is because I don't haul my backside around enough. My Mum is in her fifties and (nowadays) fitter and slimmer than me, but she had her proper chubby days, too.
    In my opinion, this, like many other things, runs in the family, but it's up to me what I do with it.
    So sorry your husband was upset, but you know... I've found out the hard way that once the other one stops being upset, you can pack up and go start a new life somewhere else.
    In my current relationship, HE is the romantic one putting all the effort in while I go out and earn the butter for our toast. He genuinely can't work at the moment, but I swear, after a 13- hour shift I don't give a heck, I just want the frigging bins emptied.
    This leaves me being unfair many a time, and together with being (almost) unable to show emotion anyway, you can imagine how the poor lad feels when he has set up an incredibly lovely candlelit dinner, and all I have to say is "why is the kitchen so messy?"
    This won't help you, but I still want to know you are far from being alone. I'd love to be as strong and brave as you are!