"If I get to 16% or 17% body fat and I am still not happy with what I see, I just need therapy."
I was at a restaurant talking with my girlfriend while our husbands tried to keep our kids from running into the kitchen, eating off of other people's plates, and generally driving everyone else batty. Our conversation had turned, as most between women eventually do, to our bodies. She poked the straw in her cup. "I'm glad you said that, and I didn't have to." We laughed, and I was again thankful to have a friend willing to shoot straight with me.
It's my birthday, and that means I'm halfway through the year and it is time to check progress on all of those things I was so vehement about back in January. This time, when I look in the mirror, I see two selves: the self who has come a long way, and the self who still has a ways to go. Luckily, I have good friends to keep me honest.
People are starting to comment on the changes I'm making. It feels great to receive a compliment on my physique and feel that my hard work is paying off. I just wish I could see it with my own eyes. Sure, I can see the size label on my clothes show a smaller number, and feel the waistband of my shorts get a little more loose, but like most women, I still frown a little when I look in the mirror. My arms are defined, my legs are getting back into shape, and my obliques are showing the advantage of my lunchtime Pilates and water aerobics classes. But I also see mushy hamstrings and the dreaded tummy pooch. Not as poochy as January, but poochy nonetheless. I know that I will always see these things, and I also know that I kind of hope I always do. I realize that's messed up - let me explain.
A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with another friend about greyhound dogs. He told me that when people breed greyhounds for racing, they never let the dog catch the target. He never catches the fox, bites the carrot, or gets the bone. As soon as a greyhound tackles his target, he's done, and it is for that reason that they are soon retired - they don't have the drive to chase anymore. It didn't take long for me to see the connection.
I know almost for certain that I will never reach the carrot. And really, I could be feasting on carrots right now and would never realize it. Body issue goals are elusive because we never see ourselves the way others do. But my friend made a very wise point - he pointed out that even though I might not ever reach the carrot, at least I could give my best shot at keeping pace with it.
When I look in the mirror at this mid-point in the year, I am energized. I see the fruits of my labor, and that there is still some harvesting left to do. But the best part is seeing the reflection of someone who is giving an honest shot at accomplishing a dream. In a way, I hope I never wake up.